Corrupt Senator condemns corrupt doctors

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is the ranking Republican on health insurance reform and has also been a dogged critic of conflicts of interest in academic medicine. We've commented before that Grassley is a gold plated hypocrite because he himself reads ghostwritten talking points from the insurance industry, makes false and fraudulent claims on their behalf while trying to influence legislation and himself takes millions in health industry money without publicly acknowledging it. He has become typical of the corrupt phonies he self-righteously complains about.

Grassley's own corrupt behavior doesn't meant the things he complains about aren't just as reprehensible as his own fraudulent behavior, however. Recent news (here, here) brings more allegations of medical studies published in top tier journals but written by ghostwriters hired by drug companies. After minimal or little input prestigious doctors then agreed to have their names used as authors to enhance credibility and hide the origin. Grassley wants to do something about this (although campaign reform is off the table for his own conflicts), and indeed something needs to be done. It has been going on for a long time. Here's a piece we did more than four years ago giving details of the practice. Four years later, as the news reports indicate, little has been done to stop to stop what was cynically described as "a bit like farming":

"A bit like farming"


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And Chris Dodd is a Saint, Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats just bought 8 new jets, and she wants a Speaker of the House plane fitted out like AF-1. And all paid for by WHOM? Not drug companies I can tell you.

I think you should change that to morally corrupt Revere reference for all of them. Else you would have to open up a special prison for all of them. I havent seen any charges, and Grassley probably knows the law better than you do. About the best thing is that Grassley has been elected more times than either one of us so he must be talking a good line of shit to his constituents. In fact I bet that since it does float in Iowa, it doesnt float in the NE which is where most of the liberal are out smoking loco weed because they do it in Amsterdam. They have UHC in the EU and they are all broke, so lets do that here too without any regards to the costs and what it REALLY means to go to a UHC system.

Hey, do I get to charge Dodd, Pelosi and Barney the Bumbling Tinkerbelle for not taking care of the banking industry? I guarantee you that the housing bubble happened on THEIR shift..

Anyone got Maxine Waters racist rant line number. Its 9:39, time to put my two cents in because getting pissed and calling her on it makes me a racist, a member of the "mob" and a Nazi. If thats what it is to raise unshirted Hell about the selling down the river of America by these jackasses then okay, I'll wear the shoe even if it doesnt fit.

Maybe you should start with the AMA as the worlds biggest medical ghostwriter operation Revere. Seems they have a problem with their own now as the realities of UHC have come to light.

In two years the AMA might be a thing of the past and carry no credibility...Any more than Grassely does with you.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 20 Aug 2009 #permalink

Amen brother!
Ghost writing is pervasive. I have made a fair amount of money in the past being a ghost writer. The pay? Well if you can write well and fast up to $15K/ project. Yes 15K--Pharma pays well. I can say this with utter truth: Anyone who is anybody in medicine or science has had stuff ghostwritten for them. They do the "light editing" of the manuscript after you send it their way but when these things were returned to me there were absolutely no changes except their name as first author. I could (but wont) list the top dogs of endocrinology, nephrology, cardiac and renal transplantation and lipid science who have been the beneficiary of my ghost writing. The reality of it is that the top dogs are too busy to write 50 papers a year which their CVs claim unless someone else does so for them. Back in the days of grad school before I went to med school, my mentor was off most of the time speaking at meetings, or sitting eating doughnuts at NIH grant review committees so that he could keep his competitors close at hand.In addition, it used to be routine for the dept. chair to put his name on all manuscripts (I have been a victim of this) coming out of his/her dept.. Yes every one signs those bogus statements the journals require to be submitted with a manuscript testifying that you participated in the writing but we all know reality. I have no guilt of having ghost written in the past. I wrote unbiased and never with a hidden agenda or underlying promotion and I needed the mulla to pay (and I am still paying) for that ivy league medical education that cost me $100K without any support thank you.
Here is the big question: Should we change it? Should we include no ghostwriting for public servants such as president, senators, congresspeople?

By ex Ghostwriter (not verified) on 20 Aug 2009 #permalink

MECs and ghostwriting as a type of Farming. I'll have to remember that one.

Randy- if you're going to make stuff up then make it a little less obvious.

"They have UHC in the EU and they are all broke"- No they aren't. Not in Canada, Australia or New Zealand either. You know who is broke though? The USA where republicans have run the country into the ground again after Clinton managed to balance the books.

