Peter Gøtzsche has been an indispensable person in the field of medical science. When there is silence and fear of dissent, Peter sparks an open debate with citizens through his uncanny talent of translating complex scientific arguments into straight forward language for wide audiences. When “commercial confidentaility” is used to hide potential harms to patients, Peter fights on all levels for the sun to shine in on mountains of hidden medical research outcomes. On personal and professional levels, his fearlessness in defending the weak and confronting the powerful has cost him dearly. But despite all his giant foes, Peter insists on holding the high moral ground of democratic accountability, scientific sharing and independence.
Peter is outrageously hard-working and diligent in his research. He has tirelessly produced dozens of ground-breaking articles and paradigm-shifting books that have questioned many established premises of the medical-industrial complex. This has evidently garnered him many enemies and critics.
For many years the prestigious activity and publications of Dr. Gøtzsche have played a pivotal role in favour of the transparency of clinical data, the priority of public health needs over industry profits and the defence of rigorous medical research carried out independently of conflicts of interest. He is one of the few recognized medical researchers that is at the same time a public advocate for the total transparency of clinical trial data and, in general, in favor of a new model of affordable biomedical innovation based on patients needs instead exclusive private patents.
Courage is Peter´s middle name. For many, many years he has not been afraid of challenging the gross manipulation of science by the pharmaceutical industry in favor of their commercial interests. He has dared to present ample scientific data that reveals the tremendous harms done by over-diagnosis, overmedication and the related aggressive marketing of pharmaceutical products. He has challenged the established dogmas on mammography screening, psychiatric drugs, statins, flu vaccines and many other excesses of pharmaceutical lobbying that forwards the belief that “there is a pill for every ill” or, in other words, that there will be new illnesses invented and new pills developed by industry at the same time.
He is a doctor who rigorously applies de Hippocratic Oath with reference to “do no harm”. He has consistently defended the human rights of patients from the harmful effects of dangerous treatments, addictive medicines and harmful secondary impacts.
Peter changes the world by getting his hands dirty in tough political debates. He believes in open, responsible medical science and he makes it happen as he has in the European Union by helping to establish new openness rules on sharing the scientific information on the safety and efficacy of new medicines.
Peter challenges established dogmas that have been taken for granted and opens the door for fierce public debate among both experts and citizens in general, which is an essential step toward building a rigorous, democratic medical science. It is true that his direct, brutally honest style often ruffles many feathers and even causes discomfort among some of his fellow doctors. But his work inevitably ends up broadening public debate and bringing into the mainstream media key controversial decisions that often had been left in the hands of a handful of powerful experts with industry biases.
We are very fortunate that Peter exists because the world is a little better place because of his courageous work.
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