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Definitely got nothing to do with chess IV

Paul Alper points us to this in-depth article by Steven Brill on the topic of Alex Gorsky, the pharma executive who notoriously marketed a dangerous drug and hid the evidence of its dangers.

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The headline was a bit of a cheat, though. The story is fascinating from a statistical perspective but it has no chess content at all.

And that’s our last new post of 2015. Happy new year!

P.S. See here for more in the series.


  1. Martha says:

    Not an article to give one faith in the humanity of the human race.

  2. Paul Alper says:

    Here is the chess content:

    “This was all part of the chess game, which by the early half of 2012 was being played across a national map.”

    “These kinds of chess plays are why lawyers on both sides of the highest stakes, white collar litigation love the game. The prosecutors, who are typically lawyers with elite credentials, get to match moves with some of the most highly paid private-sector litigators anywhere. Like friends engaged in a fierce tennis match, there’s a collegiality binding both sides.”

    “In fact, they often switch sides”

    Unlike most chess games, these stakes are astronomical because

    “Under the law, any health care company convicted of, or pleading to, a felony is automatically disqualified from selling any of its products to Medicare. That could effectively put the company out of business, because Medicare is the country’s dominant health care buyer. Misdemeanors do not carry that penalty.”

    And that is why Johnson & Johnson is still in business.
    For the statisticians who read this blog,

    “Should the statistically significant relationship between prolactin and gynecomastia after eight weeks of boys taking the drug have been mentioned in the 2003 article?”

    “Probably,” Danamen [a physician] said.

    There is more about deficient denominators and “exploratory analysis”–table 21–not included which elicited this comment by the head of jury:

    “you can’t keep testing over and over again and then use the results you like and throw out the rest.”

    Like a Shakespearean tragedy there are (sort of) heroes and definite villains and a few wins and many dreadful losses. The winter is long and dark so spend (invest?) some time reading Brill’s brilliant presentation and analysis. Be sure to read the final chapter:

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