Originally published October 28 2010
Placebo fraud rocks the very foundation of modern medical science; thousands of clinical trials invalidated
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor
(NaturalNews) You know all those thousands of clinical trials conducted over the last few decades comparing pharmaceuticals to placebo pills? Well, it turns out all those studies must now be completely thrown out as utterly non-scientific. And why? Because the placebos used in the studies weren't really placebos at all, rendering the studies scientifically invalid.
This is the conclusion from researchers at the University of California who published their findings in the October issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. They reviewed 167 placebo-controlled trials published in peer-reviewed medical journals in 2008 and 2009 and found that 92 percent of those trials never even described the ingredients of their placebo pills.
Why is this important? Because placebo pills are supposed to be inert. But nothing is inert, it turns out. Even so-called "sugar pills" contain sugar, obviously. And sugar isn't inert. If you're running a clinical trial on diabetics, testing the effectiveness of a diabetes drug versus a placebo then obviously your clinical trial is going to make the diabetes drug look better than placebo if you use sugar pills as your placebo.
Some placebo pills use olive oil which may actually improve heart health. Other placebo pills use partially-hydrogenated oils which harm heart health. Yet only 8 percent of clinical trials bothered to list the placebo ingredients at all!
Stay with me on this placebo issue... because it gets even more bizarre...
There are no FDA rules regarding placebos in clinical trialsIt turns out there are absolutely no FDA rules regarding the choice or composition of placebos used in clinical trials. Technically, a clinical trial director could use eye of newt or lizard's legs as placebo and would not even be required to mention such nefarious details in the trial results. That would cause trouble, trouble, boil and bubble! (Shakespeare reference for all you literary fans...)
We already know that clinical trials are rife with fraud. Most of the clinical trials used by pharmaceutical companies to win FDA approval of their drugs, for example, are funded by pharmaceutical companies. And it is a verifiable fact that most clinical trials tend to find results that favor the financial interests of whatever organization paid for them. So what's to stop Big Pharma from scheming up the perfect placebo that would harm patients just enough to make their own drugs look good by comparison?
Fact: Placebos are usually provided by the very same company funding the clinical trial! Do you detect any room for fraud in this equation?
How drug companies can fake clinical trials with selected placebo pillsPlacebo performance strongly influences whether drugs are approved by the FDA, by the way. As the key piece of information on its regulatory approval decisions, the FDA wants to know whether a drug works better than placebo. That's the primary requirement! If they work even 5% better than placebo, they are said to be "efficacious" (meaning they "work"). This is true even if the placebo was selected and used specifically to make the drug look good by comparison.
You see, if there are no regulations or rules regarding placebo, then none of the placebo-controlled clinical trials are scientifically valid.
It's amazing how medical scientists will get rough and tough when attacking homeopathy, touting how their own medicine is "based on the gold standard of scientific evidence!" and yet when it really comes down to it, their scientific evidence is just a jug of quackery mixed with a pinch of wishful thinking and a wisp of pseudoscientific gobbledygook, all framed in the language of scientism by members of the FDA who wouldn't recognize real science if they tripped and fell into a vat full of it.
Big Pharma and the FDA have based their entire system of scientific evidence on a placebo fraud! And if the placebo isn't a placebo, then the scientific evidence isn't scientific.
Oh, but wait. They'll call it science because they wish the placebo to be a placebo. Yep -- the clinical researchers are now psychics, mediums and fortune tellers who simply decree that little pill of olive oil to "be a placebo!" while waving their hands over it in a gesture borrowed from David Copperfield.
James Randi may have never seen a psychic transmute lead into gold, but he's no doubt seen doctors transmute biochemically active substances into totally inert materials merely by wishing them so! It's so amazing!
And this brings me to the really interesting "how-to" part of this article...
How to make your own placebo just like clinical researchers doAre you wondering how to make your own FDA-approved, scientifically validated placebo? It's easier than you think.
Step 1 - Find something shaped like a pill. It could be a pill full of olive oil, white sugar, palm oil, fluoridated water, chalk dust, synthetic chemicals or just about anything you can imagine.
Step 2 - Close your eyes and get ready to concentrate.
Step 3 - This is the important part - Repeat out loud five times while turning counter-clockwise, "I am a scientific researcher practicing evidence-based medicine!" You must say this until you really, truly believe it. If you don't believe it strongly enough, the placebo effect will be ruined.
Step 4 - Thrust your palm in the direction of the placebo pills and shout, at the top of your voice, "You are now placebo!" You may feel a shiver of energy coursing through your body. That's the power of placebo reaching out to the pills.
The process is now complete. You may now use these placebo pills in any clinical trial and expect full approval of such use by your colleagues, famous medical journals and FDA regulators. (This is not a joke. This is the state of the art today in conventional medicine.)
