About the Article

Published in: Vol. 5, No. 2
Category: Commentaries

About the Author

Robert H. Imrie and David W. Ramey

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The Evidence for Evidence-Based Medicine

Abstract. In recent years the claim that only 20% or less of standard Western medicine is evidence-based has been repeated widely by health professionals and others.1 This assertion is perhaps most often made by proponents of unproven (“alternative” and “complementary”) therapies with the implication that, if true, it might somehow justify the integration of any number of unconventional modalities with a similar dearth of supporting scientific evidence into mainstream medical practice. It should be immediately noted that this line of reasoning is an example of the logical fallacy tu quoque (“you did it too”): One party cannot criticize another because both parties are guilty of the same “sin.” While this argument may be without merit, it is often made and widely held to be valid. Therefore, the authors of this paper have attempted to identify the sources of, and examine the evidence for, the “20% or less” claim. They also document the investigations into real-world use of methods established through clinical trials and “evidence-based” medicine (EBM), and find that such investigations establish the evidence basis for methods in use in modern medicine.

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