• The dominant business model of the pharmaceutical sector is based on the massive promotion of drugs that often do not represent any significant therapeutic advance. • Clinical research is therefore run like a promotional campaign. The data obtained from clinical research are primarily used to boost and support sales rather than to improve prescribing behaviour. • Three common and widely used corporate strategies are used to this end: ghostwriters are employed to inflate the number of publications showing the drug in a positive light; results that would harm sales are not published (publication bias); and negative data are suppressed,sometimesgoing as far as to intimidate troublesome independent academics and whistle-blowers. The objective of these strategies is to enable the new drug to gain market share from its competitors. • If medicine is to progress,research must be more independent and freed from the commercial imperatives of the pharmaceutical industry.