Medicines can kill, but sometimes they don’t work. All medicine is tested, but often the RESULTS of these tests are kept secret from the doctors who prescribe them–the people who need to know the most.
In the case of one antidepressant, trials had been conducted comparing it to a placebo. Only one, conducted with 254 patients, had a neat, positive result, and THAT ONE was published in an academic journal, for doctors and researchers to read. But six more trials were conducted, in almost 10 times as many patient, and all of them showed that the drug was no better than a sugar pill. None of these trials were published, and physicians had no idea they even existed. Then this unpublished data was found, and it showed that patients on the drug did WORSE than those on other drugs.
Psychological counseling can help depression, but sometimes more help is needed (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to these shows). In the September 21st edition of the Guardian, Ben Goldacre talked about his personal experience with such drugs, some of which have millions of prescriptions written for them every year. He writes, "As a doctor (in prescribing this medicine), I did something that, on the balance of all the evidence, harmed my patient, simply because unflattering data was left unpublished.
"Drugs are tested by the people who manufacture them, in poorly designed trials, on hopelessly small numbers of weird, unrepresentative patients, and analyzed using techniques that are flawed by design, in such a way that they exaggerate the benefits of treatments. Unsurprisingly, these trials tend to produce results that favor the manufacturer."
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