Dr. John Abramson discussed the breaking scandal of ghostwritten drug trials which puts the actual efficacy of many new drugs into question. He also talked about other ethical issues surrounding the pharmaceutical industry, such as the medication of children and the misuse of cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Abramson detailed the systemic problem of reputable doctors being paid to be named as authors of studies that are really written by drug company employees. He explained that the endorsing doctors are not allowed to see the data cited in these studies and must, instead, depend on the results put forth by the in-house authors. According to Abramson, the drug companies then use the self-written reports to help market the medicines to physicians who trust the doctors' endorsements. "We're seeing the typical modus operandi of the drug industry 'informing' doctors about the scientific research," he said.
On the subject of medicating children in America today, Abramson said, "we look everywhere except where we should be looking and blame biochemistry on human variation." He asserted that often the behavioral problems faced by troubled children are caused by their environment and that by medicating them, the focus is taken off of these outside factors. Abramson was also skeptical about the efficacy of cholesterol-lowering "Statin" drugs for preventing heart disease. He noted that, despite the widespread use of Statin drugs by women, "there is not a single study that shows that Statins are beneficial for women without heart disease."
Despite these problems with prescription drugs, Abramson cautioned that people should consult their doctors before they outright stop taking any medications. Regarding homeopathic medicines, he said that "the best natural remedies really are natural" and pointed out the four key elements of healthy living: exercise, a healthy diet, not smoking, and moderate drinking.
Bumper music from Saturday April 26, 2008