Ben Goldacre unpicks dodgy scientific claims made by scaremongering journalists, dubious government reports, pharmaceutical corporations, PR companies and quacks.

Why you should listen

"It was the MMR story that finally made me crack," begins the Bad Science manifesto, referring to the sensationalized -- and now-refuted -- link between vaccines and autism. With that sentence Ben Goldacre fired the starting shot of a crusade waged from the pages of The Guardian from 2003 to 2011, on an addicitve Twitter feed, and in bestselling books, including Bad Science and his latest, Bad Pharma, which puts the $600 billion global pharmaceutical industry under the microscope. What he reveals is a fascinating, terrifying mess.

Goldacre was trained in medicine at Oxford and London, and works as an academic in epidemiology. Helped along by this inexhaustible supply of material, he also travels the speaking circuit, promoting skepticism and nerdish curiosity with fire, wit, fast delivery and a lovable kind of exasperation. (He might even convince you that real science, sober reporting and reason are going to win in the end.)

As he writes, "If you're a journalist who misrepresents science for the sake of a headline, a politician more interested in spin than evidence, or an advertiser who loves pictures of molecules in little white coats, then beware: your days are numbered."

Read an excerpt of Bad Pharma >>

What others say

“There aren't many out-and-out good eggs in British journalism but Ben Goldacre is one of them.” — Ed Lake, The Daily Telegraph

Ben Goldacre’s TED talks

Ben Goldacre on the TED Blog

Health

TEDWeekends explores the truth about medical studies

April 6, 2013

At TEDMED 2012, Ben Goldacre shared a startling reality: that doctors are not able to read all the studies conducted on a pharmaceutical before prescribing it to their patients. This is because of a bias in medical research toward positive results – while one study confirming a drug’s effectiveness may be published, the results of […]

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Science

Two small steps forward in the fight for open medical data

October 31, 2012

In his recent TEDTalk, “What doctors don’t know about the drugs they prescribe,” Ben Goldacre sounded a warning about the vast numbers of pharmaceutical studies that go unpublished. “Positive findings are about twice as likely to be published as negative findings,” said Goldacre, noting that this is a big problem because it means doctors are […]

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Health

5 prescription drugs doctors had no idea could hurt their patients

September 27, 2012

As a doctor, Ben Goldacre likes to have all the available facts about a prescription drug before he even thinks about prescribing it. However, when it comes to medicines, it’s nearly impossible to find all the existing data. As Goldacre described in this impassioned talk given at TEDMed 2012, there is a bias in medicine […]

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Quotes from Ben Goldacre

Real science is all about critically appraising the evidence for somebody else’s position.
Ben Goldacre
TEDGlobal 2011 • 1.5M views Sep 2011
Informative, Persuasive
The placebo effect is one of the most fascinating things in the whole of medicine. It’s not just about taking a pill, and your performance and your pain getting better. It’s about our beliefs and expectations. It’s about the cultural meaning of a treatment.
Ben Goldacre
TEDGlobal 2011 • 1.5M views Sep 2011
Informative, Persuasive