Summary of When Evidence Says No, but Doctors Say Yes

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When Evidence Says No, but Doctors Say Yes summary


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Investigative reporter David Epstein, writing for ProPublica, reveals the troubling truth about many popular medications and procedures: They’re of no benefit to most of the people receiving them. He presents a good range of evidence against many therapies, including common blood pressure medications, knee surgeries and trendy cancer drugs. He’s not unsympathetic: They’re not just evil doctors trying to make a buck. Some of them simply struggle to believe counterintuitive science, while others fear lawsuits if they don’t do as the patient asks. While never giving medical advice, getAbstract recommends Epstein’s analysis to health care professionals and patients alike.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why many doctors use treatments that aren’t supported by good evidence,
  • Which kinds of treatments are implicated, and
  • How statistics might help.

About the Authors

David Epstein is an author and investigative reporter at ProPublica, an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest.



Physician David L. Brown works at RightCare Alliance, an initiative which aims to combat rising costs in medicine that don’t improve the quality of care. In 2012, he co-authored a report showing that stents failed to increase life expectancy or reduce heart attacks in stable patients. Yet surgeons implant...

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