A blog I follow View from the hill just had a good article titled Lies, damned lies, and statistics which has very good points some of which I've feebly discussed here in the past.
Here's a quote exerpting one small paragraph along with a couple of his summary statements of note.
"There has been much publicity, about the trials of various drugs recently, highlighting the pro's and the con's (literally) of their worth. The use of statin's, for example, was initially believed to be a panacea for low risk (should that be no risk?) patients in the prevention, of future heart disease. But this has been clearly shown to be of little benefit, whilst at the same time as increasing risks for other diseases such as diabetes. The use of statin's in primary prevention is now pretty much a 'dead parrot', but will GP's stop prescribing them for the achievement of a highly dubious surrogate end point? Well, err, no, because they are paid to achieve them by the QOF (Quality Outcomes Framework). And let not the science, get in the way of a nice little earner!"
"So, long suffering reader, I would urge scepticism in all data, that is presented to you as 'proof' of anything, especially a drug or treatment, that has been provided as a preventative measure by your 'hard pressed' GP."
"Finally, be a sceptic, and believe only that, which is proven by real science, not Daily Mail headline drivel, or advocacy research, or perhaps worse, what your Doctor tells you (if it's QOF'ed)."
Please read the complete article here