Questions in Parliament, and a briefing note on missing trials: updated.

October 23rd, 2012 by Ben Goldacre in big pharma, hiding data, publication bias | 4 Comments »

This morning at 11:30, Dr Sarah Wollaston MP will ask questions in parliament about the ongoing scandal of missing trial data. This is widely recognised as a problem by academics and doctors, but governments, regulators, and journalists have neglected the problem, while industry simply denies it. Watch the questions live here or watch it later here.

As an example, we spent £500m stockpiling Tamiflu in the UK, but the company Roche are still withholding vitally important information about the trials on whether it works from Cochrane, the international academic collaboration who make gold standard reviews of evidence for doctors, patients, and governments.

Apparently this morning the Department of Health issued a statement to the Today Programme stating that all data from all trials on all drugs is already available by law. This is not true: but there may have been a communication problem, I am hoping to obtain a copy of this statement, and if you have one, please send it to

Here are two articles from the Times today, on this issue. The first is a comment piece (by me). The second is a news piece about the growing number of doctors and academics speaking out on this issue, including editors of major journals, founders and directors of Cochrane, senior medics and academics, etc.  Read the rest of this entry »

Great article in Trials, on why regulators should stop withholding trial info from doctors and patients

October 18th, 2012 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, big pharma | 5 Comments »

One thing in Bad Pharma has shocked readers more than anything else: the way that vitally important information about trials is withheld from doctors and patients, not just by drug companies, but also by government bodies such NICE and the European Medicines Agency (the body that approves and regulates medicines for the UK).

Read the rest of this entry »

I did a new talk at TED, on drug companies and hidden data.

September 28th, 2012 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, big pharma, onanism, podcast, publication bias | 10 Comments »

I did a new talk at TED about drug companies hiding the results of clinical trials, it went up today. This is a huge, ongoing problem, and it results in patients suffering and dying unnecessarily. So I’m really pleased that TED were able to give the story a platform. Video after the click:  Read the rest of this entry »

Asking the wrong question: how crap research gets drugs to market

May 7th, 2011 by Ben Goldacre in big pharma, numerical context | 26 Comments »

Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, Saturday 7 May 2011

Some of the biggest problems in medicine don’t get written about, because they’re not about eyecatching things like one patient’s valiant struggle: they’re protected from public scrutiny by a wall of tediousness.

Here is one problem that affects millions of people. What if we had rubbish evidence on whether hundreds of common treatments really work, simply because nobody asked the right research question? A paper published this week looks at how much evidence there was for every one of the new drugs approved by the FDA between 2000 and 2010, at the time they were approved. Read the rest of this entry »

EudraCT, the clinical trials transparency tool held in secret

March 5th, 2011 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, big pharma, conflict of interest, publication bias | 17 Comments »

Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, Saturday 5 March 2011

The European Medicines Agency now regulate the pharmaceutical industry throughout the whole of Europe. In December 2010 Thomas Lonngren stepped down as their executive director. On the 28th of that month he sent a letter telling the EMA management board that he was going to start working as a private consultant to the pharmaceutical industry, in three days time, on 1 January 2011.
Read the rest of this entry »

A quick fix would stop drug firms bending the truth

February 26th, 2008 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, big pharma, hiding data, regulating research, systematic reviews | 44 Comments »

It’s not just about Prozac. Our failure to properly regulate testing in the pharmaceutical industry has devastating costs

Ben Goldacre
The Guardian,
Wednesday February 27 2008

Yesterday the journal PLoS Medicine published a study which combined the results of 47 trials on some antidepressant drugs, including Prozac, and found only minimal benefits over placebo, except for the most depressed patients. It has been misreported as a definitive nail in the coffin: this is not true. It was a restricted analysis [see below] but, more importantly, on the question of antidepressants, it added very little. We already knew that SSRIs give only a modest benefit in mild and moderate depression and, indeed, for some time now, the NICE guidelines themselves have actively advised against using them in milder cases since Read the rest of this entry »

More worse trials…

August 11th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science | 23 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
The Guardian
Saturday August 11 2007

Last week Alan Johnson unveiled his new plan of forcing Big Pharma to accept less money for the drugs we buy off them. The major pharmaceutical companies have now responded to this financial threat – very much in the style of right wing comedian Jim Davidson – by threatening to leave the country. It’s a compelling response: Big Pharma only get 2% of their revenue from UK sales, but they spend 10% of their research budget here. Read the rest of this entry »

Blame the drug companies… and yourself…

April 14th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, references, regulating research | 19 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday April 14, 2007
The Guardian

[oh, I love the subs, but there was a slightly bonkers headline in the paper today on this column, as sometimes happens… this is why I don’t mock people for what’s written by someone else in their headlines…]

So here’s an interesting question. Lots of us wander around quite happily with a “dolphins good, drug companies bad” morality in our heads; and this is entirely reasonable, they are quite bad. But how easy is it to show that drug companies kludge their results, and to explain what they’ve done to a lay audience?

On an individual level, it is sometimes quite hard to show that one trial has been deliberately rigged to give the right answer Read the rest of this entry »

Evidence to House of Commons Sci Tech Select Committee on Research Integrity

December 5th, 2017 by Ben Goldacre in alltrials campaign, publication bias | No Comments »

Sorry not to be in regular blogging mode at the moment. Here’s a video of our evidence session to parliament, where they are running an inquiry into research integrity. I think clinical trials are the best possible way to approach this issue. Lots of things in “research integrity” are hard to capture in hard logical rules,  so you end up with waffly “concordats” and rules that are applied inconsistently. With clinical trials you can make clear rules, you can measure compliance, and you can enforce compliance. There is lots of chat about this in the video below from 17:37 with me, Simon Read the rest of this entry »

FREE! Here is the new “What Happened Next?” update chapter from Bad Pharma 2013

December 19th, 2013 by Ben Goldacre in bad science | 1 Comment »

20130923_200935-MOTIONHere is the extra update chapter from the new 2013 paperback edition of Bad Pharma. It’s a fun romp through the changes that have happened over the past year or so, starring the many ethical professionals in pharma and medicine who have tried to push things forward, and some very shameful denialism from people in positions of “leadership”. There are some very interesting imperfections in medicine, they cost lives, and they can all be easily fixed, where there is common sense and good-will.

It’s all much more fun if you’ve read the book itself. As always, if you like what I do, and want me to do more: buy my books and give them to your friends. Apart from anything else, it scares the enemy. You can find Bad Pharma here on…

… Amazon ……….

…….. Waterstones ……

……………… or Hive.

So, here Read the rest of this entry »