The British Medical Journal Reports 94% of Drug Information has No Basis in Scientific Evidence!
The investigation was conducted by the Institute for Evidence-Based Medicine in Cologne, Germany. They concluded that there is very little evidence to support the claims made by pharmaceutical companies in their drug advertising.
In fact it is almost non-existent according to this article from The British Medical Journal (BMJ). It has also been published on the United States Government National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) website.
Before we begin I want to give a quick shoutout to @truthtrain (Todd Wilke). He has been a regular in the comments section on my health related posts lately and he has dropped some very interesting and useful information. One of which was the link to this study. Make sure to check his page out.
Here is the BMJ article in full.
ONLY 6% OF DRUG ADVERTISING MATERIAL IS SUPPORTED BY EVIDENCE
By Heidelberg Annette Tuffs
February 28, 2004
Source: British Medical Journal
A new study of the advertising material and marketing brochures sent out by drug companies to GPs in Germany has shown that about 94% of the information in them has no basis in scientific evidence.
The study, carried out by the Institute for Evidence-Based Medicine, a private independent research institute in Cologne, evaluated 175 brochures containing information on 520 drugs, which were either sent by post or handed out to 43 GPs since last June. The study was published in this month's issue of the drugs bulletin Arznei Telegramm (2004;35:21-3;
About 15% of the brochures did not contain any citations, while the citations listed in another 22% could not be found. In the remaining 63% the information was mostly correctly connected with the relevant research articles but did not reflect their results. Only 6% of the brochures contained statements that were scientifically supported by identifiable literature.
The evaluation was done by two specially trained and independently acting reviewers. In cases of doubt a third reviewer was involved.
"This is the first study in Germany evaluating the quality of drug advertising material," says Thomas Kaiser, a scientist at the institute who published the study together with Peter Sawicki and other colleagues.
He points out that the advertising material presents distorted images of the drugs' profiles. The article lists several examples of misrepresentation:
medical guidelines from scientific societies are misquoted or changed, the side effects of drugs are minimised, groups of patient are wrongly defined, study results are suppressed, treatment effects are exaggerated, risks are manipulated, and effects of drugs were drawn from animal studies.
The authors warn that such a high amount of misinformation puts patients' health at risk. Studies from other countries have shown that doctors tend to base their decisions on the information and advertising material sent out by drug companies. Therefore, the authors conclude, an independent institution should be established to monitor the content of such material.
The German drug industry has decided to tighten the rules in its self regulatory code on relations between the industry and the medical profession with regard to cooperation in clinical studies and attendance at conferences that are funded by drug companies.
The German Association of Research Based Pharmaceutical Companies in Berlin announced that its members have set up an independent tribunal in Berlin. Members of the tribunal will be chosen by drug companies and doctors' and patients' groups but will not be elected representatives of those bodies.
Like a court, the tribunal will be able to punish companies that break the rules, imposing fines of up to 50,000 Euro (£34,000; $63,000) or, in the case of a second offence, up to 250,000 Euro. Anyone will be allowed to notify the tribunal of possible offences.
The initiative was the industry's reaction to the German government's threat to install an executive against corruption. Doctors' associations have also tightened their rules on corruption.
The Low Down
- Only 6% of drug brochures given to GP’s contained statements that were scientifically supported by identifiable literature.
- The Institute examined 175 brochures on 520 drugs.
- They concluded that advertising material presented distorted images of the drugs' profiles.
- Misrepresentation included; Study results Suppressed, Treatment effects Exaggerated, Side effects Minimised, Risks Manipulated, Groups of patient wrongly defined, Animal Studies rather than human studies.
- Such a high amount of misinformation puts patients' health at risk.
- Doctors base their decisions on drug companies for their information.
The German Association of Research Based Pharmaceutical Companies in Berlin announced that its members have set up an independent tribunal in Berlin. Members of the tribunal will be chosen by drug companies and doctors' and patients' groups but will not be elected representatives of those bodies. The initiative was the industry's reaction to the German government's threat to install an executive against corruption.
The German Pharmaceutical Companies set up an independent tribunal - with fines of up to 250,000 Euros ($300,000 USD) if caught. That's peanuts for a pharmaceutical conglomerate.
Allowing pharmaceutical companies to self-regulate their industry is akin to asking the big bad wolf to babysit little red riding hood. The wolf can 't help itself, it cannot be trusted and neither can pharmaceutical companies.
Elected officials and government agency employees place the interests of themselves and the pharmaceutical companies ahead of the welfare of citizens.
Many of them may not be aware that they are often little more than a compartmentalized cog in in a very big wheel and inadvertently contributing to the problem.
The BMJ article was published in 2004. Does anyone believe that very much has changed in the last 14 years? I wonder how many pharmaceutical companies are fined every year and if those penalties are more than revenues? Could it be that they are just a cost of 'doing business'?
Germany is Europe’s largest drug market. If these are the standards in Germany can you imagine what the situation is in less developed nations?
Doctors do not have the time to research every single drug that is presented to them. There were 520 drugs in this study alone. How on earth is a doctor seeing patients every 10-15 minutes expected to keep up with the avalanche of drug information?