Hope also has a huge role to place in all this. The more you hope your placebos are really placebos, the better results you'll get. In fact, in reporting on this whole fiasco, the lead researcher of the study uncovering all this, Dr Beatric Golomb, said, "We can only hope that this hasn't seriously systematically affected medical treatment."
But of course it has. (And by the way, no disrespect toward Dr Golomb. She deserves kudos for being willing to tackle this subject which will no doubt make her very unpopular among the cult of Scientism as practiced by conventional medical researchers today.)
How to improve your clinical trial resultsFor improved results, try to use the most harmful placebo substances you can. For example, in real clinical trials involving AIDS patients -- who tend to be lactose intolerant -- researchers have used pills made of, guess what? Lactose!
That's sort of like running a clinical trial on a cure for heroin addiction and using heroin as the placebo, isn't it? Gee, somehow our drug worked "better than placebo." Funny how that works, isn't it?
And if you still don't get the results you want, just start inventing your own data like other clinical trial researchers do. Remember Dr Scott Reuben? This highly-respected clinical trial researcher faked at least twenty-one clinical trials for Big Pharma (http://www.naturalnews.com/028194_Scott_Reub...). His fraudulent clinical trials are still being cited to sell prescription medications!
Heck, who needs placebo when you can just invent the data?
Come to think of it, who needs science when you can just use anything you want and call it placebo in the first place?
Conventional medicine operates clinical trials in the same way that banks and securities firms handle mortgage documents. They all just sort of make things up as they go along, committing felony crimes on a daily basis while hoping nobody notices. On that note, check out this amazing story by Greg Hunter called The Perfect No-Prosecution Crime (http://usawatchdog.com/the-perfect-no-prosec...).
Where on the skeptics when it comes to Big Pharma science fraud?Seriously, you just gotta love the state of medical science today. I've never watched a more hilarious group of nincompoops reassure each other that they're all so scientific while practicing the most quack-ridden chicanery imaginable. The stuff being pulled off today in the name of Big Pharma's clinical trials makes psychic detectives and tarot card readers look downright scientifically gifted by comparison.
It really makes you wonder about so-called "skeptics," doesn't it? If they're skeptical of homeopathy, tarot cards, psychic mediums and people who claim they can levitate, I can at least understand the urge to ask tough questions about all these things. I ask tough questions, too, especially when people tell me they've seen ghosts or spirits coming back from the dead or other unexplained phenomena. (And I've already publicly denounced so-called "psychic surgery" which it quite obviously little more than sleight-of-hand trickery combined with animal blood.)
But most conventional skeptics never step out of bounds of their "safety zone" of popular topics for which skepticism may be safely expressed. They won't dare ask skeptical questions about the quack science backing the pharmaceutical industry, for example. Nor will they ask tough questions about vaccines, or mammography, or chemotherapy. And you'd be hard pressed to find anything more steeped in outright fraudulent quackery than the pharmaceutical industry as operated today (and the cancer branch of it in particular).
That's why I'm skeptical about the skeptics. If a skeptic doesn't question the loosey goosey pseudoscience practiced by Big Pharma, then they really have no credibility as a skeptic. You can't be selectively skeptical about some things but then a fall-for-anything fool on other scams just because they're backed by drug companies.
But getting back to this study in particular...
Abstract of the studyHere's some of the text from the abstract of this study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine (http://www.annals.org/content/153/8/532.abst...)
What's in Placebos: Who Knows? Analysis of Randomized, Controlled Trials
1. Beatrice A. Golomb, MD, PhD;
2. Laura C. Erickson, BS;
3. Sabrina Koperski, BS;
4. Deanna Sack, BS;
5. Murray Enkin, MD; and
6. Jeremy Howick, PhD
Background: No regulations govern placebo composition. The composition of placebos can influence trial outcomes and merits reporting.
Purpose: To assess how often investigators specify the composition of placebos in randomized, placebo-controlled trials.
Data Sources: 4 English-language general and internal medicine journals with high impact factors.
Study Selection: 3 reviewers screened titles and abstracts of the journals to identify randomized, placebo-controlled trials published from January 2008 to December 2009.
Data Extraction: Reviewers independently abstracted data from the introduction and methods sections of identified articles, recording treatment type (pill, injection, or other) and whether placebo composition was stated. Discrepancies were resolved by consensus.
Data Synthesis: Most studies did not disclose the composition of the study placebo. Disclosure was less common for pills than for injections and other treatments (8.2% vs. 26.7%; P = 0.002).
Limitation: Journals with high impact factors may not be representative.
Conclusion: Placebos were seldom described in randomized, controlled trials of pills or capsules. Because the nature of the placebo can influence trial outcomes, placebo formulation should be disclosed in reports of placebo-controlled trials.
Primary Funding Source: University of California Foundation Fund 3929 -- Medical Reasoning.
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