“Nonsensical” System: Dr. John Abramson discusses Conflicts of Interest among Big Pharma, Medical Journals and Regulators

“Nonsensical” System: Dr. John Abramson discusses Conflicts of Interest among Big Pharma, Medical Journals and Regulators

According to Dr. John Abramson’s research, there are conflicts of interest between pharmaceutical companies and federal agencies that could harm the public.

The problem was demonstrated in the way clinical trial data are being treated, according to Abramson (a lecturer at Havard Medical School and expert on litigation).

“It is a system which is inherently absurd,” Abramson stated in an interview on EpochTV’s program “Facts Matter”.

Abramson stated that Big Pharma finances most clinical trials and that their influence may allow data to be presented in ways that are in their best interests–selling more products. Peer-reviewed medical journals do not have full data access, so they cannot guarantee their integrity. Big Pharma’s goals are also supported by government agencies. This could cause doctors or patients to recommend a product to them without fully understanding its risks.

‘Tabulated Data’

Drug companies create a report on a clinical trial. However, the data are “tabulated,” stated Abramson.

“Medical school students and doctors learn that evidence-based medicine is essential. This means that doctors must follow the guidelines in clinical practice guidelines and articles published in peer reviewed journals.

” What they don’t know is that peer-reviewers are not allowed to view the data of the clinical trial. They only see data summarized in journal article manuscripts .

Abramson said drug companies fund 86 percent of the clinical trials that are conducted in the United States, and those manuscripts are typically written with the help or control of the drug companies “to put the best light on their drugs to present the data in a way that will have the greatest impact in prescribing their drug.”

“We’re experiencing the problem of drug recalls and medicines that aren’t as good as we thought .”

Abramson was a key player in investigating Vioxx (a Merck and Co. drug). Later, the investigation led to one of the most extensive drug recalls in history.

He stated that the authors of the guidelines for clinical practice couldn’t view the data taken from clinical trials.

Who funds clinical trials

Clinical tests, which is the testing of a product on humans, are crucial to approve or develop a medical product such as a drug, or vaccine.

According to clinicaltrials.gov, a website maintained by the National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as of July 3, there are 1,234 clinical trials, or interventional studies, relating to COVID-19 that have been conducted in the United States. Among them, 177 were funded by NIH or other federal agencies, 510 were funded by the pharmaceutical industry, and 582 were funded by individuals, universities, or organizations.

The National Library of Medicine informed The Epoch Times by email that funding for a clinical trial could be provided by multiple organizations so that the study can count twice.

For clinical trials that are funded by universities or individuals, Big Pharma may be the source of funding.

It’s reported that universities relied upon Big Pharma’s grants for most of their medical research.

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Individuals, Universities, and Organizations can also donate to philanthropic organisations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The foundation announced in May that it would donate $125 million to help end the COVID-19 pandemic, which is in addition to more than $2 billion that the foundation has already committed to the global COVID-19 response. A significant part of the $2 billion has gone toward COVID-19 vaccines.

” Doctors, insurers, and health policy professionals don’t realize the extent of the pharmaceutical companies’ marketing campaigns. It’s the company’s version of science but not independently verified .”

Medical journal editors have conflicts of interest by not requesting full data.

” They don’t need data, they just want to make the site attractive for big drug trials. Then they can sell the reprints to the pharmaceutical company .”

Abramson said in the case of Vioxx, the New England Journal of Medicine, one of the most reputable journals in the nation, peer-reviewed and published a study in 2003 and sold about 900,000 reprints of the article. According to the study, Vioxx was safe and effective, but it could also cause severe bleeding, stroke, or heart attacks.

The International Committee of Medical Journal editors didn’t reply to our request for comment. The organization is home to more than a dozen medical journals of international repute.

Retracted Studies

In May 2020, Lancet, another world-famous medical journal, retracted a study on the effectiveness of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine against COVID-19.

The study claimed that these drugs had no evidence of benefit but increased the risk of “in-hospital death with COVID-19.”

The Guardian reported that the study had temporarily halted global trials of for COVID-19.

A bottle and pills of Hydroxychloroquine
A bottle and pills of hydroxychloroquine sit on a counter at Rock Canyon Pharmacy in Provo, Utah, on May 20, 2020. (George Frey/AFP via Getty Images)

Richard Horton, the editor-in-chief of the Lancet, told The Guardian that he was shocked by the retractions. “This is an alarming example of research misconduct during a global emergency .”

Horton once wrote that “perhaps half” of scientific literature might “simply be untrue.”

“Since studies have been plagued by small sample sizes and tiny effects, insufficient exploratory analyses, flagrant conflicts of interests, as well as an obsession with following fashionable trends of questionable importance, the science world has turned towards darkness,” Horton said.

In July 2020, when schools considered how to return children to school in September, the New York Times reported on a South Korean study claiming children between 10 and 19 years old can spread the virus as adults do.

“Later, they discovered they couldn’t determine which direction transmission was taking place within their study. So they issued a correction–also, the New York Times did a correction a month later.” Steven Templeton, an Immunologist, told The Epoch Times last January.

