Tuesday, 1 July 2014

People who hate Health Freedom

These are pen-pictures of the people who hate Health Freedom, who want to deny you Patient Choice, who want you to continue taking conventional pharmaceutical drugs, without asking questions, people  who don't want you to know their dangers, sometimes the lethal dangers.

These are the people who head up, or belong to, Big Pharma funded and/or supported groups. They attack alternative medical therapies, like Homeopathy, and seek to perpetuate the failing, dangerous conventional, drug-based health system that so dominates our National Health Service (NHS).

They are people who don't want an NHS dominated by Big Pharma drugs. They want an NHS in which Big Pharma drugs have a complete monopoly.

These pen pictures were first published by the magazine, "What Doctors Don't Tell You" (WDTTY). They are trying to stop its publication because it seeks to tell us the truth about conventional medicine. They are trying to stop its sale in major retail outlets.

This is not a hall of fame, it is a hall of infamy. These are people who believe that their drug-based medicine will only prevail if you and I don't get to know what it is doing to us!

  • that it is making us ill
  • that it is causing epidemic levels of chronic disease
  • that it is bankrupting the NHS.

If you would like to know the 'quality' of their argument, and the abuse they aim at people who seek to find out the truth about conventional medicine, read these blogs. Some of the people described below are regular abusers of this blog!

"Meet the people who would dictate your health care"

As you know, we have been the target of a concerted campaign to get the store chains to stop stocking us. The architects of this campaign are the same people who spend a good deal of time attacking and harassing alternative practitioners of every variety.

Their numbers aren't large (there're only about 80 of them in total), and they aren't well followed (Alan Henness of the Nightingale Collaboration, for instance, has just 462 followers on Twitter; Simon Singh, just 44 actively following him), but they are well organized and fuelled by a good deal of self-righteous passion about their mission, which is to stamp out what they view as quackery (ie, natural medicine of every variety, particularly the likes of homeopathy).

So we thought we should shine a light on the qualifications of the most vocal proponents of a group who believe they have the right to determine what you can or can't read about your health or indeed the kinds of medical treatments you should be allowed to have access to.

Simon Singh.  
Singh is not a medical doctor; he has a Ph.D in particle physics.  As he often signs his letters 'Dr Singh' when writing to Tesco or our distributors, most stores and media naturally assume that he has medical qualifications.  He does not, nor does he have a history of studying or writing about conventional medicine. He's written books about mathematical problems and patterns, codes and code-breaking and even cosmology, but nothing to date about conventional medicine - only one co-authored book (Trick or Treatment?- the clue to the slant is in the title) largely trashing alternative medicine. Singh is the public face of Sense About Science, a charity set up by a holding company in India, whose trustees include Simon Singh and his older brother, Tom, who founded the high street chain New Look. Sense about Science reports that it is supported by donations from a variety of sources, including the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and many pharmaceutically backed charities, such as Cancer UK.

 'Josephine Jones'. 
 'She' is the pseudonym for two people: Michael and Laura Thomason, who live in Warrington. Mike works as a database developer at Catalent Pharma Solutions; there is a Laura Thomason on Linkedin who works as a supervisor at an Esquire's Coffee Shop, but we can't verify if they are one and the same. If so, there can't be many people popping in and ordering cappuccinos because she and her husband seem to have the time to catalogue WDDTY's every move, which they circulate on Josephine Jones' blog as a constantly updated 'Master List'. Presently, they are carrying out a survey of stores we're in, presumably in hopes they might be able to pick us off, one store at a time. Neither professes to any medical qualifications.

Guy Chapman, who created a website called 'What What Doctors Don't Tell You Doesn't Tell You', and writes a good deal of bile-filled statements about alternative practitioners, is a software developer for Dell Computers. He's also a member of a choir.

Jo Brody works two days a week as a public engagement coordinator for a research project which runs across four sites, including UCL, Queen Mary, City University and Swansea University), studying how to make medical devices safer. Jo's job is to update the website and expand the project's online presence.  For the rest of the week she works as an information officer at Diabetes UK. Previously she worked as a secretary for Professor Stephen Wharton. As she freely admits:
'I am not medically trained.'

Alan Henness. 
He and his wife Maria MacLachlan, who live in Harrow, are effectively the Nightingale Collaboration, a tiny organization that was given seed money by Sense About Science, but that spends a prodigious amount of time reporting advertisers and practitioners of alternative medicine to The Advertising Standards Authority. Despite the name, the ASA is not a government body; it's an advertising-industry-sponsored organization with no teeth. The best it can do is place advertisers it deems out of line on the naughty step, listing them on as a 'non-compliant advertiser' on its own website. Evaluations of the advertisements of alternative medicine or practitioners through the ASA are a stacked deck; they are evaluated, as our ads were, by known skeptics like Dr. Edzard Ernst, Simon Singh's co-author of Trick or Treatment?

Henness does not report any other employment, at least on his Linkedin page; previously he was R&D manager for Honeywell Security and Customer Electronics.  Although he appears to have no background in evaluating or studying medicine or alternative medicine, as he writes, "the Nightingale Collaboration was set up to enable my wife, Maria MacLachlan, and I to share our knowledge and experience in challenging misleading claims in healthcare advertising and to encourage anyone who is concerned at protecting the public from misinformation in healthcare promotion to join us in challenging it."

Maria Maclachlan herself is the Community Services Officer of the British Humanist Society, which campaigns 'for an open society and a secular state with no religious privilege or discrimination based on religion or belief,' according to its website. (Alan was former Convenor for the Humanist Society.) On the website Think Humanism (http://www.thinkhumanism.com/humanism2.html), Maria wrote, in a short précis of what it means to be a humanist: 'Humanists embrace the moral principle known as the Golden Rule. This means we believe that people should aim to treat each other as they would like to be treated themselves - with tolerance, consideration and compassion.'

I wonder if this 'Golden Rule' also includes harassing groups, practitioners or organizations who advocate or advertise alternative medicine?

Andy Lewis. 
Set up the 'Quackometer' site, which he claims to be an experiment in 'critical thinking'. Doesn't reveal what his credentials, education or employment history are - says they 'don't matter' nor does an honest debate of the issues because the wording on websites will, through his own use of critical thinking, offer prima facie evidence of 'quackery'. 

That's who they are. WDDTY, on the other hand, has seven medical doctors on its editorial panel, plus several PhDs and highly qualified practitioners of a number of alternative disciplines. Thousands of doctors and health practitioners of every persuasion regularly read WDDTY and comment enthusiastically. The two editors of our magazine have been medical science writers for 25 years, and every word in our pages is checked by a science editor with an extensive history of writing and editing medical studies for the pharmaceutical industry. 

Do you want these eight people to be the ones to determine what you can read about your own health care?

If not, write to Tesco today and ask them to re-stock What Doctors Don't Tell You.  And tell them a bit more about the people who fire off 'complaints' -  that they are neither true customers nor people with either the training or experience to evaluate the information in our pages: