Here’s something I slopped together recently. I’m not really familiar with the literature on any of this, so maybe it’s all pretty well known (or well known to be confused). Anyhow, comments are welcome, and I apologize in advance for my usual pile of typos, grammatical errors, and other miscellaneous blunders.
Johnny Woulda, 45, has had chronic tendonitis in both of his elbows since he was about 30. He’s always been told that there’s no help for it except rest and steroid injections, but the rest hasn’t worked, and he’s afraid the injections will be worse for him than the elbow pain. He takes a bus to work every day and one day he sees a poster that says “Do you have tendonitis? We are testing a new non-steroidal oral drug, and if you are an otherwise healthy male between the ages of 18 and 48 you could earn $100 by taking part in our clinical trial.” The drug company, Montrezl, is interested in testing the effectiveness of their experimental product, Elbowftra©. Based on their tests on chimpanzees, which have no belief one way or the other whether they are being given a real drug, they believe that Elbowftra© drug would have at least a 50% effectiveness rate on humans people—higher if the person is credulous (the sort of person now spending a ton of money on herbal remedies). The FDA has assured Montrezl that if they can confirm that at least 30% more human volunteers are cured by Elbowftra© than are cured by a sugar pill placebo, as determined by blind reviewers, they should have no problem getting their drug approved. On the other hand, if there’s not much difference between Ebowftra’s effectiveness and that of a placebo, there isn’t much hope.