Robotic rejections of highly relevant letters to the editor of World Psychiatry about patient safety

Published on June 6, 2023

By Peter C Gøtzsche

On 9 May, Bruce Arroll et al. argued in a letter to the editor of World Psychiatry, why patients with a depressive condition should not get a prescription for an antidepressant at their first visit to a general practitioner but at a later stage, if at all.

I agreed but had reservations with their arguments and argued why these drugs should not be used at all, for anyone, which I explained in a letter to the editor: …

Predatory journal “invites” me to submit my preprint manuscript about invitations to publish in predatory journals

Published on June 2, 2023

By Peter C Gøtzsche

I had expected this to happen but was still a bit surprised when it did happen. This is the email I received today, from Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences & Emerging Drugs inviting me to publish my preprint article “Review of invitations to publish in predatory scientific journals.” This journal is published by the Omics group based in India, a well-known predatory publisher that I mention in my article. I need say no more. Should we laugh or cry or scream out loud?

From: Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences & Emerging Drugs <>
Sent: Friday, June 2, 2023 1:43 PM
Subject: Review of invitations to publish in predatory scientific journals
Importance: High

Dear Dr. Peter C Gøtzsche,
Greetings from Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences & Emerging Drugs

We have gone through your unpublished work entitled “Review of invitations to publish in predatory scientific journals” and enthralled to know about your reputation and commitment.

We strongly believe that this potential research would be beneficial to the people working in the field of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Hereby we request you to kindly submit your manuscript to get published in our journal. We assure you that it reaches several global medical readers.

You can submit your manuscript as an attachment to this e-mail or directly through Journal’s online portal.

Looking forward for your response
Have a nice day ahead.

With Best Regards
Catherine G
Editorial Team
Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences & Emerging Drugs

Cochrane – A sinking ship?

Published on June 2, 2023

By Peter C Gøtzsche

Cochrane – A sinking ship? This article was posted by PhD Maryanne Demasi as a blog on the website of BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine on 16 September 2018 ( Incidentally, I found out earlier this week that the link had become inactive: “This site has been archived or suspended.” Demasi inquired, and it turned out that the editor had removed the entire blog site because it had “been inactive for some time.” We believe that this action is effectively a retraction without notifying the authors about it. Demasi was told by the publisher that she would “find out how we can restore access to the archived posts.”

To be certain that people can find Demasi’s article easily, I have uploaded it on our website. It starts thus:

A scandal has erupted within the Cochrane Collaboration, the world’s most prestigious scientific organisation devoted to independent reviews of health care interventions. One of its highest profile board members has been sacked, resulting in four other board members staging a mass exodus. They are protesting, what they describe as, the organisation’s shift towards a commercial business model approach, away from its true roots of independent, scientific analysis and open public debate. There are concerns that Cochrane has become preoccupied with “brand promotion” and “commercial interests”, placing less importance on transparency and delivering “trusted evidence”.

The erasure of women by nauseating “political correctness”

Published on May 25, 2023

By Peter C Gøtzsche

Read my article here. To a considerable extent, the erasure of women has been caused by the deplorable activism of a small minority of highly vocal and intolerant transgender people who have influenced academic publishing and stifled scientific freedom. The Lancet called women “bodies with vaginas” but did not call men “bodies with penises.” And, as I demonstrate, the activists’ mantra “Trans women are women” can lead to absurdities and dangerous situations for women if we do not preserve our common sense.


Critical Psychiatry Textbook: a new psychiatry is needed

Published on May 17, 2023

By Peter C Gøtzsche

To pave the way for a new psychiatry, I wrote a textbook, Critical Psychiatry Textbook, which you can download for free on my website.

All over the world, a rebellion is underway against traditional, so-called biological psychiatry. The reasons are obvious. The more you treat people with psychiatric drugs, the worse for the patients, and the more people end up on disability pensions because they cannot complete an education or get a job.

Psychiatric drugs cannot cure patients and often make them sicker than they already were.

The criticism comes not only from the patients and their relatives, but also from the psychiatrists themselves. A particularly active group is the Critical Psychiatry Network in the UK, which has around 400 members from all over the world, a few of whom are not psychiatrists. We discuss animatedly by email every day, e.g. different patient stories – in anonymised form of course – and what the best treatment might be. …

Bias in double-blind trials (doctoral thesis)

Published on May 16, 2023

By Peter C Gøtzsche

In 1990, I defended my doctoral thesis at the University of Copenhagen. It was the first time a whole therapeutic area had been scrutinized with statistical methods, including meta-analyses. I had collected all trials that had compared one non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drug with another and demonstrated that the design and analysis of the trials were generally flawed, and that the published results were too good for the sponsoring company to be true.

In 82 of the 196 examined reports (42%), bias in the conclusion or abstract consistently favoured one of the drugs, which was the control drug in only one report and the new drug in the remaining 81 (p =3.4 x 10-23). However, the truth was that none of the drugs was clearly better than any other. 

My findings shocked the examiners to such a degree that they proposed that arthritis drugs was a particularly bias-ridden area, but subsequent results in other research areas have shown that my findings can be generalised to trials of other types of drugs.

My thesis became widely known and was the reason that Sir Iain Chalmers contacted me when it came out and invited me to start the Cochrane Collaboration together with him and about 80 other people in 1993. Now, 33 years later, I still feel it is an important document for the history of medicine. I have therefore made the thesis publicly available.

Serious misinformation about the benefits and harms of the COVID-19 vaccines

Published on May 5, 2023

By Peter C Gøtzsche

It is very difficult to publish anything about the COVID-19 vaccines that goes against the official narrative, which is that these vaccines are highly effective and safe even though both claims are seriously wrong.

