Thomas A. Ban: Seminar on clinical methodology
Critical appraisal of Scientific Literature
Educational Series Number 19

 Thomas A. Ban’s reply to Barry Blackwell’s comment

The objective of this seminar was to provide the necessary knowledge base about the methodology used in the clinical evaluation of psychotropic drugs that one should be able to translate findings presented in the language of statistics in publications into clinical use. It is of course important, as you point out, that one should be aware of the shortcomings of double-blind controlled trials, and the manner in which pharmaceutical companies have manipulated the system by concealing negative trial results, etc.

At the time the psychometric statistical methodology was introduced in the 1950s in the evaluation psychotropic drugs, to replace testimonials about their clinical actions, it was considered to be major progress. Yet, by the early 1960s, some of us recognized the “pitfalls” of the double-blind, randomized trial, and by the end of the 1960s, questioned whether the heterogeneous diagnostic populations in psychiatry meet the requirements for the employment of this methodology. Issues of this nature were covered by the seminar but nothing beyond.


Ban TA. Methodology and pitfalls of clinical testing of psychopharmacological drugs. Chemotherapia 1964; 9:223-30.

Ban TA. Psychopharmacology/ Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins; 1969.


Thomas A. Ban

July 7, 2016