Welcome to my new column The Pie Man Strikes Again!
Now what has a Pie Man got to do with medicine? What has a Pie Man got to do with the holy grail of evidence-based medicine?
Allow me to explain…
There are some doctors around today so eminent that I’ve dubbed them Physicians of the Utmost Fame (apologies to Hilaire Belloc) who have seen fit contemptuously to trash various forms of alternative and complementary medicine using the term ‘evidence-based medicine’ as a blunt instrument with which to club any alternative health intervention they consider not to be backed by reliable evidence.
So what’s wrong with that?
It’s not wrong at all except for one little flaw. By selectively bashing homeopathy and alternative medicine with a club called ‘lack of evidence’ they leave the public with the impression that all or at least most orthodox medical interventions are ‘evidence-based’. But nothing could be further from the truth. In fact only 13% (sic – ‘thirteen per cent’) of orthodox medical interventions are backed by solid evidence that they are of definite benefit. Another 23% are ‘likely to be beneficial’. And ‘likely to be beneficial’ is what most health practitioners think of their work but for those whom I’ve dubbed The Disciples of Scientism, that is simply not good enough ‘evidence’! And as for the remaining 64% of commonly used treatments (the BMJ’s words not mine) it seems to me that you hope and pray for good effects rather than side-effects!
And from where do I get these figures? Nay, not from the British Journal of Quackery nor from the American Journal of Snake Oil and other Panaceas. No, these figures have been lifted from a pie chart published by the highly regarded Handbook of Clinical Evidence (page 2) published by the totally orthodox and highly regarded British Medical Journal.
I’ve drawn attention to this pie before but the critics of homeopathy have not taken sufficient notice and continued in their jeering and condescending criticism of homeopath and other complementary therapies. So in the name of truth, honesty and justice in medicine as well as the health benefits of laughter, I’ve employed a Pie Man to bring this pie a little closer to the faces that continue selectively to attack homeopathy and other complementary interventions for not being ‘evidence based’.
I think it would be unfair to throw this pie at anyone without due warning so the Pie Man will choose to ignore previous indiscretions and hypocritical attacks using ‘evidence-based medicine’ as weapon. But from now it’s no holds barred and no pies spared.
Watch this space to see who is first to be served by the Pie Man.