August 06, 2008

A Whole New Level of Junk Science

It's no secret that the pharmaceutical industry trades in junk 
science. We've talked about how prescription drug companies distort 
research many times here on Health Beat, focusing on how companies 
fudge measures of drug effectiveness and generally control our 
knowledge of what works in medication. Big Pharma's track record of 
shady science is a serious problem, especially considering the fact 
that recent discussions about creating a Comparative-Effectiveness 
Research Institute currently hold a place for prescription drug 
companies on the organization's board.

The obvious problem is that, to the pharmaceutical industry, 
"research" is just a code-word for "smart-sounding marketing." If you 
really want a sense of how deep this deception runs, consider the 
fact that the prescription drug industry relies on so-called 
"research" not just to shill its drugs, but also to argue that it has 
a vital role to play in shaping the doctor-patient relationship for 
the better.

This dubious claim comes in the June 2008 issue of PharmaVoice where 
Meaghan Onofrey from CommonHealth, a pharma marketing consulting 
firm, pens a piece arguing that coaching from the prescription drug 
industry can make sure that "physicians and patients speak the same 
language" so that "everyone wins."