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Tax Big Pharma to pay for independent research

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A special tax should be levied on drug companies to pay for independent research.

It’s the only way to make evidence-based medicine a reality, say Jon Jureidiini and Leemon B McHenry, co-authors of the book, The Illusion of Evidence-Based Medicine.

The idea that medicine is a science, based on independent and unbiased research, is an illusion, they write in an op-ed piece for the BMJ medical journal.  

Instead, a drug company funds the research into its own drug and recruits academics who give prestige to the study, but have never read it.  “Scientific progress is thwarted by the ownership of data and knowledge because industry suppresses negative trial results, fails to report adverse events, and does not share raw data with the academic research community.

“Patients die because of the adverse impact of commercial interests on the research agencies, universities and regulators,” they write.

To break the vicious circle of money and influence, they propose a three-step approach: independent, or government, funding of regulators who currently rely on funds from the pharmaceutical industry; impose a special tax on drugs companies that funds independent research, and all data used to produce drug trials is made public and accessible to other researchers.

(Source: BMJ, 2022; 376: o702)

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