Dianthus Medical Blog Archive

Index of Medical ethics

Rules are for the little people

One of the most fundamental principles of the ethics of research involving human subjects is that of informed consent. This applies in clinical research and in social science research. If you are going to experiment on people, you need their permission first.

And note the word "informed" in the phrase "informed consent". It's not enough that someone ticks a box on a form: for consent to be ethical, it must be properly informed. The people giving consent to be experimented on must know exactly what they are letting themselves in for.

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I recently recorded a piece for the Pod Delusion on care.data. If you like listening to podcasts, then you can find it here. The Pod Delusion is well worth a listen: apart from my own occasional contributions, it also unfailingly has a great deal of other interesting material.

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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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The Polypill doctors' conflict of interest

I wrote yesterday about a website marketing an unlicensed medicine to the general public. I've had another thought about it since then, but first I would like to direct you to another excellent blogpost on the Polypill by Anthony Cox, an academic pharmacist who understands more about the legal implications of selling unlicensed medicines than I do. You should go and read it now. I'll wait.

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Bad Pharma review

I recently wrote a review of Ben Goldacre's book, Bad Pharma, for the European Medical Writers Association's journal. For the benefit of anyone who isn't an EMWA member and doesn't have access to the journal, here is my Bad Pharma review.

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A challenge to the Society of Homeopaths

Vaccination is much in the news at the moment, given that low vaccination rates a few years ago have now led to a serious measles outbreak in south Wales. This is serious. About 60 children have so far been hospitalised, and if the outbreak continues, then it is quite possible that someone will die.

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Ben Goldacre's Bad Pharma

Anyone who reads this blog is almost certainly familiar with Bad Pharma, the latest book by Ben Goldacre. I’d like to share some of my thoughts about this book.

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Derren Brown's Apocalypse

As regular readers of this blog will know, I take a keen interest in ethics: matters of informed consent, autonomy, privacy, and so on. My interest in such things was greatly piqued recently by a TV programme: Derren Brown's Apocalypse, which showed in 2 parts on Channel 4. If you missed it, you can watch part one here and part 2 here.

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Can ethics committees help tackle publication bias?

In my last blogpost, which was inspired by Ben Goldacre's latest book, Bad Pharma, I explained why I thought Goldacre was wrong about interim analyses. This blogpost is also inspired by the same book, but in the interests of balance, I'm going to talk about another area where I think Goldacre was absolutely right (this may not be my last post based on the book: watch this space).

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