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An Honest Look at Dishonesty in Healthcare Research

It was one of largest settlement agreements ever with a prestigious academic research institute, the medical research arm of none other than Duke University. The $112 million settlement last week has perhaps burst the bubble of superiority surrounding the institution and its researchers. 

Falsification of data that has resulted in at least 17 medical research papers being retracted and accusations that Duke was silencing would-be whistleblowers since at least 2008 are not something to simply to get over, nor should they be.

That Duke has now gotten a ‘slap on the wrist’ and has new restrictions surrounding all their grants is a good thing. How much difference it will make for them and others like them and if systemic change will happen, we will only see as time goes on.

This all makes the job of those of us committed to bringing you the truth in health even more difficult. There more and more papers being withdrawn for falsification all the time making it more difficult to discern who and what to believe.

In my last blog article, I talked about how the FDA is now using a technique known as “close-hold embargo” to dictate that those reporters and media outlets who agree to not ask (hard) questions will get information first (for controversial press releases). Thus, they can only parrot the press release which is often written in a way to make results look better. Now we find that information in peer-reviewed published studies is being falsified by those who used to be known as ‘the best of the best.’

Now, more than ever, it becomes incumbent on all of us to purchase health care; ALL medications and procedures, with caution. Is the procedure being suggested to you the best thing for YOU?

Often a procedure or medication is recommended because it is the proverbial CYA (cover your ass). The doctor who is recommending it is using opinion and recommendation based on demographics and other parameters promulgated by the very organizations that will benefit monetarily from you having the procedure done or taking the medication. It has been put forth so aggressively, that it has become the standard of care though the benefits may be negligible. Sometimes, though less often, the doctor benefits directly as well. Such is the case in cancer treatment where self-referral arrangements and mark-up of drugs can account for up to 60% of a center’s income! But it’s also true of many diagnostic procedures as well. 

How do you handle this? One way is to take a step back & require more information before consenting to ANYTHING. Information, NOT in the form of a brochure or a recommendation as they are also written by the same groups. Information in the form of at least 2 studies by different authors that you can take home and review before consenting.

If you or someone you love has a concerned based in any procedure or medication. I can help. Not through medical advice but thru consulting and research so we can look at the truth together and you can make the best decision for you. Call me today.

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