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Thursday 23 April 2015

Doctors under-report side effects of drugs and vaccines, which makes them 10 times more dangerous than they tell us

A study, reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, (2006; 296: 1086-93) found that whilst prescribing doctors should be reporting side effects and adverse reactions in his patients many do not do so. In fact, the actual rate of reporting was found to be alarmingly low - about 10 times below the optimum level set by the World Health Organization. The study report procedures amongst doctors in Portugal, where 26 adverse reactions were reported per 1 million population, whereas WHO say that this should be closer to 300 report per million people.

The researchers said that this under-reporting was not restricted to Portugal, and that the USA, Canada, Italy, Sweden and the UK also have very low reporting rates

Commenting on this study WDDTY said that if the WHO targets were reached, the whole drug industry would 'grind to a halt', and of course, that would never do!

In the Guardian, on 12th May 2006, Sarah Bosely wrote that the BMA had said the Yellow Card scheme was not being used enough. The article quoted BMA figures that at least 250,000 people went to hospital each year because of the damaging side-effects of medication, and that about 5,000 die. As a result the BMA was urging doctors to be more vigilant, and to report any suspected side-effects their patients might experience. They said that only an estimated 10% of adverse drug reactions were currently reported through the "yellow card" scheme to the MHRA. A BMA spokesperson said

           "Doctors have a professional duty to report all adverse drug reactions, especially if children or the elderly are involved. Unfortunately too many health professionals are confused about reporting procedures. Doctors must make sure they report any suspected [adverse drug reactions] and at the same time increase awareness among their patients about the reporting process".

Another BMA spokesman said that not all side-effects could be picked up in clinical trials before the medicine is licensed, which meant that greater vigilance was needed on the part of doctors, pharmacists and nurses. In the same article the MHRA urged healthcare professionals to use the yellow card scheme. It said

          "There is no need to prove that the medicine caused the adverse reaction, just the suspicion is good enough" 

The article concludes by saying that it has long been known that doctors did not report all the suspected side-effects their patients tell them about, and that 10 years earlier the BMA had issued similar guidance to doctors - but with little effect. So what does this mean, in practical terms? 

It means that if only 10% of the known DIEs of a drug or vaccine are reported, these drugs and vaccines are 10 times more dangerous than the conventional medical establishment realises, or accepts.

Yet there is another issue, and that involves the honesty and transparency with which the conventional medical establishment deals with issues about the dangerousness of drugs. In an Observer article published on 20th January 2008, Dennis Campbell reported that Steve Walker, chief executive of the NHS Litigation Authority, said that doctors must own up to the mistakes they make in order to cut down on compensation claims that were totalling £613 million annually. He called for a new culture of honesty and openness.

Negligence lawyers say that the main reason a number of victims take legal action is to obtain more information. 'The message to doctors is: if you're aware of an error, or a shortfall in what's been delivered, you should feel free, indeed you should feel under an obligation, to tell your patients and to apologise and to explain, either verbally or in writing, even if the patient is likely to sue,' he told The Observer. 

           "The explanation bit is really important to many, many claimants. It doesn't matter if it heads off a claim or encourages a claim, people as human beings and patients are entitled to this and they should be getting it. Some patients are dissatisfied by not getting this information already. Some patients and patients' relatives feel short-changed by the system. They believe there's a lack of honesty, of frankness and of candour.'

The NHSLA handles some 5,400 claims every year for clinical negligence in England. Walker wants doctors to 'sympathise with the patient or the patient's relatives' where someone has died and to 'express sorrow or regret' at any death or injury which followed substandard care. He has put his advice in writing to every hospital in England and will do the same to doctors, midwives and nurses through their professional bodies.

          'I feel, and this authority feels, very strongly that people are entitled to know when something has gone wrong; entitled to an apology if something has gone wrong; entitled to an explanation of what went wrong and why, in words that they will understand; and entitled to the opportunity to ask questions about what happened and why,' Walker said. 'While some hospitals already do these things, I want to see the NHS adopt this as universal good practice.'

Whilst this kind of testimony is often made, it is usually done within the context of doctors, or some other medical staff. making a mistake or error. 

What this ignores is that the medicines conventional doctors use are inherently dangerous.

It is a matter of inadequate and dangerous tools being defended, whilst those who task is to use those tools are blamced for the problems that arise from using them!

