Jan 9, 2008

Twisted Picks 2: Science, Poverty and Medicine

This is my second edition of Twisted Picks.

First Pick: Poverty and human development

The Council of Science Editors organized a Global Theme Issue on Poverty and Human Development on October 22, 2007. More than 200 science and health journals participated:

Second Pick: Pharma companies and medical literature

As read in ScienceDaily, Influence of drug companies on medical literature (Sep. 28, 2007):
"Drug companies control or shape multiple steps in the research, analysis, writing, and publication of a large proportion of the medical literature, and they do so behind the scenes, according to a policy paper recently published in PLoS Medicine"
The mentioned paper is entitled Ghost management: How much of the medical literature is shaped behind the scenes by the pharmaceutical industry?, and is authored by Sergio Sismondo at PLoS Med 4(9): e286. In his own words:
"There are many reports of medical journal articles being researched and written by or on behalf of pharmaceutical companies, and then published under the name of academics who had played little role earlier in the research and writing process [2–14]. In extreme cases, drug companies pay for trials by contract research organizations (CROs), analyze the data in-house, have professionals write manuscripts, ask academics to serve as authors of those manuscripts, and pay communication companies to shepherd them through publication in the best journals. The resulting articles affect the conclusions found in the medical literature, and are used in promoting drugs to doctors"
An interesting discussion can be read in the responses to the article.

And Third Pick: Yes, it's a cruel world

A Favorite Quote of 2007 chosen by Clifford Mintz at BioJobBlog, and pronounced by Christopher Begley, chairman and chief executive of Hospira Inc.:
"Quite simply, life-saving drugs are irrelevant if they are not affordable"
Quite simply, he's right. Unfortunately.

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