Catastrophe of drug-based mainstream medicine
Posted by Henry Bauer on 2012/09/22
If science, and medical science in particular, were functioning according to the conventional wisdom, then research would be making knowledge self-correcting, in part because of disinterested peer review. In that case, it would be truly incredible that HIV/AIDS theory could have become firmly established and hegemonic. But the HIV/AIDS blunder actually illustrates the calamitous state of modern medicine and of science itself, overwhelmed by conflicts of interest as the universal criterion has come to be money-based, and the money for medical research and medical education and medical practice has become largely concentrated in a small number of pharmaceutical companies that are so large that they act as self-protecting bureaucracies and career-enabling empires.
Over the last decade or so, dozens of books as well as articles have described in documented detail that drug-selling has become snake-oil peddling because of corruption of the whole drug-approval process, including inadequate and biased clinical trials, lack of post-approval monitoring, and illegal as well as such unethical practices by drug companies as pushing off-label uses and lying to the public in direct advertisements.
I said a bit about this in “Evidence-based medicine? Wishful thinking”, 2012/08/25. A short bibliography of critical books and articles is at http://henryhbauer.homestead.com/What_sWrongWithMedicine.pdf.
I was just alerted to an excellent overview of the situation from a British perspective: “The drugs don’t work: a modern medical scandal” by Ben Goldacre, a preview of his forthcoming book (to be released in January in the USA), Bad Pharma: How drug companies mislead doctors and harm patients.
One can hope beyond hope that this will have a more visible influence than the dozens of earlier volumes that have exposed present practices.