August 28, 2014

Conflicts of Interest

I don't understand why some researchers seem to think that people will not check their conflicts of interest. Three recent reports have been very interesting lately. Two were about diabetes and one was about sleep apnea.

The one about sleep apnea did not mention the conflicts of interest, but further research did find the original study. Only one of the authors listed a conflict of interest as a consultant for a pharmaceutical company. By searching three other authors or researchers, two were surgeons by profession and the third was a college professor for surgery. Finding information on the remaining researchers yielded nothing.

This made sense because of the way they were heavily promoting sleep apnea surgery over other treatments. When the American Sleep Apnea Association recommends CPAP first and surgery as the last resort, for these authors pushing surgery first, this tells me that they are only interested in the money and not the health of the patient.

One of the diabetes studies was funded by a pharmaceutical company and the authors after some extensive searches were all employees of the same company. Not much confidence to be gained from that study.

The other diabetes study was also funded by the same pharmaceutical company, but the researchers were all employees or students of the same university. The lead researcher was the only one to declare a conflict of interest and that was to the study funder. And they want us to believe the studies and that the data shows legitimate information. When a study shows data that is completely contrary to other studies and what we have seen in life, how can we be expected to believe the researchers were not influenced by the funder?

No, I am not giving the names of the studies, as I see no value in spreading their messages. Three days of searches and tracing information has left me with a severely bad taste in my mouth to the point I will probably not read another study funded by this pharmaceutical company. I have had too many bad experiences with the medications this company manufactures and am fortunate that my doctors have been able to substitute other medications not from this company. I will leave it at that.

This article should be read by more people as it covers what happens when a reputable journal is sold to unknown enterprises and for $1,200 will print anything. This may be what is happening to other journals and we are not told about the sale and are therefore surprised by the junk articles we a being asked to read.

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