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What doctors don't know about the drugs they prescribe | Ben Goldacre

6160 ratings | 495759 views
When a new drug gets tested, the results of the trials should be published for the rest of the medical world -- except much of the time, negative or inconclusive findings go unreported, leaving doctors and researchers in the dark. In this impassioned talk, Ben Goldacre explains why these unreported instances of negative data are especially misleading and dangerous. TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design -- plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more. Find closed captions and translated subtitles in many languages at http://www.ted.com/translate Follow TED news on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/tednews Like TED on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TED Subscribe to our channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/TEDtalksDirector
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Text Comments (737)
First Last (1 day ago)
Just received dangerous blood pressure pills n antibiotics mix, they swore it mixes but its fatal.....lol
naberrrrr5678 (6 days ago)
Sally O'Brien (12 days ago)
Do TED talks make a difference. Have any improvements been made to the systematic flaws described here?
Dominique Ford (1 month ago)
no sympathy for u pedophile fucks
BullCricket75 (1 month ago)
Thank you!
David Beddoe (1 month ago)
(((.))) = must be tight i guess.
Punita Karani (1 month ago)
spidalack (1 month ago)
Fix is easy to find, but until money is at stake, via HUGE fines for withholding results, it simply won't happen. 1: register BEFORE you start the trial or no publication possible. 2: Conduct study 3: if you do not publish the result, a fine so huge that it'll make refusing to publish the result a death sentence for the company. Sadly, this will never happen unless a LOT of pressure is put on politicians that are in the pocked of large pharmaceuticals. I'm not holding my breath.
xDomglmao (2 months ago)
Anybody any idea, how to minimize the effect of publication bias until the problem gets fixed? Even reading all published online papers wouldn't help since the neg. results aren't available...
Mohammad Khaled (2 months ago)
Shane Dooley (2 months ago)
Has this been addressed in any meaningful way at all?
Brenda Russell (3 months ago)
As a patient, I say, "Thank you!"
Mjis Tomczuk (3 months ago)
beethoven speaks from beyond the grave.
SK8EVERYTHING 4EVER (4 months ago)
I really think this problem transcends the medical field and is the most damaging variant in the political sphere, as well as every other aspect of the documented studies that supposedly present the working knowledge we base our understandings on. Seeing as how the majority of us aren't even capable of amounting said working knowledge on our own, the publishing of misleading data will never be remedied as long as self serving bias's go unchecked.
Eddie Ca. (4 months ago)
wow, I was addicted to valium about 8 months ago (when I took my last pill) but I was addicted for about 5 months, and I know ppl have been addicted for way longer, but what a hellish five months it was!! it was actually CBD oil which weened me off of the benzo's, so thankful for it!!
Kassondra Ola (4 months ago)
I think we should invent a t- shirt that Says “ I ♥️data dorks “ And make them available to general public. Maybe we could advertise his book on the bottom - bad science. We need to promote morals and integrity in our Doctor all over the world and this might be a good place to start .
mary sunshine (4 months ago)
All he is saying is that people lie to others to cheat them and since they can do it on such a big scale we are fucked if we need real help.
Bruno Pires (5 months ago)
thanks man!
Christina Willner (5 months ago)
This is just one part of the problem. There are so many ways trials themselves can be manipulated that will still lead to bad science even if we can see all trials. So many trials are also just poorly conducted, while scientists are considered smart it seems like most are not smart enough to make sure they design trials in a way where the results actually mean something. Then again, might also be on purpose so they can get grant money and collect the big pharma paycheck in some instances. Add to that the limited scope of how we are researching many drugs. The vast majority of studies for antidepressants for instance only look at if there is an improvement in mood within 3-6 week. Are we that short-sighted? What doctor would prescribe something that makes someone feel better for a few weeks at a huge risk of long-term and short-term damage? I feel like 99% of doctors are just not using their brain at all.
Christina Willner (5 months ago)
Really focus on understanding how the brain works and be aware of the things we don't know yet, so you can evaluate for yourself if the way we use drugs to treat mental health makes sense (it does not). Make an effort to connect with people who have gone through Psychiatric emergencies and come out the other end. They can usually teach you much more than your formal education when it comes to how to actually help your patients. Good resources to look into are Human Givens (especially their insights into Psychosis) and Dr. Peter Breggins who is a very empathic and smart Psychiatrist who understands how to help people. Also research Open Dialogue from Finland (where they almost entirely eradicated Schizophrenia in some places) and Soteria houses. Psychiatry as a whole is harming our society in indescribable ways, but if you become a critical Psychiatrist who does not allow yourself to get brainwashed by the doctrine, you have an incredible opportunity to change things for the better. When it comes to research, be incredibly, incredibly skeptical. Know the source, assume the worst. Use your own logical brain to make judgments about, whether a trial that shows if a drug "helps" reduce symptoms for 3-6 weeks makes sense ... the goal is to truly make people better long-term. Do your own research into the harmful effects of the drugs you prescribe. There are a lot of animal studies on this that show the direct brain damage they cause. Seek out the stories of people who successfully quit their meds. Practically all of them still feel the negative effects, this is the real long-term damage that is difficult to show in studies. Mad in America has a lot of those reports. I hope you will use your life to do good and not be influenced by your education and destroy lives without even realizing it. All the best to you!
mei ryo (5 months ago)
so what should I do as a psychiatry graduate student
Alfred Long (5 months ago)
The problem with medicine in the world if people have to pay their bills the thesis their grants from going to college so they keep their mouth shut and let the bad stuff go on instead of having integrity and dignity it's all about money My Worship doctor's letter that donate their time to give help for nothing humanity is a disgraced what's going on today it's all about taxes money doesn't matter about people's lives.
mogambo55 (6 months ago)
Ben Goldacre makes reference to the biotech company Amgen who had a team of about 100 scientists over 10 years trying to reproduce the findings of 53 “landmark” articles in cancer research published by reputable labs in top journals. They were only able to reproduce 6 of those studies, about 11%! How many cancer treatments and drugs being used today are based on the 89% of studies that have no foundation in science?   http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21588069-scientific-research-has-changed-world-now-it-needs-change-itself-how-science-goes-wrong
daniel cullen (6 months ago)
and people still believe vaccines are safe and effective... !
daniel cullen (5 months ago)
look into it for yourself - try The Truth About Vaccines doc series.
mei ryo (5 months ago)
aren't they effective?
