Researchers on the payroll of pharmaceutical companies. Scientists who study a drug, test it for years and then report the results in prestigious journals. Health systems that approve and reimburse only tested, titrated and countersigned medicines, following the so-called "scientific criteria".
Doctors and patients - reassured by this mass of studies - who trust, the former prescribing it, the latter believing they will be cured. Instead, the conflict of interest emerges. The drug company pays to get drugs approved.
An example? There Wyeth donated sums of money to the researcher Robert Lindsay author of one of the first clinical trials of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), based on estrogen, to treat osteoporosis. Lindsay is also editor of the magazine Osteoporosis International and president of the National Osteoporosis Foundation.
The investigation that brought the corruption to light was conducted by Charles SeifeWashington mathematician and journalist. Reported from the magazine Scientific American, we find it in the February issue of The sciences which dedicates the cover of “Trust Big Pharma?” , the editorial by Marco Cattaneo and a 9-page article [you see: http://www.federaisf.org/Start/HDefault.aspx?Newsid=7201].
"Lindsay's is a typical case - explains Seife - In recent years, pharmaceutical companies have found many ways to put large sums of money - in some cases sufficient to guarantee university attendance for a child - into the pockets of independent doctors who they carry out research on drugs being manufactured or marketed by these companies. The problem does not only concern companies and researchers but the system: financing institutions, laboratories, specialist journals, professional orders and so on. Nobody offers a control method capable of avoiding conflicts of interest”.
Seife reports that “all over the US there are scientists who conduct government-funded research and at the same time take money from pharmaceutical companies. To get an idea of the amount of money I consulted the ProPublica database which contains payments from drug companies to identify paid researchers. In New York state alone, we identified $1.8 million in disbursements from a few companies to recipients of public funds. They were payments for lecturing, consulting, and other services.”
A study published in 2010 on the British medical journal revealed that the 87% of researchers who gave a positive opinion on GlaxoSmithKline's diabetes drug Avandia, which is suspected of causing heart attacks, had received money from the drug's makers. In the case of Avandia, corruption also emerged among the members of the commission of the Food and Drug Administration called to evaluate.