“Evidence based medicine” should, surely, mean all drugs have been rigorously tested. But after 20 years as a health journalist I’m still shocked at how evidence for harm can be hidden and evidence for benefit boosted.
We are all being encouraged to take more responsibility for our own health and many of us would like to use non-drug treatments and life-style changes as well. But gathering evidence that it works is more complicated. Even when it is there it can be ignored.
This is the place to check for cases where the evidence is lacking or has been fudged and to discuss what needs to be done to make it better.
July 22, 2014
Another five or six million people will be offered a prescription for statins after NICE confirmed its decision last week to halve the risk of heart disease that makes you eligible for these cholesterol lowering drugs. This is a bad decision if you think that the only consideration was the welfare of patients. If you […]
July 7, 2014
Is putting all our eggs in the drug basket really the best way to beat Alzheimer’s? Just as we can’t rely on drug companies alone to beat antibiotic resistance, so we can’t rely on a pharmaceutical silver bullet for Alzheimer’s. Tackling antibiotic resistance needs heavy investment in drugs that will be used sparingly for a […]
June 15, 2014
Following a second article in the Guardian yesterday devoted to statin supremo Sir Rory Collins, his anger at his critics and impatience with the way the British Medical Journal is shilly-shallying around over getting their incorrect and damaging articles withdrawn, it seemed appropriate to issue a primer to bring non-statin specialists up to speed on […]
June 13, 2014
Something remarkable happened earlier this week. Open warfare broke out between senior doctors over the benefits of a major government health policy. To prescribe or not to prescribe yet more statins to healthy people? That was the question. Details of the open letter to the head of NICE (the health value-for-money body) challenging its proposal […]
May 20, 2014
Over the years I have found the ability of the Atlantic to have dulling effect on the sensibilities of doctors and the media remarkable. It’s a phenomenon that only affects prescription drugs.While we in the UK eagerly follow every twist and turn in American cultural life, illegal pharmaceutical activities that may have serious implications for […]