Has Big Pharma Hijacked Evidence-Based Medicine? by Dr. Joseph Mercola
- Cardiologist Dr. Aseem Malhotra shares data on the Big Pharma takeover of modern medicine
- Due to Big Pharma’s stronghold over health care, we’re facing what Malhotra calls a pandemic of misinformed doctors and unwittingly harmed and misinformed patients
- Drug companies and medical device manufacturers aren’t in business to make patients happy; they’re beholden to their shareholders, for whom they have a financial obligation to produce a profit
- Malhotra shares data showing why he believes COVID-19 shots should be suspended
- Malhotra notes that political involvement and policy advocacy, combined with social participation and social movements, can together lead to the creation of relevant knowledge to protect public health
Fear inhibits your ability to think critically. This is a central point made by cardiologist Dr. Aseem Malhotra in his London presentation November 14, 2022. Many people were gripped by unprecedented fear during the COVID-19 pandemic, which shaped attitudes about the pharmacological interventions offered.
Willful blindness is another phenomenon to be aware of. It’s when people turn a blind eye to the truth. Also known as conscious avoidance, this tactic has historically been used in legal trials to avoid criminal liability by ignoring or purposely staying unaware of key facts.
However, Malhotra notes, people also engage in willful blindness in order to feel safe, avoid conflict, reduce anxiety and to protect prestige or, in some cases, “precious, fragile egos.”1
The Illusion of Knowledge Is Worse Than Ignorance
Malhotra quoted the late Stephen Hawking, who stated, “The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”2 In terms of health care, evidence-based medicine has been hijacked by Big Pharma; it’s now an illusion. There’s also an illusion that we’re at the forefront of medicine, with prestigious organizations leading the helm, when in reality multiple health crises are upon us.
The World Health Organization’s (WHO) definition of health is a “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”3 Public health, too, is not only about preventing disease, but also promoting health and prolonging life, while helping populations reach the highest possible level of well-being. But are public health agencies actually helping to achieve these goals?
Malhotra, a cardiologist trained by the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS), as well as a visiting professor of evidence based medicine at Bahiana School of Medicine and Public Health in Salvador, Brazil,4 cited a 2020 study published in the British Medical Bulletin.5
It used data from the U.K.’s Office for National Statistics from 2010 to 2020, which showed a “dramatic slowdown in life expectancy and diverging trends in infant mortality in the UK as a whole and England and Wales, respectively.” Health trends in the U.K., the study concluded, “are worrying and raise important questions about government policies.”6
Throughout his career, Malhotra has tried to call attention to failures in treating heart disease. “Despite so-called modern science,” heart disease remains the No. 1 cause of death globally.7 “So clearly there’s something that we’ve done wrong on that front,” Malhotra said.8
More recently, he’s focused on using real evidence-based medicine to share the truth about COVID-19 mRNA vaccines. His two-part paper on the topic was published in the Journal of Insulin Resistance, specifically,9,10 because this journal does not accept money from the pharmaceutical industry.11
A Pandemic of Misinformed Doctors and Patients
Due to Big Pharma’s stronghold over health care, we’re facing what Malhotra calls a pandemic of misinformed doctors and unwittingly harmed and misinformed patients. This misinformation comes from a variety of sources, including:12
|Biased funding of research — Research funded because it’s likely to be profitable, not because it’s likely to be better for patients||Biased reporting in medical journals|
|Biased patient pamphlets||Biased reporting in the media|
|Commercial conflicts of interest||Defensive medicine|
|Medical curricula that fail to teach doctors how to comprehend and communicate health statistics|
Malhotra describes John Ioannidis, professor of medicine and professor of epidemiology and population health at Stanford University, as the “Stephen Hawking of medicine.”13 Ioannidis cowrote a paper in 2017 titled, “How to Survive the Medical Misinformation Mess.”14 At the time, he described four key problems:
- Much published research is unreliable, offers no benefit to patients or is not useful to decision makers
- Most health care professionals are not aware of this problem with published research
- Health care professionals lack the necessary skills to evaluate the reliability of medical evidence
- Patients and families lack accurate medical evidence and skilled guidance when they need to make medical decisions
The solution, according to Ioannidis, involves focusing efforts on “making health care professionals more sensitive to the limitations of the evidence, training them to do critical appraisal, and enhancing their communication skills so that they can effectively summarize and discuss medical evidence with patients to improve decision-making.”15
Ioannidis also wrote a 2005 paper about why most published research findings are false. Not surprisingly, one factor that makes a research finding less likely to be true is “greater financial and other interest and prejudice.”16