Healthcare's dirty little secret: results from many clinical trials are unreliable

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


Clinical trials have been the gold standard of scientific testing ever since the Scottish naval surgeon Dr James Lind conducted the first while trying to conquer scurvy in 1747. They attract tens of billions of dollars of annual investment and researchers have published almost a million trials to date according to the most complete register, with 25,000 more each year.

Clinical trials break down into two categories: trials to ensure a treatment is fit for human use and trials to compare different existing treatments to find the most effective. The first category is funded by medical companies and mainly happens in private laboratories.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationThe Conversation
PublisherThe Conversation UK
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2016


  • Research
  • Healthcare
  • Aspirin
  • Clinical trials
  • NHS
  • drug treatment
  • Scurvy


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