Recently, antivaxxers were all over social media after Tucker Carlson touted a “revelation” that the phase 3 clinical trial used to support licensure of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine didn’t examine its ability to block transmission as meaning that its inability to block transmission had been “covered up”. It wasn’t, and antivaxxers are ignoring everything we’ve learned over the last two years to make the claim that vaccines “don’t prevent transmission”.
Recently, Henry Ford Hospital published a study of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 that showed a benefit. Unfortunately, it was a bias-prone retrospective study. That didn’t stop President Trump from touting the drug again.
Investigators at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center reported the results of a trial of acupuncture for xerostomia (dry mouth) secondary to radiation therapy for head and neck cancers. It was a negative trial, but investigators still tried to spin it as positive, but with a twist. There was a large difference between results found at M.D. Anderson and the second site in China. What could be going on?
The ethics of pay-to-play clinical trials are a minefield. Last week the HHS Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Human Research Protections (SACHRP) stepped into that minefield. Are “pay-to-play” clinical trials ever ethically acceptable?
This week, JAMA Internal Medicine published a clinical trial purporting to find that acupuncture helps stable angina. Here’s a hint: It doesn’t. It’s a bait-and-switch study that used “electroacupuncture” instead of acupuncture with poor blinding and lack of consideration of prior plausibility.