The Sunday AM top story in the WaPo is this piece on the pharmaceutical industry, regulators, and academic journals. It’s pretty much taken from any number of passages out of EvolveAcademics and regulators and pharma doctors – a three stop revolving door of jobs, influence, and money.

More regulation? Will only lead to more influence. Honesty in academia? Not possible given that humans are involved and humans always respond to incentives. (And this last point is true of any and all academics, not just those related to the pharma industry.)

Are these people – the “experts” – immune to making mistakes? No. Are they immune from being influenced? No. Are they the kind of “experts” that we make them out to be when we say things like “peer reviewed journal” and take it to mean Truth? No.

The market has the answer: if drugs kill people then drugs won’t get used. But with the regulatory agency in place, blessing certain drugs that it shouldn’t, then the pharmaceutical companies get a free pass. They can produce crap, push it through the system, and only pull it after many people die. And then, who is really guilty? The pharma companies? Why? They just responded to the incentives in front of them. I would place blame on the regulators. They should be held guilty, fired, put in jail. They’re the ones who failed to do their jobs (if any part of their job description includes something like “protect people from unsafe drugs).

(And note that I haven’t even broached the topic of regulators over regulating…preventing good drugs that could help people lead better lives from getting to market because of a too much concern over even one person being injured as a result of taking a drug.)

-JD Cross