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."