/ Quacks on Radio 4

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John Rushby - on 02 Oct 2012
Just listening to Radio 4's Inside Health.

They have some moron who publishes a quack mag and website called What Doctors Don't Tell You.

It makes my piss boil listening to some new age harpy trying to get her tiny brain around medical stats and research, fails to understand the scientific method and then tells doctors they should open their mind.

This is the site is you want to order read about how nettle tea can cure MS.


http://www.wddty.com/
stonemaster - on 02 Oct 2012
In reply to John Rushby: Thanks but no thanks. Life's too short.
pebbles - on 02 Oct 2012
In reply to John Rushby: is she the 44 year old Mom who dentists/doctors/dermatologists hate?
MG - on 02 Oct 2012
In reply to John Rushby: Read some Rationalwiki articles, it will calm you down.
Dave Garnett - on 02 Oct 2012
In reply to John Rushby:
> Just listening to Radio 4's Inside Health.
>
> This is the site is you want to order read about how nettle tea can cure MS.


Or why the HPV jab my daughter has recently had is the most dangerous vaccination in the world..., or how you can cure diabetes by sunbathing.

Breathtaking smugness, she really did seem to think that it was all a matter of opinion. Her misrepresentation of the risks of Gardasil was particularly devious.
John Rushby - on 03 Oct 2012
In reply to Dave Garnett:

Given I am at the funeral of a friend who died from cancer tomorrow it is turdspeak like this that really gets my ire.

http://www.wddty.com/much-more-than-placebo-homeopathy-reverses-cancer.html

To beleive this stuff you must be a moron, to actually sit down and write it you must be at best deluded at worst, a sociopath.
the sheep - on 03 Oct 2012
In reply to John Rushby:

Worth watching again...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMGIbOGu8q0
lummox - on 03 Oct 2012
In reply to John Rushby: I wonder what Ben Goldacre makes of it ?
mack - on 03 Oct 2012
In reply to John Rushby:
> (In reply to Dave Garnett)

> To beleive this stuff you must be a moron,

No, not true. Some people who are beyond help from modern medicine may feel desperate to the point of trying anything no matter how ridiculous.
Sadly it is these fcuktards that these dying people turn to.
People like this ought to be burned at the stake. I'm all for trying different methods but they should at least have scientific proof that it does some good and I don't mean when the papers say things like 'scientists have discovered that eating chocolate once a day can cure....'
EeeByGum - on 03 Oct 2012
In reply to mack:

> Sadly it is these fcuktards that these dying people turn to.

Where as I whole heartedly agree that there isn't much going for Homeopathy, if you are dying and conventional medicine has basically written you off, where else do you turn? Without going through such an experience, I don't think either of us are in a place to judge. One thing that our medical profession isn't very good at is caring for people. Treating yes. Caring - not really.
mack - on 03 Oct 2012
In reply to EeeByGum:
> (In reply to mack)
>
> [...]
>
> Where as I whole heartedly agree that there isn't much going for Homeopathy, if you are dying and conventional medicine has basically written you off, where else do you turn?

That's exactly what I was saying. =)

> Without going through such an experience, I don't think either of us are in a place to judge.

No, I would not judge the patient for trying such things.
It is those that spout wondrous miracle cures and the like that can be gained from such practices such as homeopathy that I dislike.


> One thing that our medical profession isn't very good at is caring for people. Treating yes. Caring - not really.

Isn't homeopathy (and other alternative therapies) also about the treatment and not the caring?

By the way, I don't disagree with all alternative therapies. there are some that can be beneficial (though not a cure) for some patients.
TryfAndy on 03 Oct 2012
In reply to John Rushby:

Simple enough way to stop it; make anyone who promotes or practices such moronic quackery be treated with it if they contact a serious illness. I'm sure we'd see how sure they are about it all then.
mkean - on 03 Oct 2012
In reply to John Rushby:
Did you hear Ben Goldacre on Radio 4, it was quite interesting: For someone who has made a career out of highlighting dodgy claims and poor research he certainly isn't above a bit of cherry picking and selective reporting when the mood takes him!
Duncan Bourne - on 03 Oct 2012
In reply to John Rushby:
proven by a homopathic clinic in Calcutta.

