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Friday 27 May 2016

The Failure of Antibiotic Drugs

The failure of antibiotic drugs becomes increasingly more apparent. Yet the reason for the failure remains obscure to most people.
  • The conventional medical establishment knows there is a problem, but it is not interested in any explanation that suggests their whole system of medicine is collapsing, failing. 
  • The NHS is predicting an apocalypse, but it is not interested in asking questions about the medicine it has allowed to monopolise medical services in Britain.
  • The mainstream media is content to go along with this non-analysis. They ask no questions, there is no pretence of any kind of investigative journalism into the situation.
What we are being told that all the great advances of conventional medicine are being threatened, as they have never been before. But no-one, it seems, is curious enough to ask about what is happening, and why it is happening.

If we were to do so we would understand that what we are witnessing is the failure of a system of medicine we have all been led to believe has worked so effectively and well for the last 100 years.

Antibiotic drugs have, after all, been central to the alleged 'success' of conventional medicine. For decades they have killed the bacteria associated with infections, they have combated serious diseases that conventional doctors could not treat before their discovery, and they have made possible a whole series of life-saving surgical operations to deal with diseases at an advanced state. Without effective antibiotic drugs all this 'success' is at risk.

Now, only one antibiotic drug remains free of the resistance that is making all other antibiotics ineffective. The drug is called Colistin. And there are early signs that bacteria is now emerging that has become resistant, even to this last remaining antibiotic.

The reason for the failure of conventional medicine is contained within this single fact. The history of this single drug demonstrates, in minature, why the conventional medical system, as a whole, is failing.

Colistin is not a new drug. It was initially derived from a flask of fermenting bacteria by a Japanese researcher in 1949. It was first introduced as a drug in 1952, became generally available for clinical use in the early 1960s, and was thereafter extensively used for treating a variety of infections. However, it was gradually replaced in the late 1970s by other antibiotics because of its toxicity.

The toxicity of Colistin is something that the conventional medical establishment would rather we did not dwell upon - so let's do just that! This antibiotic drug was found to be nephrotoxic (it caused damage to the kidneys) and neurotoxic (it caused damage to the nervous system). Bronchospasm was also known to be caused by Colistin. Actually, these side effects are just the tip of a very large iceberg! To read about the full side effects of Colistin, which are extensive, go to the Drug.Co webpage.

Now, doctors have been telling us for decades that antibiotics are safe drugs. So it may come as a surprise to many reading this that antibiotic drugs should be described as 'toxic', and be withdrawn because of serious side effects. However, many antibiotics have suffered a similar fate. Antibiotic drugs have a history of causing damage to patients, many have had to been withdrawn, even though our doctors continue to tell us that antibiotic drugs are entirely safe!

They want us to believe that the problem with antibiotics is resistance, not serious side effects!

Yet the harm caused to patients by antibiotic drugs are many, varied and extremely serious. I have outlined these side effect on this website, currently under development. They are implicated in many diseases, most of them caused by the harm they do to our gut flora, diseases such as chronic diarrhoea, obesity, diabetes, irritable bowel disease, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

Note that these are all diseases that have risen rapidly throughout the years of antibiotic use, and over-use'.  

Yet antibiotic drugs have also been implicated in other diseases too, such as liver damage, asthma, eczema, heart disease and mental disorders.

So to be clear, in order to treat bacterial infections, the conventional medical system has prescribed, and continues to prescribe, drugs that cause serious medical conditions. They call them side effects! They are really fully-fledged diseases. Pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines have made us sicker than ever before, with illnesses we have never experienced before, and certainly never experienced at such levels.

Yet conventional medicine not only refuse to tell us about the full enormity of the harm caused by their drugs, they are also prepared to reintroduce drugs they once thought to be too dangerous to give to patients! Collision was 'retired' when it was decided the side effects were too severe. Now, when they don't seem to have anything else left to give us, they return to a drug they know is harmful to our health. It still works, killing bacterial infections, and as it is the only one they now have, they give it to us - regardless of longer term consequences to our health.

Conventional medicine does not appear to care whether the drug might harm us!

Yet we need to go deeper into the failure of antibiotics. Just why has antibiotic resistance become such a problem?

Whatever illness conventional medicine tries to deal with, they view it as a fight, a battle, a state of warfare that needs to take place within the sick body. Antibiotic drugs are the very pinnacle of this war. Doctors see infection, and they seek to kill the bacteria that appears to be causing the infection. In fact, all 'anti-' drugs seek to kill something in our body, just as 'inhibitor' and 'blocker' drugs try to stop something happening in our body.