Drew Steeves (6 months ago)
Medicine like all business is in it for the money. Drug companies drive medical protocols. Those protocols push drugs. Governments need to push back and do their own research where drugs are suspected of offering minimal positive effect or negative effects. Drugs only treat symptoms, there maybe other options that treat causes that would be more effective.
babyrexa playz (7 months ago)
"The world will end on 5/11/08 then how am I still typing this and alive watching this in 2018 lamo
Trisha Yamada (7 months ago)
These biases in medicines is even worse if you happen to be female. Most human test trials are done on males because female bodies are more complicated with their hormones and the risks of pregnancy.
Py16777216 (7 months ago)
Thankfully some of us are intelligent enough not to just trust and accept the supposed complete wisdom of doctors in every situation. Lol, so I can be prescribed one of several drugs for the rest of my life or if the first one I choose doesn't work "enough" or causes unacceptable side effects then I can rotate between the others until I eventually end on the most effective and most dangerous drug that just kills people once in a while but is otherwise great. Oh, and it'll all only cost tax payers or insurance companies (many other patients premiums) a few million dollars over my life. No thanks. Sometimes patients are smart and rebellious enough to study it all for themselves and mitigate chronic disease affectivally alternatively.
Max Harrison (7 months ago)
But what if those studies about publication bias were only published because they showed publication bias was true, but infact publication bias was in play. Lol
mei ryo (5 months ago)
Roedy Green (8 months ago)
Governments should do the testing. Drug companies should pay for it. They might farm out the work. If a testing company is caught cheating it gets a fine and no more contracts. putting it out of business.
Stormingmiku (8 months ago)
I want to see an explanation to why doctors prescribe overdoses when they don't know how to help you and you have been on about 50% of all medication. I mean Michel Jackson was overdosed and he died from it. I got overdosed and found out so I stopped in time. Monty oum got overdosed and died. How many more need to get overdosed before someone does something to stop this trend. Doctors either overdose you or refer you when they don't have a way to help you, or what to prescribe you.
Sigal Stein (8 months ago)
judicial corruption from the inside https://www.gofundme.com/GetBackHomeFightCorruption please share
Mathew LaFata (8 months ago)
Everyone knows they do not want you to know Dexedrine and klonopin and medical marijuana is the BEST and only real medication that can be prescribed. Not everyone needs or should have drugs though. Maybe most people should not. If doctors write prescriptions, it has to be for dexedrine, benzodiazapines, or medical marijuana to treat depression, anxiety, adhd, or especially bipolar.
Tim Retter (8 months ago)
Veritasium has a video called "Is Most Published Research Wrong?" that does a much better job at describing all the various reasons for publication bias. This video takes slightly longer to say much less. Both these videos however, suffer from a huge degree of pessimism. Neither video properly accounts for successes. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Anyone who claims their research is significant in a very impactful way will certainly have their experiments repeated. It's true most research isn't repeated, but that probably means most of the research isn't actually of much importance whether it's true or not. Secondly, scientific journals do a very good job at picking out the statistically significant studies that might actually be of great importance because they have a motive to do so. I think it's really the media to blame in that they tear through the titles of studies as fast as possible looking for something to turn into a catchy headline. In the same way, I think TED is somewhat guilty of this by hiring this presenter. Skepticism is good, but too much of it is equally bad as having none.
Ricardo Afonso (9 months ago)
Ben pointed out what some may say the obvious. Its all down to incentives. If we live in a capitalist system where profit is the ultimate goal, how can anyone expect a different outcome (in medicine or any other field)? Let's be honest and admit we'd all do the same if we were chairing the FDA, SEC, CDC, FED or any other supervising institution. Not saying communism or socialism is the answer .. but this is the other side of capitalism we have to live with
Rhonda Weber (9 months ago)
It's more than not publishing negative results, it's suppressing results.
naberrrrr5678 (6 days ago)
yoyoschmo1 (11 months ago)
You preach about misleading but you my friend are just as guilty. 1) I’m a doctor and I’m well aware of publication bias, especially regarding antidepressants. 2.) there are times when side effect profile is small that I’ll consider a medicine knowing the research behind it because it is worth the possibility of improvement for the patient due to the placebo effect alone. 3.) unpublished studies aren’t necessarily good studies. Maybe they weren’t published because they had a small population, poor study design, etc.
Kasinath Sangep (11 months ago)
your dress is not appropriate for your profession you must dress properly man
Shutter Eff3ct (1 year ago)
WTH? people are dying because of these evil companies !
mr. JDP P (3 months ago)
Shutter Eff3ct Its.ok..the CEO got a 20 million $ yearly bonus for successful profits for year to.uear growth. I'm sure they can manage.
sasa kelly (1 year ago)
Misleading research is determined to provide sound statistical work that they choose problems easy to analyse, but a profound triviality.Orthodox western medicine not only won't cure you but may leave worse off than you were before.In fact, these days scientific medicine itself is responsible for a good percentage of diseases.With all the fancy chemicals and computerised testing equipment we have, chronic depression, asthma, diabetes cancer virtually all degenerative disease is known to mankind are thriving, and medicine hasn't affected their incidence one tiny bit.The common cold is not caught; is created with the feet under the dinner table, and no other way.The hope of humanity lies in the prevention of degenerative and mental diseases, not in the care of their symptoms.
J B (1 year ago)
Doctors deceive and convince healthy (prior to 2014) people like me they are diseased then give them drugs that cause the EXACT same symptoms they claim to be treating.
schlondpoofa (1 month ago)
The increased feelings of anxiety etc. are only there until the receptor numbers decrease
schlondpoofa (1 month ago)
We think SSRIs work by increasing the levels of serotonin in your brain, which then causes the number of receptors for serotonin (higher than normal in depression) to downregulate/lower. This means that for the first two weeks, before the receptor numbers reduce, there is lots of serotonin acting at the receptors which commonly causes an increase in feelings of anxiety, which can increase suicide risk, and very very uncommonly psychosis. Like most other drugs, SSRIs don't work for everybody, but they can be good in the right people.
ncshuriken (3 months ago)
As soon as I told the doc how I feel most days they instantly prescribed me with an SSRI but as I later found out, if I start taking SSRI's I could be even more at risk of suicide, psychosis, dangrous compulsiveness etc than I was before I took anything. It makes me feel like I'm out of options.
