Thursday, July 20, 2023

Medicine is plagued by untrustworthy clinical trials. How many studies are faked or flawed?

Do Carlisle’s findings in anaesthesiology extend to other fields? For years, a number of scientists, physicians and data sleuths have argued that fake or unreliable trials are frighteningly widespread. They’ve scoured RCTs in various medical fields, such as women’s health, pain research, anaesthesiology, bone health and COVID-19, and have found dozens or hundreds of trials with seemingly statistically impossible data. Some, on the basis of their personal experiences, say that one-quarter of trials being untrustworthy might be an underestimate. “If you search for all randomized trials on a topic, about a third of the trials will be fabricated,” asserts Ian Roberts, an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

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