Unlike traditional medical therapies, such as homeopathy, conventional medicine has always failed to recognise that our body reacts to, and seeks to ward off illness and disease. Once upon a time they drained our very life-blood! Now they attack our bodies with drugs and vaccines. The conventional doctor knows best! They know better than our own bodies what to allow, what not to allow, and what to kill!

So what happens when this is done? The body fights back. Or, in the case of antibiotics, the bacteria fight back. If the drug fails to kill all the bacteria, they learn to resist, they become immune to the drugs. And in this particular war, the conventional doctor is losing, he is about to be defeated by his adversary. The bacteria is winning! Conventional medicine has failed!

So what does this mean for the patient? Our gut flora have for decades become a war-zone. It has been unbalanced by over 70 years of antibiotic warfare. The bacteria in our gut has been compromised to the extent that it has become unable to keep us healthy. The bacteria, the so-called superbugs, created by the very antibiotics that were supposed to destroy them, can now run amuck. To the victor, the spoils. MRSA and C-diff now rules! And there is nothing, now, the conventional medical system can do about it.

So what can patients do? The first thing is to recognise the failure of the conventional medical system, that the drug and vaccine warfare they have embarked upon ultimately leaves us defenceless as it attacks the only thing that can make us better - our bodies.

Second, they need to look to medical therapies that see the body as healer, not as protagonist. Therapies such as homeopathy, acupuncture, herbalism, reflexology, osteopathy, indeed most therapies apart from conventional medicine, all seek to work with, and alongside the body. They utilise and support the healing mechanisms that exist within our body.

And when we examine their value in treating infectious disease, therapies such as homeopathy has always been found to be more effective. And for those concerned about the demise of antibiotics, this is where you should be looking now.

Tuesday 24 May 2016

Anti-Malarial drug, Lariam. So after all this time it IS dangerous!

Lariam, or Mefloquine, or any one of the different names the conventional medical establishment has chosen to call it, has (at last) been recognised as being dangerous. It has taken a long time! The drug was developed by the USA army in the 1970's, and marketed from the mid-1980's. So it has taken over 30 years to come to this conclusion. Except, of course, that even now it is only the conclusion of the UK parliamentary defence committee - the Ministry of Defence still insists that it is a useful drug "as a last resort", the NHS remain silent, and the drug companies, predictably, continue to sell the drug to anyone foolish enough, or sufficiently ill-informed to know about its dangers. So the saga will no doubt continue for many more years to come.

Malaria is a dangerous and potentially fatal disease. Yet the prevention and treatment of Malaria does not require the use of dangerous pharmaceutical drugs like Lariam. I wrote about this in my blog "The Prevention and Treatment of Malaria with Homeopathy" in November 2012, pointing out the grave dangers of anti-malarial drugs, and the safety of homeopathy. I added a postscript to this blog in August 2013 after FDA Drug Safety Communication announced that the antimalarial drug, mefloquine hydrochloride is now known to cause "serious psychiatric and nerve side-effects" which can last for months, even years.

Yet Lariam continues to survive. It has become yet another drug that proves an important point about the pharmaceutical industry, that they produce only two types of drug:
  • those drugs that are known and accepted to be dangerous, and have consequently been withdrawn or banned.
  • drugs that a waiting to be withdrawn or banned because the conventional medical establishment is not prepared to recognise their dangers to patients.
The 'public service' broadcaster, BBC News, has picked up on this story, most unusually for a company that routinely perpetuates a slavishly supportive of the pharmaceutical industry, and the conventional medical 'wisdom'. It is not long ago, January 2011, that Kirsty Wark, presenting the BBC 'Newsnight' programme, attacked homeopathy for daring to say that it could prevent and treat malaria, and for diverting patients away from what she called 'real medicine'. This 'real medicine', of course, included the use of Lariam!

