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Medical science: “Time to assume that health research is fraudulent until proven otherwise?”

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So says Richard Smith, a former editor of the British Medical Journal at the BMJ’s blog (July 5, 2021).

At MercatorNet, Michael Cook comments:

In a recent webinar (see below) conducted by Cochrane, an independent group which reviews healthcare data, Professor Ian Roberts, of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said that he has become sceptical about all systematic reviews, particularly those that are mostly reviews of multiple small trials.

The gold standard for fraud is a Japanese researcher in anaesthetics, Yoshitaka Fujii, of Toho University. By the time he came unstuck about 10 years ago, he had published around 200 articles – and 183 of them have been retracted because he had falsified the data. “If someone can publish 183 fabricated trials,” said Roberts, “the problem is not with him, the problem is with the system.”

Michael Cook, “There’s a bad smell coming from medical research” at MercatorNet (August 25, 2021)

So many people call for reform but is it really possible at this point? What would it take?

You may also wish to read: We did NOT make this up: Famed Honesty researcher’s paper retracted over made-up data. Of course, before the revelation that a main experiment was faked, Ariely was featured in TED talks, had an advice column in the Wall Street Journal and wrote a New York Times bestseller. (This post is dedicated to all who believe that SCIENCE is a big answer to the questions of the ages.)

So many people call for reform but is it really possible at this point? What would it take?
Great questions. Our culture, generally, doesn't have any principles to go by. At least that's true in America. Making money and profit are basically the highest principle we have as a culture. That's the one thing everybody agrees on. That's our common goal. The other thing is that everyone wants to live for a long time. They don't want to die. So, that's the second cultural value. Make money and do whatever you can so you don't die. They're both self-interest and therefore will conflict. People want a reform in science because bad science can cause you to die. They don't need a reform for Darwinism because that "science" doesn't affect anything. And the same with astronomy. Fraudulent papers on black holes are not going to stir up any outrage. But if it's on a vaccine or virus or drug-treatment, then people don't want fraudulent papers. But the researchers will make a lot more money if they fake the data and results. They're hoping it will all be like Darwin and won't make any difference. But sometimes it could kill people. How do you reform atheists who believe life is purposeless and can do whatever they want? Take some money away from them? I don't know - it's a good question without a good answer. Silver Asiatic
Any solution needs to start by breaking up tenure or separating out "job applications" from real commercial research. When 90% of all papers are NOT INTENDED TO BE READ, filtering them is impossible and pointless. The people who really need to know about a subject have their own sources of information, in their own companies or via personal communication with other labs doing the same work. They don't need to read academic pubs. polistra
Fool us once, it is your fault. Fool us twice, it is ours. Fool us 183 times, we are in this together. Fasteddious

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