My most recent post cited for the first time the "Evidence in Medicine" blog managed by David Rind. I am again indebted to Marilyn Mann for pointing out an eloquent post on the same blog:
Dr. Rind details here how he started out as a Pharma supporter, due largely to their success in developing breakthrough AIDS therapies, and has gradually become jaded with the industry's behavior. His most important point, however, is that he expresses better than many the consequences of the loss of trust when the industry engages in the now-routine behavior of suppressing data that could hamper the successful marketing of their drugs. He highlights what happens to all of us in medicine when we read of an impressive new drug for a serious disease, and instead of thinking, "Wow--what a great advance this will be for the treatment of my patients," we feel forced to think, "OK, now just what is the drug company trying to pull on me this time?"
A while ago, my esteemed colleague Jerry Hoffman and I wrote a minor parable for an emergency medicine journal on "the boy who cried unicorn," a reverse version of the boy who cried wolf. Our point was that if you keep putting a false horn on a horse and trying to convince the public to pay big bucks to see the rare unicorn, eventually they will not believe you even if you should be so lucky as to capture a real unicorn. Which in the pharmaceutical field would be very sad for everyone.
Hoffman JR, Brody H. The boy who cried unicorn: a parable. Annals of Emergency Medicine 46:93, 2005.