This is the problem for patients, anyone seeking conventional medical assistance. They are not being told the truth about pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines. The prescription of these drug multiplies, whilst the dangers of doing so are hidden.
  • Drug companies continue to market and profit from them.
  • Doctors continue to prescribe them, and tell us they are safe, because they have nothing else to offer us.
  • The NHS is dominated the the conventional medical establishment, committed to pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines, and unable to admit that they are harming patients.
  • Governments and politicians look to the pharmaceutical companies for what they consider to be important commercial investment, and employment, and the financing of their political campaigns.
  • The mainstream media is beholden to the pharmaceutical companies for their advertising, and the boards of both industries are cross-fertilised, and inter-dependent on each other.
  • The BBC, particularly its health and science correspondents, have been infiltrated by proponents of organisation such as 'Sense about Science'.
What this means is that there is little examination, little investigation into what the conventional medical establishment is doing, and why it is doing it, and the harmful consequences on patients of what they are doing. So patients remain misinformed, if not totally ignorant about the damage pharmaceutical drugs can have on their health. 

Note that this new development did not arise from investigative journalism, from the government, the NHS, the conventional medical establishment, or the drugs companies. It came from a Defence Committee, concerned about the safety of their soldiers.

Soldiers have been reporting the serious side-effects of anti-malarial drugs, including Lariam, for decades. But, of course, this is considered to be only 'circumstantial', or 'anacdotal' evidence. It is not 'scientific'. And the medical profession is keen to tell us that there is no 'science' to support the claims that these drugs, that any pharmaceutical drug or vaccine, are dangerous. 

We live in a world where medicine does not listen to patient experience, they listen to the scientists who undertake their RCT studies, in the pay of the pharmaceutical companies.

So whilst this development is being treated as a news story today (24th May 2016), it is really history that we are being told about. There is nothing new about what is being revealed about Lariam, or anti-malarial drugs generally, or pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines as a whole. The real story about 'real medicine' is that it is dangerous, it is harming patients, and because of this, it is failing.

Why, when we have been spending more and more every year on conventional health treatment are we getting sicker? Why are we facing epidemic levels of physical and mental illness? Why are national health services around the world unable to cope within the huge budgets they are given year by year? It is the use of dangerous drugs, like Lariam, that is the real explanation.

Wednesday 18 May 2016

Vitiligo? Homeopathy is the Best and Safest Treatment.

Vitiligo is described by the NHS Choices website as a long-term skin condition that causes pale, white patches to develop due to the lack of a chemical called melanin. It can affect any area of the body, but most commonly occurs on skin exposed to the sun, such as the face, neck and hands.

Conventional Medical Treatment for Vitiligo
Conventional medicine treats the cosmetic effects of the condition. The NHS Choices webpage states that treatment consists of "improving your skin’s appearance by restoring its colour", and goes on to say that "the effects of treatment are not usually permanent, and it cannot always control the spread of the condition." It says the doctors will begin treatment with sun safety advice, a referral for camouflage creams and topical corticosteroids.

Protection from the sun. NHS Choices says that sunburn is "a real risk if you have vitiligo", and that skin must be protected, and sun beds avoided. It recommends the application of a high-factor sunscreen, ideally with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or above, especially for those with a fair skin. It goes on to say, emphasising the cosmetic bias, that "protecting your skin from the sun will also mean you don't tan as much. This will make your vitiligo less noticeable."

Avoiding the sun can increase the risk of risk of vitamin D deficiency, which is essential for keeping bones and teeth healthy. Vitamin D supplements are therefore recommended.

Skin camouflage. This involves applying coloured creams to the white patches on your skin. These creams are specially made to match your natural skin colour. The cream blends in the white patches with the rest of your skin "making them less noticeable." NHS Choices also recommends self-tanning lotion (fake tan) to help cover vitiligo.