Often the conventional medical establishment will be heard calling for more honesty and transparency, and the importance of admitting that mistakes have been made. Yet, as this book will show time and time again is that dangerous drugs and vaccines are being prescribed, and the DIEs they cause are either not known, they are denied, or or they are heavily discounted. 

There is little honesty or transparency within the conventional medical establishment about the dangerousness of pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines, either before, during and after their prescription. 

As a result, many people will read this book and find it hard to believe how common illness and diseases, many at epidemic proportions, some never known before the present era, are known to be caused by conventional drugs and vaccines. They will be surprised because their doctors have never told them!

Postscript February 2022

Sudden Infant Death. Is it caused by conventional medical drugs?

Sudden Infant Death, or Cot Death as it is more commonly known, is described on the NHS Choices website as "the sudden, unexpected and unexplained death of an apparently well baby". It says that at least 300 babies, usually under the age of 6 months, die "unexpectedly" of this syndrome every year. In most cases, a fit and healthy baby is put to bed by parents, and is found dead some hours later.

So what causes this awful tragedy? This is the conventional medical explanation, as provided by the same website.

     "No-one knows exactly what causes SIDS, but it is thought to be the result of a combination of factors. Experts believe SIDS occurs at a particular stage in a baby’s development, and that it affects babies who are vulnerable to certain environmental stresses. This vulnerability may be due to being born prematurely or to low birthweight, or other reasons not yet identified. Environmental stresses could include tobacco smoke, getting tangled in bedding, a minor illness or having a breathing obstruction. Babies who die of SIDS are thought to have problems in the way they respond to these stresses and how they regulate their heart rate, breathing and temperature".

History of SIDs
Children have always died in their infancy, no doubt for a variety of reasons. There are accounts of this in the  bible, and certainly during the middle ages.  

However, it was not until 1969 that the term 'Sudden Infant Death Syndrome' was coined, and recognised as a distinct disease, and since then, a variety of reasons for cot death have been put forward by the conventional medical establishment - none of them particularly convincing.

So with no medical explanation, it is often the child's parents who have been placed under suspicion, often prosecution, and sometimes convicted and imprisoned on the basis of the 'expert' evidence given by conventional doctors. The case of Sally Clark is probably the best known of these cases, not because she lost two babies to this 'syndrome', but because she was imprisoned, released when the miscarriage of justice was recognised, but committed suicide soon afterwards.

Vaccines and Drugs that may cause SIDs
The tragedy of this SIDs case, which has been repeated too often, is that there is an explanation for the syndrome, although it is an explanation that the conventional medical establishment refuse to admit. As the Sally Clark website says.

          "The only common factor, which may or may not be relevant, is that both deaths followed shortly after vaccination. [There is research into the possibility that these vaccinations can cause death within a few days if infants have certain genetic defects.]

The DPT vaccine, given to babies usually when they are just 2-3 months old, and repeated twice more on a monthly basis, is the only known cause of SIDs, or cot death.

Yet the link between SIDs and the DPT vaccine is not world shattering news. Indeed, our doctors know it, the NHS know it, and the Big Pharma drug companies know it. The link is admitted on the package insert for each DPT vaccine, and this blog also points to more evidence linking the 'syndrome' with the DPT vaccine.

There is also evidence that other conventional pharmaceutical drugs are linked with SIDs. 

Methadone, an opiate drug, used as a painkiller, and an anti-addiction medication by conventional medicine, is also linked to SIDs.

Indeed, it is suspected that any conventional medical drugs that seeks to influence sleep, or fluid control, including antihistamines and alcohol can have a marked effect on crib death rates.

Monday 20 April 2015

History of the Vioxx Drug Scandal. How can we ever trust conventional medicine again?

Vioxx was a NSAID painkiller and anti-inflammatory drug. It was one of the new, Cox-2 inhibitor drugs, developed by Merck, and approved as scientifically safe and effective by the FDA in May 1999. It was also marketed as Ceoxx and Ceeoxx. It quickly gained wide acceptance as a safe way of treating patients with arthritis, menstrual pain, and acute pain generally. When it was first marketed Vioxx was said to be a "wonder drug", safer and more effective than other NSAID's such as Aspirin and Ibuprofen

The conventional medical establishment told us that, unlike earlier NSAID drugs, Vioxx (and other Cox-2 inhibitors) relieved pain and inflammation without interfering with the protective stomach lining, a well-known DIE in the older drugs. 

