Letters

If it doesn't work, stop it

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.328.7446.1016-a (Published 22 April 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:1016

Summary of rapid responses

  1. Caroline White, freelance medical journalist
  1. London E17 4SQ

    EDITOR—Most of the 50 or so correspondents agreed that doctors are guilty of using treatments that don't work.13 Some thought that patients respond very differently to the same treatment, so what works in one might not work in another. And sometimes useless, but harmless, treatment bought much needed time for patients to heal themselves, suggested others.

    But many simply felt that culture and training and peer pressure and patient expectations often got in the way of change, even when patients stand to benefit. Financial imperatives, some of which are not always obvious, also favour using treatments that don't work, suggested an ethicist in Qatar. The lack of published negative trial results didn't help much either, volunteered …

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