New BMJ editorial: “How Medicine is Broken, and How We Can Fix It”

June 23rd, 2015 by Ben Goldacre in bad science | 1 Comment »

Screenshot 2015-06-23 16.51.17There are some big problems in medicine, and the public are right to be concerned about our shortcomings. Last week we found out that the Chief Medical Officer has written to the Academy of Medical Sciences, asking for an authoritative review into problems in the evidence we use to choose treatments, focusing especially on concerns around statins and tamiflu.

Will the Academy’s review be a whitewash? We hope not. But we are concerned that they may suffer from a lack of vision, and ambition, in trying to fix the problems in medicine.

So here is our call to arms, in a BMJ editorial. Like everything, I hope it is accessible to a general audience as well as doctors and researchers, because we need everyone’s help to fix these problems. We demonstrably cannot move forward on our own, because we have not.

And now, in whispering tones: this list of fixes is taken from a longer list in the last chapter of my super secret new book on statins, out in six months, which I am “not yet talking about” in public (you heard it here first). In that book I set out the evidence on statins, what we know, what we don’t know, and how we can get better data. Then, I set out a Better Medicine Manifesto: clear, deliverable fixes, that will make medicine better, to a soft metal soundtrack.

This link will get you free access to the BMJ piece:



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One Response

  1. Arnold Lopez said,

    October 18, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    What’s amazing is it’s not just medicine (the treatment of disease) that’s messed up. Public health (at least in the US) is driven by inaccurate studies that actually INCREASE the incidence of disease.

    For example there are studies showing the vitamin d given in sufficient doses to babies prevents type 2 diabetes, the current recommendations are woefully insufficient. At the same time there’s a huge increase in childhood diabetes. Yet the recommendations are complete avoidance of sun exposure, and the recommendations for vitamin d intake are less than half of what’s really needed for vitamin d sufficieny.

    Same thing with vitamin a. Studies show only beta carotene is needed and vitamin a is harmful. Yet there’s ever increasing ocular disorders, and new studies have actually shown that most people to convert beta carotene to vitamin a effectively!

    It’s the same with the salt studies, saturated fat studies, and even iodine studies!