After its introduction in 1999, Vioxx was withdrawn from the market, worldwide, in September 2004, after it was implicated in several fatalities, involving heart attacks and strokes. It has been estimated to have caused up to 140,000 cases of serious heart disease, and that up to 40% of these could have been fatal. Other serious DIEs included kidney insufficiency or failure, seizures, high blood pressure and peripheral edema. kidney and liver damage, pregnancy complications, birth defects, and high blood pressure.

Yet, for that short period Vioxx quickly became is one of the most prescribed, and most profitable pharmaceutical drug ever to be given to patients. When it was withdrawn from the market it was being prescribed to over 80 million people, and was a massive money earner for Merck, estimated to have been about $2.5 billion. So when it was withdrawn, after its short, but too long lifespan, it became the most profitable drug ever to be banned!

Yet the history of Vioxx is more significant than just another pharmaceutical drug that was found to be far too dangerous to give patients. 

It quickly involved Merck in massive litigation in the USA, and showed just how devious and criminal the Big Pharma industry can be when they are pushing dangerous drugs, and keeping the truth from the general public, and in this case, from conventional doctors too.

By 2007, Merck, was facing some 7,000 outstanding lawsuits in the USA, and experts estimated that the drug companies potential liabilities might be over $5bn (BBC News, 12 March 2007). Merck's legal and compensation costs have been estimated at about $6 billion, which probably meant that the company still profited from the sale of Vioxx!

Again, rather late in the day, medical scientists found that Vioxx (and drugs similar ro Vioxx) could cause heart attacks and strokes because they stop an enzyme producing blood-thinning agents, thereby leading to a greater chance of blood clotting. This highlighted the total and absolute failure of pharmaceutical drug testing, the incompetence and inability of medical ‘science’, and drug regulation, to protect patients from highly dangerous drugs.

As so often happens, it was not until many thousands of people had  been prescribed the drug, and suffered and died because of it, that its dangers became apparent to the conventional medical estabishmen, and were deemed to dangerous to continue giving it to patients!

Vioxx therefore demonstrates many aspects of the almost routine dangerousness of conventional medical drugs:

          • Vioxx was presented to us as a new 'wonder' drug. 
          • We were told that it had been 'scientifically' tested, and proven to be an effective and safe drug. 
          • But within a few years on the market it was found to be dangerous, a 'killer' drug. 

But the Vioxx scandal also demonstrated much more.

          • That medical 'science', that supportedearly claims regarding  the efficacy and safety of this drug, was not only wrong, but totally condemned by its total inaccuracy, its direct obfuscation of the facts, its blatent failure to disclose evidence, and what amounted to the criminal falsification of drug test results. 

          • That the drugs industry was based, not just on 'failed' medical science, but that it is based on a vast conspiracy of industrial, commercial and medical dishonesty too. 

During the court hearings it was revealed that Merck had known about the risks associated with Vioxx as early as 2000. Its response was to try to bury the heart disease risks of the drug. The Wall Street Journal revealed that Merck had been trying to bury the serious health risks of Vioxx as far back as March 2000.  The company was accused by the New England Journal of Medicine of 'manipulating' a study that claimed, incorrectly, that the cardiovascular risks did not arise until 18 months of use. Further, two medical professionals testified that they were pressured by Merck not to publish test results that showed increased rates of cardiovascular disease. By early 2005 a study calculated that Vioxx had caused between 88,000 and 140,000 cases of heart disease in the US, and thousands of deaths.

Dr Richard Horton, Editor of The Lancet, summed all this up when he wrote: 

          "The licensing of Vioxx and its continued use in the face of unambiguous evidence of harm have been public health catastrophes."

Yet whilst Merck was eventually forced to pay large sums of money in compensation to its victims in the USA, the drugs industry can still demonstrate that it has a powerful influence within the court processes - at least in the UK. 

Vioxx victims in the UK, who also suffered heart attacks or strokes, were not compensated owing to the protection accorded to the drug companies. The Guardian report (29th November 2005) said that Lord Brennan, one of Britain's leading QCs, had warned of a "serious risk" that people injured by faulty drugs will no longer be able to mount compensation claims in the British courts. It said that more than 500 people who had suffered strokes or heart attacks following Vioxx treatment had lost an appeal for legal aid. Another QC said that the failure to get funding for the case spelled "the end of litigation against drug companies in the UK".  He added that British people may end up with no justice, no recompense, whereas in the USA Merck would probably settle the cases.

