Cochrane Collaboration: DO NOT trust pharmaceuticals

Money talks, and the drug industry’s dollar talks loud and clear through the pages of leading medical journals. That’s the conclusion of Peter Gøtzsche, director of the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Copenhagen.

He compared reviews of drug studies funded by pharmaceutical companies with reviews done without pharma support. He recommends ignoring any meta-analyses funded by drug companies.

What is Cochrane Collaboration?

The Cochrane Collaboration, is the name of a group of over 6,000 specialists in health care who review biomedical trials and results of other research.

It is building on the enthusiasm of individuals, not on the funds from big pharma.

Cochrane Collaboration is considered to be the most reliable source for evidence-based medicine.

Did Cochrane Collaboration review any controlled trials on acupuncture?

A few recent reviews of acupuncture by Cochrane found it effective for :

  • chronic lower back pain (compared to placebo);
  • idiopathic headaches;
  • acupuncture reduced the need of ECV for breach babies and decreased use of oxytocin before and during labour;
  • acupuncture may reduce back and pelvic pain in pregnancy and it is more effective than group physiotherapy for this purpose;
  • acupuncture may be beneficial for the management of pain during labour;
  • massage may be beneficial for patients with subacute and chronic non-specific low-back pain, especially when combined with exercises and education; the evidence suggests that acupuncture massage is more effective than classic massage.


Reports from Cochrane on many other conditions treated by acupuncture conclude that acupuncture requires well funded large studies. I wish there was more money in acu.

Please also note that controlled trials on acupuncture are not usually funded by pharmaceuticals and therefore are a lot likely to be unbiased ;-)

1 reply
  1. Dr Vitalis Acupuncture says:

    This original post was posted in 2006. Since then Professor Gotzsche published a few books among them – Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Healthcare – PRESCRIPTION DRUGS ARE THE THIRD LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH AFTER HEART DISEASE AND CANCER

    And about psychiatric drugs “psychiatric drugs kill more than half a million people every year among those aged 65 and above in the United States and Europe”

    Professor Peter C Gotzsche graduated as a Master of Science in biology and chemistry in 1974 and as a physician in 1984. He is a specialist in internal medicine; he worked with clinical trials and regulatory affairs in the drug industry 1975-83, and at hospitals in Copenhagen 1984-95. He co- founded The Cochrane Collaboration in 1993 and established The Nordic Cochrane Centre the same year. He became professor of Clinical Research Design and Analysis in 2010 at the University of Copenhagen. Peter Gotzsche has published more than 50 papers in ‘the big fi ve’ (BMJ, Lancet, JAMA, Annals of Internal Medicine and New England Journal of Medicine) and his scientifi c works have been cited over 10 000 times. Peter Gotzsche has an interest in statistics and research methodology. He is a member of several groups publishing guidelines for good reporting of research and has co- authored CONSORT for randomised trials (www.consort- statement. org), STROBE for observational studies (www.strobe-, PRISMA for systematic reviews and meta- analyses (www.prisma-, and SPIRIT for trial protocols (www.spirit- Peter Gotzsche is an editor in the Cochrane Methodology Review Group.

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