Elizzaa Elise (6 months ago)
Kathy Fausett (1 year ago)
As long as scientific validation is the gold standard for stimulating a revenue stream, there will be "fake science".  Greedy bastards will do whatever it takes in order to get more.  Vaccines are a prime example.
linrkirk (1 year ago)
statins ?
rapier1954 Farrell (1 year ago)
The drug companies get to select the studies they present to the FDA for drug approval and they regularly set aside negative studies and this is how they get their drugs approved and this is the foundation on which so-called evidence is based. It is fraud and no better than numerous groups within alternative medicine which those in mainstream medicine condemn.
Meho Sovrlic (1 year ago)
Excellent Video! Sorry for butting in, I would appreciate your thoughts. Have you thought about - Elijahzan Ailment Solution Review (Sure I saw it on Google)? It is a great one off guide for learning how to get rid of prescription medication without the headache. Ive heard some unbelievable things about it and my friend got astronomical success with it.
Sniper Clown (1 year ago)
This guy has some serious balls.
milwaukeetim (1 year ago)
KELLY & WILMA BOYD (1 year ago)
This is why I trust only the healer who lives in me!!
Kristopher Donnelly (1 year ago)
Sounds to me like systematic murder by the pharmaceutical corporations
adwilkin14 (1 year ago)
There needs to be better regulation regarding publication of both positive and negative studies. The reason more positive results get published is because drug companies benefit from doctors prescribing their drugs.  The downfall of this is doctors prescribe drugs that they think will help patients but in reality they don't know the full story.  Not only is this irresponsible on the behalf of the drug companies but it's also very unethical.  Are the drug companies going to take responsibility for falsely portraying the benefits of these drugs?  Both sides of the story need to be published so that doctors can make the most educated decisions when prescribing medication for patients.  Doctors put the patients first but if drug companies are only concerned about profits and pay off the researchers who found negative results it makes it very hard for the doctors to prescribe a beneficial drug.  There need to be strict guidelines in place and if they're not followed there need to be serious consequences.  This will be the only way to allow the public access to the whole story.
Murphy Thedog (1 year ago)
He needs a hair cut, and new shoes
naberrrrr5678 (6 days ago)
wow, comedy master here everyone!
Amanda Harig (1 year ago)
Murphy Thedog And how many comely, well-kempt doctors do you know wearing Prada are willing to make this assessment?
Crystal Lynn (1 year ago)
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdERVEQ3SHRj-ruOUz-Eb-LX-set0NN9w8ZXevkjiygQsNrNg/viewform. PLEASE TAKE MY SURVEY ON PHARMACEUTICAL CORRUPTION
Safar De Bon (1 year ago)
Goldacre makes very valid points - which are to do with the consequences of conflicts of interests, and the negative consequences for patients. However, there is a much more serious problem at the moment. The bulk of the medical profession (along with the public) still believes that you can treat chronic diseases by changing the bio chemisrty of the body. I think drugs & surgery have an amazing influence on positive outcomes in many accute situations, but not in chronic illnesses that are a result of poor nutrition and lifestyle - the bulk of sickness today is due to this. Eating a varied whole plant based diet, low fat, low salt - along with strength/cardio/flexibility training and meditation along with a healthy social life will eliminate much of the chronic disease that we have today. Trying to fix these diseases by changing the bio chemistry using drugs is quackery at its worst.
schlondpoofa (1 month ago)
yeah man let's start managing diseases like diabetes and lupus solely with meditation and cardio!!! that won't kill people at all
Ronald VL (1 year ago)
All one needs is to study 'German New Medicine' (GNM) to become aware how our emotions lie at the basis of 'dis-ease' (especially prolonged negative emotions). This in combination of realizing the big influence of 'placebo' and 'nocebo' effects (both which play a major part in all medical treatments, traditional as well as so called 'alternative' ones). Of course GNM is on the black list of 'modern medicine' (since 1981) and also the media has a strong bias towards negative publicity regarding it. This is not the place to dive into all this and I only wanna show people a way out of the 'medical impasse' (modern medicine has no idea about the real cause of disease, or so they pretend - doctors are trained monkeys, with all respect to their good intentions, I'm sure - and all they do is treating symptoms, most of the time by using highly toxic chemicals like the ones used to 'treat' cancer - how stupid and cruel can you get?!). Think of it, the medical industry thrives on putting fear into people and what does that promote? Placebo or nocebo effects? I guess the answer is pretty obvious and it's just the tip of the iceberg... Educate yourself about disease and health, because nobody will do it for you (and once diagnosed with a 'serious illness' the resulting fear/panic will make you an easy victim, that's just how the 'health system' operates). Cheers
Amanda Harig (1 year ago)
The Ultimate Reductionist I would expect no less of a Reductionist: read the first sentence, ignore the content of the talk and fall back on an age-old premise just disproven. Well done. Very well done. You're the case and point.
"German New Medicine' (GNM) to become aware how our emotions lie at the basis of 'dis-ease" Wow! That statement alone shows GNM is pure worthless bullshit & just pure religion, pure ideology, pure propaganda, the antithesis of evidence & proof.
Miranda White (1 year ago)
As you pointed out Ben, publishing only positive results in research is a form of research misconduct. Withholding information that could potentially prevent harm or cause harm to others is ethnically wrong. First off, we live in a world of evidence based medicine but what good does it do when we are constantly only able to view bias samples? This violates many of our rules of beneficence in biomedical ethics. For example, as a society that lives in this evidence based community we have right to be completely aware of what drugs we are taking. Withholding information and misleading us goes against our rights. This violates the rule to protect and defend the rights of others. Secondly, not publishing negative data misleads physicians into believing that the medicine they are prescribing is effective. Prescribing ineffective medicine is not preventing harm from occurring to others in fact its directly harming them. For those like Ben, completely away of this, I understand your frustration. Although you are aware of this, the power in your hands to fix it, is not very tenacious. Those aware are unable to remove these conditions that cause harm to others. To continue, I’d like to bring up another ethical issue that is prevalent to misleading medical information. This issue creates conflict within our moral status. The relationship between patient and physician is important. By not allowing all research to be published into the Peer Review of Academic Literature it effects this very important relationship that is formed within our community. In the video, Ben discussed a drug that was researched in 1980 on heart arrhythmia. This research showed that these type of drugs in fact increased the death rate. Unknowingly, physicians could have prescribed this to their patients and caused a great deal of harm. In fact, this is exactly what happened. After this happens the relationship between patient and physician is impacted. The patient can no longer trust the physician’s prognosis even though this is completely out of the physicians control. The moral status in this relationship cannot up-hold its obligations.
