Wednesday, December 16, 2009

British Medical Journal Interviews Dr Aubrey Blumsohn

About a year after we started Health Care Renewal, in late 2005, we wrote multiple posts about the complex and unfortunate case of Dr Aubrey Blumsohn's attempts to keep a research project honest.  Our most recent summary of the case was here.  The case involved suppression and manipulation of research, ghost-writing, institutional conflicts of interest, and attempts to silence a whistle blower. It provides lessons about the downsides of letting commercial firms sponsor and hence control human research designed to evaluate the products or services they sell; and of academic medicine becoming dependent on research money from such firms for such research.

The case was just re-capped in some detail on the occaision of an interview of Dr Blumsohn published in the British Medical Journal, just available on-line yesterday.  [Cyer C. Aubrey Blumsohn: academic who took on industry.  Brit Med J 2009; 339:b5293.  Link here.]  Dr Blumsohn's final words in the interview were:
It’s hard to encourage anyone to speak out about poor practice in the current environment. This case sums up what has gone wrong with systems set in place to ensure safety and integrity in scientific medicine. It would help if regulators put as much effort into responding to serious critics and whistleblowers as they do producing glossy brochures and yet more guidance.

My hat is off to Dr Blumsohn for his determination to pursue this case, and to the British Medical Journal for getting it into the "main-stream" health care literature.

Hat-tip to PharmaGossip.

1 comment:

MedInformaticsMD said...

Yes, congratulations to Dr. Blumsohn for integrity and fortitude in maintaining the highest standards of science are due.