Learn more about fair tests of treatments

The purpose of this section of the site is to highlight important learning resources that will help you to improve your own and others’ understanding of fair tests of treatments.

They are all listed chronologically below, most recent additions first. However, you can also browse by Resource type (including target audience) and Topic using the menus on the right.

If you know of any such resources that you think we should add, please do let us know so we can take a look.

Breaking the bank to panic-buy harmful drugs

In November 2012 we wrote about Roche’s refusal to release clinical research data relevant to independent assessment of the effects of Tamiflu, and to the campaign to gain access to all of the data.

That campaign has now succeeded, and the full clinical data set has been analysed by Cochrane reviewers. The conclusions are of great importance.

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ECRAN logo

This lay-friendly video was created by the European Communication on Research Awareness Needs (ECRAN) Project.  The engaging 5-minute animation is available in 23 languages and is aimed at a lay audience, or those with low levels of knowledge about clinical trials.

The ECRAN group have also produced this great powerpoint presentation explaining clinical trial for patients. Continue reading »

A crowd holding a megaphone

This section of Testing Treatments interactive has been created to help patients and members of the public who wish to promote better research for better health care.

We’ll be developing this section throughout 2014 in partnership with some of the groups listed below. In the meantime, we’ve provided some resources to get you started.

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No bullshit

Most people know that medical treatments sometimes do more harm than good; but too few people know about how fair tests can help us recognize harmful or useless treatments. This information isn’t part of everyone’s general knowledge.  And that’s why learning about fair tests of treatments is so important. Continue reading »

Students for best evidence logo

Students 4 Best Evidence (S4BE) is a growing network of students from around the world, from school age to university, who are interested in learning more about evidence-based healthcare (EBH).  The network is supported by the UK Cochrane Centre.  In addition to the website, the S4BE has a Facebook group and Twitter feed.

Norah Essali’s video introduction tells you all about S4BE and how you can get involved.

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Generation R logo

In September 2013, the NIHR Medicines for Children Research Network’s ran a groundbreaking event: Generation R. Generation R was conceived, written and run by their Young Person’s Advisory Group. The event sought to engage the life-sciences industry in the importance of children’s research and the invaluable role young people have to play in its development.

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A crowd holding a megaphone

“Now then”, you are probably saying, “there’s no such thing…!”  And rightly so, familiar as you are with how perverse incentives can distort tests of treatments.

That said, in these times of austerity, one should never underestimate the importance of a proper feed in encouraging user engagement. Continue reading »


When deadlines are pressing, how can you tell whether to believe the claims about a new medical treatment or breakthrough?

As journalists you are immensely influential on public understanding of new treatments.  So it’s essential that you can tell fact from fiction.

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Wakefield stood to gain financially by undermining confidence in MMR

This is a wonderful 15-page cartoon by Darryl Cunningham explaining the events that led to the disastrous loss of confidence in the Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) combined vaccine.

It focuses on the fraud perpetrated by Dr Andrew Wakefield and the failure of the media to investigate the conflict of interest that lay behind his claims.

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A researcher

This four minute video by the Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit explains what clinical trials are, what they aim to do and why randomisation is important.

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