'Tis true. It all depends on how one asks the question. Of course, in the example given, it would be an excellent outcome if the effects of the drug were significantly better than a placebo ... but that wasn't what was asked (or answered).
Continuing with this particular example type, let's look at the 2 main shingles (herpes zoster) vaccines now on the market.
Zostavax (Merck & Co) came on the scene about 10 years ago. It had fair immunogenicity which tended to wane the older the recipients were. Its adverse side effects were nominal.
More recently, Shingrix (GSK) has been praised for being considerably more efficacious and seems to have far greater immunogenicity in all age groups. Its adverse side effects on the other hand are more numerous and arguably more serious than those of Zostavax; interestingly, they are reported [in the product monograph] to be far more frequent and nasty in the 50-69 year range than in the 70+ cohort. [Finally, we septua- and octogenarians can thumb our noses at our juniors.
Success vs failure is a 'movable (~ mutable) feast'.