Nuff said
Tall Clare - on 03 Oct 2012
In reply to mkean:

I'm currently locked in debate with someone who's trying to suggest that milk will kill you (causes cancer, doncha know) (surely the most likely way for milk to kill you is being crushed by a dairy herd...) but then I'm also wary of the cult of Goldacre - his beliefs seem to be followed a little too slavishly for my liking in some quarters.
Eric9Points - on 03 Oct 2012
In reply to John Rushby:
> (In reply to Dave Garnett)
>
> To beleive this stuff you must be a moron, to actually sit down and write it you must be at best deluded at worst, a sociopath.

Yep. I don't know if it were reported outside Scotland but a few years ago a New Age sort of woman from the Findhorn community read a book by some American woman who claimed to eat nothing and live on air and "energy" and explained how she did it. So, New agey woman packs her rucksack and travels to Assynt where she walks into the wilderness between Loch Veyatie and Suilven sans stove or food with the intention of living on nothing but air. Guess what happened?

Yes, a few weeks later folk went out looking for her and found her body near the tent. She'd died of starvation.

Even when confronted with the consequences of her ridiculous utterances the author refused to admit she had been talking shyte.
Tall Clare - on 03 Oct 2012
In reply to Eric9Points:

Putting this stuff out there is one thing, but you've to wonder why people are so determined to see beyond sense and give it a whirl.
Martin W on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

> I'm also wary of the cult of Goldacre - his beliefs seem to be followed a little too slavishly for my liking in some quarters.

Ben Goldacre doesn't fall back on lawyers when he thinks he's losing the scientific argument: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/oct/03/health-magazine-sue-simon-singh-twitter

Read it and weep. Big pharma may not always play nice (and Ben Goldacre doesn't hold back in pointing this out, either: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/sep/21/drugs-industry-scandal-ben-goldacre ) but the quacks are no better, and hypocritical about it to boot.

What do you think his "beliefs" are, by the way?
Sam Dewhurst - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to John Rushby: I think the other factor here re: homeopathy is simply patient:practitioner time. a GP has 10 minutes to see a patient. Someone booking in to see a homeopath gets 30 minutes-1 hour. That extra time has a big impact on whether patients feel listened to and whether their concerns have really been looked into and addressed. It takes a very skilful GP to get this done in 10 minutes everytime and unfortunately, even then this is nigh-on impossible given the constraints of the system. For someone who has no background in science or deep understanding of the mechanisms by which therapy works, no wonder homeopathy etc is so appealing.
Paul Atkinson - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to EeeByGum: > Where as I whole heartedly agree that there isn't much going for Homeopathy, if you are dying and conventional medicine has basically written you off, where else do you turn? Without going through such an experience, I don't think either of us are in a place to judge. One thing that our medical profession isn't very good at is caring for people. Treating yes. Caring - not really.


On what grounds do you say that? I know I care for my patients and every day I go to work I see lots of other doctors who care for their patients (and a minority that don't). A tired and lazy generalisation

Personally I would reserve John's well chosen phrase about making my piss boil for those registered medical doctors who choose to administer "alternative" therapies. A GP who peddles homeopathy should be struck off in any sane system and would be were it not for the historical/political baggage. If I started making magic cancer curing sticks out of painted clothes pegs and flogging them at 50 quid a pop on the ward I'd be up before the GMC sharpish and a trained doctor giving out homeopathy and Reiki is basically doing just that.
zebidee - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to EeeByGum:
> (In reply to mack)
>
> [...]
>
> Where as I whole heartedly agree that there isn't much going for Homeopathy, if you are dying and conventional medicine has basically written you off, where else do you turn?

The issue isn't that people are turning to these non-medical, non-scientific therapies (let's call them what they are), the issue is that people are having to raise vast quantities of money, roping in celebrities, newspaper fund-raising etc. to be sent to the US, Russia or wherever for a therapy which has not been shown to work in any way at all.

Is it "better" to work incredibly hard to raise funds for your daughter, wife, sister or whoever to be sent for these therapy when there's no hope or to enjoy the remaining time that you have with them?

Relevant reading:

http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2012/10/should-whsmith-stock-wddty-magazine.html
http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2011/11/the-false-hope-of-the-burzynski-clinic.html
http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2012/06/false-hope-4-cancer.html

These ones are really horrific:

An homoeopath convinced a patient suffering from bowel cancer to avoid mainstream medicine:

The Coroner's Report: http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/history/2012/0407dingle_coroner.pdf
Letter from the patient to the homoeopath sent before her death: http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/history/2012/0407dingle_letters.htm
EeeByGum - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to mack:

> Isn't homeopathy (and other alternative therapies) also about the treatment and not the caring?

