Science....or marketing?



From an earlier post--bears repeating. Capiche?

"CEOs, legal and marketing wonks from Big Oil, Big Pharma and Big Tobacco play musical boardrooms;
with little to distinguish in marketing method. The media coverage on Liquid Drano is classic
marketing strategy, right down to which reporters would do the stories, and what stories would be
done: I especially liked that prescious bit on the anxious Dr. Nissen. (Did I miss the part about
his hopes for world peace? Who won the talent segment?)

Do a search on Dr. Nissen on What you find may interest you. From the Comments section:

"The worst problem with drug promotion lies not with the sales reps but with industry-funded
research. I personally witnessed the excesses for 8 years while on the faculty of a major medical
school. This operates at several levels. First, one must understand that in academics teaching is
like catching fly balls and publishing is like hitting home runs. They didn't pay Hank Aaron for his
fielding. It isn't just the publishing and reflected glory to the institution that drives
academicians to do research. The institution takes a cut of every grant, whether it's industry money
or an NIH grant. The percentages vary, but they are rather large; a $10MM grant yields several
million for the hospital, school, or whatever institution the grantee works for. Those who bring in
grant money have *power*. What can they get with that power? A raise, a bigger office, private
secretary, less time actually having to teach residents or touch a patient (when I was in academics
it seemed to be a matter of prestige to *not* carry a pager). Also, although it is difficult to
directly gain monetarily from grant money, one can usually buy a few new computers or other toys
that may find their way home.

Publishing favorable articles leads to invitations to speak at fun places - all expenses paid - and
receive nice honoraria to boot. Yes, the drug companies fly private practitioners to nice places,
but who are they listening to? Impartial lecturers? No - they are listening to the drug whores who
will say nice things about the product. Some of the drug whores I met during my own march in the
******** parade were big names in the field, including departmental chairmen. Some of the biggest
names in my specialty are, in my opinion, on the take. The people who really get wined and dined at
these meetings are the "mouthpieces", not the attendees.

One time I was even mailed a lecture, complete with slides to present, at a sponsored meeting at a
very nice resort. When I balked and insisted on giving my own lecture with my own slides it caused a
major storm. Another time, one of my colleagues asked another colleague to do the statistics for his
drug company data. When the results came back unflattering he asked if perhaps a different
statistical test might be tried.

If a researcher plays the game well, publishing flattering studies and giving lots of positive
lectures, he might get a real plum: a "consultant's contract", or a position on the "advisory
board". This can mean tens ofthousands of dollars of income per year for very little actual work.

Therefore the real danger is in the poisonous influence the private sector has on the generation of
scientifi studies. Bad results and balanced lectures are not rewarded. Sadly, with the drying up of
public funds for research in the past two decades, academic institutions have had to rely more and
more on private funding. When I graduated medical school in 1979 medical journals did not require
financial disclosure. Now you see it everywhere - a sad reflection of the influence of commercial
research funding, and the closest anyone will come to actually admitting we have a serious problem.

When a drug rep buys you lunch you know you are being fed a sales pitch. The truly insidious aspect
of all this is that published peer-reviewed articles funded by drug companies are usually taken at
face value, and the lectures are given by drug whores (after all, they are the ones with funding and
have written all the articles - they are the "authority" by virtue of the sheer volume they have
published). The damage done by this misinformation takes years to undo."