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Sen. Charles Grassley Asks Tough Questions of Leading Medical Schools

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Ten of our nation’s top medical schools were given until Dec. 8, 2009, to respond to two tough questions posed by Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the leading Republican on the Senate Finance Committee. Grassley expressed his concern that “any attempt to manipulate the scientific literature, which can in turn mislead doctors to prescribe treatments that may be ineffective and/or cause harm to their patients, is very troubling.” He was referring to the practice of drug companies and manufacturers of medical devices paying academic researchers for the use of their names on articles promoting the use of these firms’ products, articles written by someone else. In addition, Grassley fears the practice raises costs for taxpayers.

In his letter to the medical schools, Grassley asked:

  • What is your institution doing about professors who engage in ghostwriting? and
  • How does ghostwriting differ from plagiarism by students?

He also asked if these institutions have written policies regarding ghostwriting and how they respond to allegations that faculty members have failed to disclose funds received from drug and medical-device firms when drafting manuscripts for publication. Kudos to Sen. Grassley for bird-dogging shoddy research and dishonest journalism!

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  • Allison

    So, did they respond? What was the outcome?

  • Debra Moore

    I’m so glad that FINALLY someone is questioning the practice of ghostwriting, which in any other business or situation would be ILLEGAL!! And it should be illegal … for everyone! Physicians and consumers alike rely on “information” in medical articles and it should be of GREAT concern to everyone that the drug company needs to lie about who actually wrote the articles. Senator Grassley, YOU are my hero!!

  • Victoria Kirkeby

    I have read about this in other articles. Being from Iowa, I feel some hope that someone in our government is looking at these Health Care issues that seem to get swept under the rug. You actually have to look in the right place to even see articles written about these subjects. Cudos to Sen. Grassley

  • In my humble opinion, if academics do this without disclosure, it is fraud.

  • william Lusson

    the mistakes on both of us at Mayo clinic was terrible My husband had mercury poising and lymes They gave him so many drugs and never helped him This is wrong

  • Carolyn, RN

    Apparently this is a common practice according to one doctor http://www.er-doctor.com/ People are so unaware of the politics of their health. When they get admitted to the hospital, they are typically taking in excess of 10-15 drugs these days. This has been my observation for the last two years or so. Most are diabetic. Often they develop chronic renal failure. Most of what they have could have been prevented. Most are unaware of the need for adequate Vitamin D for immune function. They instead only rely on the use of flu shots believing that is their panacea.

  • julia Dworschack

    I’d love to see THOSE replies!!!!! Big conflict of interest. Way to go. We the people really need to fight the practices of medical schools that are puppets to the drug companies.How much money do the drug companies kick back, donate, etc to those schools?

    Keep up the good work.

  • It’s fraud by another name – pure and simple, for monetary gain, which makes it fraud plus greed, and then there is of course the untold consequences of these insanely irresponsible flawed, greedy and fraudulent professors linking up with big business. There are several old sayings along the lines of ‘he who pays the piper..etc…
    If you get into bed with the devil, you should really be prepared to wear a condom, otherwise you just end up spreading the disease and perversions of these fake and fraudulent industries.
    Medical science has done a lot of good but it’s emphasis has been usurped by the powers to serve them and not us and doctors are as ignorant about the ways of the world as anyone else and more susceptible to coercive influence because they are being regulated by people and government institutions made up of even more fraudulent and corrosive individuals with the morals of the gutter.

  • mari

    Good for Sen Grassley, this is at least a start. He also may want to investigate the role of big pharma in influencing what is taught in med school. I believe it is aimed more toward depopulation than health. Another area is the FDA and the influence of the drug companies influence there.

  • Ghostwriting in the medico-pharmaceutical arena was found as early as in the 1960’s, as far I can remember. During that time, I was a pharmacy student when birth control pills just became available. There were lots of concerns about their safety especially for the risks of cancers of the breast, ovary, and uterus.

    Every time when an article was published to disclose the risks by birth control pills, there would be one or two or more articles published to deny the risks and even to claim some benefits. How long had we been told that estrogen was beneficial for the cardiovascular system, while we had already known its side effect of causing thrombophlebitis?

    In the early 1970’s, I saw a news article cited a world renown expert who were supposed to have published numerous articles in defending the safety of birth control pills or estrogen was found that he had never done any research or had a laboratory!

    This is the reason why we are still pushing more expensive medications such as cholesterol-lowering drugs based on an unsound theory that the higher the cholesterol in the circulation, the higher the risk for atherosclerosis, without first addressing that the higher level of inflammation inside the body is responsible for promoting the deposit of cholesterol onto the the inner wall of the blood vessels. Preventing inflammation by maintaining a low, normal range of blood glucose level is far more important than lowering the cholesterol level. See my article, “A Holistic View: Lowering Cholesterol Level Is Not The Top Priority For Health”, in “What’s New, Doc?” at http://www.carbohydratescankill.com. Also, please read my commentary on an article, “”Postprandial hyperglycemia as an etiological factor in vascular failure”, by Doctors Node and Inoue”, at http://www.cardiab.com/content/8/1/23/comments#387657.

    Robert Su, Pharm.B., M.D.

  • Thanks for the Post, I hope you have a nice day!

  • I thought I would leave my first comment, Thank you and I will want to read more from you.

  • I love to read articles that are informative, Thanks again for a nice site

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  • great read! Here is a site I think everyone has to look at for a ton of more medical stuff. http://www.freemedicaltextbooks.hostoi.com