Yes. But I believe the practitioners of such therapies tend to take a more holistic approach to their patients rather than seeing them as a lump of flesh with a technical challenge. As a result, patients often feel that at the very least they are being listened too as a person. I always remember my dad (an old school nurse) having a bit of a rough time in hospital with a heart attack because he was rarely addressed in person by the medical staff. He was just a lump of flesh that had a heart attack.

However, I do agree that practitioners of said therapies tend to be pretty noisy in their convictions.
Robert Durran - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to EeeByGum:
> Yes. But I believe the practitioners of such therapies tend to take a more holistic approach to their patients rather than seeing them as a lump of flesh with a technical challenge.

In that case it would be better if they gave up their homeopathy or other such ridiculous nonsense, trained to be a proper nurse or doctor, and brought some of their caring approach to proper medicine.
mkean - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to Martin W:
Ben Goldacre doesn't fall back on lawyers when he thinks he's losing the scientific argument: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/oct/03/health-magazine-sue-simon-singh-twitter

It is a quack site, she is employing the Jillian McKeith technique.


Read it and weep. Big pharma may not always play nice (and Ben Goldacre doesn't hold back in pointing this out, either: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/sep/21/drugs-industry-scandal-ben-goldacre ) but the quacks are no better, and hypocritical about it to boot.


Nice article, like the Radio4 interview yesterday it is smattered with carefully cherry picked numbers and isn't representative of the industry as a whole. Ben is guilty of doing exactly what he claims the pharmaceutical industry are doing; selectively publishing information that supports his arguement.

What do you think his "beliefs" are, by the way?

I've found many of Bens articles to be very interesting but he increasingly seems to be trying to prop up his position as "sole saviour of the British public from the evils of poor reporting" unfortunately this means he is increasingly guilty of poor reporting himself. His interview on Radio4 yesterday was a case in point where he repeated asserted a 30year out of date fact despite being corrected.


mack - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to EeeByGum:
> (In reply to mack)
>
> [...]
>
> Yes. But I believe the practitioners of such therapies tend to take a more holistic approach to their patients rather than seeing them as a lump of flesh with a technical challenge.

Which alternative therapist gives sick patients a bed for a few days/weeks/months and tend to them with nurses/wound care/food/ drink/required medicine/various consultants/spiritual consultation all of which are covered by modern healthcare in our hospitals. You won't find any alternative therapy institute offering these without paying thousands of pounds.

And now define holistic...the needs of people (physical, psychological and social) are taken into account as a whole. I have just described this above so you can see that modern health does provide this.

define caring...Feeling and exhibiting concern for others. I'm dead sure this applies to our hospital nurses.


off-duty - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to zebidee:

That inquest report makes grim reading.
Shani - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to mkean:
> I've found many of Bens articles to be very interesting but he increasingly seems to be trying to prop up his position as "sole saviour of the British public from the evils of poor reporting" unfortunately this means he is increasingly guilty of poor reporting himself. His interview on Radio4 yesterday was a case in point where he repeated asserted a 30year out of date fact despite being corrected.

Whilst Goldacre is not infallible (very few if any of us are, and, it is unfeasible to consult scientific research for every decision we face or opinion we hold), the broad thrust of his argument against 'Big Pharma' is one of transparency in their research - which has aboslutely NOTHING to do with 'propping up his position' and everything to do with 'good science'.

I'll concede your point about an out of date fact, but I am sure you'd agree that suppression of trials that donít favour the drugs that Pharma are trying to sell is well documented. You'll be aware that companies make universities sign gagging agreements which allow unfavourable results to be suppressed, and their existence hidden? How can this be beneficial to those seeking to make informed choices?

mkean - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to Shani:
You'll be aware that companies make universities sign gagging agreements

Non-disclosure agreements are required because you can't risk someone publishing something that ruins your own patent. You have to be very careful not to put 'prior art' in the public domain or your invention becomes impossible to patent.

which allow unfavourable results to be suppressed, and their existence hidden

I'm sure some companies do this but to suggest it isn't universal, there is an increasing drive towards openness in the industry and some organisations have published all their trial data for several years.

