Marcia Angell MD is a well-known, respected physician, long-time editor of NEJM. So it was a bit of a shock today when Amy Romano, blogger for Lamaze International, sent me this quote:

It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.

From Drug Companies & Doctors: A Story of Corruption in The New York Review of Books, around New Year’s.

Dana Blankenhorn of the ZDNet health blog called it “a bombshell.” I couldn’t agree more. And I must say, with all the smart people in this community, why on earth haven’t we heard more about this??

And how on earth are we supposed to be empowered participatory patients if we can’t trust the world’s leading journal?

For one thing, we can have our eyes wide open about the evidence we’re supposed to trust. Get educated. Learn how to read health news reportingincluding the journals. Wise up.

Think critically. It’s a fundamental part of being an empowered patient.

_____

Related reading:

No *other* conflict of interest, huh? (11/08)

Negative data on Seroquel suppressed by manufacturer (2/09)

Dr. Reuben deeply regrets that this happened (3/09)

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