Almost half of all the clinical trials ever conducted have never been reported.
This is the story of the campaign to find them—and to fix medicine.
“I felt like I was a mouthpiece for this giant army of disenfranchised nerds,” said Ben Goldacre. It is a bright spring day in Oxford—a city of concentrated architectural stimulation—and we, along with Síle Lane, campaigns director for Sense About Science, are ensconced in a bland office at the very studious Center for Evidence Based Medicine, where Goldacre is a Senior Clinical Research Fellow.
The story of AllTrials really begins with blogging, which Goldacre started to do as a young doctor in 2003. “Bad Science” was an attempt to explain how science and statistics really work and how “quacks, drug companies, politicians, and dodgy journalists” repeatedly get science and statistics wrong, he said. And it hit a nerve: “On the one hand, mainstream media produced stuff that was clearly wrong, and on the other hand, mainstream media dumbed down and didn’t produce stuff that was stimulating and interesting and correct,” he says. His blog gained a following, and caught the interest of the Guardian newspaper, which gave him a column.