Experts say unethical practices in clinical research are "just as widespread as we believed."

The next time you hear a mainstream “expert” tout the gold standard research of drug trials, keep this in mind. There’s a lot of fool’s gold mixed in with that gold.

Two years ago, medical journal editors established Medical Publishing Insights and Practices. MPIP grapples with issues of integrity and trust in published research.

Recently, the group released a list of 10 recommendations for medical publishing. The suggestions include more transparency in reporting adverse events. Also: Stop the ghostwriting. Experts often allow attachment of their names to papers they didn’t write.

Ed Silverman at Pharmalot asked two Yale School of Medicine professors for comments on the recommendations. Both agree on two points. The recommendations are too limited. And they’re only suggestions. There’s no enforcement.

One prof offered this insight: “To me, it is clearly unethical not to do these things.”

He added that the recommendations imply that unethical practices “are just as widespread as we believed.”

And there you have it. This is the “gold standard” the FDA relies on to approve drugs for millions of patients.

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