Peter C Gøtzsche, Professor emeritus, Director
Institute for Scientific Freedom, Copenhagen, Denmark
The main topics in our podcast series are psychiatry, drugs, and vaccines. There are no ads and no censorship.
We have a broken medical system. Our prescription drugs are the third leading cause of death, after heart disease and cancer. This would not be the case if drug regulators protected us against ineffective and harmful drugs and if doctors did not prescribe far too many drugs.
The publishing model is also broken. Research published in medical journals is often unreliable. Research that threatens economic, guild or political interests is difficult to publish and it can take years before articles appear in print. Moreover, publishers are highly exploitative: Authors pay large publication fees; they work for free as peer reviewers; libraries cannot afford the subscription fees; and the profits of big publishers are now even bigger than those of the drug industry.
The crisis is so pronounced that some of the world’s best scientists now prefer to publish on websites for free, reaching far more people than journal articles do, and with no or little interference from editors or peer reviewers who are often conflicted.
On top of this, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to much misinformation, also from governments (see my freely available book, “The Chinese virus”). This has aggravated scientific censorship, particularly because social media were intimidated unlawfully by the US Government into suppressing free speech.
The latest threat is artificial intelligence with its chat robots. We will not even know if real people have written the articles, which might be just some sort of consensus garbage. Ironically, this is what the mainstream media already excel at. They are not critical enough.
To find ways of tackling the crisis, my Institute for Scientific Freedom in Copenhagen and Carl Heneghan’s Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine in Oxford held a two-day conference in Copenhagen in October 2022, “Lack of scientific freedom: causes, consequences and cures.” We have plans for arranging another meeting in Denmark.
We need to find new ways of communicating in science, and podcasts are becoming increasingly important. In collaboration with Danish documentary filmmaker and historian Janus Bang, I have launched a scientific podcast channel on Spotify with an associated homepage, Broken Medical Science.
We provide documentation, so that the audiences can check for themselves that what is being said is based on sound science. We plan to combine some of the episodes into a documentary film, “The honest professor and the fall of the Cochrane empire.”
The mission for our podcasts is the same as the mission for the Institute for Scientific Freedom. We work to preserve honesty and integrity in science and to help develop a better healthcare where more people will benefit; fewer will be harmed; and more will live longer in good health. To further this mission, we will need to influence the public discourse without censorship.
We interview top researchers, science journalists, consumer advocates and others who tell us how we can do better and how we may improve our chances of living a long and happy life.
I am the host. I have published several books and over 100 articles in the world’s five most prestigious medical journals, BMJ, Lancet, JAMA, Annals of Internal Medicine, and New England Journal of Medicine.
It is an altruistic project, and we use our own time and money on it. We have some financial support, from donors all over the world. More donations are welcome.