He can’t, and he doesn’t - he trusts the pharmaceutical salesman that has been trained by the pharmaceutical company on what to say. The conversation may include a chat about an upcoming pharmaceutical sponsored conference or the next 'breakthrough' drug.
Doctors are on the frontline, autographing every prescription - and they have an ethical, moral, and I hope legal responsibility, to ensure that the drugs that they are prescribing are safe, effective, correctly advertised and risks shared with the patient.
This study proves, that in Germany circa 2003-2004, this was not the case.
There really is no escaping the fact that corporations control governments and governments try to control us!
Science receives it’s funding from governments, corporations and tax-free foundations (the elites as some people call them).
Employers almost always get what they want and there are almost zero employment opportunities for scientists without this funding.
That is not a desirable situation. In fact it is a blatant conflict of interest and human beings are the guinea pigs!
It would be very naive for one to believe that this is not the case. Please do not take my words as being overly critical of science and scientists. Quite the contrary, science is a very important discipline. I think that it gets a bit more credit than it deserves (to the exclusion of others) but it is very important nonetheless.
I am fully aware of the good that science has done. I wouldn’t be writing this blog if it wasn’t for science. I am very grateful for the conveniences and fun that science has brought into my life. I also know that science can be very dangerous when left unchecked.
Interestingly, the Institute for Evidence-Based Medicine seems to have closed its doors. I wonder if that was for a lack of funding or something more sinister?
Corporations own your government and we should all be able to see that. Is it not reasonable and responsible to ask ourselves who controls the sciences?
Where does science gets its funding from again?
If a scientist asks to many questions, or pops his head above the waterline, or merely shares his inner thoughts with his colleagues, he may soon find himself looking for another job. The financial backers will hire someone more compliant. Finding another job may not be as easy you think, most scientists know this, as do doctors and government employees. If not consciously, then sub-consciously. We operate in a social and professional construct that has been designed to keep us in our place.
The pharmaceutical industry spends more money on advertising than it does on research. I wonder if campaign contributions, medical conferences, physician and surgery kickbacks, and other perks are expensed under advertising?
Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: - John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton
Corporations and government have absolute power over the sciences and medical professions. The pharmaceutical industry is riddled with corruption.
When you let any group of people have too much power they will almost always abuse it - science and medicine is not immune and there is no vaccine. The virus simply has to be destroyed before it kills us.
Doctors, and patients rely on scientists, regulators, governments and the pharmaceutical manufacturers to do their jobs. Behind each of those titles lies an individual with a brain, and I hope a heart.
To varying degrees we are all responsible for allowing this paradigm of oppression and corruption to continue. What side of the debate you sit on right now is not the most important issue. The problem (as stated above) transcends whatever other differences we may have. We are all individuals, we are intelligent, we can solve problems, we have resources, we have Steemit, we have each other and all of our different skills set and we can effect positive change. We just need to find some heart and get organized.
We shouldn’t be pointing the finger at each other or waiting for someone else to step up. Even the smallest contribution can make an enormous difference. We should be working together rather than splitting into camps. We should be open, civil, and respectful of other opinions and beliefs. Most importantly we should be very open-minded, inquisitive, ask good questions, demand good answers and not be satisfied until we get them.
We need to unite and focus our attention on the governments and corporations that try to rule over us. They are looking after each others best interests and we need to start looking after ours.
- Pro-Vaccine vs Vaccine Awareness
- Pro-Life vs Pro Choice
- Science vs Religion
- and the list goes on.
We have a common enemy and it isn't each other. I hope to see doctors, scientists, activists and everyday citizens from all camps begin to have open, honest, transparent and sensible conversations.
Some doctors and scientists may be getting ready to throw something at me now. If they are, they have not understood or embraced the essence of this message.
This is a call, a plea, for you to ask good questions, demand good answers, research the corruption in your fields, stand up to the bullying and begin to tell the Steemit blockchain what you know.
I want Suppression of Study Results, Exaggeration of Treatment Effects, Minimisation of Side Effects, Manipulated Risks and Groups of Patients Wrongly Defined to stop!
We should all be honest with ourselves and admit that this is how the Big Pharma game is played and the medical profession is on it. If we can't at the very least acknowledge that then God help us!
I think much of the problem lies in the misunderstanding of the so-called opposing view. I also see people pushing agendas that they do not understand. I believe that almost everyone last one of us wants better outcomes for ourselves and those around us.
We need to transition to a decentralized society where people act voluntarily. Central banks, governments and fiat currencies will be replaced by blockchains, witnesses and cryptocurrencies.
This isn't going to happen overnight but if we stick at it we can overcome. We should be actively working towards making the world a better, fairer and more caring place. If we all play our role, no matter how small we will get there much faster.
Steemit will play a major role in helping us to achieve these outcomes and I am very grateful to all Steemians for their contribution to this wonderful platform and incredible opportunity.
You’ve only got one life so you may as well make the most of it - you do not have second chance.
8 Men Have the Same Wealth as 50% of the Worlds Population - Oxfam
That alone should tell you that corporations and governments are not at all interested in helping people. They are too busy lying to us and acting like they care.
I'm excited about what we can achieve and learn together. I'm excited about the people that we can help. I'm excited about a future with a more even distribution of wealth.
Let's make it happen Steemians - let's change the world together!
Yours in Peace, Health & Truth
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