Matt Gilbert (2 years ago)
Somewhere along the line we lost sight of what science is and instead have focused on what sells.
Petitio Principii (8 months ago)
It's not just money. It will happen in other scientific areas without the evil "big pharma" interests to skew results into false positives. If you find that men are more likely than women to hit the car horn when someone cuts in front of them, you're more likely to be published than if you had found it's about the same.
Dead Parroting (9 months ago)
Matt Gilbert It is the money. When money encounters science, or politics, or religion, or anything else, things get turned away from where they should be headed. Money may be the root of all evil, as the saying goes, but we all know that money is a rampant force in everything these days.
Sandra Slastan (2 years ago)
Great video!
Shelly Ann (2 years ago)
PHARMA is a DRUG CARTEL!! The FDA should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this criminal cartel to get away with what they do.
Werewolf Lycan (4 months ago)
Shelly Ann Amen!!!
Matt W (1 year ago)
See, they don't complain, because big pharma line their pockets with cash. It's how the world works. If you want to know the truth, just follow the $$$.
Asmi Awakening (1 year ago)
Shelly Ann Absolutely right! My first dealer was my doctor..
Mr. Key Cataclysmteam (2 years ago)
нахер ограничил доступ к видео???
Pat Stone (2 years ago)
Young people talk about change, then young doctors should be the change. Open practices where you are paid when you successfully treat something. Eliminate referral fees, eliminate Big Pharma or anyone pushing a drug from rewarding doctors in any way. Forbid Drug Dealers, oops drugs salespersons from entering a physician's office for any reason other than a medical issue that is open and publicly documented to prevent corruption. And that's for starters... it's your turn to change the world, you know it all young people. I dare you to make a difference.
valar (2 months ago)
My old doctor, who graduated in 1981, neglected to tell me benzos are addictive, didn't bother monitoring my use of a fucking narcotic and then didn't know what to do or attempt to learn anything about what to do after he found out how much I was taking. I had to figure most of it out on my own. Ten years later, the damaging effects linger. My new doctor, who graduated in 2012, is a world apart. He was shocked when he heard how my old doctor behaved. He said that with him, patients sign a contract when they start taking benzos or opiates and if their use starts to increase, he talks with them about what to do. That would have changed everything for me and basically given me the last decade of my life, which I have spent struggling with benzo abuse to the exclusion of most everything else. So things are changing.
Matt Gilbert (2 years ago)
Most of the grant money goes to lab rats marking more drugs to treat the addiction to a different drug. Apart from CBT and a few other cognitive therapies, treating the root cause(s) has become unfashionable. We need a different milieu.
Matt Gilbert (2 years ago)
Looking into this myself. Therapeutic approaches to addiction and related pathologies.
Rachel Ramey (2 years ago)
And I should be clear that I'm speaking in generalizations. I know there are exceptions. But as a rule, I'm seeing fresh-out-of-med-school doctors who essentially IDOLIZE Big Pharma, the CDC, etc. to a point of sheer irrationality.
Rachel Ramey (2 years ago)
Well, yeah, most of this stuff just seems like common sense to me, but doctors are being trained in medical school to believe everyone in any aspect of the industry is just some ministering angel without the slightest bit of concern for self. It's absurd, but if you so much as hint that maybe money is a motivating factor, etc. they get massively defensive of the entire industry. They don't believe there IS a darker side.
Kangen Water Health (2 years ago)
Its time for Natural Medicine to take charge again.
Aleph Zero (2 months ago)
You're a fool
Amanda Harig (1 year ago)
mavis cruet Cow pox scratching did. It took an critical observation to implement, which is something that was copied thereafter.
mavis cruet (2 years ago)
yes, because herbs from the old lady in the woods cured smallpox.
justin bartelen (2 years ago)
+Kangen Water Health define natural and tell me why you capitalized it
Franky Duks (2 years ago)
this guy's got balls
Kassondra Ola (4 months ago)
Franky Duks he stands up to dragons , metaphorically speaking and spares no field his arguments. I am thankful for every day he lives.
Matt W (1 year ago)
Truth is not about having the balls, it's about having the respect for what you do and what you believe in so that others know the truth. Nothing about having balls.
LoneStarRedStar (2 years ago)
How so? A lot of people who care about evidence-based medicine have been vocal on this issue.
spartiatis (2 years ago)
Blah blah blah blah.
naberrrrr5678 (6 days ago)
pharma is that you?
Richard IV (2 years ago)
Ben touched on an interesting drug that I've been following since inception. Tamiflu. Anyone else notice now on TV the Tamiflu commercials starting to pour in (2015-2016)? So, Roche creates this drug for the swine flu epidemic in 2008. Countries stockpile the drug, making Roche millions in the process. And now, suddenly 7 years later, the drug is being commercially marketed for the common flu...Anyone else find this peculiar? Mind you, the ministry of health in Japan has banned the drug after several reports of adverse effects, which of course Roche denies. But, even that aside, why would we want to treat the common flu with such a powerful drug? Doesn't that give an opportunity for flu strains to adapt? 1. Who decided it was a good idea to downgrade Tamiflu to treat the common cold? 2. Has Roche been giving padded trials to the FDA that they think its completely safe with no adverse reactions? 3. Who is behind the commercials? Roche has already made their money. Do they want more? Or are the stockpiles reaching expiration and this is a keen way of buying back losses due to the uneventful swine "pandemic"? This is absurd. And we are living it.
tjkasgl (1 month ago)
My grandson had influenza last winter. The doctor wanted to give him Tamiflu at $2,000 without insurance. When asked what it does he said reduces the illness a few days faster than normal. Grandma's chicken soup and cookies does the same thing with no side effects.
ncshuriken (3 months ago)
Are you talking about the British pharmaceutical medical conspiracy thriller, Utopia, oh no, you're talking about real life :(
Kevin Leeds (2 years ago)
for some reason I got the idea that Gordon Ramsey could go to the universities and make a show about Research Nightmares, and it would help whip everyone into shape. So what would happen if I went to U.T. and just started going to researchers' offices and acting outraged about this bad practice? I TOOK that medicine and it was DISGUSTING! Also my new health insurance company Sendaro should watch this.
