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September 14, 2016

We have an epidemic of deeply flawed meta-analyses, says John Ioannidis – Retraction Watch 

The problem is that most of them are not carefully done and/or are done with pre-determined agendas on what to find and report.     RW: According to your paper, these types of papers have become “easily produced publishable units or marketing tools.” What do you mean by that? How should systematic reviews and meta-analyses be used? JI: In the past, a company that wanted to promote its products had to get a number of opinion makers — i.e. prestigious academics — to give talks and write editorials and other expert pieces about these products. As expert-based medicine of this sort declined and randomized trials became more influential, a company shifted its preference to trying to manipulate randomized trial results so as to convince the community. Now that systematic reviews and meta-analyses have become even more highly recognized than randomized trials, emphasis is shifting on dominating the results and conclusions of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. So, this has become the latest marketing tool, still serving expert-based medicine in essence. Moreover, given that the methods of performing systematic reviews have become more widespread and easier to apply (actually mis-apply, most of the time) lots of authors see systematic reviews and meta-analyses as a way to build a CV.

Source: We have an epidemic of deeply flawed meta-analyses, says John Ioannidis – Retraction Watch at Retraction Watch

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