Journalists often ask Peter Gøtzsche why he’s always looking for controversy. “I tell them, I'm not. It comes looking for me,” he replies. The Danish physician, medical researcher and leader of the Nordic Cochrane Centre received the 2016 HealthWatch Award at the charity's 28th Annual General Meeting with a compelling presentation titled: ‘Is it controversial to tell the truth about health care?’
“If I see something that seems to me wrong, I dig very deep to find the truth. I expose skeletons and sometimes the people who buried them can get very angry,” he said. This fearlessly outspoken defender of integrity in medicine went on to talk of biased trials, regulatory processes compromised by conflicts of interest, dangers of psychiatric drugs, and the folly of government investment in health checks and screening tests that simply don't work. A report of his talk will appear in the Winter issue of the HealthWatch Newsletter.
Here, Peter Gøtzsche (left) receives his award from HealthWatch's President - the journalist, author and broadcaster Nick Ross (right) (Photo: Mandy Payne)
The HealthWatch Award is presented annually to an individual who has made significant steps either in medical research or in improving the public’s understanding of health issues by clarifying complicated and often misunderstood medical matters for the general public. Peter Gøtzsche qualifies on both counts - through his painstaking meta-analyses of drug data and also for his very readable books including Mammography Screening: Truth, Lies and Controversy and Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma has Corrupted Healthcare.
He became the award's 24th recipient at the 2016 Annual General Meeting of HealthWatch on Thursday 20th October 2016 at the Medical Society of London.
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Note to Editors: HealthWatch, a registered charity established in 1991, promotes science and integrity in medicine: the assessment and testing of all medical and nutritional treatments, products and procedures; consumer protection in regard to all forms of health care; the highest standards of education and evidence-based health care by practitioners; better understanding by the public and the media of the importance of application of evidence from robust clinical trials. Further information from www.healthwatch-uk.org (n.b. HealthWatch has no connection with the organisation “Healthwatch England”).