Clinical trials are research studies that aim to establish whether a medical strategy, treatment or device is safe for use or consumption by humans. These studies may also suggest which medical approaches prove most effective for specific conditions or groups of people. They advance medical knowledge. Clinical trials are the cornerstone of Western medicine. They provide the most reliable data to assist in healthcare decision-making.
Such trials start with small groups, initially, to examine whether a new method causes any harm or unsatisfactory side-effects. This ensures safety for participants. Often, a technique that is successful in a laboratory or on animals may not be a success in humans; animal studies may also prove dangerous when extrapolated to humans. But scientists, pharma companies and health professionals have immense faith in this evidence and so do many doctors who do not go deep into researching such ‘evidence-based’ approach.
If you go deep, you may find many flaws in the evidence. For one, the studies are very short-term and are cross-sectional. They very wrongly assume that one size fits all; while, in reality, no two human beings, even twins, are alike and can be compared. Long-term observational studies are much more reliable. The so-called double blinding is a trap. The interaction between the consciousness of the subject and the researcher is now well established. All these, and more, made Sir Michael Rawlins, the chief of National Institute of Health & Care Excellence (NICE), UK, say that randomised control trials have been wrongly given a high priority in medical research. In addition, the very short duration of these cross-sectional studies may lead to even the dangerous side-effects being unrecognised making adverse drug reactions a serious problem with Western medicine.
Western science has no other option to offer and long-term observational studies are too cumbersome and expensive to the pharma lobby. In addition, audits show that industry-funded studies come up 95% of the time with positive outcomes. When the same study is replicated with independent funding, the positive results decline to 15%. Most of the evidence gathered is funded by the industry. In addition, many of these reputed researchers have financial ties with the industry. So much for its authenticity! The further details of industry influence of our evidence gathering is available in this classic by the former editor of the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, Dr Marcia Angell, The Truth about Drug Companies - How they deceive us and what to do about that.
In addition, the American guidelines committees further complicate the picture. The blood pressure guidelines are a good example. The guidelines recommend putting patients on medicine to control hypertension at a much lower blood pressure level (when no drugs should be used below 159/99). This allowed the industry to laugh all the way to their banks as it brought millions more people in their net to deal with their imaginary hypertension.
Diabetes, which has been now shown to be easily curable, was shown to be non-curable by the industry to sell drugs life-long! For making money, they peddle all lies in the medical field where death is only a statistic and human life is cheap. With this background, one could easily understand how the so-called proof of the effect of Western medicine can be relied on. The evidence can be easily manufactured at will.
Ayurveda is much more reliable, based on thousands of years of observational research. We should also remember the saying that absence of evidence in no evidence of absence. That apart, even if all the above-mentioned drawbacks could be rectified, we are still left with the main problem of not being able to club people together as cohorts for comparison. There is no better method other than longitudinal observational studies. But, recently, there even was a suggestion to pool anecdotal experiences together to avoid expensive time-consuming longitudinal studies!