Corrupt academia

by Henry Farrell on June 18, 2010

Via “Trudy Lieberman”: at _Columbia Journalism Review,_ an “excellent story”: on the dubious linkages between medical academia and drug companies.

bq. Richard Page thinks Multaq is an excellent new drug for treating atrial fibrillation, a type of irregular heartbeat that affects more than 2 million Americans. And Page, chairman of the department of medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, should know. He co-authored a large, international study that led to the drug’s approval by the Food and Drug Administration last year, a move that could mean hundreds of millions in sales for Sanofi-Aventis, the company that makes the drug. But in putting his name on the influential paper, Page allowed Sanofi-Aventis to dictate the terms. He vouched for the accuracy and completeness of the study despite not seeing the raw data. The company, which paid for the study, collected that information and performed the analysis without an external audit for accuracy or completeness. Page says it comes down to trusting the drug company. “These companies, if they were falsifying data, wouldn’t be kept in business if that were found out,” he said. “I was satisfied and remain satisfied that the study was conducted in an appropriate way.” … In the Multaq case, Page and all six co-authors had financial ties to Sanofi-Aventis at the time of the study. Two authors worked for the company and owned its stock. Page and the four other authors moonlighted as consultants or speakers.

Genteelly corrupt relationships are a really big problem for medical research. The “Boston Review”: has an “excellent forum”: on this broad topic up on their website, including a quite preposterous “defense”: by “Thomas P. Stossel”: of medical-industry research ties against _any_ suggestion that formal standards, requirements of transparency etc might be helpful.


by John Holbo on June 18, 2010

I’m reading Lessing’s Laocoön, An Essay on the Limits of Painting and Poetry (how’s by you?) Consider:

It is an intrusion of the painter into the domain of the poet, which good taste can never sanction, when the painter combines in one and the same picture two points necessarily separate in time, as does Fra Mazzuoli when he introduces the rape of the Sabine women, and the reconciliation effected by them between their husbands and relations, or as Titian does when he presents the entire history of the prodigal son, his dissolute life, his misery, and his repentance. (91)

[click to continue…]

McLemee on Veeser on Said

by Henry Farrell on June 18, 2010


bq. And so, two or three generations of young radical intellectuals have now had the pleasure of discovering that they are ever so much more radical than Edward Said. It must be very pleasant for them, but none of them has yet amounted to a replacement. With H. Aram Veeser’s _Edward Said: The Charisma of Criticism,_ we have a different sort of Oedipal drama on display. The stakes are less political than personal. It is an insightful book, but also a strange one, charged with an ambivalence towards its subject that is perhaps as intense as Said’s toward the works he discussed in _Orientalism_ or _Culture and Imperialism._