Biomedical research and corporate interests: a question of academic freedom

The current situation in medicine has been described as a crisis of credibility, as the profit motive of industry has taken control of clinical trials and the dissemination of data. Pharmaceutical companies maintain a stranglehold over the content if medical journals in three ways: (1) by ghostwriting articles that bias the results of clinical trials, (2) by the sheer economic power they extract on journals due to the purchase of drug advertisements and journal reprints, and (3) by the threat of legal action against those researchers who seek to correct the misrepresentation of study results. This paper argues that Karl Popper's critical rationalism provides a corrective to the failure of academic freedom in biomedical research.