En påstand som stadig vekk dukker opp i debatter rundt alternativ behandling er at heller ikke innen «skolemedisinen» er det særlig mye behandling som egentlig har god dokumentert effekt.
Kommentatoren Arne Skjærvik som den siste tiden har herjet mitt kommentarfelt med en tirade av faktafeil og vrangforestillinger skrev blant annet:
Har legemiddelindustrien dokumentert effekt? Det er gjort 2 store undersøkelser. Den ene fra Office of Technology Assesment i 1978, og den andre fra National Academy of Science i 1985, hvor begge viser at:
80-90% av behandlinger som legevitenskapen brukte, ikke var klinisk, kontrollerte undersøkelser.
Med andre ord: Bare 10-20% av medisinsk behandling har dokumentert effekt. En kraftig påstand som har sitt utspring i en femti år gammel studie som er feiltolket. Bob Imrie har forklart hvor Arne Skjærvik har sine tall fra, og hvorfor Skjærvik feiltolker dette grovt:
The original claim that ‘It has been estimated that only 10 to 20% of all procedures currently used in medical practice have been shown to be efficacious by controlled trial’ first appeared in print in a document published by the U.S. Congressional Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) in 1979 and was repeated in 1983. The claim stems from the comments of OTA advisory panel member and noted epidemiologist, Kerr White.
Dr White based his informal ’10-20%’ estimate on a 1963 paper that reported on two surveys of the prescribing practices of 19 family doctors in a northern British town for 2 weeks (one conducted in December 1960, and another in March 1961). Interestingly, the paper was never intended to evaluate the science of medical practice, rather its purpose was to look toward controlling prescribing costs in terms of standard (i.e., ‘generic’) versus ‘proprietary’ drugs. The ‘intent’ of each prescription was analyzed according to how specific it was for the condition. Intent was ‘specific’ for the condition for which it was pre-scribed only about 10% of the time; ‘probable’ in about 22%; ‘possible’ in 26%; ‘hopeful’ in 28%; ‘placebo’ in 10%; and, ‘not stated’ in 3.6%. From these data White estimated that ‘specific measures’ accounted for 10-20% of the benefits of patient care, that the combined placebo and other non-specific effects accounted for another 20-40%; and the rest (which he referred to as a ‘mystery’) accounts for 40-70%.