Friday, February 13, 2015

Whom Do You Trust: More, More, and More!

This time, it's not just herbal supplements, but actual medications that are prescribed by doctors after having been "proven" in clinical trials to be efficacious and not deleterious.

What a laugh! --- Unless you find out it's a drug you've been taking.

And who's to blame? Not just greedy manufacturers, not just unethical researchers, but the Food and Drug Administration, whose mandate is to protect us.

Charles Seife writes:
When the FDA finds scientific fraud or misconduct, the agency doesn’t notify the public, the medical establishment, or even the scientific community that the results of a medical experiment are not to be trusted. On the contrary. For more than a decade, the FDA has shown a pattern of burying the details of misconduct. As a result, nobody ever finds out which data is bogus, which experiments are tainted, and which drugs might be on the market under false pretenses. The FDA has repeatedly hidden evidence of scientific fraud not just from the public, but also from its most trusted scientific advisers, even as they were deciding whether or not a new drug should be allowed on the market. Even a congressional panel investigating a case of fraud regarding a dangerous drug couldn't get forthright answers. For an agency devoted to protecting the public from bogus medical science, the FDA seems to be spending an awful lot of effort protecting the perpetrators of bogus science from the public.

I'm sure more will be coming to our attention about this. Meanwhile, I'll tell you what: I don't take herbal supplements any more, and I have already, on several occasions, declined to take medicines my well-intentioned doctor has  prescribed for me. Even though she makes a point of writing in my chart, "Declines treatment," just covering her own rear end, of course. While I cover mine.

Because even if the drugs she has prescribed for me haven't been exposed in the way the ones mentioned in this article have been, here's the thing: I have read the research that has been reported on them, and I know enough about reading research articles and interpreting statistics to recognize when a prescription isn't really necessary. And I'm just waiting until those same medicines will be found out by researchers like Seife to have even more problems than we suspect now.

And, yes, I'm writing about this now because I have a lot more to say about this whole issue: science, research and researchers, and statistics.

(Because, as Mark Twain so famously said, quoting Benjamin Disraeli: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.")

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