By antipodean (not verified) on 20 Aug 2009 #permalink

ex Ghostwriter: Not everyone. I've never ghost written an article and as a long time dept. chair and PI I have never insisted my name be on a paper I didn't do anything on, even when it's my grant. I allowed my name to be on a paper once when I wasn't much involved by a student on whose committee I sat (and therefore contributed in that way in advising him) and that was reluctantly at his request because he thought it would help the paper get published (it was published and has been cited many times). But I was sorry then and now I let my name go on a paper where my participation in the research was real but marginal. I will grant you this is somewhat unusual in academia but I don't think I'm totally unique. It has always been my position as a Chair and as a PI that when my faculty/students succeed then I succeed too and get the benefits of their success and that's the way it's been.

I don't have a problem with ghost-writing per se. It's more the undue influence of attaching a particular lead author which is problematic.

The dishonesty isn't the ghost-writer's. It belongs to the guy who claims he's the lead author.

For the record, my puny publication record of two papers were both written by the actual investigators, including myself.

But how do we stop this? How far can journal editors go to properly assure their audience that the authors are who they claim to be? Money is a powerful incentive, and unfortunately it's not one that journal editors have a lot of to throw around, but industry does.

By Meat Robot (not verified) on 20 Aug 2009 #permalink

You can rant and rave all you want about the corrupt politicians MRK, because I agree with you however, you knock it off about this sheyit quote of yours: "liberal are out smoking loco weed because they do it in Amsterdam". Knock it off !!!
And don't expect a response from me. Dammit MRK !

LONDON (Reuters) - Chemicals in cannabis have been found to stop prostate cancer cells from growing in the laboratory, suggesting that cannabis-based medicines could one day help fight the disease, scientists said Wednesday.

Their research, published in the British Journal of Cancer, underlines the growing interest in the medical use of active chemicals called cannabinoids, which are found in marijuana.
And there are tons upon tons of credible research papers that prove your "loco weed" isn't what you claim it to be or do. Knock it off !!!

And I guess that smoking weed is going to keep women from getting prostate cancer.....? Sorry Lea, I understand the problem and the perceptions but its like saying smoke tobacco for lung cancer.

I always threatened that if MJ was legalized to send obituaries to the people who killed others when stoned. Why do you think Amsterdam cracked down on the potters? Crime was off the scale for the non-taxed, non-government stuff. Pay for healthcare with pot? Shit, like saying I am going out to mow the grass now. It grows naturally along the roads here. Perhaps a trip? I am not passing judgment, I just dont want people driving around stoned or flying planes. Of course we will have assurances, but no compensation beyond insurance when someone gets taken out unnecessarily. Its crowded down here and DUI's account for almost 80% of the deaths on the roads. Tanked up, loaded up, cranked up...all at the same time.

Anti-Your own legislature said and I quoted it before here that the UHC system in Oz is 9 billion Aussie bucks in the hole as of last December. Thats your electeds talking big boy, not mine. I am not without my issues though, I have Barney "There's Nothing Wrong With The Banks" Franks to deal with. Obama is a chump compared to him, Pelosi and Reid.

The UK admitted by a direct statement of the Health Minister just two short years ago that their system having improved their response times, time to get procedures reduced increased costs by a mere 21% and therefore, healthcare was going to have to be rationed. Globe and Mail if you care to look it up or look through the healthcare debate posts back. Its as I say, if everyone in the US of A and I mean EVERYONE wants to pay 50% of their income to the government to pay for healthcare... I'm for it. But our system culls down for the poor (who aint never gonna get a job and most never had one), pays for their rents, their cars, and now their homes. Its just not feasible without socialism in place and certainly and totally against what this country was founded upon and that is a republic, not a full democracy. Our constitution says that you have the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. There is nothing about entitlements, or that the aforementioned will be provided to you at the cost of someone else. There is a statement about the military that is in there and that Congress may levy taxes for that, not a damned thing about this bullshit welfare state that they are trying to re-create from Johnsons Great Society. Kennedy and his Klan looked at it in the 60's and decided it would simply cost too much. So as with everything they have been trying to liberal back door it ever since. Someone please tell me that the money in my pocket only belongs to me. Novel concept I think for a lot of people here. We are being told that we are stingy, cold hearted and thats generally from some elitist asshole living in a million dollar house having gotten his/her money from providing a government service to those poor people. What has Al Sharpton ever done except threaten boycotts of places that he thinks are being racist. Its racketeering by any other name. Unions cant get away with it, why does he? I dont mention Jesse Jackson because that would be like ranking an amateur against a professional.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 20 Aug 2009 #permalink