Policy and Regulatory Decision Making in the Medical Profession: A Framework to Identify the influence of Special Interest Groups and “Bent” Science

Dr. Langan’s excellent scholarship clearly shows how vested interests can skew the regulatory procedures and wreak havoc on physicians’ careers.

Disrupted Physician

content-1 In  Bending Science: How Special Interests Corrupt Public Health Research 1  Thomas McGarity and Wendy Wagner describe how special interest groups scheme to advance their own economic or ideological goals by using distorted or “bent” science to influence legal, regulatory and public health policy. The authors describe a “separatist view” of science and policy that assumes scientific research is sufficiently reliable for public policy deliberations and legal proceedings when it reaches them.  This is illustrated as a pipeline in which it is presumed  the scientific community has properly vetted the information flow through rigorous peer-review and professional oversight.  The final product that exits the pipeline is presumed to be unbiased and produced in accordance with the professional norms and procedures of the scientific method.  The reliability, integrity and validity of the final product is accepted.Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 10.49.27 AM This view does not consider the possibility that the scientific work exiting the pipeline could be distorted and…

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2 thoughts on “Policy and Regulatory Decision Making in the Medical Profession: A Framework to Identify the influence of Special Interest Groups and “Bent” Science

  1. Pingback: The Medical Profession under Dictatorship–Revisiting Dr. Leo Alexander’s prescient warnings from 1949 | Chaos Theory and Pharmacology

  2. Christian Wolff, Psy.A

    Dr. Langdon is a candle in the darkness. My deep appreciation goes out to him for his courageous and tireless efforts to expose the deep, deep trouble this country is in. In my opinion, however, this exposure alone will not bring about the changes we so sorely need. It is necessary to the collective sanity of a society to believe in … something … anything, and there is a meta-dynamic to how it is that the large bulk of people come to believe things. We can come to understand these dynamics by revisiting our studies of sociology and anthropology. Dr. Langdon has alluded to some of these meta-dynamics, but I will add some more. Space does not allow a full treatise, so I will jump to some suggestions. Not wanting to follow in the footsteps of bent science, however, I will ask the reader to pause and think critically about what I suggest now and and anything I suggest in the future. “Truthiness” or eloquent spin is not enough. I believe current social beliefs are are objects in motion and changing them will not happen in any timely manner. In the realm of human invention, everything that is, once was not. Now is the time for new invention. We must manifest a new regulatory system with rigid new standards. We must denounce the old and join the new, fully offering a unmistakably serious and viable alternative to the current ways. We must start new schools, universities, and professional programs with intellectual integrity at their core. We must also campaign vigorously to teach critical thinking and devise ways by which a critical thinkers will find rewards instead of punishment for “thinking different” and following baseline ethics or a higher order. Administrative law needs to be taught (or rather, exposed for what it is) as part of the standard civics curricula throughout primary & secondary school education. If a third grader brings home material on Administrative Law (along with the standards like learning the 3 branches of U.S. government) parents will be shocked and outraged, perhaps coming to know of this cornerstone social problem for the first time. I implore physicians, other professionals, and the general public to consider that the boat they are in is not taking them where they want to go. Equally, we cannot collectively set sail for a much needed better world with our feet in two boats. Undoubtedly there are professionals far into their careers who have derived great benefit and satisfaction from the system they have, in good faith, placed stock in. I imagine the disappointment in what the system has become is heart rending and the prospect of changing horses mid-stream, daunting beyond belief. We are not the first to be in this position. Those colloquially referred to as “the pilgrims” left England, choosing, of two hardships, the one with the greater promise. Many fled their very homes during during WWII to avoid the Nazi occupation of their being. Other targeted people, however, with Nazi jackboots kicking down their doors, believed the authorities when they said, “We are here for your protection. We are ‘relocating’ you to someplace safe. Bring all your belongings. We’re putting you on a train for a nice place called Auschwitz – a place you will never have to leave again.” Now is the time. We have each been placed on a train or boat already in route to … someplace. It is never a happy moment to realize you are on board the wrong vehicle taking you to the wrong place, but when you do realize this, your only rational choice is to get off it and to lead others to do so as well. It takes wisdom, courage, and a deep conviction and commitment to righting things gone dangerously awry. Thank you, Dr. Langdon. I appreciate your courage and your leadership.

    Christian Wolff, Oregon

    Christian Wolff is involved in fighting abuses insidiously perpetrated against the people by authoritarian and oligarchic government regulation of the professions of psychology and mental health. He is currently licensed to practice psychology in the state of Oregon. He is seeking fellow celebrants as he plans the ceremonious denouncement and voluntary relinquishment of his license. He can be reached at deftears@gmail.com.

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