How drug companies' PR tactics skew the presentation of medical research
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: May 31st, 2022
When doctors are deciding which drug to prescribe a patient, the idea behind evidence-based medicine is that they inform their thinking by consulting scientific literature. To a great extent, this means relying on medical journals. The trouble is that pharmaceutical companies, who stand to win or lose large amounts of money depending on the content of journal articles, have taken a firm grip on what gets written about their drugs. That grip was strong way back in 2004, when The Lancet's chief editor Richard Horton lamented that "journals have devolved into information laundering operations for the pharmaceutical industry." It may be even tighter now. Drug companies exert this hold on knowledge through publication planning agencies, an obscure subsection of the pharmaceutical industry. The planning companies are paid to implement high-impact publication strategies for specific drugs. They target the most influential academics to act as authors, draft the articles, and ensure that these include clearly-defined branding messages and appear in the most prestigious journals. There are now at least 250 different companies engaged in the business of planning clinical publications for the pharmaceutical industry. Many firms are based in the UK and the east coast of the United States. Having talked to over a dozen publication planners I found that the standard approach to article preparation is for planners to work hand-in-glove with drug companies to create a first draft.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.