Details of how to help with fact checking will appear here shortly. The first step is identifying what passages of the book are worth checking.
Why do this?
Things are not as they should be in medicine. This far appears to be fairly uncontroversial. Multiple people have documented the shortcomings of the current system of collecting evidence. Pharmacological companies, under time pressure by expiring patents, pay for and run the studies, whose results often only are reported if they are positive. Regulators that do not necessarily gets to see the raw data and even if, do not disclose it to the public, making an independent assessment impossible. These ills are documented in detail in e.g. Ben Goldacres book Bad Pharma.
In Doctoring Data, numerous examples of drugs and interventions are described, that in Dr. Kendricks view, either have not been proven to work or even worse, proven not to work. Given the common use of these procedures, if he is right, lives can be saved by raising awareness about these issues, to say nothing about the money saved. In a time of limited resources and burgeoning health care cost, it is essential not to squander resources on treatments that actually harm patients.
Given the stakes, I find it impossible not to try to do something to change this system to the better.
How to help?
I won’t manage to do this on my own. If you want to help, have a look in the forum and start interacting there or get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
How to do this?
The aim naturally should be to achieve the maximum certainty about truthfulness of a claim at a minimal effort. This is complicated by the fact that a lot of Dr. Kendricks assertions (at this point) involve the fact that the results in papers contradict the abstract and discussion.
An initial step will be to identify major reviews of areas, such as from the Cochran Library. A careful evaluation of such reviews should serve as a good starting point. In cases where there is no such review available, a systematic review, with clearly defined search criterion before the start, is in order.
This process is not set in stone. I hope to refine it as I go along and hopefully other people will contribute.
Ultimately, the progress hinges on the number of volunteers willing to devote time to this cause.
What to do?
- Go through the book and identify all claims about medical procedure
- Write a clear summary, highlighting the factual aspects that can be checked for each
What has been done so far?