Peter C. Gøtzsche

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Peter C. Gøtzsche (born 26 November 1949) is a Danish physician, medical researcher, and leader of the Nordic Cochrane Center at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, Denmark. He co-founded, and has written numerous reviews within the Cochrane collaboration.

Among his research findings are that placebo has surprisingly little effect[1][2][3] and that many meta-analyses may have data extraction errors.[4] Gøtzsche and his coauthors have been keen to criticize the research methods and interpretations of other scientists, e.g. in meta-analysis of placebo.[5][6]

Gøtzsche has commented on meta-analysis,[7] and the editorial independence of medical journals.[8] He has written about issues surrounding medical ghostwriting with the position that it is scientific misconduct.[9] He has also criticized the widespread use of SSRI antidepressants.[10]

Critique of mammography screening[edit]

Gøtzsche has been critical of screening for breast cancer using mammography, arguing that it cannot be justified; his critique has caused controversy.[11] His critique stems from a meta-analysis he did on mammography screening studies and published as Is screening for breast cancer with mammography justifiable? in The Lancet in 2000.[12] In it he discarded 6 out of 8 studies arguing their randomization was inadequate.

In 2006 a paper by Gøtzsche on mammography screening was electronically published in the European Journal of Cancer ahead of print.[13] The journal later removed the paper completely from the journal website without any formal retraction.[14] The paper was later published in Danish Medical Bulletin with a short note from the editor,[15] and Gøtzsche and his coauthors commented on the unilateral retraction that the authors were not involved in.[16]

In 2012 his book Mammography Screening: Truth, Lies and Controversy was published.[17] In 2013 his book Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma has Corrupted Healthcare was published.[18]


  • Peter C Gøtzsche; Henrik R Wulff (2007). Rational diagnosis and treatment : evidence-based clinical decision-making (4th ed.). John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9780470723685.  Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthor= (help)
  • Peter C Gøtzsche (2012). Mammography screening : truth, lies and controversy. Radcliffe Publishing. ISBN 9781846195853. 
  • Peter C Gøtzsche; Richard Smith, Drummond Rennie (2013). Deadly medicines and organised crime : how big pharma has corrupted healthcare. Radcliffe Publishing. ISBN 9781846198847.  Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthor= (help)
  • Peter C. Gøtzsche (2015). Deadly Psychiatry and Organised Denial. People's Press. ISBN 978-87-7159-623-6. 


  1. ^ Asbjørn Hrobjartsson & Peter C. Gøtzsche (January 2002). "Hvad er effekten af placebobehandling? En systematisk oversigt over randomiserede kliniske forsøg med placebobehandlede og ubehandlede patienter [What is the effect of placebo interventions? A systematic review of randomised trials with placebo treated and untreated patients]". Ugeskrift for Læger. 164 (3): 329–333. PMID 11816328. 
  2. ^ Asbjørn Hrobjartsson & Peter C. Gøtzsche (2003). "Placebo treatment versus no treatment". Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (1): CD003974. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD003974. PMID 12535498. 
  3. ^ A. Hrobjartsson & P. C. Gotzsche (August 2004). "Is the placebo powerless? Update of a systematic review with 52 new randomized trials comparing placebo with no treatment". Journal of Internal Medicine. 256 (2): 91–90. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2796.2004.01355.x. PMID 15257721. 
  4. ^ Peter C. Gøtzsche, Asbjørn Hróbjartsson, Katja Maric, Britta Tendal (July 2007). "Data Extraction Errors in Meta-analyses That Use Standardized Mean Differences". JAMA. 298 (4): 430–437. doi:10.1001/jama.298.4.430. PMID 17652297.  There is a error in the article. Comments:
  5. ^ Asbjørn Hróbjartssona & Peter C. Gøtzsche (April 2006). "Unsubstantiated claims of large effects of placebo on pain: serious errors in meta-analysis of placebo analgesia mechanism studies". Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. 59 (4): 336–338. doi:10.1016/j.jclinepi.2005.05.011. PMID 16549252. 
  6. ^ Asbjørn Hróbjartsson, Peter C. Gøtzsche (2007). "Powerful spin in the conclusion of wampold et al.'s re-analysis of placebo versus no-treatment trials despite similar results as in original review". Journal of Clinical Psychology. 63 (4): 373–377. doi:10.1002/jclp.20357. PMID 17279532. 
  7. ^ Peter C. Gøtzsche (September 2000). "Why we need a broad perspective on meta-analysis". BMJ. 321 (7261): 585–586. doi:10.1136/bmj.321.7261.585. 
  8. ^ Peter C. Gøtzsche (2008). "Ytringsfrihed og redaktionel uafhængighed: Fire fyringer og en kafkask proces" (PDF). Ugeskrift for Læger. 170 (18): 1537. 
  9. ^ Peter C. Gøtzsche, Jerome P. Kassirer, Karen L. Woolley, Elizabeth Wager, Adam Jacobs, Art Gertel, Cindy Hamilton (2009). "What Should Be Done To Tackle Ghostwriting in the Medical Literature?". PLoS Medicine. 6 (2): e1000023. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000023. PMC 2634793free to read. PMID 19192943. 
  10. ^ Gotzsche, Peter (30 April 2014). "Psychiatric drugs are doing us more harm than good". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  11. ^ Donald G. McNeil, Jr. (2002-04-09). "CONFRONTING CANCER: SCIENTIST AT WORK -- PETER GOTZSCHE; A Career That Bristles With Against-the-Grain Conclusions". New York Times. 
  12. ^ Peter C. Gøtzsche, Ole Olsen (January 2000). "Is screening for breast cancer with mammography justifiable?". The Lancet. 355: 129+. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(99)06065-1. 
  13. ^ Zahl, PH; Gøtzsche, PC; Andersen, JM; Mæhlen, J (March 2006). "WITHDRAWN: Results of the Two-County trial of mammography screening are not compatible with contemporaneous official Swedish breast cancer statistics". European Journal of Cancer. doi:10.1016/j.ejca.2005.12.016. PMID 16530407. 
  14. ^ Kerry Grens (December 2006). "Mammography article withdrawal sparks dispute". The Scientist. 
  15. ^ Per-Henrik Zahl, Peter C. Gøtzsche, Jannike Mørch Andersen, Jan Mæhlen (November 2006). "Results of the Two-County trial of mammography screening are not compatible with contemporaneous official Swedish breast cancer statistics". Danish Medical Bulletin. 53: 438–440. doi:10.1016/j.ejca.2005.12.016. PMID 16530407. Archived from the original on June 21, 2007. 
  16. ^ Peter C Gøtzsche, Jan Mæhlen, Per-Henrik Zahl (November–December 2006). "What is a publication?". The Lancet. 368 (9550): 1854–1856. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(06)69756-0. 
  17. ^ Gøtzsche, Peter C (2012). Mammography Screening: Truth, Lies and Controversy. Milton Keynes: Radcliffe Publishing Ltd. p. 400. ISBN 978-1-84619-585-3. 
  18. ^ Gotzsche, Peter (2013). Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma has Corrupted Healthcare. Radcliffe. ISBN 9781846198847. 

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