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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 17494

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.

 

Publication type: Journal Article

Vitry A
Reporting of Studies on New Medicines in Major Medical Journals: A Case Study in Breast Cancer
Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics 2010; 87:(4):398–400
http://www.nature.com/clpt/journal/v87/n4/abs/clpt2009278a.html


Abstract:

A comparison of the results of pivotal trials on three new medicines for advanced breast cancer published in medical journals with those presented in the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviews showed that analyses reported in journals were of lower quality and were given a favorable interpretation by minimizing toxicity and ignoring methodological shortcomings. Several proposals to strengthen the quality of reporting of clinical trials in medical journals and to support reliable assessment of the therapeutic value of new medicines are discussed.

 

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Far too large a section of the treatment of disease is to-day controlled by the big manufacturing pharmacists, who have enslaved us in a plausible pseudo-science...
The blind faith which some men have in medicines illustrates too often the greatest of all human capacities - the capacity for self deception...
Some one will say, Is this all your science has to tell us? Is this the outcome of decades of good clinical work, of patient study of the disease, of anxious trial in such good faith of so many drugs? Give us back the childlike trust of the fathers in antimony and in the lancet rather than this cold nihilism. Not at all! Let us accept the truth, however unpleasant it may be, and with the death rate staring us in the face, let us not be deceived with vain fancies...
we need a stern, iconoclastic spirit which leads, not to nihilism, but to an active skepticism - not the passive skepticism, born of despair, but the active skepticism born of a knowledge that recognizes its limitations and knows full well that only in this attitude of mind can true progress be made.
- William Osler 1909