R.B. (2 years ago)
AllTrials, the campaign group that is trying to bring about clinical trials transparency, is currently trying to raise funds for their US campaign. Please go and donate to them! https://www.gofundme.com/alltrialsUSA
Wednesday's Child (2 years ago)
I have been saying this for years. I was put on antidepressants and so was two of my family members. We told them the drugs didn't work but the doctors refused to believe us and we were labelled as non compliant. I also believe most cancer prevention screeing doesn't work or is bad for people.
Wednesday's Child (2 years ago)
+mavis cruet I am doing just great. Prescription drug from for 4 years.
mavis cruet (2 years ago)
Firstly I am sorry to hear that. Secondly, anti-depressants have a fairly low efficacy. I have been on a fair few and they were totally ineffective in the long term. Studies have suggested that the placebo effect is at work in many cases in trials of more mild depression, and that the trials take place with people that can go to clinical trials and are in that environment. Research suggests that the best treatment is probably cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) but that's only about 50% effectiveness. New research into "Wellness" treatments look positive, but it's early days. I hope things have improved for you in the interim.
Wednesday's Child (2 years ago)
+Liz B Angry I am so sorry.  I fear doctors I really do.  My brother has had severe liver problems since taking Lipitor.  HE's now 52 and it started when he was 40. He went in for physical and had slightly "elevated" cholesterol, put on lipitor and now his liver is ruined.  I was also put on Statins and I just threw them away.  I'll take my chances. They were giving me horrible muscle problems.  If it's any help to you, my uncle had a SEVERE heart attack when he was 50 and his heart didn't work properly after that.  He just recently died at 87.  He was too sick for heart surgery so they gave him medical management and he did just as well.  All these cardiac surgeries are not all their cracked up to be either.  People have mental,and emotional problems after cardiac surgery and I believe they do it way too much.
Emily Nichols (2 years ago)
If we do a control group study of one group getting the drug, and another, getting a placebo drug. It would probably be safe to say that most people know that drugs have side effects. so with the group getting the real thing, how do we know that they aren't 'tipped off' by the fact that they are actually getting the drug when they experience the side effect, and there for a placebo effect could kick in on that group? how can any study of any drug be of any real value? How can we argue that it would be of any real value if those in the study can deduce that they are getting the drug over the placebo or vice versa?
Heather Porter (2 years ago)
To help eliminate this issue, studies performed using a blinding protocol may be regarded to have a higher level of strength to their findings. A "double blind" approach is commonly used wherein neither the patients or researchers know which patients belong to the active group and which belong to the control group. After all of the data is collected, the blinding is unveiled (software is usually involved to eliminate bias), and results paired to their respective groups can be seen. Smart right? If this technique is used, it will be stated under the Methods section of the study. Of course, there are some circumstances in medicine where this method isn't ethical to use. For example, if a surgery were being studied, it would be ethically questionable to perform a sham surgery in the placebo group. I like that you brought up how the patient may be tipped of on which group they are in by adverse effects they are experiencing. While this is true, it is also really interesting to look at the raw data of adverse effects reported in the active group vs the placebo group (both of which need to be shown in the literature for it to be a valid study). Sometimes the placebo group reports certain adverse effects at similar rates as the active group does. Potential explanations depend on the specific study, but the reader can use a number of analytical skills to deduce if, like you mentioned, the patients were expecting a certain thing to happen so they did in fact experience it. Knowing a lot about the details of the science (physiology of disease state, drug mechanism, biochemistry, etc.) being studied is usually necessary for accurate interpretation. The same phenomenon occurs with the effectiveness of the medication as well. The more one learns about what to look for in study design/methods, the better one gets at critically analyzing the strength of a certain study. Potentially even more importantly, properly analyzing research includes knowing how to pull out what is actually clinically relevant information from what is just numbers. Drug X may help a patient get over a cold faster and the data may have statistically significant backing, but if faster means 0.5 hours out of a 5-7 day long cold, is that drug of any use? Probably not, but studies do this kind of thing all the time. I hope this helps!
mich6781 (2 years ago)
Not publishing relevant studies is a crime.
Runcible2010 (8 months ago)
Here are the real fixes: a) only an objective medical scientific facility be allowed to conduct the drug trials; (b) all doctors who accept money from drug companies, are criminally and civilly prosecuted; (c) individuals within corporations like Pfizer, and their contractees, who knowingly constructed fraudulent studies and marketed drugs fraudulently, get criminally and civilly prosecuted as individuals (get rid of the "corporate shield" that protects criminals from prosecution as individuals).
Mike (1 year ago)
ALL studies are relevant (if the science is good).
Bitter Tea (1 year ago)
Probably, a general step in the right direction. But is it so simple? Probably, someone is lower management will go to jail, and the people who are instructing them to do so (else lose their job) will get away scot-free. That happen in the U.S. with Wells Fargo. Some consequence is better than no consequence, but great care needs to be taken on pointing at the most responsible culprit (as single to a few people go to jail) versus the truth of the matter, which it was a majority of people and the culture. A insanely large amount of damages, I think, is still viable. They are for profit businesses. Money is their life blood.
FlashOfLight (2 years ago)
+mich6781 Researchers and big pharma management should go to jail for not publishing all relevant results. An honor code or self regulation is not good enough - peer review is a demonstrated failure. Jail is the only way this problem will be solved.
M R (3 years ago)
Who gives this a thumbs down?
mikajlod25 (3 years ago)
how to cite this? MLA anyone? please?
GeneticJulia (3 years ago)
Shame on all of you using this video to promote your own "natural" nonsense. Yes there are problems in medicine, but it's still the best we have and we're trying to fix it. Another person's flaw is not your virtue. If you think any flaws in medical research means that your favourite unsubstantiated claim is better - be it naturopathy, homeopathy, or your standard "vaccines are an evil conspiracy" nonsense - you might want to read Ben Goldacre's other book, "Bad Science", and you won't be able to dismiss his points by calling him a "big pharma shill" or similar. You already know he isn't one.  Take on a challenge of your ideas.
