I discovered a new term today. It’s NNT (Number Needed To Treat).
NNT will helps you to avoid consuming unnecessary drugs. It’s good for consumer, maybe bad for those Pharmaceutical Companies which making profit from FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt).
For example, consider a hypothetical drug which reduces the risk of colon cancer by 50%. Even without the drug, colon cancer is fairly rare, maybe 1 in 3,000 in every 5 year period. The NNT for a 5-year treatment with the drug is therefore 6,000: by treating 6,000 people with the drug, one can expect to reduce the number of colon cancer cases from 2 to 1.
So next time you see advertisement of a particular drug which boasts a whooping numbers like ‘Reduce .. bla bla bla… by 60%’, please consult with your physician to find out the NNT of that drug.