From Evidence-Based Medicine to Marketing-Based Medicine
Dr Peter Parry is an Australian child & adolescent psychiatrist who has researched the “Paediatric Bipolar Disorder” diagnosis emanating from the USA, a diagnosis completely at odds with his training and clinical experience in Australian child and adolescent mental health. As part of his research into the PBD phenomenon, he noticed hundreds of internal pharmaceutical industry documents publicly released from court cases against pharmaceutical firms by State and Federal Attorneys Generals in the USA. These documents concurred with findings of the US Senate “Grassley Commission” into conflicts of interest between the pharmaceutical industry and academic medicine.
In collaboration with A/Prof Glen Spielmans, psychologist from Minnesota, they researched over 400 internal pharmaceutical documents regarding psychotropic medications. They published an article in 2010 in the Journal of Bioethical Inquiry titled “From Evidence-Based Medicine to Marketing-Based Medicine: Evidence from Internal Industry Documents”. These documents reveal efforts at “disease-mongering” to expand markets e.g. by increasing the number of people diagnosed with “bipolar disorder”; marketing strategies to influence “customers” i.e. physicians, other health professionals and government regulators; and manipulation of the published medical literature to maximise positive findings and minimise or hide negative findings re manufacturers’ medications.
The past few years have witnessed a global awakening in the health professions, lay public and government also – to the fact we do not have evidence-based or science-based medicine, but rather a commercially distorted marketing-based medicine environment. Former chief-editor of the British Medical Journal, Prof Richard Smith, summed this up in his 2005 article in PLoS Medicine titled “Medical Journals Have Become an Extension of the Marketing Arm of Pharmaceutical Companies”.
The medical profession and journals have ethical duties towards scientific truth and the welfare of patients before all else. Big Pharma as capitalistic corporations have a commitment to their bottom line. There is now a solution to this situation – the AllTrials campaign – to bring all research data (anonymised of patients’ names) into view for independent analysis. AllTrials has the full backing of the British medical establishment – but needs international support if we are to have a future of Science-Based Medicine to supply the most beneficial and least harmful treatments and most accurate medical knowledge for us all.