Statistics in Drug Risk Research: The Background of Pharmacoepidemiology
Public, political and scientific concerns about drug safety or drug risk are embedded in a wider spectrum of “low-risk” perception and management, whether it be a dam, lung cancer from passive smoking, health hazards from low-dose radiation or similar risk sources. To some extent the perception of risk depends on whether a manifestation of the risk has already taken place or not. Thalidomide and Chernobyl have clearly shown this. They also show that low risk refers only to the likelihood, not the severity, of an adverse event. The term seems to mask the fact that risk may be low but is nevertheless present, and the consequences may range from small to immeasurable. “Low risk” gives rise to the illusion that nothing deleterious will in fact happen.
KeywordsPlacebo Aspirin Thalidomide Stake
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