Ethan A. Huff
Many medical professionals and members of the general public are losing faith in the credibility of the clinical trial and drug approval process, and rightfully so in light of all the corporate corruption and criminal behavior that has recently come to light. Two new papers published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) suggest that drug industry corruption is so pervasive nowadays that even the most rigorously-conducted studies and trials are not being taken seriously by many doctors.
Over the past three years, nearly every major drug company on the planet has been convicted of some kind of criminal behavior, whether it is fudging drug safety data; pushing drugs for off-label uses; bribing doctors and medical professionals to prescribe dangerous drugs; or conducting fraudulent clinical trials. Collectively, these companies have been forced to pay roughly $11 billion in fines for these and other crimes, which have apparently become a normal part of their corporate operating procedures.
“In all, 26 companies, including eight of the 10 top players in the global industry, have been found to be acting dishonestly,” writes Jeremy Laurance for the U.K.’s Independent about Big Pharma’s culture of corruption. “The scale of the wrongdoing, revealed for the first time, has undermined public and professional trust in the industry and is holding back clinical progress.”
Drug giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), for instance, was recently fined $3 billion for bribing doctors, lying to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), illegally marketing and promoting drugs, and falsifying clinical trial data (http://www.naturalnews.com/036417_Glaxo_Merck_fraud.html). Merck, Pfizer, Novartis, and many other major players have also been convicted in recent years of similar wrongdoing, and faced similar fines.
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