It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.
The whole medical-industrial complex is another version of the Madoff scandal?
The charges by Dr. Marcia Angell (above, from Wikipedia) in The New York Review of Books are damning. What some have said of psychiatry may be true generally. Drug money has completely corrupted the process by which we treat disease.
The statement appeared where it did because Angell was reviewing three books on the corruption of medical research. Her conclusion -- "a need for the medical profession to wean itself from industry money almost entirely."
Doing that may cost as much to doctors and researchers as Madoff cost foundations and investors.
Both this and the Madoff scandal come at a propitious time, a point where policymakers are seeking major reforms and seeking to save the system billions of dollars needed to pay for those reforms.
Just as Madoff, by personalizing the excesses of unregulated finance, will lead to structural change in ways the "big shitpile" seemed unable to, so it's possible that Angell's call will personalize the excesses of the medical industrial complex.
What we spend on computing in 2009 we may save on drugs. This could be the biggest medical story of the next year. And to think it came out in 2008.