By Gaia Health
The prestigiousJournal of the American Medical Association and the Cochrane Collaboration have jointly and officially concluded, albeit tacitly, that evidence-based medicine does not generally exist. To counter that lack, they are suggesting voluntary changes in how medical studies are reported.
JAMA’s article on the subject, “A Model for Dissemination and Independent Analysis of Industry Data “, starts with the statement:
Each day, patients and their physicians make treatment decisions with access to only a fraction of the relevant clinical research data.
Cochrane’s statement, “The Cochrane Collaboration Supports Free Access to all Data from all Clinical Trials “, says:
Selective reporting of trial results occurs frequently, leading to exaggerated findings of the beneficial effects of healthcare interventions and underestimates of their harms. As a consequence, many patients are unknowingly treated with interventions that have little or no effect, and may be harmed unnecessarily. This is unethical and has been said to violate the implicit contract between healthcare researchers and patients, where the aim of research is to improve treatment of future patients.
Gaia Health applauds this acknowledgement by JAMA and Cochrane. However, the two journals suggest dramatically different approaches to resolving the problem. JAMA suggests only voluntary commitment by industry, whereas Cochrane advises laws with teeth in them. Neither one, in the view of Gaia Health, goes far enough.