I’m just back from the wonderful Evidence Live.  While I was away I saw this news story Is the West losing its edge on defence? and I was particularly drawn to the following passage:

The military have also contributed to their own misfortunes by conspiring with defence contractors to build ever more expensive weapons that can only be afforded in much smaller numbers than those they are supposed to replace.

Pierre Sprey, chief designer on the F-16 fighter noted the ruinous consequences of buying stealth aircraft at hundreds of millions of dollars a copy.

“It’s a triumph of the black arts of selling an airplane that doesn’t work,” he said.

This fits in very nicely with my perspective on systematic review methods, and was one of the main threads in my presentation on the future of evidence synthesis.  The current methods of systematic review production are costing way too much for what they deliver.  If you consider that the majority of systematic reviews rely on published trials they are inherently unreliable.

In the EBM world we’re buying F-16s…!

More to follow on this theme.

UPDATE: The wonderful Anne Marie Cunningham has pointed out (see comments) has pointed out that the consequence is of buying the really expensive stealth fighters (not F16s).  That’s a consequence of rushing a blog post so soon after a vigorous conference!  The point remains – purchasing too expensive planes has caused massive problems. 

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