‘Evidence-Based Medicine’ and the Expulsion of Peter Gøtzsche


From Undark: “The seeming suddenness of his expulsion, and what critics view as its misguided pretext, has exposed rifts that go back decades: debates about the pharmaceutical industry’s influence on medicine and about the research community’s tolerance of dissent. More fundamentally, Gøtzsche’s expulsion has crystalized a longstanding debate about the proper role of data in the practice of medicine.

Whatever their differences, Cochrane and Gøtzsche are both vocal supporters of evidence-based medicine, a movement that developed nearly 30 years ago to emphasize the use of well-designed research in medical decision-making. The problem is that neither side, nor really anyone, can agree on exactly what evidence-based medicine ought to mean. Some critics have characterized Gøtzsche as a rigid intellectual who views assessing scientific data as a purely technical task that does not require the input of experts in a given field. Gøtzsche calls such characterizations unfair, arguing that he simply advocates — as everyone at Cochrane should — for the use of rigorous methodology and the elimination of bias in assessing the efficacy of treatments. And while the organization has built its reputation on providing trusted evidence, Gøtzsche now criticizes its methods, accusing Cochrane of bending to industry influence and overlooking important documentation of harms.”

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  1. I scanned through the Article and I still believe its “Deadly Medicines and Organized Crime”, but I might be prejudiced (I was disabled for several years by Psychiatric Drugs + I was nearly killed several times by Psychiatric Drugs + I made full Recovery, with the help of psychology, as a result of carefully stopping Psychiatric Drugs).

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    • It’s still not, old head, you know that. I agree, sam, great article. And in as much as I do know people for whom the antidepressants are helpful. As one who was misdiagnosed, and harmed, due to doctors being ignorant of the common adverse effects of that drug class. I will say, until the doctors are actually aware of the adverse effects of their drugs, and willing to admit to these adverse effects. I must agree more with Peter, than with Healey’s comment.

      “if you’re not constrained by the need to actually treat people” and don’t see that medications can be helpful, “then it’s easy to drift into thinking it would be best if we didn’t have them. And I think Peter has toppled a little bit too much over that way.”

      But until the doctors can admit to the adverse effects of their drugs, which to a large extent, they still don’t today. I have to agree with Peter, it may “be best if we didn’t have” the psychiatric drugs. The obvious problem is big Pharma is selling the benefits of their drugs to the doctors, while keeping their adverse effects largely hidden, especially in psychiatry.

      And, by the way, medicine was largely known as an art, not a science, 30 years ago. Which really is what medicine should still be considered today. A seemingly long ago forgotten, by our medical community, quote:

      “It is far more important to know what person the disease has than what disease the person has.”

      ― Hippocrates

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  2. yes oldhead, before that it was based on the same evidence as now.

    For every guy that ‘comes out’, a few patients are safer.

    Great article. Thanks Daniel Kolitz for that and MIA for the blog.
    1983 was a good year. Amazing when one has a choice to ignore,
    yet does not. Always makes me question “choice”.
    Perhaps Peter was raised to use that critical eye and it was more
    important for him to stay true to himself and in turn, true to the public.
    Medicine long ago forgot about the patients. I feel that eventually
    they themselves will not have a choice but to stand up and begin
    to show that people matter.

    It takes guts to disagree with majority.
    And often, that majority is more than aware of it’s harm.

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