evidence based medicine

Drug killing 10,000 in UK every year. How could you tell?

3 by / on 12 Feb 2014, / in evidence based medicine

Last week an email containing what looked like a great story arrived in my inbox – drug kills 800,000 in Europe in 5 years! A quick check revealed that that this was no wild or dodgy claim. It was based on research by a cardiologist at Imperial College Professor Darryl Francis, just published in the European Heart Journal.(Read more…)

Science and the great biomedical lottery

6 by / on 22 Jan 2014, / in evidence based medicine

Unfortunately for the rest of us today’s medical research is not driven by an abstract search for objective truth but by the need to produce a product. Unless there is a drug at the end of promising new line of research it’s unlikely to attract funding from the biggest payers – the drug companies. Instead it will be parked with the comment that it needs more research, the funding for which will be virtually impossible to obtain, however effective it is. (Read more…)

Companies claim drugs’ side effects are commercial secrets

1 by / on 7 Jan 2014, / in evidence based medicine

One of the comforting myths about the powerful drugs used in modern medicine is that they are prescribed on the basis of good scientific evidence. Proper randomised clinical trials, we are regularly assured, compare them with a placebo and the results can tell us which are safe and effective.
However this is an illusion. For nearly thirty years drug experts have known that there was a major flaw in this assumption, which doctors and the agencies set up to regulate drugs have chosen largely to ignore. (Read more…)

How the British Heart Foundation chose to ignore clear evidence of the dangers of stanols for cholesterol lowering

6 by / on 4 Oct 2013, / in evidence based medicine

Last month, I wrote a blog post about how there was no evidence that cholesterol-lowering ‘stanols’ and ‘sterols’ (found in some margarines and other ‘functional foods’) have benefits for health. In fact, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) whose job it is to assess the effectiveness of treatments, have explicitly stated: “People should not routinely be recommended to take plant sterols and stanols for the primary prevention of [cardiovascular disease].”

Bad Medicine: Diabetic Medication

10 by / on 3 Oct 2013, / in evidence based medicine, low carb diet

Type 2 diabetes is a modern plague largely brought on by lifestyle and is considered a progressive, non-reversible condition. The polypharmacy of chronic disease is the drug industry’s lottery win, and no more so than in diabetes, with new drugs and the increasing use of analogue insulin in type 2 diabetes worth tens of billions of pounds worldwide.

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