Obvious quacks: the tip of a scary medical iceberg

February 26th, 2010 by Ben Goldacre in adverts, alternative medicine, bad science, big pharma, evidence, regulating research | 121 Comments »

Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, Saturday 27 February, 2010

After the Science and Technology committee report this week, and the jaw dropping stupidity of “we bring you both sides” in the media coverage afterwards, you are bored of homeopathy. So am I, but it gives a very simple window into the wider disasters in all of medicine. Read the rest of this entry »

By me in the BMJ: the dodginess of drug company trials

December 1st, 2009 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, big pharma, hiding data, regulating research, statistics, subgroup analysis, systematic reviews, trial registers | 73 Comments »

Here’s a piece by me in the British Medical Journal this week, published online already, and in the print edition this Friday. It’s a head to head with Vincent Lawton, who until recently was head of Merck in the UK. Briefly, I set out the quantitative evidence demonstrating the scale of the problem, and he says: “oh, we’ve fixed everything now, and anyway some academic trials are dodgy too, here’s one what I found”. That’s a paraphrase, you can read his response for free on the BMJ website here, since they’ve decided that this is an important issue which deserves open access. If you’ve got something really clever to say about these pieces then you might also want to comment in the “Rabid Response” section of the BMJ version of either article.

We were going to have a debate on the Today programme on Monday morning, and then tomorrow morning, but unfortunately it’s been ditched. If you work in mainstream media and would like to cover this issue I’m always keen, and amazingly easy to get hold of, ben@badscience.net. Although I realise that your idea of a meaningful critique of the crimes of big pharma is “chemotherapy hurt my grandma that’s why I love vitamin pills and hate teh vaxxines lol freedom”. Read the rest of this entry »

Oh, that was quick

November 21st, 2009 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, big pharma, regulating research | 61 Comments »

Ben Goldacre, Saturday 21 November 2009, The Guardian

Once your medicines regulator decides it should change the side effects warnings on the patient information of a drug taken by millions of people, how long do you think it would take for that change to be implemented?

Read the rest of this entry »

And now, nerd news

October 3rd, 2009 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, big pharma, hiding data, regulating research, systematic reviews, trial registers, vaccines | 34 Comments »

Ben Goldacre, Saturday 3 October 2009, The Guardian.

There are some very obvious problems that never seem to go away. Right now I can see 1,592 articles on Google News about one poor girl who died unexpectedly after receiving the cervical vaccine, and only 363 explaining that the post mortem found a massive and previously undiagnosed tumour in her chest. Meanwhile the Daily Mail this week continue their oncological ontology project with the magnificent headline: “Daily dose of housework could cut risk of breast cancer”.

Read the rest of this entry »

Pay to play?

February 14th, 2009 by Ben Goldacre in competing interests, MMR, regulating research | 46 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday February 14 2009
The Guardian

This column is about tainted medical research, not MMR. Now don’t get me wrong: it’s still an interesting week to be right about vaccines. On Sunday Read the rest of this entry »

Listen carefully, I shall say this only once

October 26th, 2008 by Ben Goldacre in academic publishing, badscience, big pharma, duplicate publication, regulating research | 16 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
The Guardian,
Saturday October 25 2008

Welcome to nerds’ corner, and yet another small print criticism of a trivial act of borderline dubiousness which will ultimately lead to distorted evidence, irrational decisions, and bad outcomes in what I like to call “the real world”.

So the ClinPsyc blog (clinpsyc.blogspot.com ) has spotted that the drug company Lilly have published identical data on duloxetine – a new-ish antidepressant drug – twice over, in two entirely separate scientific papers. Read the rest of this entry »

More crap journals?

October 4th, 2008 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, MMR, mondo academico, publication bias, regulating research, utter nonsense | 15 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
The Guardian
Saturday October 4 2008

Important and timely news from the Journal of Medical Hypotheses this week: ejaculating could be “a potential treatment of nasal congestion in mature males.” My reason for bothering you with this will become clear later. Read the rest of this entry »

Seriously. Is the Daily Mail any worse than your average academic journal?

September 20th, 2008 by Ben Goldacre in regulating research | 32 Comments »

As someone who is nerdishly fascinated by the systematic analysis of health risk data – check me out, ladies – I sometimes look at the health pages and try to work out what they’re supposed to do, what kind of information they offer, and for who.

This week, for example, you’ll have found: “Teenager helps his twin brother by donating a piece of his back“; “In pain? Take one Botticelli three times a day“; “Taking antibiotics to prevent premature birth can ‘increase risk’ of cerebral palsy“; Read the rest of this entry »

Pools of blood

May 10th, 2008 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, badscience, big pharma, regulating research, statistics | 11 Comments »

Note: The Guardian accidentally edited this column such that the last paragraph contained an untrue statement. I have emailed the readers editor for a correction.

Ben Goldacre
The Guardian,
Saturday May 10 2008

So basically I sit here with a big bag of standard tools from the world of evidence, and wait for stories to come along which allow me to deliver a 600 word lecture on them. Sit tight, this one’s slightly complicated. In America last week the papers went crazy: artificial blood products cause a 30% increase in deaths, and a 2.7-fold increase in heart attacks, according to a new meta-analysis in the Journal of the American Medical Association. There is, incidentally, a trial of these products still ongoing in the UK.

Read the rest of this entry »

Beau Funnel – updated with list of academic journals which actively encourage submission of negative results

March 8th, 2008 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, regulating research | 21 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
The Guardian,
Saturday March 8 2008

It was gratifying to see – after only a one-week delay – the government announcing that they would follow my suggestion on the comment pages last week, and demand that drug companies disclose all trial data, to make sure they’re not hiding anything. This has been pegged to the issue of undisclosed side-effects of antidepressants, because a drug company hiding side-effects is intuitively evil.

This is unfortunate because – as I have repeatedly argued – much more worrying is Read the rest of this entry »