Dianthus Medical Blog Archive

Clinical trial disclosure: myths and realities

I woke up this morning to news on BBC Radio 4's Today programme that a report by the Public Accounts Committee of the UK Parliament had found that only half of clinical trials are disclosed.

That's a statistic we've heard before. And as I've explained more than once before, it's not true. Nonetheless, zombie statistics are very hard to kill.

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The festive season is upon us, and no doubt many of us are looking forward to celebrating with a drink or two. I certainly am.

I thought, then, that this might be a suitable time to write a few words about Alcopal. According to its manufacturers, "Alcopal tablets guarantee to improve impairments caused by consuming alcohol".

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Are big pharma like the mafia?

I have recently read Peter Gøtzsche’s book, “Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How big pharma has corrupted healthcare”. It’s a rant about how the pharmaceutical industry are evil and a form of “organised crime”. No, I’m not exaggerating, he actually does say that.

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Good pharma

I recently had the privilege of being guest editor for an issue of Medical Writing, the journal of the European Medical Writers Association. It was a theme issue, with the theme being "good pharma".

There is a lot of talk about bad pharma these days, some of it justified, but much of it hyped up. After all, bashing the pharmaceutical industry is always a great way to sell books or newspapers. So we at EMWA thought it might be interesting to look at things from a different perspective.

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More zombie statistics

There is an oft-quoted figure that 50% of all clinical trials are never published. It's surprisingly popular for a figure that has no evidence, as I've written about before. And since I wrote that post, another study has been published showing disclosure rates of 89%.

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Sponsored dietary advice in the NHS

Someone I know has recently had an NHS health check. The results, I'm happy to say, were largely positive, but one exception was a finding of slightly raised cholesterol. This, it was suggested, could be managed by diet, and given the low overall cardiovascular risk, there was no need to prescribe statins.

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WDDTY and Tesco's corporate irresponsibility

I’ve written before about the magazine “What Doctors Don’t Tell You”, but just to refresh your memory, it is a dreadful pile of nonsense, carrying dangerously misleading health advice. It includes such gems as suggesting vitamin C can cure AIDS or that homeopathy can cure cancer. If you want to know more about just how outrageously irresponsible the magazine is, you might want to visit http://wwddtydty.com or look at Josephine Jones’s impressive list of links.

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More evidence of Burzynski's dishonesty

I've been following the story of Stanislaw Burzynski, fake cancer doctor and proven fraudster, for a couple of years now. Regular readers of this blog may recall that I've written about him on more than one occasion before. However, I've just spotted something new about the dodgy way in which he disseminates his research findings. I'm surprised I hadn't spotted this one before, but in case you haven't either, then I'm going to share it with you.

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DIA Clinical Forum, Dublin

We'll be exhibiting at the DIA Clinical Forum in Dublin on 8-9 October. If you're there, do come and say hello, won't you? We'll be on stand 5B.

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Polypill update

I wrote a few weeks ago about a website that was promoting an unlicensed medicine, the Polypill, and also about the serious conflict of interest of the doctors paid to prescribe it (yes, doctors who are openly paid to prescribe a specific pharmaceutical company's product: just think about that for a moment). I also recorded a piece about it for the Pod Delusion, along with the the wonderful @sparklewildfire, which you can listen to here if you're so inclined.

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