Clinical trials:too often unscientific and unethical
Two investigators at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Karen A. Robinson and Dr. Steven N. Goodman, looked at how often published papers on clinical trials in medicine cite previous clinical trials addressing the same question.
They report what Dr. Goodman describes as “a rather shocking result.” He summarizes: “No matter how many randomized clinical trials have been done on a particular topic, about half the clinical trials cite none or only one of them.”
The situation can have serious consequences for patients, which is a source of information on appropriate tests of medical treatments. He said some patients have suffered severe side effects and even died in studies because researchers were not aware of previous studies documenting a treatment’s dangers.
“Not only is it unscientific, it is unethical.”
All too often, despite a multitude of clinical trials on a particular subject, the data do not supply the answers doctors need to treat patients.
Kolata, Gina. Trials in a vacuum: study of studies shows few citations. The New York Times, Online, the 17th of January 2011.