Why – and how – I wrote Bad Pharma

October 8th, 2013 by Ben Goldacre in bad science | 19 Comments »

This is my piece for Waterstones Book Club, where I was asked to write about why – and how – I wrote Bad Pharma. The full book club caboodle is here, and you can buy the book here.

Here it is… Read the rest of this entry »

I totally just walked past a tube advert for my book.

October 3rd, 2013 by Ben Goldacre in bad science | 3 Comments »

You might not find this as weird as I do, but I totally just walked past a tube advert for my book. SO: there’s a lovely new edition of Bad Pharma out this month, with a spanking extra chapter about all the bad things that naughty people like the ABPI and EFPIA have done in campaigning against trials transparency, and all the good things that lovely people like the BMA and EMA have done to advance the cause of patient safety. More to come on all this, but until then: here’s an unnecessary animated gif of me tooling around, via a baffled tourist on the platform.

20130923_200935-MOTION

New super cheap edition of Bad Pharma, with extra chapter, and: Waterstones Book Club!

October 3rd, 2013 by Ben Goldacre in alltrials campaign, badpharma, book | 5 Comments »

newbook

RIGHT. Sorry to be absent, I’m back from outer space.

NOW. There’s a new cheap edition of Bad Pharma out this month, with a new and very long extra chapter on everything that’s happened since the first edition came out. There are goodies and baddies galore, I’ll be writing about it all over the next few weeks, but if you’re impatient, there’s lots on the AllTrials website already.

Before that, Bad Pharma is Waterstones Book Club “Book of the Week“. This means it’s discounted, and out on the tables in Waterstones. More importantly, there’s a podcast discussion, and a book club reading guide. These are often great fun, and it’s worth checking out some of the others: they give suggested discussion points, this one has a piece by me on why I wrote the book, and how medical leaders have failed to address the problem of missing trials.

They also asked me to write about how I write, so there’s a splurge at the end about the huge synchronising data monster I’ve built to hoover up and organise knowledge. Your mileage, as they say, may vary.

The reading guide is here:

www.waterstones.com/wat/images/special/pdf/9780007498086_reading_guide.pdf

You can buy the new super cheap edition of Bad Pharma here:

www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/ben+goldacre/bad+pharma/9640023/

There’s a Waterstones book club podcast on Bad Pharma here:

blog.waterstones.com/2013/09/book-club-bad-pharma/

And as always: remember to sign up to www.alltrials.net, our campaign to stop clinical trial results being withheld from doctors, patients and researchers. We cannot make informed decisions about which treatment is best, as long as this information is being casually withheld. History shows that quiet backroom activity has failed to fix the problem: loud, public scrutiny is the only hope we have, and that means you.

Onward!

Head-to-Head with PhRMA on transparency in the BMJ

July 12th, 2013 by Ben Goldacre in alltrials campaign, bad science, publication bias | 2 Comments »

This week in the BMJ there’s a head-to-head on trials transparency between me and PhRMA, the pharmaceutical industry representative body in the US. My article is here, PhRMA’s is here, both articles are open access for one week (since it was press released, them’s the rules at the BMJ…) but mine is open access forever, I think, on this link.

The article from PhRMA is remarkable. Firstly, they imply that people like me, who call for all trial results to be reported, also somehow call for the reckless disclosure of individual patients’ electronic health records online. This is untrue.

More disturbing is PhRMA’s suggestion that the problem has already been fixed. For example, John Castellani says that “information on clinical trials for potential new medicines is already required by US law to be posted on ClinicalTrials.gov“. As I explain in my piece, the best available published evidence on compliance with this law comes from Prayle et al, BMJ 2012: in reality, the legislation here has been very widely ignored.

We need to fix the problem of withheld results. Doctors (and patients, and researchers, and payers, and the public) need access to all the results, of all the trials, on all the uses, of all the treatments currently being prescribed, in order to make informed decisions about which is best.

More in the articles, and for even more on why this matters for patient care, I recommend the first chapter of Bad Pharma.

Enjoy!

www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f1881

www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f1880?ijkey=KJaN2gQyuYf46yS&keytype=ref

 

Discussing AllTrials on the BBC Daily Politics today

June 19th, 2013 by Ben Goldacre in alltrials campaign, publication bias | 4 Comments »

I’m on the BBC2 show Daily Politics today at 12:40pm with Grant Shapps and Andy Burnham, discussing the alltrials.net campaign, and the problem of trial results being withheld from doctors, researchers, and patients. Here’s a brief film they made on the subject. Read the rest of this entry »

Here’s me and Fiona Godlee (BMJ) giving evidence to Public Accounts Committee on withheld Tamiflu trials

June 18th, 2013 by Ben Goldacre in alltrials campaign, publication bias, tamiflu | 5 Comments »

In December last year a group of MPs including Sarah Wollaston, David Davis, Julian Huppert and Adam Afriyie wrote to Margaret Hodge, chair of the Public Accounts Committee, asking for an inquiry into Tamiflu. Specifically, they asked about the way that vitally important information on clinical trials around Tamiflu have been withheld from doctors and researchers. That signatory list – I’m thinking of Afriyie, Huppert, and Wollaston in particular – is an important reminder that we benefit from having people in parliament with professional experience of medicine and science. Read the rest of this entry »

Badger badger badger badger CULL badger badger badger TRIAL

June 1st, 2013 by Ben Goldacre in bad science | 13 Comments »

Reading about the badger cull today, I noticed this column – on the evidence for badger culls – never got posted. Here it is!

Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, Saturday 23 July 2011

Squabbles between farmers and animal rights’ protesters bore me senseless. This week, environment secretary Caroline Spelman announced that the scientific evidence supports her new policy of farmers killingbadgers to prevent bovine TB. It’s an overstatement, but more importantly, this story walks through several important issues in science. Read the rest of this entry »

Why is Imperial College permitting Westminster public school to sell an internship?

May 14th, 2013 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, just a blog | 11 Comments »

This is very odd indeed. Westminster, one of the most expensive public schools in the UK, is holding a fund-raising auction. In this auction, you can buy an internship at Imperial College’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering, on the promise that this will look great on your CV. Read the rest of this entry »

Shame on you, Sylvia Browne, for telling Amanda Berry’s mother her daughter was dead.

May 7th, 2013 by Ben Goldacre in just a blog | 13 Comments »

The story of Amanda Berry’s rescue in Cleveland – after ten years in captivity – is extraordinary. In 2004, popular psychic Sylvia Brown told Amanda’s mother that her little girl was dead. Here is a contemporaneous account of that show. Read the rest of this entry »

My evidence to the Science and Tech Select Committee inquiry on missing trial data

April 26th, 2013 by Ben Goldacre in alltrials campaign, bad science, big pharma | 6 Comments »

The UK House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee are currently looking at the problem of clinical trial results being withheld from doctors and patients (partly, the committee says, in response to Bad Pharma, which is heartening). A clear, thoughtful report and policy recommendations from this committee could be an important step towards fixing these problems.

I gave oral evidence this week on a panel with Roche, GSK, and the ABPI (who have previously tried to pretend that all the issues in Bad Pharma were “historic” and “long addressed”). I’ve posted the video below, and I’ve posted my written evidence underneath that. First is my submission addressing the specific questions posed by the Committee, and then my appendix, giving background on the problem of withheld trial results. Read the rest of this entry »