June 4, 2013, by Kevin Shakesheff
Ben Goldacre’s Bad Pharma sets important challenges for pharmacy
I’ve just finished reading Ben Goldacre’s excellent “Bad Pharma” and want to recommend it to all our students, staff and friends. It’s a very well written book about the evidence (or lack of) on efficacy and safety of drugs. Ben makes a convincing case for changes in how we run clinical trials, publish our research and market drugs to patients and healthcare professionals. Made me re-examine how I form opinions on drugs and how careful we need to be with statistics and publishing “positive” research results. Can’t recommend it highly enough to our students – wish I’d had this book to read when I qualified 20+ years ago.
Importantly this book sets out a great challenge to pharmacists. It’s noticeable that pharmacists are hardly mentioned in the 400+ pages and we need make sure we are central to putting things right by improving evidence based prescribing. Lots of good people in our profession have been promoting the pharmacist as the drug expert for medicines optimization and communicating with patients, doctors and nurses on therapy choices. We can play a big role in overcoming the problems set out by this book if we take the initiative in both the education of future pharmacists and in developing bold new ways of practising to become the accessible and knowledgeable drug experts.
I certainly think that *all* clinical trials should be published, not just those that show the latest big-pharma potential block-buster in the best possible light.