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Rigged System: Supressing Studies

Earlier this week I riffed on the rigged system. Here's a great news clip on NPR's Day to Day on one of the ways the system stays rigged:

Antidepressant Studies Suppressed?
Most studies that get published about antidepressants are positive, while negative studies remain unpublished according to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Steven Nissen discusses a bill he worked on that would require all drug studies to be placed in a public registry. He shares his theory on why studies are being suppressed with Alex Cohen.

According to Dr. Nissen from the Cleveland Clinic, 94% of studies that get published in medical journals are positive in their findings on the performance of drugs. But it turns out that only 51% of all studies conducted have favorable findings. So why the big gap? Why aren't medical journals publishing stories about drugs that don't have favorable results?

Dr. Nissen believes that negative studies are kept hidden from the public because they would have negative financial ramifications on the drug companies.

You don't say?

The doc has been working very hard to get the money and support allocated to a bill he just pushed through congress to address this issue. Very admirable work indeed. But take a step back and you'll see... we're still not getting any closer to identifying the root causes.

Systems stay rigged when the goals that drive them miss the mark. Can't change the system until you change the goals.

The hardest working doctors pass bills and add checks/balances to the current system. Smart doctors set new goals. New goals = new paradigm.

Is the goal really safer drugs? That's like making safer guns.

Dr. Nissen's work does make it tougher for drug companies to sweep the dirt under the carpet. For that I am very appreciative of what he is up to. Thanks doc!