You may have guessed that this week I've been focused on issues of science and corruption, particularly with respect to the connection between Big Pharma and Corrupt.gov. Well, today, you can add Corpscience, Inc. to that mix, shake, and stir, and you get... a mess. What am I talking about?
This article was spotted and shared by none other than Catherine Austin Fitts, and I have to blog about it, but not for the reasons one might think in reading it:
Now, beyond the obvious reasons for interest in this article, there was one paragraph in particular that caught my eye, for its implications - if one thinks about them - are immense. It's this:
Many scientists who conduct clinical trials, and their sponsors or funders, have downplayed concerns about late or missing results in ClinicalTrials.gov. Researchers, doctors, and patients can instead learn about trial outcomes from peer-reviewed publications, they say. But thousands of trials are never published, particularly when they find treatments ineffective, history has shown. ClinicalTrials.gov also uses a common format, allowing relatively easy comparisons of results across trials that journal articles rarely make possible. Doctors, researchers, and potential trial participants rely on the site, to judge from its 215 million monthly page views. (Emphasis added)
I'm reminded here of the story of "genius" Thomas Edison, and real genius Nikola Tesla. In school, we're told how Edison tried and tried and tried to make a light bulb, trying first this method, and then that. Nikola Tesla, who at the time was working for Edison, was watching all these trials and failures, and finally - and one can imagine, with some exasperation on his part - he simply told Edison to pump out the air in the bulbs and make them a vacuum, and the filaments would not burn out so quickly. Sure enough, Tesla's idea worked, and Edison took the credit for it and "invented" the light bulb. (And don't even get me started on Edison's "brilliant" idea for direct current electricity and power plants and the environmental disaster that would have been. Fortunately, Tesla's alternating current won out.)
Which brings us to the problem hinted at in this article: if one does not make known the "ways that didn't work," one actually impedes scientific progress for the very simple reason that if the failures are not published, others might be trying the same or similar methods to achieve the sought-after results, causing massive and unnecessary duplication of effort for what will be a failure. It's the failures of different methods that allow the Tesla's of the world to observe the common factor in those methodological failures, and to propose a very different solution. In this case, failures involve treatment protocols, and therefore, human health and potential suffering. The price, in other words, of not knowing about the failures, is both financial, and human.
And there's a final cost, one which, perhaps, explains why Big Pharma doesn't want the failures to be made public, for after all, there might be some medicinal or biological Tesla out there, who can spot the common error behind all the failures, and propose - independently of Big Pharma - a solution which would give him, and not Big Pharma, the benefit of the patent...
See you on the flip side...