Squad, I saw this and I thought of you...

Avatar Image
rojash | 10:06 Sat 22nd Sep 2012 | Body & Soul
7 Answers
Hi Squad,
You may remember that a little while ago, in a thread about statins we touched on the problem of true reporting of the effectiveness and side effects of drugs.

In the light of that, I thought you might find this article interesting.


1 to 7 of 7rss feed

Best Answer

No best answer has yet been selected by rojash. Once a best answer has been selected, it will be shown here.

For more on marking an answer as the "Best Answer", please visit our FAQ.

\\\\Drugs are tested by the people who manufacture them, in poorly designed trials, on hopelessly small numbers of weird, unrepresentative patients, and analysed using techniques that are flawed by design, in such a way that they exaggerate the benefits of treatments. \\\\

Unfortunately this is often the case and doctors should be aware of this, but if one chooses one's research from properly conducted therapeutic trials performed by well established and prestigious units, then that is the best that one can do.

Even then, the odd misrepresentation slips by.

The only other way is by anecdotal"I tried so and so and it did me good" or "don't take that drug because it causes muscle cramps"

I know which method i would prefer.

Ben Goldacre.....sorry I have never heard of him but that doesn't invalidate his opinion.
Question Author
I don't think you read the entire article :-)
I will give it ANOTHER go.
it's a very long article! but good x
Well, I have read it again.

My first thought is that it could have been cut by 75% and still put over it's points......but that is just me........I can't cope with verbose......never could.....I was and still am concerned with the bottom line.

So, it alleges industry pays the piper and calls the tune with possible harmful effects to the patients and massaging of benefits for the prescribing doctor.

Have i missed the point?

I feel that my initial post is all that need be said, but will reply to criticisms of my posts.
Ben Goldacre is a self- confessed nerd ;) He is also fascinated by epidemiology and the stats and numbers surrounding various medical treatments and interventions.

He is the author of a book called Bad Science an informative book critical of the reporting of science and medicine in the media, and the various distortions and misrepresentations this leads to. Well worth reading.

He is also set to publish a new bool, called Bad Pharma, of which this article is an exerpt.

He raises valid points. The regulatory system around the globe is only as good as the data it gets to see - and all too often, companies suppress negative data because of the commercial implications.Various meta- analyses have demonstrated that industry sponsored trials almost invariably have much more positive findings than similar trials conducted independently.

And this can do serious harms. Prescribing a medical intervention is informed in part by a proper consideration of the risk of side effects or non treatment versus the supposed benefit of the intervention. If these benefits are overstated, or negative results suppressed to skew the data, this can lead to very serious consequences for the millions of patients around the globe.

Many people might remember the scandal surrounding GSKs Avandia ( mentioned in the article by Ben Goldacre) that significantly increased the risk of heart attack in the patients it was prescribed for - by around 40%!


The more people that recognise the problems the better, and the sooner we change the international regulatory environment to force companies to register proposed drug trials and publish all their trial data the healthier we all will be......
This is just an aside, but may somewhat shock anyone looking for sensible results from drug testing.
Did you know that a new drug for cancer of the womb was once tested on MEN ? Since when did men get cancer of the womb ?

1 to 7 of 7rss feed

Do you know the answer?

Squad, I saw this and I thought of you...

Answer Question >>