Among those that have claimed 100% efficacy of the vaccines are the FDA, Anthony Fauci, the Australian government, Science Magazine, Reuters, CNN, US National Public Radio, The Hill, Sky News, Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson. Fauci and President Joe Biden have both declared in interviews that people cannot get infected if they have been vaccinated, which is 100% efficacy.

The effectiveness of the vaccines is nowhere near 100%. The virus mutates, and effectiveness in practice is much closer to 50% than to 100%, and even a rate as low as 24% after two vaccine doses has been reported. This means the COVID-19 vaccines are poor vaccines.

The claims about safety are also highly misleading. My co-worker Maryanne Demasi and I have so far been unable to publish our systematic review of the serious harms of the COVID-19 vaccines, apart from in predatory journals that have offered rapid publication with no obstacles after they saw we had uploaded our review on a preprint server. The placebo-controlled trials Pfizer and AstraZeneca published in New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet, respectively, were seriously misleading.

In the summer of 2021, I published the book “Vaccines: truth, lies and controversy.” I have now uploaded the section about the COVID-19 vaccines from this book as I believe – like reputable medical journals do – that important information about COVID-19 should be freely available.

Screening for breast cancer with mammography

Published on May 3, 2023

This is the title of a Cochrane review I first published in 2001 and lastly updated in 2013 (1). Because many more deaths have now been published (2,3), I updated the review again on 10 January 2023, and on 6 February, my co-author had independently assessed the new data and agreed with what I had found.

The updated mortality data show even more clearly than before that mammography screening does not save lives, which is the official mantra used for justifying screening. When we analysed invitations to breast screening from seven countries, we found that 19 pamphlets (95%) had suggestive headlines, such as, “Have a screening mammogram, it may save your life.”

Cochrane has become a highly bureaucratic and ineffective organisation, which is why its major funder stripped all the funding to the UK based Cochrane groups from 31 March 2023. It will likely take many months before our updated Cochrane review gets published. I do not find it fair to withhold any longer the information we collected about mortality to women contemplating if they should attend screening. I therefore summarise what we found here.

Two of the three studies with adequate randomisation have been updated with many more deaths. Breast cancer mortality is an unreliable outcome that is biased in favour of screening, mainly because of differential misclassification of cause of death. We therefore need to look at total cancer mortality and total mortality instead.

The trials with adequate randomisation did not find an effect of screening on total cancer mortality, including breast cancer (risk ratio 1.00, 95% confidence interval 0.96 to 1.04). All-cause mortality was not significantly reduced either (risk ratio 1.01, 95% CI 0.99 to 1.04).

As reported earlier, total numbers of lumpectomies and mastectomies were significantly larger in the screened groups (risk ratio 1.31, 95% CI 1.22 to 1.42), as were number of mastectomies (risk ratio 1.20, 95% CI 1.08 to 1.32).

These results – and indeed, many others – can only lead to one logical conclusion: Mammography screening is harmful and should be abandoned, as I have explained earlier.

1 Gøtzsche PC, Jørgensen KJ. Screening for breast cancer with mammography. Cochrane Database Sys Rev 2013;6:CD001877.

2 Miller AB, Wall C, Baines CJ, Sun P, To T, Narod SA. Twenty five year follow-up for breast cancer incidence and mortality of the Canadian National Breast Screening Study: randomised screening trial. BMJ 2014;348:g366.

3 Duffy SW, Vulkan D, Cuckle H, Parmar D, Sheikh S, Smith RA, et al. Effect of mammographic screening from age 40 years on breast cancer mortality (UK Age trial): final results of a randomised, controlled trial. Lancet Oncol 2020;21:1165-72.

Neuroleptics do much more harm than good and should not be used

Published on May 1, 2023

By Peter C Gøtzsche
Professor and Director
Institute for Scientific Freedom

This is the accepted chapter 4 in Psychological Interventions for Psychosis: Towards a Paradigm Shift, edited by Juan Antonio Díaz-Garrido, Raquel Zúñiga, Horus Lafitte and Eric Morris, published in 2023 by Springer. The book is available online at

Read the whole book chapter here.

Abstract: The current paradigm in psychiatry is that psychosis should be treated with neuroleptics as first-line therapy. Neuroleptics should not be used at all. Randomised trials have shown that they kill many patients and do not have clinically relevant effects but cause permanent brain damage in most patients treated long-term and prevent them from coming back to a more normal life. If an acutely disturbed patient feels that a drug is needed, benzodiazepines work faster than neuroleptics, are much less toxic, and are also what virtually all patients prefer if asked. Psychiatry seems to be the only area in society where the law is systematically being violated all over the world. We need to respect the patients’ rights and the law, which will also lead to better outcomes.

Systematic violations of the patients’ rights when forced to receive neuroleptics

Published on April 25, 2023

By Peter C Gøtzsche

Lawyer James B Gottstein from Anchorage, author of The Zyprexa papers, has written the most damning report I have ever seen about the systematic violations of the patients’ rights when they are forced to receive neuroleptics against their will. What goes on at the Alaska Psychiatric Institute in Anchorage is truly horrifying. One month ago, a US psychiatrist and I published a report documenting this:

Tasch G, Gøtzsche PC. Systematic violations of patients’ rights and safety: forced medication of a cohort of 30 patients in Alaska. Psychosis 2023; March 28 (online first).

I was one of the experts who contributed to Gottstein’s report. The others were: Faith Myers, author of the 2020 book “Going crazy in Alaska: a history of Alaska’s treatment of psychiatric patients;” Susan Musante, the founding director of Soteria-Alaska, a model proven to be a highly effective alternative to hospitalization for newly diagnosed people; David Cohen, PhD, Professor and Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs; and David Healy, MD, psychiatrist, professor at the McMaster University in Canada, and a leading expert on psychopharmacology.

Here is the summary of Gottstein’s report: …