Interlinked and Inseparable: Bias and Marketing

In both Ghosts in the Machine: Publication Planning in the Medical Sciences and How Pharmaceutical industry affects trial outcomes, Dr. Sismondo suggests that the only way the eliminate bias is the total distinction between the industry (pharmaceutical research) and the funding for the research. In an ideal situation any and all bias could be eliminated and all that will be left over is the pure, raw scientific data collected about a particular chemical composition. However, this requires an examination of the publication and the funding of that particular scientific data and the biases that are a possibility from that particular sector of funding (i.e. a particular university, whose alumnus includes a CEO of a pharmaceutical company and who happens to be a major donor to the university, may not be pleased if the research produced by said university went against his company’s findings of a particular drug). The strong assumption, in this idealistic picture presented by Sismondo, seems to be that research can be done both without any funding from a biased investor and will be done in favour of the promotion of the good health of the people that the drugs are supposed to serve. But, if the drugs produced are not the best possible drugs that can be introduced into the market (through the marketing strategies used by the industry to put them on the shelves), then the process of finding a cure, getting the cure to the people will be a slow and tedious task.

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