Doctors, journals, drug companies - teamwork!

As if it wasn't already clear enough, here's some more evidence that the pharameutical system is massively messed up. The Wall Street Journal had an article last week on medical journals publishing drug company-commissioned articles under the names of ostensibly independent researchers:

Many of the articles that appear in scientific journals under the bylines of prominent academics are actually written by ghostwriters in the pay of drug companies. These seemingly objective articles, which doctors around the world use to guide their care of patients, are often part of a marketing campaign by companies to promote a product or play up the condition it treats.....

The practice of letting ghostwriters hired by communications firms draft journal articles -- sometimes with acknowledgment, often without -- has served many parties well. Academic scientists can more easily pile up high-profile publications, the main currency of advancement. Journal editors get clearly written articles that look authoritative because of their well-credentialed authors.

And drug companies get propaganda that looks objective. Well I guess everyone wins, then.

I think it's fairly obvious that producing pharmaceuticals for profit leads to prioritizing research for the treatment of problems that afflict those with money. It provides a strong incentive for rich countries to strong-arm poor countries into respecting their "intellectual property" and thus go without drugs that could be produced cheaply. And as this article once again makes clear, it corrupts everyone involved. There's nothing magical about profit that leads to better R&D - drug companies should be nationalized and run in the public interest.