The Pill Problem

March 31st, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in adverts, bad science, medicalisation, nutritionists | 29 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday March 31, 2007
The Guardian

Direct to consumer drug adverts in America are a proper joy, and especially the TV ones: your life is in disarray, your restless legs/migraine/cholesterol have taken over, all is panic, there is no sense any where. Then, when you take the right pill, suddenly the screen brightens up into a warm yellow, granny’s laughing, the kids are laughing, the dog’s tail is wagging, some nauseating child is playing with the hose on the lawn spraying a rainbow of water into the sunshine and laughing his head off as all your relationships suddenly become successful again. Life is good.

They even have celebrity endorsements for drugs, on chat shows, conveying important treatment information on odds ratios and relative risk – if I can slip into 1990s teen slang for a moment – “not”. Read the rest of this entry »

I have nothing to declare but my cheekiness

May 20th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, dangers, electrosensitivity, medicalisation, patrick holford, powerwatch - alasdair philips, scare stories, very basic science | 121 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday May 20, 2006
The Guardian

I am routinely accused, in long and angry letters, of being in the pay of the pharmaceutical industry, the mobile phone industry, and the government. Needless to say I lap it up, and would never engage in similarly ad hominem attacks in return, since critiques of character and finance are a poor substitute for a sober analysis of the data.

Oh go on then.
Read the rest of this entry »

Factors that risk being left out of the equation

May 12th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, electrosensitivity, mail, medicalisation, scare stories, statistics, times | 173 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday May 13, 2006
The Guardian

“Electromagnetic fields stemming from gadgets such as kettles, computers and microwaves, contribute towards a cloud of unseen emissions – even when they are switched off.” It’s a sinister idea, and “Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity” is sweeping the nation, or at least the Independent and the Daily Mail last week. Symptoms include fatigue, tiredness, headaches, concentration difficulties, dizziness, nausea, heart palpitations, and digestive disturbances: and since these are real symptoms, causing genuine distress, the problem deserves to be considered seriously, and carefully. Read the rest of this entry »

Selling Sickness

April 15th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in alternative medicine, bad science, mail, medicalisation, nutritionists, patrick holford | 71 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday April 15, 2006
The Guardian

It’s not every day that you wake up to find that a favourite bête noir is making headline news, but this week, to my amazement, the media collectively decided to pick up on an obscure report and conference on “medicalisation” in Australia. “Drug companies are inventing diseases to sell more of their products, it has been claimed,” said the Daily Mail Read the rest of this entry »