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October 1961

The Evaluation of Therapy in Chronic Illness

Author Affiliations

Department of Medicine University of Arkansas Medical Center Little Rock, Ark.

Arch Intern Med. 1961;108(4):509-511. doi:10.1001/archinte.1961.03620100001001

The problem of evaluation of therapeutic agents in medicine is complicated by the demand of the sick person for some type of treatment. Since the time of Hippocrates physicians have had to manage desperately ill patients with drugs or other measures which were of very doubtful value. While perhaps few lives were saved, great solace was given these patients by the wise and kind physician. As a result physicians traditionally have not developed a highly critical sense in the evaluation of therapy. With the recent development of effective, and in some instances dangerous, drugs, the need for careful scientific evaluation of therapeutic effectiveness has become urgent.

While many of the traditional modes of treatment in medicine would not withstand careful scientific scrutiny, there seems to be no urgency in discarding them. There is, however, considerable merit in evaluating new drugs and new types of therapy as they appear in the

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