Big Money, Bad Medicine

"It's been pretty well established that publication bias is associated with industry funding," says Brown University epidemiologist Kay Dickersin, about drug companies squashing unfavorable research results. Yet the "overwhelming majority" of drug researchers receive industry funding, according to Canadian clinical pharmacist Muhammad Mamdani. The drug industry trade group PhRMA agreed in 2002 to voluntary rules in which companies promise they "will not suppress or veto publications." New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer thinks those rules aren't working; he filed a lawsuit against GlaxoSmithKline charging that the company sought to "manage the dissemination of data" on the potential hazards of prescribing the antidepressant Paxil to children. GlaxoSmithKline contends it has "acted responsibly."