Thursday, September 18, 2008

Getting Slimed by the Slime Specialists

I must be doing something right. Yesterday, after I provided some free publicity for an upcoming "evidence-based" evaluation of industry funding of CME, I received the following comment from the Vice President of CMPI, Robert Goldberg:

Apparently you are the only pure one left on the planet. You have no biases or opinions that color your judgment or clinical practice. And of course your opinion about the negative pharmaceutical industry's impact on research -- none of which can be demonstrated through the traditional scientific methods but only appeals to emotion -- are right and everyone else is wrong. But that's not bias. Apart from the fact that the Sourcewatch material is three years old and outdated (which means you didn't even bother to check the facts since our 990 is readily available) you don't even have the intellectual or moral courage to engage on the merits of the issue CME or more generally the relationship between industry and academia. Rather, you resort to the oldest rhetorical trick in the book: attacking the character or motives of a person who has stated an idea, rather than the idea itself. That's the sign of a bully and a coward. If you had any integrity or guts at all you would show up at our session (the very thought of it must give be keeping you up nights!!) engage in reasoned discussion. But I doubt you will.

In this response, Mr. Goldberg demonstrates exactly why his organization and his blog have become notorious for perfecting the art of personal-attack-as-policy-discussion. Those who want to find example after example of Mr. Goldberg's and Mr. Pitt's inimitable rhetorical style should read this expose recently published in

Some of their pit bull (sans lipstick) pronouncements:

--"Sidney Wolfe, Public Citizen’s General Secretary of Junk Science..."

--"Not the real FDA - a Grahamatization" (referring the David Graham, the FDA analyst who revealed the extent of the Vioxx health risks)

--"That's the sign of a bully and a coward," describing me. We've descended to that level of name-calling now?

If Mr. Goldberg would like to engage in the merits of the CME discussion, he merely has to read dozens of my prior postings, in which I comment ad nauseum on the innumerable developments, debates, and policy pronouncements in the world of CME. If he would like concrete examples of commercially biased CME, I have provided them in spades.

Unlike the speakers at his conference, I don't have Fortune 500 companies standing in line ready to pony up for a trip to Washington D.C. at a moment's notice. If CMPI really wanted to engage in an "evidence-based" discussion, they would have invited speakers with alternative points of view, but they didn't, and because of that, the conference is a charade and is merely an opportunity for networking among those who profit mightily from industry-sponsored CME.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like projection to me, Dr C.

On a grander scale, this meltdown of the financial institutions, in my opinion, is at least partially due to the role of sociopathy that is growing to a pandemic degree in our culture/society.

The worst addiction in our society is money. Hence, why you are reporting these issues, true? Let those who run roughshod over the good and the good lie silent, evil prevails. So what do those of you out there have to say?

For the most part, outside sources like here, Furious Seasons, and other blogs I am not well acquainted with, the silence is deafening. Forget the general media, folks, they are in the pockets of those who need to be rebuked.

Like this guy here Dr C speaks of.

Anonymous said...

Hi Daniel, this reminds me of the time Mr. Goldberg criticized me for trying to find the cheapest MRI scanner in town. You can read a dissection of Mr. Goldberg's ad hominem attacks on Michael Moore here:

It's quite instructive, especially the bit in which Goldberg tries to links Michael Moore to Mel Gibson's anti-semitism.

Anonymous said...

At least the NY Times is starting to pay attention. Did you see their editorial on the atypicals today?

Anonymous said...

Dan: I do not find your intemperate language and ad hominem remarks persuasive. They show frustration. You have no facts to rebut Dr. Goldberg's well taken points.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Carlat,

What is your reply to Mr. Goldberg's assertion, "the Sourcewatch material is three years old and outdated (which means you didn't even bother to check the facts since our 990 is readily available)..."?

As the saying goes, "You can have your own opinions, but you cannot have your own facts." So what are the facts here?

Daniel Carlat said...


As far as I can tell, everything on that site is factual and well-referenced. If there are any inaccurate statements, please let them know, so they can correct them. Similarly, if I have made any inaccurate statements about CMPI, let me know as well.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree, and that's why I never read Drug Wonks.

Anonymous said...

Projection! Thank you, therapyfirst, that is just the word I've been looking for!

DrugWonks is a joke. Have you ever tried to read one of their documents? Bad spelling and worse grammar. I know they're pigheaded, but I thought they were at least educated. Congrats, Dr. Carlat, and don't let those cowards bully you.