In a data briefing published in the last couple of days in the BMJ, there was an interesting graphic that indicated the public perception of the healthcare system. Although it isn’t particularly easy to find the source of the information in the Health Affairs cited by Appelby (an article with open access), the results are particularly striking for Australia.
While over 60% of the public in the UK believe that only minor changes are needed, around 75% of Australians believe that our health system needs fundamental changes or a complete rebuild. This perception is even more negative than the US, for which the system is widely known to be overly expensive and suffering from huge gaps in access for the disadvantaged.
Amy Wang and colleagues from Mayo Clinic write about the tendancy for authors with financial ties to GlaxoSmithKline to write favourably about the drug Rosiglitazone, which has been linked to increased risk of myocardial function and is arguably less useful than another drug on the market, Pioglitazone. Both drugs are used in diabetes care.
Fiona Godlee yesterday likened the problem to that of a similar case featuring calcium channel blockers back in 1998. The situation has improved slightly since then, but I personally believe that you can’t stop people from NOT publishing negative results if they have vested interests, you can only encourage and support researchers without vested interests to do objective reviews. If people are unwilling to shoot themselves in the foot, then what place is there for research that comes from those who are essentially attempting to market their work in a scientific manner. Policing comes from review and journal acceptance rates, not from forcing people to reveal data.
Vested interests in healthcare, as usual