Medical Journal Fake News

Okay, this one is really scary to me.  It’s beyond me being critical and sarcastic.  I am embarrassed for our system because as a physician I rely on keeping up to date from medical journals. It is being reported that:


  • Nearly two-thirds of medical research in the US is paid for by drug firms who could have a financial stake in the outcomes
  • Several of the top medical journals have been found to be raking in millions of dollars from pharmaceutical companies through kickbacks and reprinting fees
  • The journal for the American Medical Association gets 52 percent of its revenue from reprinting studies by pharmaceutical companies
  • Editors at the journal of the American College of Cardiology received $15 million in kickbacks from drug firms

Am I surprised?  Actually I am a little.  I knew the AMA was a sell out but 52%?  There needs to be a massive enema given to the medical journal system to clean this crap out. We should demand it. Where are the ethics for these editors?  How do they sleep at night?  I am beyond disturbed at this.

I feel guilty selling t-shirts and books but I think I am transparent. Links attached, LOL.  This, however, is ridiculous.

What do you think?


Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  5 comments for “Medical Journal Fake News

  1. Terry Nugent
    May 1, 2018 at 11:21 am

    The tell of bad journalism is absence of balance. This is a classic example. A quick review of the rest of the content of the Daily Mail reveals it to be a rather tawdry clickbait machine.

    I know from personal experience that premier journals such as JAMA and NEJM struggle mightily to maintain editorial integrity while maintaining a viable financial model.

    As you know better than most (RIP Placebo Journal) publishing sans major ad support is challenging.

    The status quo is a compromise between editorial integrity and financial reality. Disclosure certainly helps.

    But the perception of bias alone has created a crisis in journal readership in particular and CME in general that may threaten patient care.

    There is a clear need to separate the wheat from the chaff beyond the current citation based methodology. Stay tuned.

  2. May 1, 2018 at 9:48 am

    You should NOT feel guilty about selling t-shirts and books. You are helping people tremendously with your books, and provide A LOT of fun and “wellness” with your t-shirts.

  3. Charles Koopmann
    May 1, 2018 at 8:50 am

    Editorial physicians should not be allowed to have financial conflicts to drug companies, instrument companies, etc.

  4. Steve O'
    May 1, 2018 at 8:46 am

    This has been a plan in the works for twenty years, at least. Whoever controls the information, controls the thinking.
    Medical schools have slid backwards from the Flexner days 100 years ago, from attempting to form clinician-scientists who reason out their actions with a blend of experience and basic scientific principles; back to the days before Flexner, where people sat through endless hours of didactic teaching, with little practical experience. If you have the podium when teaching the new providers, you can tell them anything. Remember our approach to pain management taught in the late ’90’s that “pain is exactly as severe as the patient says it is?” I experienced the pounding of that message into my head, over and over. At the time, I was a new provider – what did I have to say to disagree? Now we are being thrashed for practicing that which we were indoctrinated with.
    And we are given “guidelines,” AKA mandates, to practice medicine in a precise way – the way precisely dictated by the Ivory Tower Clinicians. Whoever owns the publication rights on the guidelines, owns the market.
    Corporations, and no surprise to it, own the generation of “facts.” I cannot hold them accountable. Corporations are not people. They exist to maximize their cash flow. They are as amoral as a hangman’s noose. “Go one, one size fits all!”
    In addition to today’s appalling facts that Doug offers, there’s also a critical fact we may not consider. Almost every publication is behind an expensive firewall, open to, well, big money subscribers like the corporations and universities! All that the average peon can afford is access to the free abstract. And if you’ve become familiar with the medical literature, you know that authors can stuff any sort of rubbish in the abstract that conflicts with the rest of the paper, without a murmur out of the reviewers, because the guts of the paper is the fitting of results to conclusions. Considering how sloppy the medical publication industry is in regards to prevarication and veracity – stuff gets into medical literature that would be rejected, and set afire with shrieks, in the basic science literature – all we get to see is propaganda from the authors. And the authors, of course, are as objective as the journal publishers are. (see above.)
    It makes politics look honorable.

  5. Perry
    May 1, 2018 at 8:31 am

    God forbid we would receive a pen or notepad from a drug company….

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