Talk:Bad Pharma

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GA Review[edit]

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This review is transcluded from Talk:Bad Pharma/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: J Milburn (talk · contribs) 18:41, 7 January 2014 (UTC)

I'm happy to return the favour. I've been meaning to pick this one up, actually... J Milburn (talk) 18:41, 7 January 2014 (UTC)

  • The first thing that hits me is the quoting style- British English and MOS:LQ would generally recommend putting punctuation outside of quote marks. The first example where a change may be needed is "that "the whole edifice of medicine is broken," because".
  • Ideally, I'd like to see a bit more about the writing of the book- was there perhaps some information in the acknowledgements or introduction section? This would also be a good place to discuss publication dates/publishers and such.
  • "In the 192 trials they looked at, industry-funded trials were 20 times more likely to produce results that favoured the drug." I'm assuming this is a review article? Perhaps you could cite the publication, if so?
  • "data integrity" and "regulatory oversight" are technical terms which may not be immediately accessible
  • "It also raises the interesting question of whether" I don't think you can call it "interesting" when speaking in a neutral voice. You could say something like "For Goldacre, this raises the interesting question"
  • "Oriental people" comes across as a little dated- how about "people of East Asian descent"? That's the kind of language used in our article on the subject.
  • "happens by design and by analysis" I'm not clear on what you mean by "by analysis".
  • "per-protocol analysis" What is this?
  • "in 1999 by a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association" Again, perhaps readers would be interested in following up this study, so a citation would be useful?
  • What are "drug reps"? Representatives of drug companies? It would be good if this was spelt out at the first mention.
  • "The Economist described" I'm not keen on the personification; how about "A reviewer writing for The Economist described"?
  • I think The Guardian is better than Guardian; same with The Financial Times and The Daily Telegraph (but not the New Statesman...)
  • "The British House of Commons Public Accounts Committee expressed concern in January 2014 that drug companies were still only publishing around 50 percent of completed clinical trial results.[6] In January 2013 Goldacre joined the Cochrane Collaboration, British Medical Journal and others in setting up AllTrials, a campaign calling for the results of all past and current clinical trials to be reported.[7]" None of this is in the main article- perhaps you could consider a "legacy" section?
  • I note that you don't cite any reviews in peer reviewed publications. Here are some published in decent journals available freely online.
  • Some that are not accessible, but which I can help you get a hold of if you can't reach them:
  • A lot of hits for the journal Medical Writing, but I can't access that one
  • Here is an interview with Goldacre, which may be useful. Again, I can send it to you if you're interested.
  • Category:Books by Ben Goldacre should probably be created.

Your -izes threw me a little, but the OED is happy with them as BritEng, so I am too. The writing's very good, as are the sources, but I am struck by the lack of background info, and the lack of peer reviewed sources. J Milburn (talk) 20:38, 7 January 2014 (UTC)

Hi, thanks for the review and the links. I'll take a few days to add some of the material you suggested, including some follow-up material (I don't think I'll call it a legacy section; will probably just extend the reception section). I'll ping you when it's ready. If you're able to help me get the following articles (without too much trouble for yourself) – British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine – that would be great.
To address a few of the points you raised:
  • "happens by design and by analysis" means that clinical trials can be designed to produce the results the companies want, or that the results can be analysed to produce those results. The next paragraph gives examples; e.g. testing on ideal patients is an example of misleading by design, and measuring uninformative outcomes is misleading by analysis.
  • I'll add more detail about the 192 trials if he gives it (I don't have the book in front of me).
  • I don't use LQ (internal punctuation is used in the UK too), and the GAN criteria don't include MoS compliance.
  • "The Economist described": it has no bylines and it isn't safe to assume that it's just one reviewer (see here).
  • I'll fix the writing issues you highlighted (e.g. I'll remove "interesting," will clarify what a drug rep is, will fix "people of East Asian descent," and so on).
  • I'll look again at the book to see whether he discusses the background, writing process, etc.
Thanks again for the review, suggestions and article links. SlimVirgin (talk) 23:02, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
I'm using a different email address from last time we spoke- if you send me an email through Wikipedia, I'll see what I can do about getting those articles to you. J Milburn (talk) 23:06, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
Will do, many thanks. SlimVirgin (talk) 23:08, 7 January 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Hi J Milburn, I've made some fixes:

  • There isn't really anything about the writing of the book that isn't already in the brief section about Goldacre: that he writes the Bad Science column in the Guardian, wrote Bad Science (2008), has worked to highlight fraud in medicine and science, etc. I added a bit about him being singled out by Health Journal for his work.
  • I cited the study that looked at 192 trials.
  • removed "interesting " from "It also raises the interesting question of whether ..."
  • changed "Oriental people" to "people of East Asian descent"
  • not sure how I can make "data integrity" and "regulatory oversight" any clearer without getting too wordy
  • explained "per-protocol analysis"
  • cited the 1999 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association
  • added link to explain "drug rep"
  • left the definite article lower case in The Guardian, etc, per the Chicago Manual of Style (makes things easier and consistent)
  • added a paragraph to the Reception section from the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology article you sent me (thank you again for that)
  • added a brief section at the end about AllTrials and the Public Accounts Committee report.

SlimVirgin (talk) 18:37, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

Hi again J Milburn, pinging you again in case you didn't see the above, or in case there's something you're waiting for me to do. If it's just that you're busy, though, there's no rush. SlimVirgin (talk) 17:04, 14 January 2014 (UTC)
Sorry- this is very much on my todo list, I just want to be in the right mindset! I promise I'll get to this soon. J Milburn (talk) 21:30, 14 January 2014 (UTC)
That's fine. I just wanted to make sure that you'd seen my reply – not everyone has notifications switched on so I didn't want to assume. Please take as long as you need. SlimVirgin (talk) 17:13, 15 January 2014 (UTC)
Alright, looking again, I am happy that this is ready for GA status. If you're considering FAC, then here are a few pointers:
  • I'd expand the reception section with more reviews published in peer reviewed journals. You could perhaps split the reception section into academic and press; Midnightblueowl did something similar with Magic, Witchcraft and the Otherworld.
  • It's a shame that there's nothing more on the writing/publishing process; I'd also personally rather see the "Publication details" merged into a background section, but that's a personal preference.
  • The core MOS does demand LQ- I appreciate that your style is a legitimate alternative often used in decent publications, but if someone was determined to change the article, or if you were to take this to FAC, you'd probably have to change it.
  • All those cites in the lead probably aren't strictly needed.
  • The navboxes, see also and external links may need to be trimmed a little!
But, for GA purposes, these are all fine. J Milburn (talk) 14:38, 18 January 2014 (UTC)
I've put it in the biology books category, but if you feel it should be moved, please go ahead. J Milburn (talk) 14:55, 18 January 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for this, J Milburn, much appreciated. I probably won't submit it for FAC but I'll bear your points in mind if I do. I may also try to expand it with some more peer-reviewed studies anyway. Thanks again for your time. SlimVirgin (talk) 18:13, 18 January 2014 (UTC)