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Storm in a teacup? General implications of the Cochrane crisis

R Srivatsan

DOI: 10.20529/IJME.2018.079


The crisis that has emerged around the expulsion of Peter Gøtzsche from the Cochrane Board seems at first sight to be the outcome of a typical power play. However, the structural issues that have led to the crisis have emerged in a more technical criticism. These include lack of transparency, lack of cooperation of the pharma industry and hostility of institutions. Thus, the watchdog institution for efficacy and effectiveness of pharmaceutical drugs has itself now been hobbled by inefficacy and lack of effectiveness in its operation. What the confrontation shows us is how little control or understanding we (ordinary people) have over what we are given as curative and preventive biomedicine. It demonstrates how we are ignorant about the treatment of our sick bodies by expertise, pharmaceutical industry and medical institutions. The problem is not one of a particular evil actor. It is a problem of our medical culture. While we struggle to find our way through this overall historical situation, we need to listen to ethical experts like Peter Gøtzsche who are willing to stick their necks out and speak the truth.

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