On the Proposed Changes to the Credibility Gap in Industry-Supported Biomedical Research: A Critical Evaluation

By McHenry, Leemon; Jureidini, Jon | Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, October 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

On the Proposed Changes to the Credibility Gap in Industry-Supported Biomedical Research: A Critical Evaluation


McHenry, Leemon, Jureidini, Jon, Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry


A task force of pharmaceutical industry employees and medical journal editors propose 10 recommendations to address the problem of erosion of confidence in the reporting of the results of industry-sponsored clinical trials. These recommendations would not restore credibility to industry-sponsored biomedical research. A radical solution is required that severs the relationship between the industry and the journals and restores the integrity of the medical literature.

Keywords: conflict of interest; credibility gap; ghostwriting; key opinion leaders; medical journals; pharmaceutical industry

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

-George Santayana

In a recent commentary in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, a group comprising pharmaceutical industry employees and medical journal editors propose 10 recommendations for restoring confidence in industry-sponsored studies published in medical journals (Mansi et al., 2012). The paper is welcome because its 10 recommendations, if followed, would eliminate some of the worst practices that have fatally undermined the biomedical literature over recent decades. It is also welcome as an admission for that past practice, authored as it is by some of the very individuals whose companies created, maintained, and implemented ghostwriting strategies. But describing the problem as a "credibility gap" seriously underestimates a state of affairs that has had lethal consequences.

Medical journals should be our most trusted repositories of knowledge; there are serious repercussions for prescribing physicians and for patient health if they fail that trust. But at present, they are often used by industry as instruments for drug promotion disguised as science. The guilty parties include not only the pharmaceutical and medical device industries and their for-profit agents who ghostwrite the manuscripts. It also includes investigators who get research publications and all of the other opportunities that collaboration with industry offers to "key opinion leaders," such as well-paid teaching and consulting opportunities. Particularly for early career academics, this "leg up" gives them better chances to win competitive funding from agencies such as the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), further advancing their careers (Jureidini, 2012). And medical journals themselves reap enormous profits from journal reprints, supplements, and advertisements (Handel et al., 2012; Lexchin & Light, 2006). Now that industry is on the record for having created the credibility gap, it is in their interest to restore confidence because otherwise any industry-sponsored study will be rightly viewed with skepticism. What is needed, however, is radical rather than incremental change-change that serves medicine rather than the interests of industry, journal publishers, and key opinion leaders.

CONSPIRACY TO CONCEAL THE FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM

Since the controversy was first exposed in the late 1990s, industry representatives denied repeatedly that they ghostwrote the literature and manipulated the scientific data to favor their products. For example, in a report to the United Kingdom House of Commons Health Committee, witnesses from both GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca testified that their respective companies did not engage in ghostwriting practices with one industry spokesperson claiming that "the issue of ghost-writing, as alleged, is not something I recognise at all" (House of Commons Health Committee, 2005, p. 56). When those few documents from litigation in the United States that were declassified entered the public domain and came to the attention of the United States Congress, it became more and more difficult to maintain a plausible deniability (Grassley, 2010). But even today, there is ongoing litigation in which industry executives argue that they never did engage in ghostwriting and there is nothing immoral or illegal about their "author assistance" programs. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

On the Proposed Changes to the Credibility Gap in Industry-Supported Biomedical Research: A Critical Evaluation
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.