Élise Lucet sur le glyphosate

Interview Brut, Janvier 2019

Envoyé spécial a consacré une soirée spéciale au glyphosate le jeudi 17 janvier à 21h sur France 2

Atteint d’un cancer incurable, l’Américain Dewayne Johnson a attaqué en justice Monsanto. C’est le premier au monde à avoir gagné un procès contre le géant américain. Elise Lucet raconte toute l’histoire pour Brut.

The corruption of science by the industry (agrochemical)

The Monsanto Papers: Poisoning the scientific well

Monsanto flooded scientific journals with ghostwritten articles and interfered in the scientific process in order to defend its glyphosate herbicides

GMWatch reports, 14 August 2018.

The research article The Monsanto Papers: Poisoning the scientific well is a useful peer-reviewed source detailing Monsanto’s – corporate science – deceptive activities aimed at defending glyphosate herbicide, as revealed in the company’s internal documents force-disclosed in US cancer litigation and obtained by US Right to Know in freedom of information requests.

What is it about?

Examination of de-classified Monsanto documents from litigation in order to expose the impact of the company’s efforts to influence the reporting of scientific studies related to the safety of the herbicide, glyphosate

Why is it important?

The use of third-party academics in the corporate defense of glyhphosate reveals that this practice extends beyond the corruption of medicine and persists in spite of efforts to enforce transparency in industry manipulation.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE
Examination of de-classified Monsanto documents from litigation in order to expose the impact of the company’s efforts to influence the reporting of scientific studies related to the safety of the herbicide, glyphosate.

METHODS
A set of 141 recently de-classified documents, made public during the course of pending toxic tort litigation, In Re Roundup Products Liability Litigation were examined.

RESULTS
The documents reveal Monsanto-sponsored ghostwriting of articles published in toxicology journals and the lay media, interference in the peer review process, behind-the-scenes influence on retraction and the creation of a so-called academic website as a front for the defense of Monsanto products.

CONCLUSION
The use of third-party academics in the corporate defense of glyhphosate reveals that this practice extends beyond the corruption of medicine and persists in spite of efforts to enforce transparency in industry manipulation.

Medical research often ignores relevant existing evidence and patient needs

Why comparisons must address genuine uncertainties

The design of treatment research often reflects commercial and academic interests; ignores relevant existing evidence; uses comparison treatments known in advance to be inferior; and ignores needs of users of research results (patients, health professionals and others).

A good deal of research is done even when there are no genuine uncertainties. Researchers who fail to conduct systematic reviews of past tests of treatments before embarking on further studies sometimes don’t recognise (or choose to ignore the fact) that uncertainties about treatment effects have already been convincingly addressed. This means that people participating in research are sometimes denied treatment that could help them, or given treatment likely to harm them.

When researchers continue to embark on (same) research for decades without reviewing existing evidence systematically.

The diagram that accompanies this and the following paragraph shows the accumulation of evidence from fair tests done to assess whether antibiotics (compared with inactive placebos) reduce the risk of post-operative death in people having bowel surgery (Lau et al. 1995). The first fair test was reported in 1969. The results of this small study left uncertainty about whether antibiotics were useful – the horizontal line representing the results spans the vertical line that separates favourable from unfavourable effects of antibiotics. Quite properly, this uncertainty was addressed in further tests in the early 1970s.

As the evidence accumulated, however, it became clear by the mid-1970s that antibiotics reduce the risk of death after surgery (the horizontal line falls clearly on the side of the vertical line favouring treatment). Yet researchers continued to do studies through to the late 1980s. Half the patients who received placebos in these later studies were thus denied a form of care which had been shown to reduce their risk of dying after their operations. How could this have happened? It was probably because researchers continued to embark on research without reviewing existing evidence systematically. This behaviour remains all too common in the research community, partly because some of the incentives in the world of research – commercial and academic – do not put the interests of patients first (Chalmers 2000).

Patients and participants in research can also suffer because researchers have not systematically reviewed relevant evidence from animal research before beginning to test treatments in humans. A Dutch team reviewed the experience of over 7000 patients who had participated in tests of a new calcium-blocking drug given to people experiencing a stroke. They found no evidence to support its increasing use in practice (Horn and Limburg 2001). This made them wonder about the quality and findings of the animal research that had led to the research on patients. Their review of the animal studies revealed that these had never suggested that the drug would be useful in humans (Horn et al. 2001).

