How the NHS failed me and mine.
What it did, to the most important person
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Monday, 17 January 2011

Polypill Trials- Oh My Gawd!

Law and Wald, strike again! Not content with inventing a pill to treat the 'worried well' after their famously flawed 'teleoanalysis', these pair of opportunistic 'researchers', who are obviously gifted with great integrity, because they patented this pill as their own, have now persuaded the Wolfson Institute to begin a small trial to test a modified version of the original. The results will no doubt be promoted as being proven, despite the fact that such a small trial of 12 weeks duration is unlikely to reveal any result that could be viewed as conclusive. It is not being helped either by the next step, which is then to treat all the cohort after 12 weeks, as well as the control group, with the 'polypill' for some two years.

This is junk science, in my book and in the eyes of the esteemed Malcolm Kendrick, who posits that teleoanalysis is (and I paraphrase) trying to prove my aunt is actually my uncle without the benefit of a sex test, or even sight of the wedding tackle! This is the original study from 2003, and it's 'wibble'! Do we really want commence to treat people on a 'just in case' principle, especially when the foundation of the of the hypothesis is so flawed. This is just about as bad as a previous idea to hand out statins with Big Mac's.  The BMJ paper, Kendrick, amusingly derides, is here.

This pair, I believe, typify those in health care, who are prepared to compromise integrity for the sake of  turning a fast buck. It shows us the bright new tomorrow that we can look forward to, going forward with the ConDems. This will be a new shiny world of spin, hype and the delivery of surrogate end points, instead of  real health. The markers laid down, are unlikely to bring about a sea change in the Nation's health. But we will be told they will. And of course, being told, by those with letters after their name in abundance, that it will revolutionise, all of our lives, and make them a lot of lovely money, as well, will only be tested by history, some generations later. If that inheritance, mirrors the results, of the surrogate end points, promised when we started down the road of Statins, then we will, as always, be waiting in vain.

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