Vested interests and evidence-based medicine
One of the greatest problems in medicine today is that academic medicine has been sold to the highest bidder. Under the guise of ‘Evidence Based Medicine’ the public has been sold fraudulent goods, and the result is that people suffer from unnecessary but lucrative procedures and take unnecessary but lucrative medications. Much of the data we use in medicine comes from epidemiology studies – where one thing is associated with another. It is easy to prove association, but much harder to prove that one thing causes the other, which is what we want to know.
It is very dangerous to accept data from epidemiologic studies because there are too many confounding factors. That is how we wound up with millions of women prescribed hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which turned out to be giving them cancer. In the late 1990s, there was a very strong association between women taking HRT and reduction of heart disease – about a 50% reduction. Based on this flimsy evidence, millions of women were prescribed the drug. It turns out, that when the trials were finally completed a decade or so later, that HRT did NOT reduce heart disease at all. Instead, women who took HRT were also healthier in many other ways – and these confounding factors accounted for the apparent heart disease risk reduction.
It further turns out that HRT was giving women breast cancer. When prescribing of HRT increased through the 1980s and 1990s, breast cancer also increased. But tellingly, when HRT decreased around year 2000, breast cancer also decreased by 6.7%. BreastCancerWHIAlmost nothing in medicine causes this type of sustained decrease in cancer, and the implication is that HRT caused cancer in millions of women. The worst part is that it was the DOCTORS that caused all these cancers, by widely prescribing a lucrative medication based only on flimsy evidence and lots of encouragement by drug companies.
The problem is not the drug company, which will always do whatever it can do push its drugs. The companies duty is to make money for shareholders, not to safeguard the public. The problem is that the doctors and the universities have financial conflicts of interest by taking millions of $$$ from these companies.
"There will be those who argue that there will be no money for research. I say, so what? That supposes that biased research is better than none at all. That is rather like arguing that a corrupt policeman is better than none at all. I would rather have no research than biased ones."
The same also goes often for IT research. The worst cases are where a company funds specific research which ends up benefitting themselves. Ideally, if funding could go to researchers and universities for general research things may be a lot better.
|Vested interests and evidence based medicine - Diet Doctor
One of the greatest problems in medicine today is that academic medicine has been sold to the highest bidder. Under the guise of ‘Evidence Based Medicine’ the public has been sold fraudulent goods.