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Ghost Management: How Much of the Medical Literature Is Shaped Behind the Scenes by the Pharmaceutical Industry?

  • Sergio Sismondo
  • Published: September 25, 2007
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0040286
  • Featured in PLOS Collections

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The Ingrained Foe of Medicine

Posted by plosmedicine on 31 Mar 2009 at 00:14 GMT

Author: Zhenglun Pan
Position: Attending doctor
Institution: Rheumatology Department of shandong Provincial Hospital
Additional Authors: Jin Gao, Psychology Department of Shandong Provincial Hospital
Submitted Date: October 05, 2007
Published Date: October 8, 2007
This comment was originally posted as a “Reader Response” on the publication date indicated above. All Reader Responses are now available as comments.

Dr Sismondo, granted by the social sciences and humanities research council of Canada, via the open-access world forum of PLoS, portrayed vividly how pharmaceutical industry, enslaves medical literature to their advantage. The essay came from the developed countries, talked about the power of pharmaceutical industry in developed countries, and shocked the world especially in developing countries.

Comparing with drugs produced by domestic company, imported drugs from developed countries gained recognition such as innovation, efficiency, and caution about adverse events, mostly via the medical literature. Usually, they had higher figures. Medical literature about imported drugs from authoritative journals, displayed canonical design of RCT, standard execution of RCT, and most importantly, the convincing data from RCT. Indeed, they had many advantages over medical literature about domestic drugs.

It is the time for reflection when physicians here are searching for evidence and reading treatment guidelines from leading journals. Drug corruption, the ingrained foe of medicine, which led to the death of former director of FDA in China, should be another reason for why most published research findings are false( 1).


1. Ioannidis JPA (2005) Why Most Published Research Findings Are False. PLoS Med 2(8): e124 doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0020124

No competing interests declared.