Podcast: Randomized Controlled Trials and The Manipulation of “Control”

On the evolution of randomized controlled trials and the role of the British Medical Research Council

Modern science uses the “randomized controlled trial” — whereby people are randomly allocated either the drug or a placebo — as a gold standard to find out whether a newly discovered drug works.

In this podcast, Dr. Martin Edwards, a general practitioner and retired clinician affiliated to the University of London, discusses the British Medical Research Council’s exploitation of the term “controlled” to establish “controlled trials” as the gold standard for therapeutic evaluation. His discussion is an extension of his book Control and the Therapeutic Trial: Rhetoric and Experimentation in Britain, 1918-48 which is published in Brill’s book series Clio Medica.

The complete book is freely accessible online as part of Brill's Covid-19 Collection.

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