The Larger Issue: Pharma “cherry-picks” researchers, corrupting scientific procedure

To the degree that the medical community and public opinion can be bent toward Wall Street interests, it will be academic corruption not contagion itself that spreads ill-health on a vast scale.

Scientists receiving Honoraria from Pharma are gaming scientific procedure to tilt data toward financial prospects. When Wall Street out-funds a full scientific debate, permitting only the profitable side of the debate to reach the audience, everyone loses.  By “cherry-picking” those few scientists whose independent views represent Pharma’s own financial interests, and leaving alternative yet widely held views unfunded and unheard, Pharma can engineer a social condition toward its own profit, and fool many observers into thinking that an “independent view” is not actually dependent upon special lighting and exclusion.  It is not only Aegerion, but others in the FH space, which made these papers possible and influential.  The financial interests in developing opinions which loosen standards for diagnosis, and thus increase diagnostic false-positives, parallel with an increase in the “addressable market.”

Financial disclosures for key FH prevalence reports

The notion of an “independent”…. “consensus statement” is meaningless. For example, I could “cherry-pick” only those who have previously supported the notion that the earth is flat and fund only those who would in turn select only “team players” that would condone the use of manipulated procedure.  I would thus, enable the greater reach of my own point of view, completely ignoring contrary reviews, and then claim this to be a “consensus statement” of independently held views.  In reality, I would be carefully bringing to my audience only those whose already-declared, independent opinions were already in my own interests. My activity in engineering the conclusion is out of view, since it precedes the presentation, and my passivity is in full view, as already-existing opinions need no push or coaxing. For example, I could specifically select only those Australian witnesses who have independently left affidavits swearing that while in Australia they were not hanging upside down by their ankles.[1]  Assembling this data into a research paper, even though they received funding from myself, I could state boldly and honestly that …

I was not present at the Consensus Panel meetings, had no role in the design or content of the Consensus Statement that Earth is flat, and had no right to approve or disapprove the final document.

Also note that the data subject to the 2013 EAS “consensus” is derived from a single, specific study of “whites of Danish descent” and, as demonstrated in this report, that data was derived after manipulating and lowering the standards of the criteria for diagnosis. But a “consensus” of cherry-picked opinions is a stronger bias.  It is truly “independent” … of alternative and opposing opinionsSince Karl Popper, it is to be understood that what is built on confirmation is brittle, but that which survives attempts at falsification is robust.   “Consensus” is not scientific evidence or a goal, but a red flag.   

The “consensus panel” in the EAS papers did not include contrary opinions such Van der Graaf and Van Aalst-Cohen and others, whose work revealed a completely neglected point of view … even though Van Aalst-Cohen’s and Van der Graaf’s research was published before the EAS papers.

Aegerion, and pharma, simply fail to give account to existing contrary opinions, leaving them unfunded, unquoted, and unreferenced. Thus although Aegerion’s promotion appears to be indirect, and although scientists may actually be reaching their own independent conclusions, pharma has engineered a condition the result of which is direct control over the message conveyed to the public and medical community.

For example, when Aegerion is trying to convince Europe of the rarity of the disease, in order to quality as an “orphan drug” and thereby receive special treatment in the approval process, it funds on-the-ground research which results in a 1:800,000 HoFH prevalence rate – very close to the number held by scientists at large. However, when Aegerion is addressing its profitability, it tries to convince investors and the medical community that there are far more patients than the scientific community thinks. It sets aside its own recently used study, does not mention it again, and joins in the funding of a specific, shoddy Danish study, one whose standards for deciding who is an FH patient have been lowered substantially. The difference between scientist’s earlier estimates, to regulators, and later estimates, to investors and doctors, is a staggering 1,000%. Both sets of scientists reached their own “independent” conclusions – both funded by Aegerion.

[1] Such affidavits evidently actually exist. [“Marjory has always known that the earth is flat, too,” says Charles Johnson. “As far as she knew, everybody in Australia knew it. She was rather shocked when she arrived here and found people speaking of Australia as being ‘down under.’ It really offended her. She would get in quite heated arguments with people who seemed to accuse her of coming from down under the world.” Ultimately, Marjory Johnson swore in an affidavit that she had never hung by her feet in Australia.] Article in 1980 by  Robert J. Schadewald; The Flat-out Truth:  Earth Orbits? Moon Landings?  A Fraud! Says This Prophet