Medic and author Ben Goldacre explores the idea of evidence-based policy and asks if it can ever become a reality in the UK.
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Medicine is broken, according to Ben Goldacre in his new book Bad Pharma. In conversation with Adam Rutherford, Ben describes how the route from drug development to patient is a flawed ecosystem of systemic problems, one that badly needs fixing.
@lecanardnoir: "From the archive: Goldacre interviews an ex-chair of Society of Homeopaths. Ominous church bells on queue."
In this programme, as part of the Generations Apart, which launches on the 8th August on Radio 4, Ben Goldacre, medic and author of the Bad Science Column, explores the past, present and future of longitudinal research.
In a sweary episode, we begin by talking about the peculiarities of those who threaten to sue Goldacre for libel, and the way quacks will create misleading statistics. Then via Nick’s desire for robot doctors, we discuss whether doctors are obliged to tell the truth to their patients, how new technology may change the role of doctors in diagnosis, and the potential for conflicts of interest depending upon how doctors are paid. And Nick lets John speak after the first half hour.
We ponder the potential privatisation of the NHS, and the impact that may have on patients and doctors, what happens when you privatise blood donation, and in turn, the nature of an altruistic act. We ask what doctors should be doing with drugs they know don’t perform better than placebo, even if they appear to help patients.
The public interest in science has seemingly never been higher. Major TV series such as Wonders of the Solar System are watched by millions, the popular science shelves of bookshops are ever expanding. Some of these books even sell in respectable numbers. Is this a passing fad or is this trend being reflected in university admissions? Is there a line to walk between stimulating and enlightening or dumbed down content? Joining Little Atoms’ Neil Denny to discuss these questions and more are a panel of people who work at the sharp end of the promotion and the public understanding of science:
Marcus du Sautoy
Marcus du Sautoy is Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and Professor of Mathematics, and a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford. Formerly a Fellow of All Souls College, and Wadham College, he is now a Fellow of New College. Marcus is the author of three books, The Music of the Primes, Finding Moonshine and The Num8er My5teries, and has presented numerous TV series, most recently The Beauty of Diagrams for BBC4.
Adam Rutherford is a professional geek. He holds a PhD in genetics, and is an editor at the science journal Nature, where he runs their podcast and video department. He has presented a number of programs for Radio 4, and his TV series for BBC4 include Cell, and the upcoming Genome.
Ben Goldacre is an award-winning writer and broadcaster, who specialises in unpicking dodgy scientific claims made by scaremongering journalists, dodgy government reports, evil pharmaceutical corporations, PR companies and quacks. He has written the weekly Bad Science column in the Guardian since 2003. Bad Science the book has sold 240,000 copies, reached #1 in the paperback non-fiction charts, and is published in 18 countries. Ben also somehow manages to fit in a full-time job as a medical doctor for the NHS.
Liz Bonnin studied Biochemistry at Trinity College, Dublin, and has a Masters in Wild Animal Biology from the Zoological Society of London and the Royal Veterinary College. A tv presenter in both the UK and the Republic of Ireland, Liz is probably best known as a presenter of BBC1’s science show Bang Goes the Theory. Recently she could be seen as part of the Autumnwatch team, and most recently, presenting segments of BBC2’s Stargazing Live.
The blogger and the author of Bad Science, Dr Ben Goldacre, himself a defendant in a lengthy and costly legal case, explores the battle to keep libel out of science and what it might mean for us and the future of medical research if that battle is lost.