But the damage was already done after these “highly publicized” reports and other stories were published. Schools had been shut down and people decided to move away, Templeton stated.

Retraction Watch, an organization focusing on retracted medical studies, found that over 200 articles relating to COVID-19 have been retracted globally, including preprint studies.


Dr. Abramson was a family doctor for 20 years. After he realized the medical journals were being increasingly influenced by the drug companies, he left his family practice and wrote a book “Overdosed America” in 2004. Later, he spent 10 years in national pharmaceutical litigation consulting with the Justice Department and the FBI.

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” I was able to see how drug companies operate, and some of these details can be shared in the book. The cases were heard openly and all documents kept unsealed. Dr. Abramson.

In February, he released a book called “Sickening”: How big Pharma destroyed American health care and how we can fix it .”

” What I discovered about drug company’s routine operations was that their data is kept confidential to ensure they don’t meet the criteria of scientific analysis .”

“That is what it’s all about,” stated Abramson.

A whistleblower has alleged that a contractor of Pfizer had falsified data, employed inadequately trained vaccinators, and was slow to follow up on adverse events reported in Pfizer’s phase III trial for COVID-19 vaccine.

Brook Jackson, a former clinical trial overseer for a contractor holding trials of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, sued Pfizer and two contractors in January 2021. They “conceived violations both of their clinical trial protocol as well as federal regulations including falsifications of clinical trials documents “.

“Due the scheme of Defendants, millions have been given a falsely branded vaccine which may not be as effective as claimed,” Jackson claimed.

Logo of Pfizer
A person walks past a Pfizer logo amid the COVID-19 pandemic in the borough of Manhatten in New York on April 1, 2021. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

In May, Pfizer requested that the court throw out its lawsuit.

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, a trade group representing pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies in the United States, referred The Epoch Times to their “Principles on Conduct of Clinical Trials (pdf).” The principles said the pharmaceutical companies “are committed to the transparency of clinical trials that are sponsored by our member companies.

” As sponsors, we must verify and receive data from research sites to conduct the studies; this ensures the integrity and accuracy of the study database which belongs to the sponsor,” said the document.

Regulator Cheerleading

Abramson said federal health agencies sometimes played a “cheerleading” role for Big Pharma, such as in the case of COVID-19 vaccines.

” The vaccine manufacturers are pushing their data onto the government. Press releases are being issued to make the public believe they have the information. Doctors also think that they do. Abramson stated that this information was not correct.

” The key is that I believe the government cheerleads too often. They have gone on skis. They’ve also promised safety if the studies aren’t long enough .”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) acknowledges that COVID-19 vaccines have two-months of safety data but claims they are safe.

” The clinical trials did not show any serious safety issues within 8 weeks of vaccination. This is an important milestone, as it is unusual for adverse effects caused by vaccines to appear after this amount of time,” stated CDC.

” They’ve claimed efficacy that is consistent with drug companies’ press releases, claims and statements but have not done an independent analysis. Abramson stated that the government was not rigorous enough in analyzing the data.

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Abramson stated that he is not anti-vaxxer, and believes there are many evidence to support vaccination.

Cardiologist and epidemiologist Dr. Peter McCullough is one of the loudest voices doubting the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines. He said the claim that COCID-19 vaccines could reduce hospitalizations and deaths is a “complete false narrative.”

” None of the vaccines had been subject to clinical trials versus placebo using that composite endpoint,” McCullough stated last month to The Epoch Times. What’s been happening over the years is a false narrative, which was based on observational data .”

McCullough stated that there were many biased analyses by doctors and investigators trying to promote vaccines.

Abramson found it difficult to comprehend why regulators recommended and approved the second booster, based only on observational data.

“Why FDA and CDC used Israeli observational data for approval of the second booster is beyond me,” stated Abramson.

On March 29, FDA authorized a second booster dose of either the Pfizer or the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for people over 50 and immunocompromised individuals.

Abramson stated that when Israel approved the second booster, there was an “ideal situation” for a random controlled trial with hundreds of thousands of participants to determine if the booster works.

“But Pfizer decided not to do this. They chose to do an observational study,” said Abramson, adding that FDA did not insist on a randomized control trial in Israel, and even extended the booster to people over 50 years old.

Epoch Times Photo
Registered Nurse Orlyn Grace (L) administers a COVID-19 booster vaccination to Jeanie Merriman (R) at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic on April 06, 2022, in San Rafael, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Neither FDA nor CDC responded to a request by press time for comments.

Abramson stated that Paxlovid’s benefits are being overstated and that it was only tested on high-risk individuals. Paxlovid is an oral antiviral medication used to treat COVID-19 that was developed by Pfizer.

” But this discovery has been ongoing for quite some time. Doctors don’t know what the data are. This is an enormous problem, which is driving up healthcare costs and causing harm to the American people. It’s preventing doctors and other medical professionals from doing the jobs they have committed their lives and thereby putting the public at great risk .”


Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.

Roman Balmakov


Roman Balmakov, a reporter with The Epoch Times, is host of “Facts Matter” and has traveled around the country covering protests and riots as well as elections. His commercials for the Epoch Times are also produced by him, on both TV and via social media.

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