Observer Leader

Oh dear, oh dear oh dear oh dear:

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice) has the difficult task of deciding which treatments from an increasingly expensive menu should be available on the NHS. To make the right choices, it needs access to all available data. And yet a report last week revealed that some antidepressants, taken by around four million people in Britain, work no better than placebos in mild cases of the illness.

Nice had been unaware of the fact because the data had never before been published. Most research is conducted by drug companies and Nice has no authority to compel them to reveal their findings. If a study casts doubt on a drug\’s benefits, it can be buried.

You should try reading your sister paper, my little bubberoonies. From yesterday:

In fact the new study added nothing (and it was ridiculously badly reported): we already knew that antidepressants perform only marginally better than placebo, and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) guidelines has actively advised against using them in milder depression since 2004.

Why do they bother, eh?

2 thoughts on “Observer Leader”

  1. Journalists as a class appear to be getting thicker and lazier by the minute.

    There is a very large difference between ‘unpublished’ results and ‘undeclared’ results. The regulations governing pharmaceuticals are very rigid, ‘all’ data produced by a company in developing a drug must and are given to the regulators. This includes all clinical trials data successful or otherwise and it is on this information that the medicines regulator (MHRA or EMEA) determines whether the drug can be marketed in the UK on the basis of efficacy and safety. NICE is a rationing agency that does not approve drugs for safety and efficacay mereley on the basis of cost benefit. Nothing is hiden from the regulators.

    Publication in the scientific literature is different and it is true in all field sof science that only positive results get published. You try getting a journal or it’s referees to accept a study on the basis of ” I did this study but it showed no impact” you get very short shrift. I know I have tried to publish such data in the past.

  2. “Journalists as a class appear to be getting thicker and lazier by the minute.”

    I suggest we all start using “journalist” to mean “diligent investigator who writes up a considered and well-researched report into an issue of public interest” and “churnalist” to mean “lazy wanker who recycles party and departmental press releases as factual news without bothering to engage even the few analytical skills that they have.”

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