Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews Medical Classics

Follies and Fallacies in Medicine

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 20 March 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:673
  1. Philip Steer, emeritus professor, Imperial College London
  1. profphilsteer{at}

Petr Skrabanek, a Czech, was in Ireland when the Soviets invaded his country, so he stayed, publishing many criticisms of medical humbug while working with James McCormick in the Department of Community Health at Trinity College, Dublin, until his premature death in 1994. The book has been translated into six languages and is on the reading list of medical schools around the world, to encourage an appropriate scepticism about medical dogma.

For example, could strict adherence to evidence based practice be harmful to patients? This is the intriguing hypothesis suggested in the first section of this subversive book. It points out that although the placebo effect is very powerful, to work best it requires both the patient and the doctor to believe in it. As …

View Full Text

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription