It’s not uncommon to turn on the mainstream media and hear the results of a new health study or miracle cure. Whether it’s the hot new weight loss pill or “groundbreaking research” in the cure for diabetes, there’s a good chance that your ears perk up when you hear such positive words about the ailments that consume us. However, how many times have you questioned the veracity of those statements? Have you ever asked what is behind these dubious cure-all claims?
In Ben Goldacre’s new book, Bad Pharma: How drug companies mislead doctors and harm patients, he presents an interesting exposé into how drug manufacturers selectively choose information from research studies. It goes without question – we rely on our doctor’s advice to get treatment for what ails us. What the doctor has been advised, however, is a little less clear. But drugs have been tested by the FDA, right?
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. Unsurprisingly, these trials tend to produce results that favour the manufacturer. When trials throw up results that companies don’t like, they are perfectly entitled to hide them from doctors and patients, so we only ever see a distorted picture of any drug’s true effects.
At the io9 source link below, they’ve done a great job of breaking down information in Ben’s new book. Head over there, give it a read and check out all of the linked articles. It sparked something in me, and unfortunately, it can’t be cured with a pill.