Category: "Medical"

If you're going to cite a stat, please get your facts right...

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The "50% of all trials are never published" zombie pushed to the surface again this week, this time in a BMJ article from the Nordic Cochrane Centre about duloxetine. The first sentence caught my eye:

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50% of all...

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To be clear from the outset - this is not a post about "50% of all trials are unpublished" so calm, everyone...

50% is a very common percentage, apparently. I was reading a Guardian article this week 

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Seriously, that "50% of all trials are never published" statement is really getting annoying...

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This post is in response to a really shoddy article on Pharmafile. If one of my trainees wrote something this badly researched, I would put them on a warning...

Article here.
Edit: I did add a comment on the original article, but it seems to have mysteriously disappeared. Glad I also posted it here.

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Zombie stat: Prescribed drugs are the third leading cause of death...

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Perpetrator: Richard Smith, most recently.1 All over Google, in various formats, wherever it feeds some hyperbole...

Let's look at this a bit more closely. Where did such an alarming statistic originate? Well, go to PubMed and type "iatrogenic deaths" – you'll find loads of stuff. However, the most cited in popular articles (i.e. "on the internet") is an article by Barbara Starfield, published in JAMA,

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