Topical corticosteroids. These steroid treatments are applied to the skin to stop the spread of patches, although as NHS Choices says, they are 'unlicensed' treatments for vitiligo, although doctors still prescribe them, apparently.  a course of this treatment requires several visits to the doctor. The side effects of topical corticosteroids mentioned by NHS Choices include:
  • streaks or lines in your skin
  • thinning of your skin (atrophy)
  • visible blood vessels appearing (telangiectasia)
  • excess hair growth (hypertrichosis)
  • contact dermatitis (inflammation of your skin)
  • acne
Beyond this NHS Choices says that in certain circumstances vitiligo patients can be referred on to a dermatologist, who can use the following treatments:
  • the prescription of stronger topical corticosteroids (with the accompanying danger of increased side effects).
  • Topical pimecrolimus or tacrolimus (a treatment usually used for Eczeme, and not licenced for vitiligo). It is said to cause side effects such as burning or painful sensations, making the skin more sensitive to sunlight, facial flushing (redness) and skin irritation if you drink alcohol.
  • Phototherapy (or PUVA treatment), where the skin is exposed to ultraviolet A (UVA) or ultraviolet B (UVB) light from a special lamp, alongside a drug called psoralen, "which makes your skin more sensitive to the light." NHS Choices says that this treatment "may increase the risk of skin cancer because of the extra exposure to UVA rays." 
  • Skin grafts. This is a surgical procedure that removed healthy skin from an unaffected area to cover an area where the skin has been damaged or lost. N HS Choices says that this treatment is time-consuming and not widely available in the UK. It has a risk of scarring and is not considered for children.
  • Depigmentation. This is recommended for adults who have vitiligo on more than 50% of their bodies, although this is also not widely available. It involves painting normal skin to "bleach away the pigment and make it the same colour as the depigmented (white) skin."  A hydroquinone-based medication is used to do this, which NHS Choices says can cause side effects, such as redness, itching and stinging. It can leave the skin with no protection from the sun. And when the colour returns patients are warned that the new skin may differ from the original skin colour.
NHS Choices then mentions the use of 'complementary therapies'. It is most unusual for the conventional medical establishment to do so, and must arise from some embarrassment about only have cosmetic treatment, or treatment with such side effects!

Homeopathic Treatment of Vitiligo
Homeopathy offers a comprehensive treatment as it goes to the root of the problem by helping build up immunity and eventually restores the pigmented patches back to the normal skin colour. This quotation comes from the Dr. Ajay's homeopathic website, which has been the main source of the following remedy descriptions. Dr Ajay describes that that can cure the condition.

          "This is due to the fact that homeopathic treatment enhances the natural production of pigments. According to homeopathic philosophy Vitiligo not a disease in itself but an expression of an inner disturbed state of the body."

Dr Ajay warns, however, that Vitiligo is a chronic disorder, and so can take considerable time ... for it to be completely cured. He describes the following remedies.

The patient is suffer from chronic cold, cough and occasional history of haemoptysis. He has loss in weight, loss of appetite, flat chested young boys & girls, prominent ribs & prominent clavicles. There is often a history of asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis and even T.B. in patients. Patients needing this remedy can be taciturn, sulky, snappish, fretty, irritable, morose, depressed and melancholic even to the point of insanity. The patients can be fretful, ailing, whines and complaining. Some are particularly frightened by dogs.

Hydrocotyle Asiatica
Dr Ajay describes this remedy as arguably the best for the natural treatment of vitiligo as it stimulates pigmentation, and reverses the symptoms.

A Graphites patient may be obese with a history of suppressed itch. It is suited to patients who are excessively cautious, timid, hesitating; unable to decide about anything. They can be fidgety whilst sitting at work. They can be sad and despondent. Music can make her weep. The patient thinks of nothing but death.

Merc sol
In these patients there can be history of dysentery with mucus and blood, and jaundice with liver enlargement. Patients are worst at night with salivation. They perspire in bed and do not tolerate too hot or too cold a climate. They can have nervous affections following suppressed discharges. Children can have glandular and scrofulous conditions.

Nit Acid
Homeopathic remedy for vitiligo where white spots are found at the muco-cutaneus junction., especially at the angle of the mouth, eyes, nose, nipples, glans penis, vulva, etc. There may also be fissures at the same spots. In some Nit AC patients there can be a desire for eating chalk, pencils, etc., particularly in children.

Mostly a female remedy, beside the usual white discolouration, these patients have irregular menses, either too early or too late, with scanty and painful menses in young girls. Leucorrhoea, prurites, dysparunia, and frigidity is often noted noted. Most of the patients complain of morning sickness, along with motion sickness, nausea, vomiting or headache whilst travelling in a car or bus. These patients often they prefer to be alone rather than in company.

This remedy is described by Dr Ajay as being very effective in treating not only vitiligo, but also Eczema. He says that a deficiency in Silica has been the cause of vitiligo for many patients.

Patients who need this remedy often have a history of suppression of skin diseases, or any other suppression, like suppressed diarrhea, dysentery, jaundice, typhoid and fevers. (Conventional medical drugs most often suppress these conditions). There is often heat in the palms, soles, eyes, anus, vulva, vagina & on the top of the head. Generally hot patient can feel chilly. They can be irritable and obstinate. Patients can have a nervous temperament and quick tempered. Their skin can be excessively sensitive to atmospheric changes. Often patients are lean, their shoulders can stoop, like an older man. They dislike standing, and will usually lean rather than stand upright. They can be prone to skin affections, and have an aversion to washing, with symptoms worse after a shower or bath.

