Peter White · 12 May 2011
How effective ought charities to be? As effective for their service users as, say, medicines produced by major pharmaceutical companies are for their patients?
That seems to be setting the bar quite high. After all, drugs are very expensively researched and carefully manufactured over a long period. They are not allowed anywhere near patients until they have been rigorously tested and found to be effective.
By contrast, charities often run under pressure on a shoestring. Results are demanded early, not at the end of a sustained period of trial and experiment. Funds to measure effectiveness are likely to be add-ons, not core to the business.
While you are pondering whether it is reasonable to expect charities to reach anywhere near the same effectiveness levels as mainstream medicine does, consider this:
Most drugs work in 30 to 50 per cent of people.
That’s right. Most patients don’t actually receive any benefit from the medicines they take. Who says? Dr. Allen Roses, a senior executive of GlaxoSmithKline. Who ought to know.
An excellent blog post from New Philanthropy Capital has just raised this. They are inviting debate. Well worth joining in.