Check out who wrote that paper in one of those links? Talk about the Fox running it's own trial for killing the chickens. These guys are never going to say anything bad about the drugs they review. GAME OVER. ZERO INTEGRITY.
If you think there is a conflict of interest, please demonstrate how and where in the paper you think corruption has occurred, and you can write a letter to the editor of that journal. Academic journals take their reputation very seriously, they publish refutations and criticisms and retract articles if they published an article that is subsequently demonstrated to be false. So I am sure they would be very interested in your feedback.
That paper that you referred to can be found here
. It is a study of a drug called Bevacizumab, trade name Avastin.
It is manufactured by Roche. The conflict of interest declared by the author indicates that he has received funding in the past from Pfizer, Lilly, and Regeneron - all competitors of Roche. Why do you think that an author who has received funding from the competitors of that drug in question should write a favourable review? In any case, review articles are an overview of currently published data, which the author collates and presents, points out what we know and don't know, and where further research should be undertaken. An academic review is NOT "I tried this drug and it made the soundstage wider" or "it lifted veils" although it may be possible that drugs exist that can do that.
All published papers have a section where potential conflict of interest from the authors is published to help the reader determine to what extent they should trust the paper. For sure many of the results published are given a positive spin by the authors regardless of whether they have a conflict of interest or not, which is why anybody who has training in reading academic journals always reads the methodology and results sections very carefully to make sure that the data was collected in a way such as to not interfere with the result, and that it was analysed properly. You then draw your own conclusion from the result, and then read the conclusion/discussion to see what the authors thought of their own results. Usually in the same journal or the next edition there will be expert commentary of the paper, and sometimes "letters to the editor" critiquing the study.
You will find a declaration of conflict of interest in almost any publication in any academic journal you read. Compare this to the hifi world where glowing reviews with no data are published and no conflict of interest has been declared even though you suspect that the reviewer may have been a flown and accommodated at the expense of the manufacturer, or given a piece of equipment to keep after review. Even in objectivist circles it is not mandatory to declare conflict of interest unless you publish in an academic journal like JAES
Far from "zero integrity", a public declaration of potential conflict of interest is a sign of integrity.
Also, even with the care that Amir takes in his measurements, what he reports is a single data point from which one should interpret with caution unless corroborated by multiple authors repeating the same experiment because of potential errors in his equipment, or his technique, or the product, and so on. This is not in any way a criticism of Amir, it's just how scientists should think and I am sure he would be the first to agree with this. Even then, if you read some other review sites in other hobbies (such as the lens rentals blog
, you will find that many products have variability in manufacturing (because tolerances add up) which is why they repeat measurements over many lenses and publish graphs showing variability which demonstrate QC. It is the same in any academic field - you do not read one study in isolation because there is always the possibility of a spurious result. In Medicine, any study that finds something interesting will be replicated. If there are none now, you can bet there will be in a few years. In this way, spurious results are weeded out and we can be very confident of what we know works and what doesn't, because we have a solid body of data, collected by multiple experimenters, with studies funded by different groups, across a larger body of population, with different observers, and so on.
For sure there are low quality studies published by people with conflicts of interest, and some have even been caught fudging the data or even outright lying (see Andrew Wakefield
) but it is a career terminating move which will lead to loss of tenureship and fines or revocation of licenses from professional licensing boards.
Because I have a lot of experience reading academic papers and weighing up data, I know what I can be confident about and what is supported by less data. For example, ASR members support for manufacturers like Topping or JDS Atom comes from a very tiny few data points when compared to the massive thousands of case-control studies published across hundreds of articles in dozens of peer-reviewed journals by professional scientists. But that is okay, because the stakes are not high and I am grateful that somebody is willing to take the trouble to do experiments and publish them as a service to the community.
I can see why you don't want to get "dragged into this" but you started it by attacking an entire branch of science when you have no qualifications, let alone even the most basic education or training, and you picked someone with years of experience in this field to have an argument with. I can't see why you thought this was a good idea apart from the Dunning-Kruger effect, but there you go.