You have to register clinical trials so it isn't hard to find out if a trial is being suppressed by a less than 100% transparent organisation.
Steve John B - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to zebidee:
>
>
> These ones are really horrific:
>
> An homoeopath convinced a patient suffering from bowel cancer to avoid mainstream medicine:
>
> The Coroner's Report: http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/history/2012/0407dingle_coroner.pdf
> Letter from the patient to the homoeopath sent before her death: http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/history/2012/0407dingle_letters.htm

Awful reading. Educational though. Poor woman.
Shani - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to mkean:
> (In reply to Shani)
> You'll be aware that companies make universities sign gagging agreements
>
> Non-disclosure agreements are required because you can't risk someone publishing something that ruins your own patent. You have to be very careful not to put 'prior art' in the public domain or your invention becomes impossible to patent.

Understood, but this is a double-eged sword.

> which allow unfavourable results to be suppressed, and their existence hidden
>
> I'm sure some companies do this but to suggest it isn't universal, there is an increasing drive towards openness in the industry and some organisations have published all their trial data for several years.
>
> You have to register clinical trials so it isn't hard to find out if a trial is being suppressed by a less than 100% transparent organisation.

All clinical trials are meant to be registered on the EMA register before they start, but it is not public and so you can imagine how this affects informed decision making by GPs and their patients.

There are mandates that results of trials be published within a year of the trial finishing but many arenít - and there is no check that this is complied with

One of the things Goldacre is arguing for is publishing of all trial data for every drug that the NHS uses. This is support. If the drug works, if it is efficacious, then what is there to hide and what is there to lose?
ads.ukclimbing.com
toad - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to Shani:
> (In reply to mkean)
> [...]
>
> >
> One of the things Goldacre is arguing for is publishing of all trial data for every drug that the NHS uses. This is support. If the drug works, if it is efficacious, then what is there to hide and what is there to lose?

In fairness this isn't confined to drug trials. Non-results or negative results are often not reported or published in many scientific disciplines

zebidee - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to Steve John B:
> (In reply to zebidee)
> [...]
>
> Awful reading. Educational though. Poor woman.

I read a lot of the coroner's report with my head in my hands.

Shani - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to toad:
> (In reply to Shani)
> [...]
>
> In fairness this isn't confined to drug trials. Non-results or negative results are often not reported or published in many scientific disciplines

Yeah - but given the government's finances and the fact that we are actually buying stuff from 'Pharma', the least they can do is prove their products work and work as described, and give us the supplemental evidence wo we can be aware of side effects and limitations. When your health is at stake, that is not too much to ask is it?

They need to provide us with the evidence to allow us to make informed decisions not least because it is the NHS (and so us via our taxes), that get stung when it comes to cleaning up the mess.

I can think of little worse in medicine than us paying someone to make UK citizens ill and then picking up the tab to care for that now-broken person.

mkean - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to Shani:
Yeah - but given the government's finances and the fact that we are actually buying stuff from 'Pharma', the least they can do is prove their products work and work as described, and give us the supplemental evidence wo we can be aware of side effects and limitations. When your health is at stake, that is not too much to ask is it?
They need to provide us with the evidence to allow us to make informed decisions


And pick up the £multibillion bill for educating the whole population to a standard where they can understand the data? Given that a recent study has shown that a large percentage of MPs can't work out the probability of a simple coin toss, what chance have they got of understanding efficacy data from a massive clinical trial? I doubt a large number of GPs have the required qualifications to actually provide a sound analysis of trial data.
mkean - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to mkean:
Oh I should add that you are going to need to do some serious gym work if you want to start reading regulatory documents. A typical New Drug Application (NDA) to the FDA can be 100000 pages, but I've known them to be more than 5 times that size.

Assuming you print them double sided on standard 80gsm paper (~5g a sheet) you are talking about a quarter of a ton of paper for an average submission and more like a ton and a half for a complicated one.

The FDA typically get more than 100 of these a year!
fxceltic on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to zebidee:
> (In reply to EeeByGum)
> [...]
>
> The issue isn't that people are turning to these non-medical, non-scientific therapies (let's call them what they are), the issue is that people are having to raise vast quantities of money, roping in celebrities, newspaper fund-raising etc. to be sent to the US, Russia or wherever for a therapy which has not been shown to work in any way at all.
>
> Is it "better" to work incredibly hard to raise funds for your daughter, wife, sister or whoever to be sent for these therapy when there's no hope or to enjoy the remaining time that you have with them?
>
> Relevant reading:
>
> http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2012/10/should-whsmith-stock-wddty-magazine.html
> http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2011/11/the-false-hope-of-the-burzynski-clinic.html
> http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2012/06/false-hope-4-cancer.html
>
> These ones are really horrific:
>
> An homoeopath convinced a patient suffering from bowel cancer to avoid mainstream medicine:
>
> The Coroner's Report: http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/history/2012/0407dingle_coroner.pdf
> Letter from the patient to the homoeopath sent before her death: http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/history/2012/0407dingle_letters.htm

this is absolutely horrific, realistically the woman should go to prison for this.