For Sure (5 days ago)
No less than 80,000 US mothers/fathers/children die each year directly from Pharmaceuticals that were taken as prescribed.
+For Sure grape fruit is useful in keeping blood pressure under control but for people like my dad who developed high BP grape fruit and other natural remedies were useless ! But since he does not believe in modern science he refused high blood pressure Pills prescribed by doctors, he didn't take pills for 3 years and was doing fine with exercise and Healthy diet but then one morning at work he developed severe chest pain and was diagnosed as heart attack . He spent 8 months in the hospital with consequent renal failure and brain damage ,he's no more now. Since that that day i decided that I wanted to learn science and help people get rid of pseudoscience beliefs , although I wanna be a doctor im not ready for the amount of studies and work involved in that field so I became a engineer. But let me tell you please follow science don't believe non sense thing's on the internet if you have high BP it's better to take meds and do Healthy lifestyle than have a regret later
For Sure (6 days ago)
Well I will eat grapefruit to lower my blood pressure which benefits not only my blood pressure but also my liver etc etc with zero side affects whilst my brother in law continues to use synthetic drugs which his doctor told him to use to treat high blood pressure which gives him nausea, migranes and to top it off he cant get it up anymore........but thats ok science has more drugs to treat those side affects, shall I go into the side affects of those drugs as well?
+For Sure natural cure is non scientific bullshit
+Mara A go to UK or china or India then
obiektywemLibby (3 years ago)
oh well... we all live in the world full of corruption. I'm glad not everyone is blind...
Eloy Cavazos (3 years ago)
Ben you have the coolness of Marty McFly from Back to the Future and Doctor Who. Keep up the nerdy science!
Glenn Smith (3 years ago)
This guy is a fantastic speaker whom I believe has left absolutely no questions to ask, except for when will this situation be corrected.  God I hope governments have made inroads in to this high level of corruption and greed since this talk. This situation is appauling, especially so, because I deal out the drugs that come from this phony research system everyday.  Outrageous.
Bitter Tea (1 year ago)
Hope is not enough. Action and support is what is needed. Awareness helps. For this to change, the people need to demand it from their elected representatives. Political will needs to totally shift, which as you know is like changing the direction of planetary rotation. This one single TED talk, is not enough, although good start to bringing this to light. Topic needs more awareness, more outrage, and more of a shift in public opinion (in a proactive we can fix this and not a new organization spin "can you trust you drugs?" sort of way). Until representatives fear loosing office, many (not all) will take those pharmaceutical company donation with a smiling faces. On the positive side, at least we are definitively aware of this and have data to back up our arguments. We all have are part to play in investigating who we vote for. For the U.S., I go to http://www.opensecrets.org/ and check lobbying dollars.
"I hope governments have made inroads in to this high level of corruption" Bullshit. What a load of idiotic anti-logic hysteria. How about governments making inroads at ending fossil fuel addiction, end coal & gas fracking, and massively fund green energy instead.
Jason Miller (2 years ago)
+Glenn Smith eh... it might be getting worse- the new round of Trade Agreements all hand unprecedented power to Pharmaceutical companies- nations that would pursue solutions like Goldacre suggest would face monetary penalties for 'ruining trade'   :/
Egghead Einstein (3 years ago)
I'm having a hard time hearing a physician can go on studies alone. How about reaching out in the early stages to fellow physicians or people who have tried it first? I wouldn't go with any decision in my career without asking others. To trust a study? I'm in e-commerce, there are about 10 strong platforms. You think I'd commit a client to one before reading reviews from people who have used them? You think I'm going to listen to the platform's publisher for their studies of all things?!? Are you insane? Here's an idea for any physician.. don't ask if it works.. ask why it works. If the question cannot be answered, wait until it can be - by someone other than yourself. Is that a difficult concept to grasp the ethics of? Even is a study is replicated 100 times... an opinion from three people who's used is worth more. Think about illegal drugs and how much second and third hand propaganda there is on each of them. Its even abhorrent at that level where you have drug educators who have never tried even once the drugs they publish information on. MDMA after all is not much more than increased heart rate and sweating.. why would you want to? ;) 
Hugh Jarce (3 years ago)
But the whole point is that these drugs have never been used in humans before. So how can you ask others how they got on with the drug? At some point you have to test a new drug in real people. But the research/trial must be scientific. That is, conducted properly and rigorously.
SirRobinDeSway (3 years ago)
Ben Goldacre, brilliant as always but stays away(probably for fear of legal consequences in the Land of the Free) from the WHY. And the "why" is simple enough...the corporate, 'big pharma' has invested "big money" in products and because of the commercial pressures on scientists and results they withold studies for all sorts of spurious reasons. A famous example is GM food, safety thereof. Now, I was visiting a GM website where it was asserted that "no study has shown there to be the slightest danger from gm foods" . People are meant to be reassured by that statement...but not me. Billions are at stake over GM foods and one wonders just how many research projects have been suppressed. So, are we to be confident? Or suspicious.
Michael Trollan (2 years ago)
+Ay Jaye Haha, I can understand that. It's an old Irish name.
