Ben Goldacre: Bad Science, Bad Pharma, not too shabby Valentine ?

Ben Goldacre is a UK physician, epidemiologist and writer who has been an outspoken critic of the current research / publication system.  He has written two books on the topic, and also has two very engaging TED talks .  He will be speaking in Toronto this week Thursday and Friday…

Ben Goldacre Bad Science, Bad Pharma

Thursday 14th Feb, 6pm-8pm


268 Augusta Ave  

Pub talk organised by @julia, free, open to all

Friday, 15th Feb, 7:30pm
massey collegeMassey College lecture 
4 devonshire Place, Toronto

free and open to the public.


by @Julia

Come hear pop-science writer Ben Goldacre speak about his new book, Bad Pharma. 

Ben Goldacre is an award-winning writer, medical doctor and academic, and author of The Guardian¹s Bad Science column, best-selling book of the same title, and Bad Pharma.

He’ll speak about the $600bn global pharmaceutical industry, and how the evidence base for the prescription drugs we use every day has been
distorted, how our systems have been broken, and how easy it would be to fix them.

Doctors and patients need good scientific evidence to make informed
decisions. But instead, companies run bad trials on their own drugs, which
exaggerate the benefits by design. When these trials produce unflattering
results, the data is simply buried. All of this is perfectly legal. In fact,
even government regulators withhold vitally important data from the people who need it most.

Doctors and patient groups have stood by too, and failed to protect us. Instead, they take money and favours, in a world so fractured
that medics and nurses are now educated by the drugs industry.

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7 Responses to Ben Goldacre: Bad Science, Bad Pharma, not too shabby Valentine ?

  1. Phew! Well said. Sounds like a blog worth posting 🙂 You keep doing this, I may not even have to read the book, right?!


  2. it’s easy to blame big bad “other’ and hide behind “profit motive” as some kind of demon…but , unless you deliberately choose funds and banking that expressly do not , then banking, shares and investment portfolios – including most pension schemes and including CPP- include benefits from “the profit motive” of Big Bad Pharma too…. so, does that make you not evil too?


    • Guess it makes me an ‘enabler’ of big pharma.. Hadn’t thought of that. I wonder what Ben Goldacre might say about that….


    • Blaming or scapegoating any party might be fun for now but is going to be, long term, fruitless -since most of us have played some role, even if its only that we let this happen. Casting drug companies as evil is hardly likely to makes them want to join in making it better.

      The system we have was not invented by evil drug companies, it was designed with good intent by many parties – and has gone awry.

      As Ben Goldacre said the other Friday – he could have just as easily called his new book any one of … “Bad Government”, “Bad Academia”, “Bad Regulatory bodies”, “Bad Doctors”, “Bad Patients”, “Bad Journals” bad everything…
      The title he wanted is a bit too long to go on the cover.

      In systems thinking there is a precept that “people behave they way they are incentivised to behave”.

      The current system does not incentivise anyone to publish data that does not confirm their hypothesis [goes for all science, not just medicines science]. Nobody makes money [including shareholders and pension plan investors], nobody gets promoted to professor, and journals don’t get to sell reprints, regulators get nothing and government gets nothing.

      There is currently no incentive for anyone to see that results are published – so the result is many trials don’t get published.

      The outcome is that some info gets hidden, in the end that doesn’t actually help anyone.

      As the offspring might say this “stuff is really messed up”.

      Changing the basic incentivisation of the system is what’s required – changing the basic assumptions that drive research, adopting the assumption that to not publish is regarded as research malpractice, might just tilt the whole system to be more open.
      That is the aim of the project


  3. Yes… Apparently the right to profit at any cost is a higher value than the right to be protected from bad pharma. 😦


  4. korazorba1 says:



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