That said, I cant comprehend the reasons why the patient went along with this stuff in the first place. I want to suggest that there is surely a large measure of personal responsibility at play in this scenario, but I guess thats maybe cos I cant relate to what was going on?
Matt Rees - on 04 Oct 2012
In reply to fxceltic:

> I guess thats maybe cos I cant relate to what was going on?

Agreed, and I'll go out on a limb here and say that when your life gets turned upside-down by an events like that, you can be excused for making irrational choices, especially when you are effectively being taken advantage of, or even preyed upon, by people like this.

The poor women desparately wanted children and wanted to avoid radio, chemo and invasive surgery at all costs. Add to that, the fact that her husband was obviously a big factor in the whole process. If you ask me he was a huge culprit, since he was in a position to listen, somewhat objectively, to the advice of the various parties and support his wife in making an educated choice; something he obviously completely failed to do, to the extent that the truth facts of her illness were apparently hidden from people that might have taken a more critical view until it was too late. Horrible horrible story and she should have been locked up for a very long time.

F*(ing quackery. Another one over here that drives me mad, is Gary Null.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Null

http://www.quackwatch.com/04ConsumerEducation/null.html

Has anyone linked to "Storm" by Tim Minchen yet?


Shani - on 05 Oct 2012
In reply to mkean:
> And pick up the £multibillion bill for educating the whole population to a standard where they can understand the data? Given that a recent study has shown that a large percentage of MPs can't work out the probability of a simple coin toss, what chance have they got of understanding efficacy data from a massive clinical trial? I doubt a large number of GPs have the required qualifications to actually provide a sound analysis of trial data.

I think you are being absurd here; no one is arguing that every individual should individually number crunch through every research paper.

A simple understanding of the different kinds of trials is appropriate for most of the population and would help them in discussion with their GP when assessing claims made by drug manufacturers. Wouldn't you want honest advice about the side effects of a drug you were prescribed?

Making ALL research data available (you yourself pointed out the register of clinical trials), particularly to the various bodies designed as quality gates for drugs (from NICE, through to the The Cochrane Collaboration), would enable robust profiling of the intervention.

At a lower level, many doctors require a 'digest' of the latest drugs and there are collaborations out there aimed at facilitating this (for example www.conflictfreeconferences.com).

You seem unaware of both the lethal consequences of the current status quo and the scale of the problem. We are paying pharma millions for some drugs that are at best worthless and at worst harmful. If you don't like the ideas above, can you suggest how we should tackle this?
3 Names - on 05 Oct 2012
In reply to fxceltic:

Vulnerability
MJ - on 05 Oct 2012
In reply to John Rushby:

Quacks on Radio 4

The advantage of quacks on Radio 4, is that you don't get to hear them again...
mkean - on 05 Oct 2012
In reply to Shani:
A simple understanding of the different kinds of trials is appropriate for most of the population and would help them in discussion with their GP when assessing claims made by drug manufacturers.

No it isn't. Knowing what a double blind placebo controled trial is does not enable you to make a value judgement of the outcomes.

Wouldn't you want honest advice about the side effects of a drug you were prescribed?

Making ALL research data available (you yourself pointed out the register of clinical trials), particularly to the various bodies designed as quality gates for drugs (from NICE, through to the The Cochrane Collaboration), would enable robust profiling of the intervention.

Pharma companies are auditted dozens of times a year, auditors can ask to see anything they want. They have access to trial details and are totally at liberty to disect the data. Several pharma companies already publish all their trial data.

You seem unaware of both the lethal consequences of the current status quo and the scale of the problem.

I'd really like to know what the 'problem' is. I'd take a list of current "lethally ineffective" drugs as a starter.

We are paying pharma millions for some drugs that are at best worthless and at worst harmful.

I'd be very interested to see any sort of stats to back up this assertion, any idea of the rate of serious adverse effects directly caused by drugs prescibed within the manufacturers guidelines?

If you don't like the ideas above, can you suggest how we should tackle this?