Ay Jaye (2 years ago)
+Michael Trollan It's still funny in a world of comment strings to find someone named Troll-an"
Michael Trollan (3 years ago)
+THOMAS CAIN - No need to put my name in scare quotes. You can look me up, I'm a real person. Also a quick note that I didn't say "looked into every aspect". That shouldn't be in quotes either. Anyway, on to your point about Mexican genes. The claim by anti-GM activists is two fold: 1. that GM crops are inherently harmful and inherently different than existing selectively bred crops, and 2. that GM crops are so favored in natural selection that they will wipe out the other crops. As to the first point, if you have any training in biology, specifically how DNA works, you'll know that it is a digital information system. Meaning there are only four possible nucleotides which determine the genetic code. So whether a particular gene was reached by transgenic (GM) methods, or by selective breeding, the end result is exactly the same and 100% indistinguishable. Much like the creation of molecules -- if you have a container of pure h2o, it is completely impossible to tell whether that water was formed by a human being burning hydrogen gas in oxygen gas, or whether it was distilled from rainwater. Given enough time, any DNA combination can be reached through natural mutations and selective breeding. It just takes longer and costs more. Meanwhile, people are starving of malnutrition on the order of millions, while the world population continues to grow at an exponential rate. As to the idea that GM crops are so favored in natural selection that they'll wipe out other crops, let's look at what an independent study by the CEC (http://www.cec.org/), commissioned by the mexican residents themselves, concluded. After extensive study, they found that: "There is no reason to expect that a transgene would have any greater or lesser effect on the genetic diversity of landraces than other genes from similarly used modern cultivars. The scientific definition of genetic diversity is the sum of all of the variants of each gene in the gene pool of a given population, variety, or species. The maize gene pool represents tens of thousands of genes, many of which vary within and among populations. Transgenes are unlikely to displace more than a tiny fraction of the native gene pool, if any, because maize is an outcrossing plant with very high rates of genetic recombination. Instead, transgenes would be added to the dynamic mix of genes that are already present in landraces, including conventional genes from modern cultivars. Thus, the introgression of a few individual transgenes is unlikely to have any major biological effect on genetic diversity in maize landraces." So yes, I have looked into the Mexican scare. And I'm not finding much to be frightened about, other than the dangers of giving the unedecated public a voice over experts in the field (i.e. anti-gmo activists), and of course the profit motive in business (e.g. Monsanto). The latter you are aware of, and we agree is a danger, but the former should be just as frightening to you. As for the source you suggested, I would recommend choosing ones which aren't so clearly biased. In the same way we would bring much skepticism to a report by Monsanto about the safety of particular agriculture, we should also bring much skepticism to a website run by non-scientists.
Michael Trollan (3 years ago)
+Ay Jaye My last name is an old Irish name.
THOMAS CAIN (3 years ago)
I appreciate that "Michael Trollan" has 'looked into every aspect' of the GM question. But I suggest he look again. GM does spread; well attested gm transgenic maize has turned up in Mexico miles from where it was authorised to grow thus creating the danger that maize might become degraded in the land of its birth. That was a Univ of California research team that reported that. In Europe too. Undeniable. The GM industry is great at cant because gm at present is linked to, its only reason to exist is, massive doses of glyphosate do not kill it while destroying everything else. And THAT gives rats tumours. If you are a troll, examine your conscience; this is a time of great danger If you are genuine, look again at "every aspect". Start with website. www.gmwatch.org
Tim Harris (3 years ago)
It should be called medical mistakes and many need to be called deliberate mistreatment. It happens every day. Many doctors and hospitals are ill and corrupt. People are treated with the courtesy of livestock commodities. They know they are not providing what is needed.
Jazzy Tunes (3 years ago)
Lets' say we do a control group study of one group getting the drug, and another, getting a placebo.  Most people know that drugs have side effects.  So with the group getting the real thing, how do we know that they are not tipped off to the fact they are actually getting the drug when they experience side effects, and therefore a placebo effects kicks in on that group?   How can any study of any drug be, therefore, of any real value?  
schlondpoofa (1 month ago)
sometimes they use what's called an active placebo as well
GeneticJulia (2 years ago)
There is also such a thing as a nocebo effect. The group not getting the drug can still feel like they are having side effects if they believe they are getting the drug.
Hugh Jarce (3 years ago)
That is why Dr Goldacre is saying all studies must be conducted properly - it can be done. Full protocols are available to conduct a study rigorously and scientifically.
Egghead Einstein (3 years ago)
Placebos can make one feel sick perhaps, however i tend to agree your argument has legs. It might be a better idea to do trials by full dose and 1/10th dose than a full dose and sugar. I personally would feel ill at-ease giving a "control group" sugar and believing they would all be fooled.
Jazzy Tunes (4 years ago)
After watching this video, it's clear to me that integrity and wisdom are rare values  particularly in the field of medicine and corporate world..
Egghead Einstein (3 years ago)
Jazzy, take it from a guy with a family of not just physicians, but surgeons and field specialists. They do not have integrity for their profession. Whereas most professionals know something about everything, and where it came from and why.. I've found the medical field is a lot more about dry procedure. In fact, I developed tinnitus and saw three specialists who said it was not curable. It took me two years but i narrowed it down to certain preservatives, mainly nitrates and phosphates. After a certain amount, my ears act up big time in the form of bad ringing that will last for days. When i first got it i was devouring souvlakis daily, and these are heavily nitrated for restaurant storage. Tell me, why did i figure it out for myself, whereas the word preservative was not even mentioned once as a possibility? Most questions to people in the field are answered with "I don't know."  In the case of eye floaters, most opto doctors will tell you the laser doesn't work. And yet, there they are, right on youtube. A guy getting his floaters laser treated before our very eyes. Perhaps the procedure has its risks, perhaps the results vary, but the answer from 90% of their community of professionals is a flat out "Can't be done." The next time a doctor tells you something, don't thank him for his advice, ask him why he feels that way.
Henry Ibbs (3 years ago)
Well, I hope you signed the All Trials petition :-)
myreddays (3 years ago)
+Henry Ibbs I took your expression as an exoneration, as if you were downplaying the seriousness of this. It is stills sounds mild to me to call this an 'error', no matter what the dictionary says. Fraud implies an awareness, a deliberateness that is not present in the word 'error' or 'mistake'. In any case, if you agree on the gravity of these crimes, then definitions are secondary. And it sounded 'cynical' not naive. Cynicism implies awareness, again, as in fraud. Calling yourself naive really would imply that you are not aware of the main elementary forces the govern society and human behavior. That would be very, very naive. That's why it sounded cynical to me, just because of a matter of probability and common sense. 
Henry Ibbs (3 years ago)
To me, scientific fraud is surely an ethical mistake.
Henry Ibbs (3 years ago)
But just to suppose I was to suggest that it wasn't so much a case of fraud as it was a mistake, surely a better word to describe me would be 'naive', not cynical.
TheUserUndefined (4 years ago)
This reminds me of Ancel Keys and his lipid hypothesis.
Shreyas Bharadwaj (4 years ago)
great talk! wholeheartedly agree.
