Evidence based politics

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 13 January 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:127
  1. Tony Smith

    Why should the home secretary, Michael Howard, study the history of tuberculosis? Let me explain.

    All the current talk about evidence based medicine gives the impression that clinicians have only recently based their treatments on the results of randomised controlled trials. However, in Britain it was during the immediate post war years that clinical trials made their greatest impact, when a series of studies established that virtually all patients suffering from pulmonary tuberculosis, no matter how advanced, could be cured if given triple chemotherapy.

    The story has recently been told by one of its chief actors, Sir John Crofton, in Science and Society: Tuberculosis, Tobacco, Poverty, …

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