Dirty Tricks played by Big Pharma in Clinical Trials

We are told mainstream medicine is very scientific, but would it stand up to scrutiny

Here’s some indisputable propaganda which might help your friends understand why you should be careful of the pronouncements that mainstream treatments are as safe and effective as the manufacturers would have you think.

We are told that mainstream medicine is the only scientific medicine, but there are a bunch of dirty tricks that pharmaceutical companies can use to turn out the results they want in studies, and you would be shocked at how often they get away with them.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the most common ones:

–        Comparing their drug to a placebo rather than an established therapy, and then promoting the new drug on the basis that it’s “more effective than a placebo,” even while there is a much cheaper, safer and more effective alternative already available.

–        Tinkering with the doses when comparing two drugs to one another, so the desired drug comes out on top.

–        Treating side effects and then claiming the rate of side-effects was low.

–        Only using data from patients who did well on the product then excluding data from patients who dropped out of trials because their side effects were too severe.

–        Taking volunteers for clinical trials while their symptoms are worst so that when, with the passage of time, their symptoms go back to the average level it looks like this was caused by the drug, when in fact their symptoms simply “regressed to the mean.”

–        Generalizing from the wrong demographics – for example doing a study on young, healthy adults who are unlikely to have complications, then recommending the treatment to elderly people, less healthy people, or children.

–        Running a bunch of studies and then cherry-picking the ones that show the desired results before submitting them to the regulator.

–        Ending a study prematurely while it is turning out favorable results in case the side-effects turn out to be too severe if it continues.

–        Simply burying studies that do not turn out desired results by exercising intellectual property “rights” and not publishing them.

–        Failing to run controlled trials – which provide very good evidence in support of a treatment but are very expensive – because the treatment is already selling well and risking an unfavorable outcome is not in the commercial interests of the manufacturer.

–        Presenting a reduction in mortality for the condition being treated by the drug as evidence that it is beneficial, while omitting to mention that all-cause mortality was unchanged. In other words, obscure the fact that just as many people die on the drug as without it, but just of different causes.

–        Presenting a relative reduction in risk of illness in a way that makes the benefits of a drug look extraordinary when actually the benefits in absolute terms are rather unimpressive and do not justify the side-effects of the drug. For example, claiming: “This causes a 20% reduction in mouth cancer!”, when only 1 in 10,000 people get mouth cancer in the first place.

–        Safety-testing treatments individually but then issuing them all at once or over a period without having proven that they are safe in conjunction with one another.

–        Treating risk factors (eg. Blood pressure, cholesterol, heart rate, blood sugar, weight, hormones, etc.) and then claim that by altering them you have reduced the risk of a correlated disease, without actually proving that the drug reduces the risk of that disease.

–        Using a “discontinuation group” and calling it a placebo trial. For example, in the drug trials for antidepressants and antipsychotics they often took a group of people that were doing ok on the drug already and took them off it. This obviously provoked withdrawal symptoms. They then randomized half of that group into a ‘placebo’ group, while the other half were put back on the drug! Then they went ahead and told people that the placebo group (who were withdrawing from the drug) performed worse than the group that was put back on the drug. What a shocking surprise that must have come as! And this is what passes “for medical science” these days!

–        Using side-effects like dizziness or sleepiness to tip off study participants to the fact they’re in the active-treatment group. Knowing they are not in the control group unblinds the study and makes them more likely to report positive benefits from the drug.

The FDA and peer reviewers at medical journals are meant to protect us from these kinds of fraud, but when researchers deliberately insert mistakes into articles peer reviewers prove unable to spot them – even when they know they are being tested! What’s more, pharmaceutical companies are not even obliged to submit all the raw data of their studies to Medical Journals or the regulator, as revealed by Dr. John Abramson in his book Sickening (2022). The truth never comes to light unless they are sued, and the court forces them to open their books! Also, more than half the budget for the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (the FDA division that approves new drugs) comes from drug companies.

If you like what you’re getting here now would be a really good time to support what I’m doing. Throw me a bone at 7pharmamyths.com.