Setting state government spending priorities by evaluating spending effectiveness or evidence-based budgeting has been a growing trend in Wisconsin and elsewhere. Most states’ leading expenditures are health care related for children, the disabled and low income seniors. How can we best evaluate what contributes to better health? Eric Nelson raises some thought provoking questions about evidence-based medicine in his May 5, 2014 article in Communities Digital News. See excerpt below and click here to read the full article.
Eric Nelson–PETALUMA, CA, – As the story goes, John the Baptist once sent two of his disciples to Jesus to ask if he was the promised Messiah. Rather than giving a simple yes or no answer, he said, “Go back to John and tell him what you have heard and seen – the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.”
In other words, look at the evidence.
These days the scenario would look a lot different. Instead of John the Baptist you might have the general public wondering if a particular drug is really as effective as its advertisements make it out to be; and instead of Jesus you might have any number of researchers, scientific journals and pharmaceutical companies saying basically the same thing: Look at the evidence.
That makes perfect sense – that is, if you can always rely on the evidence.
Not too long ago, a group from Bayer HealthCare decided to check the results of 67 of its research papers. Only 25 percent of them could be replicated. The results of another investigation conducted by scientists at biotech firm Amgen were even worse. Out of 53 “landmark” cancer studies, only six could be reproduced.
“Even knowing the limitations of preclinical research,” wrote David Gorski on the Science-Based Medicine website, “this was a shocking result.