Adam Lees (4 years ago)
I'm a pharmacy student, well aware of the multi-tiered criticism of SSRIs. I was having some trouble with mental health and after practically begging with a psychiatrist, and staff at my uni, i still am being forced by the university to follow his orders and take a course of citalopram. It's been incredibly stressful, i feel completely impotent in my own care and the credibility i've worked hard for has been completely ignored. I'm going to have to lie to the mental health staff and tell them i'm taking my medication, i feel dishonest and feel that my care has been completely compromised by this, my depression and self-esteem has never been worse. I understand there are billions (even trillions) of pounds at stake for the pharmaceutical companies, but I wonder if they have some excuse for their behaviour, or if they simply don't think about it. They deserve to have their noses rubbed in every life they've affected or cost
Marla Robinson (2 months ago)
SSRI's have helped my one son immensely, and did not help my other son at all. My older son has absolutely no side effects and has made his life so much better. My other son can't take anything. Cause him too many side effects.
ncshuriken (3 months ago)
I know its been 4 years now but it means I get to ask you an important question: What was your story on the SSRI? How much did it help versus how much it hindered you? Did your self esteem and spirits rise? Did you get any permanent side effects (EG the sexual dysfunction or increased depression), did the depression subside? I take it you've been taken off Citalopram now because its been so long, or did you stay on it longterm? Any sincere answers you can give on this would be much appreciated as I've been prescribed Sertraline (another SSRI, for depression and anxiety) and after reading about the side effects I was more than worried. Anyway, I hope your treatment helped you and you stayed in work/eductation; its a hard life, no matter what you're doing, with depression.
Kassondra Ola (4 months ago)
Adam Lees I am so sorry you have to go through this .
Trisha Yamada (6 months ago)
Annalise Gingerich I am so sorry that happened to you.
Elizzaa Elise (6 months ago)
s mitchell (4 years ago)
Nostradamus predicts most humans will die during the current war and a genetic bomb will be a medical failure.Only a third of the planet will die from it.
stephen k (4 years ago)
Bad science is really the bane of humanity.  
orange circle (1 year ago)
Great book though :)
Sunil JG (4 years ago)
Just another reason not to take pharmaceuticals, at least i know what is in my home grown medical marijuana. 
mavis cruet (2 years ago)
Will it cure cholera?
wjestick (3 years ago)
+xXMisfit17Xx  "I really really don't think you understand what I am saying, otherwise you would have stopped by now." Yes because you have all the answers. The fact that you can point to a small area of doubt pales (which as I stated always exists in the real world) pales into insignificance when confronted with the facts about Vioxx (which you have yet to look up) If you want to argue the actual fact, I suggest that you familiarise yourself with them. Simply saying this or that could be the case, without actually knowing the facts is a waste of time. Epidemiology is not an exact science, but there are times when it does a pretty good job of highlighting a serious problem. This is one such case. The correlation could easily have been refuted by carrying out a few thousand post mortems. The drug company chose instead to settle a much smaller class action suit out of court and withdraw a multi-billion dollar product. You see, you were not the only "expert" to look at this problem. And those experts chose  not to draw attention to the data you referred to. You are of course correct to state that epidemiology is not enough to establish cause and effect. But my original post should have made it clear that cause and effect had already been established, my comment was referring to the possibly much larger magnitude of that effect.
xXMisfit17Xx (3 years ago)
+wjestick I really really don't think you understand what I am saying, otherwise you would have stopped by now. I am not saying that the drug is good. I am saying that just because they happened at the same time, doesn't meant it was that that caused it.Which is the only thing you said in your original comment. Now, if you had started with saying all of those people were using that drug, then yes, that would be a good argument. If they never took the drug, it doesn't matter if anything else was related or if it was the same demographics, it was not the drug that killed them even if they do correlate. That's all I am saying. It's useless to look at your demographics, sales, active period for the drug if you don't bother to analyze your target population. That is, the people actually taking the drug. Also you clearly don't understand basic science because genetics could work over a shot period of time although unlikely. Not saying this is the case though.
Salim Zwein (4 years ago)
this guy is a hero
Chris Devine (4 years ago)
He looks and talks exactly like Steve Punt
weesh (4 years ago)
This guys has another great TED called "Ben Goldacre: Battling Bad Science"
Sharon Laakko (4 years ago)
ESSURE birth control needs to be off the market...Bayer has FDA allowing them to change the labeling now???? after all these women have been injured. 
banana aya playa (4 years ago)
It would make sense why a lot of these controversial trials (for example, the heart stabilizer pills) have not been published. It may bring some crucial ethical awareness up-rises among the pharmaceutical and medical realm. Also these experiments alone are questionable and some may argue even ethically/morally wrong. Great video by the way, a great eye opener! I think I rather eat my vegetables more often than not now. 
bejiman123 (5 years ago)
Sean Baker (5 years ago)
bejiman123 (5 years ago)
zedompt (5 years ago)
Agreed. Scarcity is the basis of the monetary system, which I believe is something we can already overcome today. But I don't believe you can deal with those things while having scarcity. I would like to refer you to the venus project if you don't know it already. Cheers!
arknihil (5 years ago)
I wouldn't say money supplies it. Bad ethics are really routed in fear and territorial behavior. Which exists because it's an evolutionary over-compensation for dealing with uncertainty and scarcity of resources in the world. Money is just a link in that process, but those things can, in theory, be dealt with.
zedompt (5 years ago)
You're right but money supplies the conditions for "bad ethics" to emerge. You can combat all you want and maybe even to a good degree, but you can't get rid of them, thus not solving the perpetuating problems the world faces.
arknihil (5 years ago)
That's a rather simplistic analysis. Money itself doesn't generate bad ethics. If we get rid of money, scientists will still want the things money once bought. I'm not saying anything about whether or not we should get rid of the monetary system, but regardless, money is not the root of bad ethics and there are ways to combat bad ethics that don't involve money.
arknihil (5 years ago)
You can't be serious.
arknihil (5 years ago)
It's called "alternative" medicine for a reason. If it worked, it'd be called medicine.
Al Pacino (5 years ago)
This has been going on for years. I had a professor whose work, which was damning to the testing industry (academic testing), could never get his research published in the more popular journals. He was widely regarded as an authority in his field, but journal gatekeepers are free to accept or reject the research they choose. We now know that tests do not predict future performance in school and that the best predictor of future academic success is indeed past level of academic attainment.
Grae Hall (5 years ago)
Good luck, it's written in their constitution - that gorgeous black box of magic over maintenance. The longer it's magical, the more magical it becomes and the more maintenance is seen as a an insult rather than a necessity and virtue.

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