Here is something highlighting the need for rigorous Peer Review of the Scientific Process in an area of medicine, but pointing out that it might not be achievable:
Let's make up a fictional story where the main character is a brilliant scientist, a single-handed winner of not just one, but two
Nobel prizes (say, one for science, and one for peace), and with scientific and academic accolades aplenty. He is so highly-regarded that "he cannot be wrong" (fallacy of the appeal to authority). He makes some statements about how high-dosage vitamins can increase your health, well-being, and longevity - but this is substantiated by and based on no real or substantive scientific research. Yet he insists that vitamins will cure/prevent all manner of ills, including cancer, the common cold, influenza, heart disease and even psychological disorders - the list is huge. Everybody believes him - why shouldn't they?
A humungus and profitable new market for the production, sale, marketing and consumption of food-additives/vitamins is suddenly born, thus achieving The Holy Grail of Marketing - the creation of an entirely new market.
But then medical research results
start to trickle in that seem to consistently indicate a relatively strong correlation between premature death from various causes (including heart disease and cancer) and the high-level consumption of vitamins. Our scientist refutes the results of any research that is contradictory to his statements - his status as a scientist and the sheer force of his personality are sufficient, it seems, to substantiate his statements. There can be no debate.
Time passes, the market for vitamins grows and makes many people rich, because people believe
what they are told by the marketers that vitamins can increase their health, well-being, and longevity and even cure/prevent all manner of ills, including cancer, the common cold, influenza, heart disease and even psychological disorders.
But still the medical research results
continue to trickle in that seem to consistently indicate a relatively strong correlation between premature death from various causes (including heart disease and cancer) and the high-level consumption of vitamins. The mounting pile of evidence pointing to the conclusion that the high-level consumption of vitamins is not only ineffective in promoting health, but also potentially harmful seems irrefutable. So medical scientists and doctors who are charged with looking after the public health and who may have taken the Hippocratic oath do not prescribe vitamins to any of their patients, for the simple reason that stochastically, vitamins are proven to be at best useless and at worst potentially harmful and leading to premature death.
Then a farmer lies dying of viral pneumonia from having Swine Flu. He is in hospital in a coma and on life-support, and the prognosis is unavoidable death. The doctors eventually recommend turning off life support as there is no hope of recovery.
His family have read about how someone with a similar condition was restored to health by IV of high levels of vitamin C. They ask the doctors to give him the injections, before turning off life support. The doctors refuse - they have to.
The family bullies them into eventually doing it anyway - "What difference does it make?" (as Mrs Clinton might have put it). The patient starts to recover. After he comes out of the coma, the doctors initially refuse to give him any more IV of vitamin C, but again, under pressure from the family, they relent but just give him a harmless minimal dosage, so the family resort to smuggling in and secretly feeding the patient high-dosage oral vitamin C. He fully recovers, goes home to his farm and continues recuperating with high-dosage oral vitamin C.
Do you think that this fiction would make for a good story? I do, but, oddly it is all true
The scientist was Linus Pauling, and you can read something about him here: The Vitamin Myth: Why We Think We Need Supplements
The patient was the subject of a New Zealand TV documentary in 2010, and you can read about it here: Vitamin C Recovery From Viral Pneumonia in New Zealand Farmer
So, evidently, it would seem that there are circumstances/conditions where IV of high levels of vitamin C and ingestion of high levels of oral vitamin C can be beneficial - even life-saving. What would be expected from this is some solid medical research to establish exactly what those circumstances/conditions are, and why the vitamin C is effective in those cases, whereas it might be ineffective or harmful in most other cases.
The research would, of course, be subject to extensive and rigorous peer review before any results were published.
However, I would predict that that research is unlikely to take place at more than a glacial speed - simply because most research is funded by Big Pharma who are only likely to be interested in funding research which leads to a new, profitable patented drug or medical procedure. You can't patent vitamins that occur in nature - though I recall reading elsewhere that Big Parma had lobbied some US Senators to pass a bill that might allow them just that, making the current method of production of vitamins to the food-additive market illegal.
To a large extent, in medicine and in other areas, genuine scientific research and the scientific process
seem to have been hijacked and monopolised by powerful commercial interests.