Dishonesty and Medical Research

Dishonesty and Medical Research
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A recent study confirmed that about 50% of the recent research done on Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) either did not report some or all of the primary outcomes or altered the primary outcome. In 8th grade, we called this “cheating.” The investigators ( Bansal R, et al “Outcome switching among phase 3 interventional randomized controlled trials for inflammatory bowel disease: A cross-sectional analysis” DDW 2021; Abstract Fr542.) stated, “this fancy stepping with trial outcomes may undermine the studies’ integrity, as selective publication of favorable results will insert bias into trial results and may cast doubt on the veracity of its findings.”

This certainly is not the first time that published papers have been manipulated in favor of a positive research outcome.

Just one year ago, according to physiciansweekly.com, two major medical journals (Lancet and NEJM) had to retract their already published erroneous papers.

The physicians reported in this Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) paper that it appeared that a “bait and switch” scheme was apparent. I believe they hit the nail directly on the head when stating that “They would like to investigate the extent to which outcome switching is linked to study authors’ financial conflicts of interest — “in particular, the first and last authors will be examined as a separate subpopulation,” they said.  Of course, a “conflict of interest” in medical research most often deals with assuring those who fund your research that the outcome they expect will be delivered to them, and if not, in some cases, bait and switch might be a plausible “Plan B.”

Unfortunately, in this case it is IBD patients who ultimately suffer when medical research cheating exists.  As Al Pacino cried out to his partner in the 1979 blockbuster movie, And Justice For All, “Warren, don’t you even care?”  Don’t bad research authors, drug research funders and medical journals that accept such erroneous research even care?  I’m the wrong person to ask.  PLEASE consider that the lifestyle you have chosen to follow has nearly everything to do with excellent health. My guess is that IBD sufferers, nor their healthcare advisors, simply aren’t aware of that.

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