You can’t even trust Lucozade and that matters

Did you register the huge 3 billion dollar fine recently slapped on GlaxoSmithKline, Britain’s biggest drug company and manufacturer of Lucozade ? And if so, did you briefly wonder whether it was enough? After all, hiding data that your product can kill people and making unsupported claims about safety would normally be enough to put […]

Why I feel sorry for Bob Diamond

Bob Diamond’s air of injured innocence when his bank was found with, not just both hands in the till but feet, nose and a giant hoover as well, has been greeted with a mix of incredulity and fury. But it seems to me that he certainly has the right to be feeling “it’s not fair”. […]

Do anecdotes of side-effects count as evidence?

I can sympathise with the frustration felt by Professor Edzard Ernst, dedicated promoter of the  principles of evidence based medicine, when faced with under-reporting of side-effects. But I’m surprised at his readiness to abandon them when going into print. His latest attack on Chiropractic just doesn’t follow the rules of evidence based medicine, at least […]

Doctors need not fear credibility gap

Clinical trials paid for by drug companies are widely seen as being untrustworthy because of the hiding of data, spinning of results and all the other dark arts described in books such as Pharmageddon. So much so, that there is now something of a PR offensive underway to reassure everyone that all is well. But […]

Trial data unreliable and uninformative

When your doctor diagnoses a problem and recommends one or more drugs that advice is based on guidelines, which in turn depend on results from randomised clinical trials. This, in theory,  ensures that your treatment will be safe and effective. Unfortunately several studies just published suggest that the evidence can be far from watertight. One […]

Tamiflu: evidence-free yet we spent millions on it

Following up on the article in the Mail today about Pharmageddon – a book that  details the way companies hide inconvenient data to the detriment of patients – I was struck by how the Tamiflu saga was a perfect example of what the author Professor David Healy was talking about. It also raises the issue of […]

Pharmageddon: how distortion and cover up happens

The most detailed and passionate statement of what has gone wrong with evidence based medicine and how it is damaging patients can be found in a new book called Pharmageddon by psychiatrist and campaigner Professor David Healy  (published by the University of California Press, £27.95).  I wrote a summary of the book with David Healy, […]

Article: Watchdog ignored drugs risks for years

This article was published in the Daily Mail on 7th July 2008. [Daily Mail Permalink] It’s about how drug companies regularly conceal evidence of drug dangers and how the drug watch dog – the MHRA – seems unable to take any effective steps to regulate this behaviour. Drugs involved include heavyweight tranquillisers called antipsychotics, SSRI antidepressants the anti-inflammatory Vioxx and […]

Article: Vioxx: How patients and doctors were deceived

This is a draft of an article published in the Times in  February 2005 [Unable to find it online] It was written shortly after the anti-inflammatory drug Vioxx had been withdrawn because it raised the risk of heart disease. After its withdrawal it became clear that the company had gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal the […]