“Pharmascolds Are Not Worse Than The Pervasive Conflicts Of Interest They Criticize,” by Larry Huston, Forbes.

Let’s start with a quick poll:

 Which is worse?

  • A. The pervasive influence of industry on medicine, which has undermined the independence and altruism of physicians.
  • B. The critics of industry influence, who have created a paranoid culture of distrust which has undermined the partnership of industry and physicians that has brought medicine to its current heights.

If you chose B then you are going to really love Lisa Rosenbaum’s 3-part series in the New England Journal of Medicine in which she argues that the reaction against the influence of industry has proved to be far worse than any damages those conflicts of interest (COI) have actually produced.

Rosenbaum’s focus on the imperfections of industry critics without fully appreciating the full magnitude of industry influence is akin to focusing on the imperfections of the extreme anti-slavery abolitionists in the 19th century while ignoring the overwhelming tragedy of slavery. She also has some legitimate points.

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