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 »

Health Select Committee call on NICE, GMC, pharma industry to address missing data

January 16th, 2013 by Ben Goldacre in bad science | 4 Comments »

Excellent to see the UK House Of Commons Health Select Committee making such a clear statement about the ongoing problem of missing trial results, which the ABPI have laughably claimed is “historic“.

They call upon NICE, the GMC and the pharmaceutical industry to address the problem, and they also take a very strong clear position: that withholding the results of clinical trials should be neither legal nor ethical.   Read the rest of this entry »

Matthias Rath – steal this chapter

April 9th, 2009 by Ben Goldacre in africa, alternative medicine, bad science, BANT, book, death, matthias rath, nutritionists | 129 Comments »

imageThis is the “missing chapter” about vitamin pill salesman Matthias Rath. Sadly I was unable to write about him at the time that book was initially published, as he was suing my ass in the High Court. The chapter is now available in the new paperback edition, and I’ve posted it here for free so that nobody loses out.

Although the publishers make a slightly melodramatic fuss about this in the promo material, it is a very serious story about the dangers of pseudoscience, as I hope you’ll see, and it was also a pretty unpleasant episode, not just for me, but also for the many other people he’s tried to sue, including Medecins Sans Frontieres and more. If you’re ever looking for a warning sign that you’re on the wrong side of an argument, suing Medecins Sans Frontieres is probably a pretty good clue.

Anyway, here it is, please steal it, print it, repost it, whatever, it’s free under a Creative Commons license, details at the end. If you prefer it is available as a PDF here, or as a word document here. Happy Easter!

Read the rest of this entry »

Self-indulgent retrospective – 2007

December 28th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science | 22 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
The Guardian,
Saturday December 29 2007

Nobody listens to a word I say: I’ve been saying it for so long now that I think I’d be sorry if they did. Scaremongering season kicked off with the Panorama WiFi special. Among its many crimes against sense, this program featured “independent testing” by – oh, hang on – a campaigner against WiFi, who also sells his own brand of special protective equipment to those frightened about WiFi. The BBC have since upheld complaints. Immediately after the show was broadcast, the Independent were promoting elaborate quack devices to protect against WiFi: these will take off in 2008. Read the rest of this entry »

BBC Editorial Complaints Unit debags the Panorama WiFi scare

November 30th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, bbc, electrosensitivity | 16 Comments »

You will remember Panorama’s WiFi program very clearly. Even the children in the school where they tried to film it spotted the problems with their methodology, and they were promptly booted out by a science teacher. I for one found those two little details truly mood enhancing, and you can read the full story here – because here is where you read it first (all the various entries related to the show are listed here). Read the rest of this entry »

Archive piece – Medical research threatened by patient consent

June 6th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, regulating research | 7 Comments »

I was reminded of this article during a conversation with Julian Peto here last night: it’s a golden gasser from yesteryear, a piece I wrote for the Guardian in 2001. It originally appeared with the wrong surname, so you’ll just have to trust that it really was me what wrote it.

At the bottom, I’ve pasted an article on a similar subject by Peto that he sent me this morning. If it’s a subject that interests you then it’s worth following the link to the BMJ page (assuming you can access) and following up the related stories and also the Rabid Responses, as they are, er, known on the street. Read the rest of this entry »

You And Yours – An all time low in consumer reporting

May 4th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, bbc, cosmetics | 11 Comments »

You and Yours has just broadcast one of the weakest pieces of journalism I have heard in a very long time. The Boots No7 face cream has precipitated a mass stampede of wrinkly ladies since it was endorsed by BBC Horizon: it is, people say, the only “scientifically proven” cream.

The reaction of You and Yours to this?

A hysterical witch hunt about the fact that Boots paid for the research. Read the rest of this entry »

Pushing The Habit

March 17th, 2007 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, fish oil | 31 Comments »

Ben Goldacre
Saturday March 17, 2007
The Guardian

In the pharmaceutical industry there are people called “drug reps“, who travel around doctors trying to “educate” them about their products. They actively foster an ignorance of scientific methodology, and much of what you get taught in medical school is about how to spot their complex fluffs. Luckily, when pill peddlers market directly at consumers, the fluffs are much simpler. Read the rest of this entry »

You vexatious TROUBLEMAKERS!

November 29th, 2006 by Ben Goldacre in bad science, equazen, fish oil | 43 Comments »

Hahahaha, well the struggle to get meaningful scientific information out of Madeleine Portwood et al in Durham regarding her famous positive fish oil “trials” continues. To me this is very simple. They talk about positive trial data, at length, for a long time, in the media. We want to see it. Portwood is eager to go on telly and talk about her positive findings to journalists, but the information behind the claims is somehow less forthcoming.

Pasted below is the rejection that a couple of hundred of you have had. Read the rest of this entry »

Taking transparency beyond results: ethics committees must work in the open

September 23rd, 2016 by Ben Goldacre in bad science | 2 Comments »

Here’s a useful paper we’ve just published in the BMJ, documenting problems in transparency around approval processes for randomised trials. There’s a basic rule in clinical research: you’re only supposed to do a trial comparing two treatments when you really don’t know which one is best, otherwise you’d be knowingly randomising half your participants to an inferior treatment. Despite this, it’s already known that trials are sometimes conducted where one group get a substandard treatment.

We wanted to find out how ethics committees come to approve such trials. Read the rest of this entry »