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Pseudoevidence‐based medicine: what it is, and what to do about it

Wally R. Smith (Division of Quality Health Care, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA)

Clinical Governance: An International Journal

ISSN: 1477-7274

Article publication date: 30 January 2007




The purpose of this paper is to define, describe, and understand how to combat pseudoevidence‐based medicine (PBM).


Descriptive essay and review.


PBM can be defined as the practice of medicine based on falsehoods that are disseminated as true evidence, then adopted by unwitting and well‐intentioned practitioners of evidence‐based medicine (EBM). PBM borders on being not only unethical, but also criminal. It may well result not only in inappropriate quality standards and processes of care, but also in harms to patients. Is there a motive to commit the crime of PBM? Is there an opportunity to commit the crime? And is there evidence of the crime beyond reasonable doubt? This article answers those questions.


PBM should be opposed. This article recommends individual and corporate ways to oppose it, including heightened individual skepticism when evaluating evidence, and improved professionalism in relationships with patients and scientific endeavor.



Smith, W.R. (2007), "Pseudoevidence‐based medicine: what it is, and what to do about it", Clinical Governance: An International Journal, Vol. 12 No. 1, pp. 42-52.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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