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Monday 15 June 2015

Antibiotic Apocalypse. The BBC fails again to address the issue

There is no doubt that conventional medicine, the drug and vaccine medicine that has dominated our lives for the last 100 years, is in trouble. The drug, which doctors have relied on increasingly over the last 70 years, is failing.

Our media is telling us this. The BBC Panorama programme, "Antibiotic Apocalypse", broadcast on 8th June 2015, was one attempt to do so.
  • The programme described antibiotics as a 'miracle' medicine, and described its value in recent decades in treating infections. It said, for example, that they could "kill infections that used to kill millions". It said that antibiotics had "saved millions of lives", and had "revolutionised medicine".
  • It asked the question - what would happen if "the drugs stopped working". It concluded that it would made many cancer treatments impossible, that organ and limb transplant would not be possible.
  • It raised the issue of superbugs, and how the over-use and over-dependence of antibiotics were a direct cause of C Diff, E Coli, MRSA, and others.
  • It described how superbugs most superbugs had become resistant to most antibiotics, and how they may become capable "of destroying everything modern medicine can throw at them"
  • It stated that if they all fail in the treatment of infections, the consequences would be "horrendous', that we would be returned to 'the Dark Ages'.
  • It told us that there was now only one class of antibiotic now used that could deal with drug resistant superbugs, serious blood infections, pneumonia, et al - Carbapenem. Yet although they are last resort, resistance is already apparent.
The government's Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, featured in the programme, and painted an apocalyptic picture of the future, and the terrifying consequences of the imminent failure of antibiotic drugs. She said that 43% of people died of infections prior to antibiotics and that "we risk going back to that sort of scenario".

The programme described a government initiative, an independent review into antibiotic resistance and superbugs, led by Jim O'Neill, an economist. He highlighted that the lack of control over the use of antibiotics had led to overuse, and the rise of superbugs, that replacement antibiotics were not coming through, and that the drug pipeline is running dry. He said that 10 million people a year were dying from superbugs, and that the world would lose $100 trillion in output.

The programme also highlighted the fact that much of the antibiotics to which we are subjected are not taken by us, but by the animals that enter our food chain. In some countries, notably the USA, antibiotics are used as 'growth promoters' to boast agricultural profits. The USA were refusing to stop this, and the Third World would not do so either as a result. 

Sally Davies produced one alarming fact - that when we eat farmed salmon, by the time it reaches our plate, it will have consumed its own weight in antibiotics!

Panarama also hinted that the reason for no more antibiotics coming through. The last significant discovery, it said, had happened back in the 1980's.
  • Drugs were expensive to develop, and several antibiotics had been produced, but bugs quickly became resistant to them. 
  • Bugs, the programme said, resisted chemicals! "Every time we take an antibiotic it provides an opportunity for a new strain to emerge".
  • Any new antibiotics that were developed could only be used sparingly, because of the risk of resistance,  and the development of new superbugs, and this was "not good for profits". There were lots of costs, but no prospect of returns
  • As a result, drug research had dried up. It was no longer profitable for Big Pharma to do the research.
And the programme stated that the failure of antibiotics, the antibiotic era, could end less than 100 years after penicillin was discovered. Amazingly, the BBC almost allowed the reason for antibiotic failure to be aired when they allowed a microbiologist say that "bugs have been around millions of years, they are older than us, cleverer than us, wiser than us". Bacteria, we were told, quite correctly, are constantly evolving and spreading across borders. In the wise words of Panorama  "we cannot win the war against superbugs".

So what, according to the wit and wisdom of the BBC's Medical Correspondent, Fergus Walsh, was the solution?

Why, more antibiotics, of course! According to the BBC, the only solution they mention is to continue the warfare within our body that the bugs are winning, and will win. So instead of looking for real alternatives, let's provide the drug companies with more money, through an 'innovation' fund, or some such scheme. Let's provide Big Pharma with guaranteed payments for new, proven antibiotics. So a message of hope ends the programme! The next generation of drugs, so urgently needed, would perhaps come from antibiotics that existed within the soil, described as a "vast, untapped resource".

So antibiotics have brought us to this apocalyptic situation, as with so many conventional medical drugs (Thalidomide, Benzodiazepine, Vioxx, et al) - so let's have more of the same.

Fergus Walsh is, of course, is a great proponent of conventional medicine, and promoter of any Big Pharma initiative. And he is an inveterate opponent of alternative medicine, particularly homeopathy.  He did not, therefore, take the opportunity to mention the European Union's move to reduced the use of antibiotics, and for farmers to use Homeopathy instead - even though the Telegraph did publish this information (although, of course, in line with all mainstream media policy they called homeopathy 'unscientific').

'Unscientific' homeopathy has, of course, always been more successful in treating infections than conventional medicine, from the 19th Century, onwards. Iman Navab, for instance, has outlined some of the evidence on Dr Nancy Malik's blog. And no Homeopath, yesterday, today or tomorrow, would baulk at the prospect of treating a patient with an infectious disease, and do so without having to resort to antibiotic drugs. After all, Antibiotic drugs do have their dangers - something else that is rarely if every mentioned the BBC, the mainstream media, and its partial coverage.

So Panorama should be applauded for telling us about the antibiotic apocalypse, but asked why they did not put this into the context of the ongoing and continuous failure of conventional medicine to provide safe or effective drugs. 
  • People do need to know that there is a major crisis within the conventional medical establishment, but they also need to understand that it is not a crisis with Homeopathy, or the alternative medical community. 
  • People do need to have access to information that enables them to make an informed choice about their medical treatment, but they need to be aware that alternatives exist outside the closed, and failing world of conventional medicine.
As I have said before, there is a need to be a real, genuine health debate throughout the world, but especially in Britain, Europe, Australia, the USA and Canada, and other countries where the Pharmaceutical industry has a controlling and dominant influence. But nowhere is it happening. This programme could not bring itself to mention Homeopathy! Not even to undermine and attack it!

So this Panorama production demonstrates that the BBC, and our 'Free' media generally, remains firmly in the control of the conventional medical establishment, and by Big Pharma in particular. Even its biggest failures escape proper examination and evaluation. Even an apocalypse of this nature does not suggest that there is something radically wrong with 'scientific' drugs and vaccines, and suggest that other medical therapies need to be examined, and challenged.

As a public service broadcaster, the BBC is dramatically failing in readers, listeners and viewers. It is time that they understood this, and took steps to inform the public about what is happening.