This remedy is useful in treating vitiligo where there is history of vaccination. Patients often dream of falling, startling in sleep. They often have warts on their face or body. There can be history of tuberculosis or respiratory diseases in the family. They often are very fleshy people, with a  dark complexion, black hair, and unhealthy skin. They often have ailments from vaccinations. They often have strange or fixed ideas.

As with most medical conditions, finding the best homeopathic remedy, and enhancing chances of cure, is best done alongside a qualified homeopath. To find a homeopathy in Britain, visit this website Similar websites are available in other countries.

Friday 13 May 2016

Curing Alzheimer's

BBC 2's  Horizon programme, "Curing Alzheimer's", broadcast on 11th May 2016 ,is typical of the kind of propaganda our 'public broadcaster' is prepared to put out on behalf of the Pharmaceutical industry, and the conventional medical establishment. Goodness knows how much the advertisement would have cost had the BBC charged the going rates!

Broadly, the news was that conventional medicine was on the verge of overcoming 'the scourge of Alzheimer's disease! These are some of the comments made in the programme.
  • The latest generation of research has unleashed a new front in the war against this devastating disease.
  • There is a new window of opportunity opening up.
  • New technology allows us to see the signs of Alzheimer’s earlier than we ever could before.
  • A series of drug trials have been launched across the world, drugs that are targeting the disease in its early stage. 
  • We believe that this (drug) trial works the dawn of a new era in early Alzheimer’s prevention research.
  • The initial results (of the drugs trials) are exciting. They reveal that there are drugs that are reducing signs of the disease.
  • Scientists are confident that a cure is tantalisingly close.
  • If we treat early enough we may stave off Alzheimer’s disease completely, and we may never have to worry about it again
So Horizon asked the question "can we end the curse of Alzheimer’s forever?", and never seriously questioned what the medical scientists were telling them. However, the programme did give some accurate information about Alzheimer's disease itself.
  • About every 4 minutes someone new is told they have the disease. 
  • The panic grows, as the epidemic sweeps across the globe.
  • Alzheimer’s is now one of the most feared medical conditions.
The programme achieved two things. One, already mentioned in the programme itself, is that the share price of the drug companies involved have increased enormously. This programme will probably ensure that there is another such increase. The prospect of pharmaceutical profits always does that, not least when the BBC promotes it, unquestioningly, for an hour!

The other is that it will raise the hopes and expectations of millions of sufferers of the disease, and those who believe that they might suffer from the disease in future. There is a prospect of cure! The new drugs will be available in 4 years time! In 10 years time the disease might be under control! We might never have to worry about Alzheimer's disease again!

Indeed, the programme featured a number of people and families who were thinking just that, it might benefit them, and this added a human element to 'the good news' story. Conventional medicine, we were told, was coming to the aid of these unfortunate dementia sufferers, and many like them.

So let's stand back and examine this 'good news'.

Pharmaceutical drugs are firmly implicated in the creations of the dementia epidemic that is now sweeping the world. I have written about this in my website, DIEs, where the long list of drugs that are now known to cause dementia are listed. Even the BBC published the evidence that anticholinergic drugs caused Alzheimers on 27th January 2015! I wrote about it in my blog, "Big Pharma drugs cause Dementia, Alzheimers". So it is, perhaps, another case of the poacher turning gamekeeper, not an unfamiliar situation for the pharmaceutical industry, who base much of their profitability on their ability to offer drugs for disease they have, in large measure, caused!

Yet this Horizon programme does not even mention pharmaceutical drugs as a causative factor of Alzheimer's disease. The only reason given for the dementia epidemic is genetics - people from families with a genetic disposition are more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease. This may be so, but if it is the only cause, in order to account for the worldwide epidemic it must mean that a small proportion of people have given rise to a disproportionate increase in the incidence of dementia!

Other factors, both in regards of prevention and treatment, were mentioned.
  • The role of deep sleep.
  • Diet and nutrition, and it’s affect on the brain.
  • Brain training, through cognitive exercises
Yet, according Horizon, it was pharmaceutical drugs that were going to be the saviour of mankind from this dreadful disease! It was to be more miracle drugs that are going to transform our lives - of course!

