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Cochrane HPV vaccine review: BMJ journal defends “inconvenient criticisms”

BMJ 2018; 362 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k3927 (Published 14 September 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;362:k3927

Re: Cochrane HPV vaccine review: BMJ journal defends “inconvenient criticisms”

The dispute between the editors of “BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine” and the “Cochrane Collaboration” illustrate that evidence-based medicine is far from an exact science. Authors of all systematic reviews make assumptions about which studies to include and how to interpret the findings of the studies that are included. Furthermore, even on those occasions when all eligible studies are included, there are invariably still gaps in evidence; for example, because some groups – such as older people or those with complex multimorbidity - are not present in sufficient numbers to draw any firm conclusions about their management. Readers and users of systematic reviews should therefore never assume that these publications are a ‘gold standard’ and always view them with a very critical eye.

Competing interests: No competing interests

14 September 2018
Azeem Majeed
Professor of Primary Care
Imperial College London
Department of Primary Care and Public Health, Imperial College London, London W6 8RP