Money talks, and the drug industry’s dollar talks loud and clear through the pages of leading medical journals. That’s the conclusion of Peter Gøtzsche, director of the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Copenhagen.

He compared reviews of drug studies funded by pharmaceutical companies with reviews done without pharma support. He recommends ignoring any meta-analyses funded by drug companies.

What is Cochrane Collaboration?

The Cochrane Collaboration, is the name of a group of over 6,000 specialists in health care who review biomedical trials and results of other research.

It is building on the enthusiasm of individuals, not on the funds from big pharma.

Cochrane Collaboration is considered to be the most reliable source for evidence-based medicine.

Did Cochrane Collaboration review any controlled trials on acupuncture?

A few recent reviews of acupuncture by Cochrane found it effective for :

  • chronic lower back pain (compared to placebo);
  • idiopathic headaches;
  • acupuncture reduced the need of ECV for breach babies and decreased use of oxytocin before and during labour;
  • acupuncture may reduce back and pelvic pain in pregnancy and it is more effective than group physiotherapy for this purpose;
  • acupuncture may be beneficial for the management of pain during labour;
  • massage may be beneficial for patients with subacute and chronic non-specific low-back pain, especially when combined with exercises and education; the evidence suggests that acupuncture massage is more effective than classic massage.


Reports from Cochrane on many other conditions treated by acupuncture conclude that acupuncture requires well funded large studies. I wish there was more money in acu.

Please also note that controlled trials on acupuncture are not usually funded by pharmaceuticals and therefore are a lot likely to be unbiased ;-)