The most common reason that research does not address genuine uncertainties is that researchers simply have not been sufficiently disciplined to review relevant existing evidence systematically before embarking on new studies. Sometimes there are more sinister reasons, however. Researchers may be aware of existing evidence, but they want to design studies to ensure that their own research will yield favourable results for particular treatments. Usually, but not always, this is for commercial reasons (Djulbegovic et al. 2000; Sackett and Oxman 2003; Chalmers and Glasziou 2009Macleod et al. 2014). These studies are deliberately designed to be unfair tests of treatments. This can be done by withholding a comparison treatment known to help patients (as in the example given above), or giving comparison treatments in inappropriately low doses (so that they don’t work so well), or in inappropriately high doses (so that they have more unwanted side effects) (Mann and Djulbegovic 2012). It can also result from following up patients for too short a time (and missing delayed effects of treatments), and by using outcome measures (‘surrogates’) that have little or no correlation with the outcomes that matter to patients.

It may be surprising to readers of this essay that the research ethics committees established during recent decades to ensure that research is ethical have done so little to influence this research malpractice. Most such committees have let down the people they should have been protecting because they have not required researchers and sponsors seeking approval for new tests to have reviewed existing evidence systematically (Savulescu et al. 1996; Chalmers 2002). The failure of research ethics committees to protect patients and the public efficiently in this way emphasizes the importance of improving general knowledge about the characteristics of fair tests of medical treatments.

This is a reprint from The James Lind Library 2.1 Why comparisons must address genuine uncertainties.

The Glyphosate Saga : Press conference, 27 September 2017

The Monsanto Papers : proof of scientific falsification

Video published on 18 Oct 2017 by Greens EFA.

Speakers:
Michèle RIVASI, Greens/EFA MEP
Kathryn FORGIE, Attorney / Avocate, Cabinet Andrus Wagstaff
Carey GILLAM, journalist, Research Director U.S. Right to Know

The Monsanto Papers, secret internal documents, have now been made public thanks to over 10,000 farmers who have taken Monsanto to court, accusing the company’s glyphosate weedkillers of causing them to develop a cancer called non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.

The documents reveal the various strategies and tactics used by Monsanto to ensure that they can sell their star product, RoundUp, despite the clear dangers for humans and for the environment.

Alternatives to pesticides

Bad strategies, unethical tactics used by the pesticide industry

This 2017 trailer highlights some of Monsanto’s tricks

Video published on 10 Oct 2017 by Greens EFA.

The Monsanto Papers are secret, internal documents that have now been made public thanks to over 10,000 farmers who have taken Monsanto to court, accusing the company’s glyphosate weedkillers of causing them to develop a cancer called non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.

The documents reveal the various strategies and tactics used by Monsanto to ensure that they can sell their star product, RoundUp, despite the clear dangers for humans and for the environment.

Alternatives to pesticides

We need good science and better studies

The way new studies are presented in media often misinforms the general public and may lead some people to distrust the research

Scientific Studies On “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver“, published on 8 May 2016.

Science is supposed to make us more informed. But as Oliver explained, the way new studies are presented in media often misinforms the general public – and may lead some people to distrust the research.

More information

SlideShow Health Books

Not just public health books but analysis and surveys of major concerns or real stories of interest

Reckoning with Risk Learning to Live with Uncertainty

 

Bad Science by Ben Goldacre lifts the lid on quack doctors, flaky statistics, evil pharma and more

How the scientific method works, and what to look for when presented with so-called “evidence”

Bad Science by @bengoldacre lifts the lid on quack doctors, flaky statistics, evil pharma and more
Bad Science Book by Ben Goldacre

How do we know if a treatment works, or if something causes cancer? Can the claims of homeopaths ever be as true – or as interesting as the improbable research into the placebo effect? Who created the MMR hoax? Do journalists understand science? Why do we seek scientific explanations for social, personal and political problems? Are alternative therapists and the pharmaceutical companies really so different, or do they just use the same old tricks to sell different types of pill? We are obsessed with our health. And yet – from the media’s ‘world-expert microbiologist’ with a mail-order PhD in his garden shed laboratory, via multiple health scares and miracle cures, to the million pound trial that Durham Council now denies ever existed – we are constantly bombarded with inaccurate, contradictory and sometimes even misleading information. Until now. Ben Goldacre masterfully dismantles the dodgy science behind some of the great drug trials, court cases and missed opportunities of our time, but he also goes further: out of the bulls—, he shows us the fascinating story of how we know what we know, and gives us the tools to uncover bad science for ourselves.

Ben Goldacre is Britain’s finest writer on the science behind medicine, and Bad Science is the UK Sunday Times top ten bestseller

More information

WebsiteAudibleAmazon – Reviews

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