Merck has certainly done so. As with all drug companies, they cause mayhem, disease and death, pay victims compensation when they are forced to do so, then carry on plying their drugs to us as though nothing had happened!

The scandal of Vioxx was reported in the mainstream media, but not at any level commensurate with the damage to health, the disease, the deaths caused by the drug. As usual, the public were 'proteccted' from learning about the behaviour of the drug companies by their friends in the press! However, it is well reported on the internet, so for further details of the enormity of the Vioxx scandal, information can be obtained there.

Perhaps this should be the concluding thought about Vioxx. If the conventional medical establishment can prove itself to be so incompetent, devious and corrupt in relation to this drug, what evidence is there that it is any more competent, straightforward and honest about the claims it makes for drugs they are prescribing to patients today? 

Thursday 16 April 2015

Ibuprofen. Just how harmful is this ubiquitous painkiller?

Ibuprofen is a widely used painkiller. who safety record needs to be serious re-examined. It is the 'active ingredient' of many well known painkilling drug brands, many of them openly on sale, over-the-counter, and without doctor prescription. It is a NSAID (or Non-Steroidal, Anti-Inflammatory) drug.

Ibuprofen is used by the conventional medical establishment treat mild to moderate pain, in such conditions as toothache, headaches and migraine,  menstrual pain, and rheumatic conditions such as arthritis. It is supposed to to treat the swelling caused by some of these conditions, and in sprains, strains and sports injuries. It is also used to control fever, and is said to have an 'atniplatelet effect' that protects from blood clotting.

Ibuprofen is used in many well-known brand names, many of them openly on sale, without prescription. Perhaps the most well-known of these are Advil, Anadin, Brufen, Motrin, and Nurofen, 

But other names for Ibuprofen include: Actron, Adex, Arinac, Advifen, Actren, Alaxan, Alges-X, Algifor, Algoflex, Algofren, Alindrin, Alivium, Arthrofen, Artofen, Betagesic, Betaprofen, Bonifen, Bugesic, Buplex, Burana, Buprovil, Caldolor, Calprofen, Combiflan, Daisy, Dismenol, Diverin, Dolgit, Dolofort, Doloraz, Dolormin, Dolo-Spedifen, Easofen, Ebufac, Emuprofen, Espidifen, Eve, Fenbid, Fenpaed, Finalflex, Galprofen, Hedex, Herron Blue, I-profen, Ibalgin, Ibrofen, Ibugan, IBU, IBUFEN, Ibufen, Ibugel, Ibuflam, Ibugesic, Ibuhexal, Ibuleve, Ibum, Ibumax, Ibumetin, Ibumidol, Ibupain, Ibuprofene, Ibuprom, Ibuprox, IBU-ratiopharm, Ibuprosyn, Ibustar, Ibu-vivimed, Ibux, Ibuxin, Ipren, Kratalgin, Lotem, Medicol, Moment, Mypaid, Mrprodol, Narfen, Naron Ace, Neobrufen, Neofen, Norvectan, Nuprin, Nureflex, Orbifen, Panafen, Perifar, Profin, Ranfen, Rapidol, Ratiodolor, Rimafen, Salvarina, Solpaflex, Spedifen, Speedpain NANO, Spidifen, Tefin, Unafen, Upfen.

The names mean nothing. It all adds up to the confusion that the drugs industry seeks to disseminate. The less we know about what they are giving us, the more they can get away with hiding the dangerousness of their drugs from us!

The History of the Drug
Boots, the Chemist, claims responsibility for inventing Ibuprofen. They attribute the discovery to Dr Stewart Adams, who was looking for a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, and awarded an OBE for 'services to the pharmaceitucal industry. He is reported as saying:
          "We were convinced, on the basis of all the work we had done, that Ibuprofen would be both safe and effective".

It was marketed as a prescription drug from 1969, and as an over-the-counter, non-prescription drug from 1987. At the time it was said to be 'better tolerated' than aspirin, but equally effective. Boots still describes it as "just one of the many amazing products invested by Boots experts over the years".

Despite the serious side effects Ibuprofen is now known to cause, it continues to be available, without prescription. And whilst the conventional medical establishment know about the risks, little action beyond 'warnings' have been given.

