How much drug research bias can you buy with $39B?

According to The Washington Post, drug developers spent $39 billion last year on research in the U.S. And that money bought not just data, the article concludes, but a significant amount of undue influence in the research community. 

Based on the notion that he who pays the piper can call the tune--any tune--the Post feature simply asserts that the industry now can easily insert bias into its studies; through clinical trial design, their choice of academic researchers and manipulation of the data to make their drugs look better than they are. And the author chooses some familiar cases: Vioxx, Avandia and Celebrex.

"Unfortunately, the entire evidence base has been perverted," Joseph Ross, a professor at Yale University School of Medicine, tells the Post.

Only at the very end of the lengthy feature is there any acknowledgement that many in the industry have largely conceded that Big Pharma played a lead role in losing the public's trust on drug development. And there's only a brief nod that GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), for one, has determined that it will open up its data vaults for outside researchers--a move which is widely expected to gain followers in the industry. 

Industry bias in drug research is a real concern for many people, including industry insiders.

Repeating worn tales of past misconduct does little to illuminate what's happening today. 

- here's the story from the Washington Post

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