QUICKLINKS AND VIEW OPITONS
What Tangled Webs We Weave By Dr. Malcolm Kendrick (All research seems to be biased)
Monday, February 22, 2010 8:39 am Email this article
Refreshed from a holiday in France, I returned to work to find an e-mail informing me that a German study has concluded that Lipitor (atorvastatin) might not be as effective as the other statins, and might also have more side-effects.
Well, it must be true because it was a study done by the Institut fuer Qualitaet und Wirtschaftslichkeit im Gesundheitswesen. And there is no way on Earth you could argue with an institute as formidable sounding as that. An institute, I picture, entirely populated by white-haired professors all looking like a cross between Albert Einstein and Socrates.
(This article was written by Malcolm Kendrick, MD, author of the wonderful, eye-opening, paradigm-shifting book The Great Cholesterol Con: The Truth About What Really Causes Heart Disease and How to Avoid It .) Are They Right?
I have almost given up all hope of knowing whether research is true or not
Are they right? Are they wrong?
Frankly, I have almost given up all hope of knowing whether research is true or not.
When I see medical headlines now, I just think to myself, So what was in it for them?
I imagine that the Institut fuer Qualitaet und Wirtschaftslichkeit im Gesundheitswesen is paid by the German government to look at healthcare costs.
Their agenda, therefore, will be to save money for the German health service. Lipitor costs more than the other statins — ergo, the Institut fuer Qualitaet und Wirtschaftslichkeit im Gesundheitswesen will be attempting to prove that it is no better than simvastatin, lovastatain, and others of that ilk.
No One Does Disinterested Research Anymore
Everyone is trying to prove his or her own deeply held prejudices or make money or both
You see, bias does not just operate in one direction — some of it is anti-drug. And almost no one (maybe that should be no one at all) does disinterested research anymore — especially in the medical field.
Everyone, it seems, is trying to prove his or her own deeply held prejudices or make money or both.
I think it was Robert Heinlein who said that the most important two words in science are “that’s funny.”
I’ve Given Up Looking For Unexpected Results
Nearly all research comes up with the expected result
But I think I have given up looking for unexpected results in medical research.
Amazingly, almost all research comes up with the expected result.
Or if it does not, unexpected results are immediately explained away in a flurry of post-hoc rationalization. “In this study, statins did not reduce mortality but this was because of blah, blah, blah … blah, blah, blah … complicated statistics … blah, blah, blah.”
So, who to believe? What is true?
How can we possibly tell anymore?
Pfizer has made huge play on Lipitor’s safety and lack of side effects; Merck made huge play on Vioxx’s safety and lack of side effects.
Suppressing Negative Data and Promoting Positive Data
Merck suppressed negative data and promoted positive data
Merck, it appears, was suppressing negative data and promoting positive data.
Is Pfizer doing the same?
Who knows, but since Pfizer pays for most of the studies on Lipitor itself, it could undoubtedly bury any negative results.
I Don’t Know What to Believe
I have almost reached the point where I don’t believe a damned thing
Personally, I have almost reached the point where I don’t believe a damned thing.
Correction: If I can see that individuals are clearly trying to establish the truth and, in so doing, they are antagonizing vested interests and getting into trouble, then I am much more inclined to believe what they say.
The downside of this approach is that you tend to give a little too much credence to crazed loons of the green-ink letter-writing variety.
Opinion Leaders Bought and Paid For
Opinion leaders can be manipulated with large sums of money
Better that, however, than giving credence to the honoraratons — a race of opinion leaders whose views can be perfectly manipulated through the payment of large sums of money.
Article Previous Published on THINCS.org
This article was previously published on THINCS.org
This article was previously published on THINCS.org (The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics).
I republished the article here with Dr. Kendrick’s permission.
Malcolm Kendrick’s Contact Info
Malcolm Kendrick, MD is the author of the wonderful, eye-opening, paradigm-shifting book book The Great Cholesterol Con: The Truth About What Really Causes Heart Disease and How to Avoid It .)
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