Saturday, April 05, 2008

It's Time

I haven't devoted much public effort over the past few months to Procter and Gamble, Actonel, the hidden data, and the three misleading publications. I felt it best to allow time for the excuses and regulatory hand-sitting to be finalized.

To collude with dishonest science, and to protect powerful colleagues, all the regulators had to do was to do nothing of any relevance. There has been ample opportunity to do nothing very well. This is despite partial admissions that scientific conclusions were false, that statistical analyses were false, that lies had been told to a medical journal, and that every code of good scientific and medical conduct had been breached.

There is nothing unusual about inaction or the protection of vested interests and friends. There is nothing unusual about the observation that honest science seems not to matter to medical leadership, even when there is demonstrable harm to patients. There is nothing unusual about the observation that regulators fail to uphold their own codes of conduct when it suits them, but use those same codes to bully individuals asking difficult questions. There are almost no instances where medical "regulators" have acted to uphold scientific integrity in the UK. There is also nothing unusual about the silent complicity of colleagues. What happened to me happens to many others. I want to ask some fairly simple questions.

Over the next weeks I will devote considerable effort to the facts, regulatory failures, and the principles of good conduct in academic medicine. I will discuss the types of behaviours regulators regard as acceptable. I will try to relate these failings to their stated codes of conduct, and ask what purpose these organizations serve. I will discuss the nonsensical concept of "whistleblowing" in research, and the shameful way in which research misconduct is dealt with in the UK. Hopefully the discussion will be of wider interest. Let the science begin.

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