Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
It’s a simple, but significant act on which our entire judicial system rests. When anyone takes the stand – defendant, witness or expert – they have a duty to tell the truth without prejudice.
This is especially necessary when experts testify. If experts are misleading, it can cause our legal system to fail. This happens more than you might think.
An investigation called “Dollars for Docs” by ProPublica has discovered that the experts hired by drug companies to educate consumers and doctors about the pros and cons of their drugs were not always experts. The investigation found that hundreds of these “so called” experts have been accused of professional misconduct, disciplined by state boards or lacked credentials as researchers or specialists, as reported by NPR.
Companies that hired these drug experts include some well known brands: Johnson & Johnson, Merk, Pfizer, Lilly, Cephalon, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline.
“Without question the public should care,” Dr. Joseph Ross, a professor of medicine at Yale told reporters. “You would never want your kid learning from a bad teacher. Why would you want your doctor learning from a bad doctor, someone who hasn’t displayed good judgment in the past?”
I would add, would you want one of these “so-called” experts to testify in court, to swear to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, when their very title is based not on their expertise, but on how many paid presentations they gave for the drug companies?