Known and suspected side-effects (DIEs)
NHS Choices describes what they call 'the common side effects' of ibuprofen' as follows:

nausea and vomiting
indigestion (dyspepsia)
abdominal pain

But NHS Choices also recognises the following, 'less common' side effects:

fluid retention (bloating)
raised blood pressure
gastritis (inflammation of the stomach)
stomach ulcers
allergic reactions – such as a rash
worsening of asthma symptoms by causing bronchospasm (narrowing of the airways)
kidney failure
   •      black stools and blood in your vomit (indicating there is bleeding in your stomach).

Yet these are just an inadeuate summary of known, and suspected side effects of Ibuprofen, as this more comprehensive list, taken from the website, demonstrates:

   •      Abdominal pain and cramps
acid or sour stomach, stomach soreness and discomfort
cloudy urine
decrease in amount of urine
decrease in urine output or decrease in urine-concentrating ability
difficulty having a bowel movement (stool)
excess air or gas in stomach or intestines
full feeling
itching skin
pain or discomfort in chest, upper stomach, or throat
pale skin
passing gas
noisy, rattling breathing
rash with flat lesions or small raised lesions on the skin
shortness of breath
swelling of face, fingers, hands, feet, lower legs, or ankles
troubled breathing at rest
troubled breathing with exertion
unusual bleeding or bruising
unusual tiredness or weakness
weight gain

Ibuprofen is also known to cause the following, many of them having a severe effect on the brain, including confusion, and on our emotions:

   • Agitation
back, leg, or stomach pains
bleeding gums
blistering, peeling, loosening of skin
blood in urine or stools
bloody, black, or tarry stools
blurred vision
burning feeling in chest or stomach
change in vision
chest pain
clay-colored stools
cough or hoarseness
dark urine
decreased urine output
difficulty breathing
difficulty swallowing
dilated neck veins
dry mouth
extreme fatigue
fast, irregular, pounding, or racing heartbeat or pulse
fever with or without chills
frequent urination
general body swelling
general feeling of tiredness or weakness
hair loss, thinning of hair
hives or welts
impaired vision
increased blood pressure
increased volume of pale, dilute urine
irregular breathing
joint or muscle pain
lab results that show problems with liver
light-colored stools
loss of appetite
lower back or side pain
muscle twitching
painful or difficult urination
pains in stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
pinpoint red spots on skin
puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
red skin lesions, often with a purple center
red, irritated eyes
redness of skin
severe abdominal pain, cramping, burning
severe and continuing nausea
sore throat
sores, ulcers, or white spots in mouth or on lips
stiff neck or back
stomach upset
swollen or painful glands
tenderness in stomach area
tightness in chest
unpleasant breath odor
upper right abdominal pain
vomiting of blood
vomiting of material that looks like coffee grounds
yellow eyes and skin also outline the symptoms of Ibuprofen overdose, as it is particularly easy to overdose on this drug. They include the following:

Bluish lips or skin
difficulty sleeping
dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up from a lying or sitting position suddenly
drowsiness to profound coma
lightheadedness or fainting
mood or other mental changes
muscle tremors
not breathing
rapid, deep breathing
slow or irregular heartbeat
stomach cramps
sudden fainting
sweating says that if any of the following side effects persist you should check with 'your health care professional':

   • Continuing ringing or buzzing or other unexplained noise in ears
hearing loss
dry eyes
feeling sad or empty
lack of appetite
loss of interest or pleasure
mental depression
quick to react or overreact
rapidly changing moods
runny nose
sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
stuffy nose
trouble concentrating
trouble sleeping
unable to sleep

Yet even this list does not do justice to the harm that Ibuprofen can cause.

A Canadian study involving pregnant women, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, found that those taking any kind, and even small amounts of NSAID drugs, including ibuprofen, diclogenac and naproxen, were 2.4 times more likely to have a miscarriage than those not taking the drugs.

So the drug that Dr Adams described as 'safe and effective', and for which he received an OBE, is far from safe. But it has been a marketing triumph. And the conventional medical establishment appears to be determined to protect it, regardless of the harm it is doing to us.

