SKEWED STATS MAKE
DRUGS LOOK WONDERFUL
"About 11 percent to 20 percent of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have been diagnosed with PTSD. The drug prazosin failed to effectively alleviate post-traumatic stress disorder in military veterans, according to a trial conducted by researchers with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prazosin, which includes trade names Minipress, Vasoflex, Lentopres, and Hypovase, is also used to treat high blood pressure and anxiety. Although the drug has been effective in controlling nightmares or improving sleep quality associated with PTSD, the researchers concluded it was no better than a placebo, according to results published in The New England Journal of Medicine."
Riddle me this Batman; how can a drug specifically used by government physicians to treat Combat Veterans diagnosed with PTSD be both "effective in controlling nightmares or improving sleep quality associated with PTSD" and "no better than placebo" at the same time? This, my friends, is the sort of oxymoronical gibberish today's post is about. For the record, the study's lead author stated in GDN, "....the trial seemed like a good idea, but you know, live and learn.... I don’t think it should change clinical practice..." This seems to be a common conclusion in the field of evidence-based medicine. Don't like the research findings you come up with? IGNORE THEM until the government finally steps in with a drug ban. In the meantime, there are plenty of people who need prescriptions, and lots of money to be made. Here is a list of a few of the neat little tricks regularly employed by Big Pharma to make their products appear better / safer than they really are.
- MAKE THE ISSUE POLITICAL: Nowhere is it easier to see how industry deflects criticism than the manner in which they politicize VACCINES. And no vaccine is more politicized than the FLU SHOT. Despite the medical community's battle cry of nothing but "BEST EVIDENCE," the flu vaccine has shown just how hollow this statement really rings. Not only does the vaccine not work against the more virulent strains of the flu (HERE), the latest COCHRANE REVIEWS on flu shots from just last week showed essentially what they did in the last reviews done five or six years ago --- that the flu vaccine is woefully ineffective in light of the time, energy, and money the government and big pharma spend warning people (FORCING PEOPLE) to get their shots. Unfortunately, those who use peer review to question the staus quo are labeled as "ANTIVAXXERS," which in today's politicized environment, is similar to being called a neo-nazi.
- CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT OF DEPENDENCE ON BIG PHARMA: This is not only true of the general public, the average of whom is exposed to hundreds of thousands of DRUG ADS and PRESS RELEASES before they are out of high school, it's likewise true of doctors. The brainwashing starts in medical school and continues right on through practice. Think of it this way; with our university system garnering a significant part of their funding directly from BIG PHARMA, are these institutions really going to bite the hand that feeds them? Of course not. Click the link and fast forward the video to the 15:15 mark (you'll laugh your head off and gain a better understanding of yet another way that the system is being gamed). Dr. Gorski once argued that diet and exercise are not alternatives, but actually part of the "fortress" that makes up mainstream medicine (HERE). I would argue that you would never have any idea of that from looking at the average doctor visit. The powers that be want you sick, but living a very long time, T-totally dependent on drugs for your perceived well being. Thanks to people who refuse to step up and take charge of their own health, they are getting their wish (HERE).
- HIDE RESEARCH RESULTS YOU DON'T LIKE: INVISIBLE & ABANDONED research is another drum I've been beating for a very long time. For instance; how many of you were aware that TAMIFLU received it's FDA approval because 60% of the studies done were never published? The only reason studies are not completed, or completed and not published, is because the results were not what industry was hoping to see. Although oversight agencies such as the FDA and CDC are trying to get a handle on this problem, it's recently been estimated that half of all medical studies are I & A.
- RESEARCH IS NOT REPRODUCIBLE: What does it mean when scientists cannot reproduce pharmaceutical research --- either their own or someone else's? In many cases it means we are no longer dealing with science. This problem is so rife in some fields (CANCER, for instance) that select research teams have not been able to reproduce as much as 90% of the profession's most important experiments (HERE).
- SET THE STUDIES UP TO PROVE WHAT YOU WANT THEM TO PROVE: I belong to a group run by a specialist in FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE (he's an MD) that has members from every specialty imaginable, many of them researchers. What I hear concerning a large portion of studies that are discussed on the board is just how poorly designed many (some would argue most) experiments really are. There are DOZENS OF TRICKS easily employed to create experiments in such a manner that they can prove anything you want them to. And no one is shocked by the fact that when industry pays for the study, the results are far more likely to be beneficial to industry than if done by an independent third party.
- DRAMATICALLY UNDERREPORT DRUG SIDE EFFECTS: Make sure that drug side effects are rarely reported. Because if the proper governmental reporting authorities don't get accurate reports on AE's (adverse events), those AE's never make it into the statistical analysis of the drug's safety profile. Naturally, this makes most drugs appear much safer than they really are. This problem is so rampant that hundreds of studies have estimated the overall rate of reporting side effects at between 1% and 5%. In other words, somewhere between 1 in 20 and 1 in 100 serious drug side effects are ever reported to the agencies specifically created to take these reports (HERE).
- USE STATISTICAL ANALYSIS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE: A few days ago I was discussing the brand new Cochrane Review concerning flu shots in healthy adults with my brother (AN ER DOCTOR who has never been a fan of the shots). He brought up an interesting point. Even though the data of hundreds of studies since 1965, containing over 80,000 subjects, was crunched to show that the vaccine lowers a healthy adult's chance of contracting flu from 2% to 1% (a whopping 1 percentage point), he rightly predicted that industry would claim that the unvaccinated group had 100% more flu than the vaccinated group (after all, two is 100% greater than one). It's like Mark Twain once said, figures never lie, but liars figure. If you get a good enough statistician on your research team, you can prove the moon really is made of green cheese! This is why everyone should learn the difference between ABSOLUTE & RELATIVE.
- THE LAB IS DIFFERENT THAN THE REAL WORLD: This was just dealt with the other day, although the exact post escapes me at the moment. Variables are far more easy to control in a lab setting, many times giving us experiments that look nothing like real life. Because of this the results look nothing like real life either.
- CREATE HYPE & CREATE DISEASES: Whether talking about ADHD, flu, GERD or a myriad of other health issues, be sure and make things sound far worse (or mysterious) than they really are. And by all means talk about these problems in terms of "diseases". You no longer have heartburn, you have Gastro-Esophageal Refulx Disease. You no longer have OSTEOARTHRITIS, you have DEGENERATIVE JOINT DISEASE. Tacking the word 'disease' or 'syndrome' onto the end of a descriptive term is a surefire way to create hype and fear, and ultimately sell more drugs.
- DISCREDIT ANYONE WHO DARES OPPOSE YOU: My site is littered with names of individuals who have come forward with their discoveries only to be blasted as quacks and crackpots by those in power --- something we routinely see in politics as well (who could forget the number of times that Hillary covered for Bill's sexual "escapades," many of which would now be classified as "assaults," while residing in the Arkansas Governor's Mansion and White House?). What's cool is that we are seeing more and more people willing to step forward and take a bit of heat for what they are publishing in peer-review (HERE is a recent example).
Any one of these bullet points can be a big deal. But when you dump them all together into a big cauldron and bring the whole sordid mess to a boil, you get a witches brew that skews and distorts truth in a way that creates maximum amounts of fear. And face it, fear is what sells drugs. This despite the fact we already know just how dangerous (scratch that, deadly) drugs and surgical interventions can be (HERE). If you want to see this entire process in action, take a look at this video interview of chemist Boyd Haley on the neurotoxicity of MERCURY.