Cochrane has a long tradition of vigorous, open scientific debate that we cherish, and we want to play a constructive role in the current debate on the evidence relating to the benefits and harms of psychiatric drugs, resulting in better health decision-making and patient care. However, Cochrane’s ability to take part in the debate is damaged if we are falsely perceived to have taken a partisan position that we do not hold.
In his article ‘Prescription pills are Britain’s third biggest killer’ (MailOnline, 15 September 2015) Professor Peter Gøtzsche writes that: ‘As an investigator for the independent Cochrane Collaboration – an international body that assesses medical research – my role is to look forensically at the evidence for treatments’ and goes on to make a series of statements about the effects of psychiatric drugs and their use by doctors in the UK. These comments could be misconstrued as indicating that Professor Gøtzsche is conducting this work on behalf of Cochrane.
Cochrane wishes to state unequivocally that the views Professor Gøtzsche has expressed on the benefits and harms of psychiatric drugs are not those of the organization. As primarily a research organization Cochrane does not make clinical recommendations and we have not done so on this issue.
Professor Gøtzsche is an experienced researcher and he is the Director of the Nordic Cochrane Centre. He is free to interpret the evidence as he sees fit. He has an obligation, however, to distinguish sufficiently in public between his own research and that of Cochrane – the organization to which he belongs. There is a wide range of views within Cochrane on the benefits and harms of psychiatric drugs, of which Professor Gøtzsche’s is one.
Lisa Bero and Cindy Farquhar, Steering Group Co-Chairs
Mark Wilson, CEO
David Tovey, Editor in Chief
18 September 2015