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Stunning admission that SCIENCE IS FRAUD: Medical journals more likely to recommend high-profit drugs when they are funded by Big Pharma advertising


Science fraud

(NaturalNews) If you've ever wondered why seemingly intelligent doctors prescribe so many harmful medications to their patients, the answer is simple: money. We've all heard about the conferences and exotic vacations for doctors funded by pharmaceutical companies, but it turns out that the medical journals that doctors rely on for their information are also compromised.

Many people believe that medical journals are indisputable sources of solid, well-researched information, but it turns out that a lot of money changes hands behind the scenes to determine what gets published and what does not.

German researchers found that free medical journals that are financed by ads from pharmaceutical companies are much more likely to recommend new medications than journals that are paid for via subscriptions. Their findings were published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The researchers looked at 11 German journals for articles on some of the newer drugs that had been heavily promoted at the time, such as the cholesterol drug Zetia from Merck. They chose journals that were frequently read by general practitioners.

In total, they found more than 250 articles promoting the use of these new drugs in five free journals. In two of them, the chances of a positive recommendation for a particular drug appearing on its pages actually more than doubled when the same issue had an ad for the drug in question. Meanwhile, journals that are supported by subscription fees only had three positive recommendations for the new drugs and 28 negative ones.

One of the researchers, Dr. Norbert Donner-Banzhoff of the University of Marburg, said: "In the journals you get for free, there were almost only positive recommendations. But in the journals you have to pay for, in most instances the articles were critical."

Journals are sources of continuing education for many doctors

He points out that busy physicians who can't stay on top of technical peer-reviewed journals often turn to free journals for quick information for their continuing medical education as required to keep their medical licenses. These free journals tend to print a lot of research summaries and even opinion pieces, and their misleading recommendations could actually result in poor treatment decisions.

Many doctors actually consider drug ads to be a source of information, and there is evidence that such ads influence physicians' prescription behaviors. The researchers also pointed out that in free journals, the authors and editors do not declare conflicts of interest. Although the study took place in Germany, the researchers felt that the results could be generalized to journals in other countries, and the United States in particular.

The problem is so prevalent that estimates show drug-makers make between $2 and $5 on each dollar they spend on medical journal advertising. The problem is that these newer drugs have unknown long-term effects, and doctors do not have much experience with how people will react to them.

Do 40,000 more people have to die?

What exactly can happen when this irresponsibility takes place on a wide scale? Take the example of the medication Vioxx, which Merck has since withdrawn. It is believed to have caused as many as 40,000 deaths before being taken off the market. Direct-to-physician pharmaceutical promotion is being blamed for the drug's widespread use. Merck spent $500 million marketing the drug directly to clinics and doctors.

One journal that decided to take a stand and stop publishing ads for drug-makers is Emergency Medicine Australasia. While this caused a price increase, it is believed that subscriber numbers will eventually rise simply because of this strong stance.

Journals should be devoted to providing accurate information to doctors and the patients who rely on them to keep them healthy and alive, and money from Big Pharma absolutely compromises their objectivity. Doctors are being urged to be aware of this problem, and make a concerted effort to avoid succumbing to this commercial bias.

Sources include:

BMJ.com

UK.Reuters.com

NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov

TheGlobeAndMail.com

Journals.PLOS.org

Science.NaturalNews.com

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