[extropy-chat] Are vaccinations useless?

Robin Hanson rhanson at gmu.edu
Sun Mar 19 22:31:03 UTC 2006

At 03:29 AM 3/19/2006, Rafal Smigrodzki wrote:
> > >BTW, the Rand study he quotes is junk.
> >
> > The RAND study is the single most informative study we have about the
> > overall (marginal) health value of medicine in rich nations today.  I know
> > Rafal has complaints about it, but one can find imperfections in any
> > study.  I challenge Rafal to point to another study he thinks is more
> > informative.   We could then compare flaws.
>Well, exactly, the Rand study is the single most informative study
>we have on the effects of free health insurance on certain health
>outcomes late in the last century. It is also a piece of junk.
>... you do not have sufficient aggregate information to judge the value
>of medicine today.  If you have to admit that the Rand study is the best
>you have, then you are not justified to make any claims at all.
>The main form of well-validated data with implications for medicine we
>have are RCTs looking at specific interventions, which may be then
>aggregated with information about prevalences - and these decisively
>point to significant usefulness of  medicine (i.e. a difference of 3
>to 5 years of life gained), if practiced based on the RCTs, as so
>called evidence-based medicine.

Again, I ask you to point us to a study that uses the method that you favor.
We can then compare its flaws to the flaws of the study I favor.  (Also,
keep in mind that the subject here is the actual value of medicine as
practiced, not its value if it were practiced some other way than it is.)

Robin Hanson  rhanson at gmu.edu  http://hanson.gmu.edu
Associate Professor of Economics, George Mason University
MSN 1D3, Carow Hall, Fairfax VA 22030-4444
703-993-2326  FAX: 703-993-2323 

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