You know a lot more about statistics than I do, …

Comment on My review of Bad Pharma by Ben Goldacre by Sarah Best.

You know a lot more about statistics than I do, but in terms of clinical trials and how high the bar is set in order for a drug to be approved, let me tell you, after reading this book, that it is nowhere near as high as most people would assume it is.

You would think, wouldn’t you, that in order to be approved, a drug would have to be shown to give benefits that outweigh side effects in the majority of patients?

In reality, a drug only has to be shown to be better than a current treatment, or better than a placebo. What this means in practice is that many drugs are approved and licensed on the basis that they performed better than an existing drug that’s not very good, or better than a sugar pill. When you realise how low the bar actually is, it is a joke – or would be if it wasn’t so dangerous.

Sarah Best Also Commented

My review of Bad Pharma by Ben Goldacre
Thank you, Rambleale. You put that better than I could have.

The only part I would contest is “Trials often report benefits to lower than 95% of test subjects”. Unless I am mistaken, trials always report benefits to fewer than 95% of test subjects – though if anyone can prove me wrong on that, I will stand corrected.

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