Chapter 1 of Rigor Mortis by Richard Harris brings into light and discusses how the medical industry has faulty research methods which lead to skewed data and results, as well as millions, or even billions, of dollars wasted on studies and research that do not have the scientific backing that they should. Contrary to what we believe, the medical industry is actually slowing in advances due to the current methodology that is causing time and funding to go towards inadequately tested trials with fallacious data. According to Harris, “They estimated that 20 percent of studies have untrustworthy designs; about 25 percent use dubious ingredients, such as contaminated cells or antibodies that aren’t nearly as selective and accurate as scientists assume them to be; 8 percent involve poor lab technique; and 18 percent of the time, scientists mishandle their data analysis.” [pg 14, Rigor Mortis].
While donating to a major, large scale charity is generally implicated to be a good thing, it may not be going where you think it is. According to Odyssey, about 60% of all funds raised during Relay For Life, which is put on by the American Cancer Society every year, go towards employee salaries and pension, while only 15% goes towards “Research Department Funding”. Of that 15%, only a third of it truly goes towards cancer research. Unfortunately, as stated by Harris several times, the trials being funded tend to not advance or expand research efforts at all. As stated by Harris, “A false lead can fool scientists into spending years of research and millions of dollars of research funding chasing after something that turns out not to be true.” [pg 13, Rigor Mortis]. According to the Economist, “In 2000-10 roughly 80,000 patients took part in clinical trials based on research that was later retracted because of mistakes or improprieties.”. Media portrayal of current research results and methodology tends to only further conceal this information from the public eye.
Of course, when information and statistics on the effectiveness of medical researching arises, the medical industry and scientists are quick to shut these ideas down, covering them with misinformation, opinions, and false facts. Researchers believe that if this information were to be made known, it would decrease research funding and compromise the credibility of their data and results. To their credit, this is most likely a correct assumption. The public likes results, and if you offer no advancement, even false advancement, in the industry, you’re not going to make it for very long. So at the expense of millions of dollars and even the population’s health, results are falsified. Researchers jump on any small chance they can to try to pull off a medical miracle, instead of taking the time and performing the proper procedures to ensure that the information they are providing is not misleading and can be repeated with the same results.
I am not discrediting the entire medical field, but I am encouraging you to think deeper about how you take the news of ‘major medicinal advances’. The only way we can improve the current state of research credibility is to fix how it is now. Advances in medicine should be about helping people who rely on its results to live a long life, not about how much money an industry CEO can make off of it.