Corruption in Global Health Care May Exceed $1 TRILLION by Dr. Joseph Mercola for Mercola
Investigations assessing the prevalence of scientific fraud and/or its impact show the problem is widespread and serious, to the point of making most of “science-based” medicine a genuine joke. Conflict of interest is another pervasive problem that threatens the integrity and believability of most studies.
We’ve been repeatedly faced with study findings that are clearly tainted with industry bias. For example, a 2014 study1,2,3 funded by the American Beverage Association purported to have found that diet soda makes you lose more weight than drinking no soda at all.
Its findings blatantly contradicted a massive body of research demonstrating that artificial sweeteners disrupt your body’s metabolism and lead to greater weight gain than regular sugar.
Scientific Fraud Has Lethal Consequences
Another example is Dr. Don Poldermans’ fraudulent beta blocker study, which is suspected of having led to the deaths of as many as 800,000 Europeans. I wrote about this scandal in “Beta Blockers Killed 800,000 in 5 Years — Good Medicine or Mass Murder?”
The discredited paper had a profound influence as it served as the basis for establishing the use of beta blockers in noncardiac surgery patients as “standard of care.”4 Poldermans — who was fired for scientific misconduct in 2011 — was also the chairman of the committee that drafted that guideline.5
This case is a sobering example demonstrating the need for maintaining strict scientific integrity, and why the issue of conflicts of interest really needs to be more widely understood and addressed. Sadly, there are enough cases like this to fill several books.
Scientific misconduct can have a very real impact on your health, or someone you love, as doctors routinely use published research to implement or alter treatment protocols. As noted in a 2012 paper in the American Journal of Medicine:6
“Recent allegations of fraud committed by one of the most prolific researchers in perioperative medicine, Don Poldermans, have left many clinicians in a state of disbelief …
The effects of fraud in perioperative medicine are particularly caustic owing to a profound domino effect. Many investigators devoted their academic careers to following the footsteps of investigators such as Poldermans.
Similarly, funding agencies supported this line of enquiry, incurring significant cost and expense. Most importantly, hundreds of patients were exposed to treatments that may have been harmful in an effort to advance this research agenda …
Because research misconduct in perioperative medicine can be so damaging, we present strategies to prevent such events in the future. Without such reform, fraud in research may very well continue. The price for such misconduct is simply too great to pay.”
Conflicts of Interest Threaten Public Health
Disturbingly, conflicts of interest are present at all levels, including our most prestigious public health agencies, as discussed in my November 19, 2019, article, “CDC Petitioned to Stop Lying About Pharma Funds.”
While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has long fostered the perception of independence, claiming it does not accept funding from special interests,7 the agency has in fact made itself beholden to the drug industry by accepting millions in corporate donations through its government-chartered foundation, the CDC Foundation, which funnels those contributions to the CDC after deducting a fee.8
Several watchdog groups — including the U.S. Right to Know (USRTK), Public Citizen, Knowledge Ecology International, Liberty Coalition and the Project on Government Oversight — recently filed a petition,9 urging the CDC to cease making these false disclaimers.10
According to the petition,11 the CDC accepted $79.6 million from drug companies and commercial manufacturers between 2014 and 2018 alone. Since its inception in 1995, the CDC Foundation has accepted $161 million from private corporations.
The CDC is supposed to be a public health watchdog. It has tremendous credibility within the medical community, and part of this credibility hinges on the idea that it’s free of industry bias and conflicts of interest.
By accepting money from drug companies and vaccine makers, one has to wonder whether that money might be having an impact on the agency’s health recommendations, as investigations have repeatedly and consistently shown that funding plays an enormous role in decision-making and research outcomes.