Sense about Science: First Admit No Harm

June, 9, 2014 | 11 Comments


  1. Thank you for a very insightful article. Sadly, one that had to be written at all. You’ve answered my last question better than the non-answer from Dr. Goldacre. It isn’t about protecting my personal information at all.

    Your take on the Hippocratic Oath reminds of one my comment on your previous article and I still wonder why doctors do not pay attention to what they see. I am sure there are many reasons, but the one scares me the most may be the reason that I have always admired them. It is their drive to heal patients. But how does that go from one of the highest callings to an obsession in some of them where they can’t admit they may have hurt them.

    • I n my own mind I think I see now the conflict Doctors have – a revelation to me brought about by my own experience of adverse side effects from drugs that were healing me for what they were prescribed for but gave me something else far more damaging. Doctors find it difficult to accept they may have harmed you because of the regards they pay to the pharmaceutical industry who seem to try to have the upper hand in what they do – but forget surely that a Doctors first priority should ALWAYS be the patients’ health and not what damage may be caused to a pharmaceutical company’s marketing power.

  2. I always wondered how Cochrane could produce those garbage-in, garbage-out reviews of antidepressants. Those Cochrane reviews are now enshrined in the literature in an ever-amplifying vortex of bad information.

    About Sense about Science, etc. — I am having difficulty discerning the conspiracy. Rather, I believe, the entire world has been immersed in a Reaganesque worship of the free market for several decades.

    In this neo-liberal belief system, great weight is given to nurturing corporate interests, for the greater good. Occasionally, they need their hands slapped but on the whole, they are what makes society run. In this, science and commerce are equal partners.

    Those who hold this quasi-religious belief in the free market may not even be aware of the irrational basis for it. Thus, we have AllTrials in the posture of friendly compromise with the drug companies.

    The Who’s “Won’t be fooled again” was a phrase meant to be ironic.

  3. A powerful and courageous post. And yes, insightful. I do so love the nuance of the new Hippocratic Oath. It may lean towards reductio ad absurdum, but the current state of the world (i.e. ‘the mess we live in’) makes infinite sense if one takes the view that all determinations – not only in medicine – are made in the name of a single long-term priority – that of profit and the dedicated acquisition of ever-increasing profit. We are drowning in evidence to support this interpretation… evidence which sadly, deplorably, accounts also for the dearth of voices speaking out. Truth is not in ascendancy. In Pharma’s healthcare, as in all other basics, there is scant evidence that ‘the greater good’ ever enters into any equation.

  4. Its mostly happened within psychiatry. The anti depressant tragedy has exposed the original epidemic i.e. people that become dependent on antidepressants going on to become long term psychiatric patients, points to drug treatment creating long term mental illness.
    Long term mentally ill people will always have to be paid for. And there’s a big misinformation industry that helps the drug industry to operate.

  5. Dr. Healy wrote: “You can’t sell a product that gets a bad reputation or is removed from the market. The marketing mission at this meta-level is to risk manage by influencing the debate on Risk.”

    For an example of this, see I wrote this site requesting an article on antidepressant withdrawal syndrome. The writer did in fact use some of my references, and asked a few psychiatrist experts in the addiction medicine field their opinions as well. You can clearly see the influence of 20 years of minimization of this risk by commercial interests on the responses of the “experts.”

  6. The Lower Astral Plane is the hangout of sorcerers, witches, the malevolent, and probably of those who admit no harm. The lower thought forms of human beings. Ruthless. Greedy. Manipulative. One has to fight through all of this to get to the Higher Astral Planes.

  7. The more I read about all of this, the more infuriated I become…

    Alltrials have been the perfect Trojan horse- unwillingly or not- it really is immaterial now…

    REAL Data transparency has perhaps been set back by decades…

  8. The very process of the controlled clinical trial itself is seriously flawed as Harris Coulter outlines in his book “The Controlled Clinical Trial”
    The definition of disease in conventional medicine is arbitrary and a failure. How can you create a treatment if you cant properly define what should be treated? I call it Evidently Baseless Medicine or Scientitiously Based Medicine.

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