Sunday 5 April 2015

Jesus heals a man born blind, and the modern Pharisees

With thanks, and appreciation, to John 9
And with thinks to the Gospels for its insight into Skepticism
But with apologies to Christianity for any offence, which was not intended
  • As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth.
  • His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
  • “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.
  • As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 
  • While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
  • After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 
  • “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
  • His neighbours and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” 
  • Some claimed that he was.
  • Others said, “No, he only looks like him.”
  • But he himself insisted, “I am the man.”
  • “How then were your eyes opened?” they asked.
  • He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.”
  • “Where is this man?” they asked him.
  • “I don’t know,” he said.
The Skeptics Investigate Homeopathic Healing
  • They brought to the Homeopathy Skeptics the man who had been blind. 
  • Now the day on which Samuel Hahnemann had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes without using conventional medicine. 
  • Therefore the Skeptics also asked him how he had received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes, diluted with water,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.”
  • Some of the Skeptics said, “This man is not from conventional scientific medicine, for he does not use pharmaceutical drugs”
  • But others asked, “How can a non-believer in RST's perform such signs?” So they were divided.
  • Then they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.”
  • The man replied, “He is a homeopath.”
  • They still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents. 
  • “Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?”
  • We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. 
  • But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.” 
  • His parents said this because they were afraid of the Skeptics, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Samuel Hahnemann could do this would be put out of the conventional medical establishment.
  • That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”
  • A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to BigPharma by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.”
  • He replied, “Whether he is a conventional doctor or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”
  • Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”
  • He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”
  • Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Big Pharma! 
  • We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”
  • The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 
  • We know that Big Pharma does not listen to alternative medical practitioners. Big Pharma  listens to the people of medical science who does his will. 
  • Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. 
  • If this man could not heal, he could do nothing.”
  • To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.
Medical Blindness
  • Samuel Hahnemann heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in Homeopathy?”
  • “What is Homeopathy, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe.”
  • Samuel Hahnemann said, “You have now seen it work; in fact, it is a homeopath who is speaking with you.”
  • Then the man said, “Homeopathy, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
  • Samuel Hahnemann said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”
  • Some Skeptics who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”
  • Samuel Hahneman said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of an unscientific approach to medicine; but now that you claim to be scientists, your guilt remains.

Thursday 2 April 2015

BMJ accuses Novartis of misconduct. RNIB implicated in supporting Novartis, who fund them!

What is the motivation of drug companies? 
Are they motivated by assisting public health? 
Or are they more interested in selling drugs, regardless of patient safety?

Another case of misconduct, probably fraud, has been reported (2nd March 2015) by the British Medical Journal (BMJ). Unusually, it has been picked up by the mainstream media, including BBC News. But typically, they discuss the issue only in the most superficial and unsatisfactory way - they fail to engage in the 'real health debate' that this blog has been demanding, for so long.

The situation, as reported, can be simply stated:
  • The British Medical Journal has accused the drug company, Novartis of trying to block access, and undermine research, into a cheaper drug for treating the condition wet, age-related macular degeneration.
  • The Novartis drug, Lucentis, licensed to treat the condition, costs around £740 per dose! The alternative drug, Avastin, costs about £60 per dose, but is not licensed for treatment the condition.
  • Drug trials are said to show the Avastin is also an effective treatment.
  • The BMJ claims it has evidence that clinicians with ties to Novartis urged some primary care trusts to pull out of one trial, and tried to derail a second trial.
  • Continuing to use Lucentis rather than Avastin costs the NHS several £100 millions every year.
  • Novartis are said to have denied the allegations, as, of course, they would be expected to do!
The BBC article outlines the battle that has been going on between the two drug companies involved in the scandal.

          "In November 2014, the Royal College of Ophthalmologists called for Avastin to be made available for treating the condition on the NHS, arguing that switching to the drug could save the NHS £100m. And in February clinical leaders from 120 clinical commissioning groups called on ministers and NHS England to clarify regulations that make it hard for physicians to prescribe Avastin for wet AMD".

On the BBC Radio 4 'Today' programme, the Health Charity, the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) were implicated in the scandal, supporting Novartis in trying to end one of the trials, whilst at the same time, admitting that Novartis provide about £150,000 to their coffers!

So what has our mainstream media been looking into? Not some of the major issues that might suggest to people and patients that their interests are not best served by the financial interests of the conventional medical establishment.

What, for example, are conventional doctors doing, prescribing a drug for which there is no licence, no clear evidence that it works, and no permission to use it? How often does this situation happen with other drugs, and other conditions?

