Cancer research dollars diverted on “study” linking Trump support with opioid abuse?

National Institute of Health funded researchers are hard at work seeking cures for America’s patients… except when they’re not.

The venerable Journal of the American Medical Association is out with a new NIH-funded “original investigation.” What medical breakthroughs are being announced do you ask? Not. A. Single. One. Instead JAMA has published a “study” the authors tout as “adding to the emerging literature on the relationship between health status and support of Donald Trump in the 2016 election.”

Here’s what James S. Goodwin, MD et al claim to have “discovered”:

An analysis of a national sample of Medicare claims data found that chronic use of prescription opioid drugs was correlated with support for the Republican candidate in the 2016 US presidential election.

You read that right. Trump supporters are more likely to abuse drugs, according to Dr. Goodwin and his colleagues. However reading through the article, it becomes clear that the boldness of their claim is inversely proportional to the strength of the evidence backing it up.

It’s bad enough that the researchers are digging through and torturing medical data (statistically) for a political purpose. It’s equally bad that the patient data was used without¬†any informed consent (because the data is “de-identified” don’t ya know).

What’s worse? A source of funding for this junk science appears to be a taxpayer funded NIH grant ostensibly for cancer prevention and control.

Whether you support Trump or not, there’s no debate over this: the diversion of cancer research funds for political purposes is bad for patients.¬† In addition, it is improper to use health crises like the opioid epidemic in this manner. The NIH should demand that the taxpayer dollars spent on this “study” be returned.