More testing would be nice, but would require a method of reducing the unit cost of trials. As animal methods are increasingly proving inneffective we need to engage in a much greater program of human trials. The problem is that we can't afford it. More research to reduce subjectivity in trials would also be beneficial, but doesn't work with a lot of common conditions (depression being a good example).

We've already got a healthcare system that we can't afford, as a result there is a limited scope for introducing larger and more complex safety nets into the system. I'm all for transparency but you can't solve everything by throwing lots of data into the public domain, if a million monkeys can't turn out a work of Shakespeare they certainly won't turn out a meta-analysis.
Shani - on 05 Oct 2012
In reply to mkean:
> (In reply to Shani)
> A simple understanding of the different kinds of trials is appropriate for most of the population and would help them in discussion with their GP when assessing claims made by drug manufacturers.
>
> No it isn't. Knowing what a double blind placebo controled trial is does not enable you to make a value judgement of the outcomes.

I was thinking of a case where an "off-label" prescription might be made.

> Pharma companies are auditted dozens of times a year, auditors can ask to see anything they want. They have access to trial details and are totally at liberty to disect the data. Several pharma companies already publish all their trial data.

Simply not true to imply that data is not gated and controlled selectively by the pharmaceutical industry. There is good research available on the problem of publication bias.

> You seem unaware of both the lethal consequences of the current status quo and the scale of the problem.
>
> I'd really like to know what the 'problem' is. I'd take a list of current "lethally ineffective" drugs as a starter.

Paroxetine (an antidepressant) prescription in children is a case in point. Found to be ineffective with a side effect of increase risk of suicide. Glaxosmithcline new about this problem but sat on the evidence allowing a further 300000 prescriptions to be made to children in the UK alone.

> We are paying pharma millions for some drugs that are at best worthless and at worst harmful.

As above.

> More testing would be nice, but would require a method of reducing the unit cost of trials. As animal methods are increasingly proving inneffective we need to engage in a much greater program of human trials. The problem is that we can't afford it. More research to reduce subjectivity in trials would also be beneficial, but doesn't work with a lot of common conditions (depression being a good example).
>
> We've already got a healthcare system that we can't afford, as a result there is a limited scope for introducing larger and more complex safety nets into the system. I'm all for transparency but you can't solve everything by throwing lots of data into the public domain, if a million monkeys can't turn out a work of Shakespeare they certainly won't turn out a meta-analysis.

Saying "we can't afford it" exposes us to quackery and woo. It doesn't matter whether the claimed cure is coming from a new-age hippy or pharma - if it isn't evidence based then we should be skeptical about prescribing it. 'Throwing lots of data into the public domain' solves the problem in that appropriate organisations like Cochrane can peer review. This is the scientific method.
lowersharpnose - on 05 Oct 2012
In reply to zebidee:

Christ, that was grim to read. Thanks for posting it.
mkean - on 05 Oct 2012
In reply to Shani:
I think off label prescriptions are a bad idea, you introduce extra risk by short-cutting the regulatory process: If the manufacturers couldn't/wouldn't licence a drug for a given condition then why should we allow doctors to prescribe for it?


Simply not true to imply that data is not gated and controlled selectively by the pharmaceutical industry

You want to be able to make value judgements on drug efficacy yet you can't read a very simple sentence:

Pharma companies are auditted dozens of times a year, auditors can ask to see anything they want. They have access to trial details and are totally at liberty to disect the data. Several pharma companies already publish all their trial data.

Where did I say that data is not controlled? I pointed out that data is available, if you happen to be a regulator or licencing authority.

Paroxetine

Not actually that recent (although I'd grant you that the legal wranglings are). Antidepressants are a very difficult area and risk of suicide doubly so. The difficulty of designing a robust trial is one of the main reasons that pharma companies are cancelling development work on them at such a rate. No quantity of meta-analysis is going to sort this, it requires absolutely massive and extremely complicated trials which won't be commercially viable unless you can reduce the primary confounding factor; people. The outcome of a trial is more likely to be affected by the way the questions are phrased and the results of the cup final match than they are by the drug you give them.

Saying "we can't afford it" exposes us to quackery and woo.

Yes, unfortunately it is true.
Shani - on 07 Oct 2012
Shani - on 08 Oct 2012
Big Pharma and fines: http://www.propublica.org/special/big-pharmas-big-fines

"GlaxoSmith Kline agreed to pay a fine of $3 billion to resolve civil and criminal liabilities regarding its promotion of drugs, as well as its failure to report safety data. "


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