What are the wider implications that can be learnt about the integrity of the entire drug testing and regulation system that is supposed to protect patients? How often, and to what extent, to drug companies pressurise researches to produce the result their business interests crave? How much do drug politics and vested interests play in determining the drugs that patients receive?

What is the motivation of drug companies? Are they more interested in profit than the health of the patients treated with their drugs?

What is the motivation of Health Charities like the RNIB, a "charity providing a range of information for blind or partially sighted people", including "fund raising details and events". Why do they accept money from for-profit pharmaceutical companies? Do they declare their vested interests when providing advice to blind and partially sighted people? Are other Health Charities, who most people will believe to be above this kind of scandal, compromised bb Big Pharma money in the same way?

And what about some information about the two drugs.

We were told that Lucentis is exorbitently expensive. Have the media ever invested why? Have they ever asked what the profit margin is that they are making on this drug?

And has anyone bother to tell us the long list of 'side effects' that patients receiving this expensive drug may suffer?
  • Blindness (Yes, really, described as 'common'!!)
  • bloody eye
  • blurred vision or loss of vision
  • decreased vision or other changes in vision
  • disturbed color perception
  • dizziness
  • double vision
  • dry eye
  • eye pain
  • fainting
  • feeling of having something in the eye
  • halos around light
  • headache
  • night blindness
  • overbright appearance of lights
  • pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones
  • red, sore eyes
  • redness of the white part of the eyes or inside of the eyelids
  • redness, swelling, or itching of the eyelid
  • seeing flashes or sparks of light
  • seeing floating spots before the eyes, or a veil or curtain appearing across part of vision
  • sensitivity of the eye to light
  • tearing of the eyes
  • tunnel vision
  • watering of the eyes
  • Body aches or pain
  • chest pain
  • chills
  • cough
  • difficulty with breathing
  • dry mouth
  • fainting
  • fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat
  • general feeling of discomfort or illness
  • head congestion
  • hoarseness, loss of voice, or other voice changes
  • loss of consciousness
  • muscle aches and pains
  • nasal congestion
  • pain in the chest, groin, or legs, especially the calves
  • painful blisters on the trunk of the body
  • pale skin
  • runny nose
  • severe, sudden headache
  • shivering
  • shortness of breath
  • slurred speech
  • sneezing
  • sore throat
  • sudden loss of coordination
  • sudden, severe weakness or numbness in the arm or leg
  • sudden, unexplained shortness of breath
  • sweating
  • tightness in the chest
  • trouble sleeping
  • troubled breathing
  • unexplained weight lossunusual tiredness or weakness
  • Back pain
  • difficulty having a bowel movement (stool)
  • difficulty with moving
  • muscle stiffness
  • swelling or redness in the joints
All these side effects for just £700 per shot!

So what about the cheaper alternative drug, Avantis? Is this perhaps also safer? Well, not really.

Avantis is a cancer drug. I was introduced in February 2004, and was being hailed as the great new breakthrough in the treatment of cancer. However, in just 9 months, by November 2004, the Magazine 'What Doctors Don't Tell You' were reporting that it could cause stroke, heart attacks, angina, and doubled the risk of a fatal blood clot. Even when it was approved in was known to cause fatal stomach perforations and congestive heart failure! WDDTY commented:


These new concerns must make Avastin one of the untouchables, but the new discoveries raise concerns about the efficacy and reliability of the pre-licensing clinical trials that too often miss adverse reactions that could even kill the patient. 

It's not for the first time, when faced with these deadly therapies, that we've said we'd rather take our chances with the cancer."

Eleven years later it is still available to us!

In 2008, the Independent reported on 27th June that the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) had, for the first time, terminated an assessment of a powerful new cancer medicine "because of a row about its price with the manufacturer". Not, you notice for unacceptable side effects, but on the grounds of cost! Nice is reported as saying that Roche had supplied "insufficient evidence" about the product, which costs £3,600 a month for a typical patient!

Also in 2011, and most pertinent to the treatment of macular degeneration, Avantis was found, in 5 separate reports, to cause blindness. This was reported in the New York Times, on 1st September. This article rehearses the same argument, 3.5 years ago, that we are now going over again.

So what are our free media in Britain, including the BBC, telling us about the side effects of these two drugs? Side effects that patients might want to know about in order to make an informed choice?

Absolutely nothing!