The WSJ is calling for "a national reporting system in which drug companies disclose payments to doctors" after investigations by Iowa Senator Charles Grassley revealed huge discrepancies between what doctors at Harvard and Mass Gen said they received from pharma companies and what they actually did. The revised totals came in at more than $1 million dollars for each doctor between 2000 and 2007.
At Genomics, Evolution, and Pseudoscience, Steve Salzberg does a little sleuthing of his own, finding several articles on PubMed "promoting the use of Chantix as safe that were paid for by Pfizer, but whose authors were not Pfizer employees." Chantix, a Pfizer drug, is supposed to help people stop smoking, but Salzberg's research found that it also causes heart problems, seizures, diabetes, and more. He says that it's not just drug companies and scientists that should be held accountable, but also the journals that choose to publish the dubious research. "I'm beginning to think that we can't trust anything we hear about a new drug unless we read the original literature, and scan the literature with a highly critical eye for conflicts of interest. This is truly unfortunate," he writes.