In a scathing editorial published this month, leading medical journal BMJ went toe-to-toe with Big Pharma, arguing that industry-sponsored clinical trials for major drugs and medical devices are “causing harm” to consumers, because they are more likely to find favorable results. Instead, the journal opined, governments should fund independent trials for a more unbiased and trustworthy result.

The “endemic financial entanglement with industry is distorting the production and use of health care evidence, causing harm to individuals and waste for health systems,” the editorial stated.

Case in point, transvaginal mesh, a medical device designed to treat pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence, left hundreds of women with lifelong debilitating injuries. Evidence shows that mesh manufacturers like Johnson & Johnson were aware their devices could injure women, but they failed to warn them of the risks, putting profits ahead of patients.

BMJ also criticized Big Pharma-funded education events, and called for an end to industry-sponsored education events that give physicians professional development credits. These events, BMJ argued, are just opportunities for drug companies to persuade doctors to prescribe their drugs and devices.

Bond University Professor Ray Moynihan, a proponent of BMJ’s campaign to end Big Pharma’s influence over doctors, told The Sidney Morning Herald that a lot of evidence one uses when deciding on a medication or surgery is biased. “It cannot be trusted,” he said. “Because so much of that has been produced and funded by manufacturers of those health care products.”

Lawyers in Beasley Allen’s Mass Torts section investigate claims involving dangerous drugs and defective medical devices. If you would like to talk to someone about a claim, contact the Section Director, Melissa Prickett.

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