We have been here so often before. I remember so many similar programmes, on the BBC and other channels, and in medical journals, promising wonder drugs, miracle cures, magic bullets, that were going to transform our lives. How long have we been promised cures for a whole range of conditions, ranging from pain to cancer, from depression to , epilepsy, from diabetes to the common cold; indeed, for any disease you might want to mention!

They have, of course, never materialised! Indeed, through their side effects they have made matters worse. Indeed, it is the pharmaceutical drugs used for other conditions that has led to the dramatic increase we have witnessed in dementia over the last 50 years or so.

The programme did, eventually mention that one of the drugs caused a serious side effect, that whilst getting rid of certain signs of dementia in the brain, it caused the brain to swell! We must, I suppose, be thankful for this modicum of honesty from the BBC! Yet, if past drugs are anything to go by, the real side effects of the new drugs will not be known about until many patients have been damaged by them, and the Big Pharma companies have made their enormous, multi-billion pound profit!

This BBC programme is part of the strategic plan of the conventional medical establishment, and in particular, the pharmaceutical industry. No matter how ineffective or dangerous their drugs and vaccines might be, it is important for them to continue selling the myth - that disease is being overcome, that medical science is triumphantly winning its fight with disease, and will ultimately overcome the human misery it causes.

So all pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines are introduced in this same way, not least by the BBC. Go back, and re-read the comments made in the programme, stated at the start of this blog. Do you believe they are likely to come true? Are the claims credible? The BBC obviously thinks so, which is perhaps the triumph of hope over experience!

Can I know, for certain, that these new drugs will not do exactly what is being claimed for them? No, of course not. But the best predictor of the future is past performance. And pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines, all the magic bullets and wonder cures we have been promised in the past, have a record of abject failure. None of them have done what they were supposed to do. Most of them have caused side effects, or DIEs (disease inducing effects), worse than the condition for which they were originally prescribed.

That is why we now face epidemic levels of a whole series of disease, Alzheimer's disease being one of the most prominent.

Therefore, I rest my case, and will allow the next 10 years to determine whether the BBC, the Horizon programme, and medical science are right. Or not right. But for those people now living in the hope of a conventional medical cure, think hard. There has never been one before! There are solutions to the dementia epidemic, the most important of which is probably to avoid taking the pharmaceutical drugs that are known to cause it. And, for anyone suffering from dementia, homeopathy might be helpful too.

The BBCs coverage of health issues cannot be relied upon. For whatever reason, best known to themselves, our 'public broadcaster' is totally subservient to the conventional medical establishment, and to the pharmaceutical industry. They only tell the public what conventional medicine wants us to hear. And they attack anyone with a different view.

Edzard Ernst - why he changed his mind!

BBC Radio 4 gave Professor Edzard Ernst a 15 minute slot to explain "Why I Changed My Mind' on Wednesday 4th May 2016. It was repeated on 12th May 2016. He was interviewed by Dominic Lawson. The programme demonstrates the lengths to which the BBC is prepared to go in order under undermine Alternative Medicine, and Homeopathy, in particular.

Lawson set the tone. Ernst, he stated, is hated by alternative health practitioners, the Prince of Wales tried to get him sacked, and he eventually lost his academic post because of the criticism he attracted for his work. Ernst was left to agree with this dreadfully unfair and unreasonable treatment. So Ernst was then led to explain his 'change of mind' about homeopathy. As a friend and colleague of mine said,

          "Ernst (says) that as a German, he was raised on Homeopathy, and later treated his patients with homeopathy. And it worked! But when he approached it 'scientifically', he concluded that it's merely placebo."

So let's be clear. Ernst's experience of homeopathy has  been that it does work, but that the science he has looked at does not demonstrate that it works. (Even this is wrong, but leave that for now!) So people do get better as the result of homeopathic treatment, but 'science', or at least Ernst's science, does not understand why it should. Ernst also said that he was convinced, at the time, that he was 'helping patients'.

Lawson then asked his most difficult question (sic). If he knew that homeopathy worked, why did it work? Ernst's response was that it was charlatanism and quackery, and was "quite puzzling' really. So as homeopathy worked, but science said it should not work, he went on to study this in his post at Exeter University.

Lawson, in the great tradition of BBC impartiality, (sic), continued to lead him on. "When did you decide that homeopathy was useless, delusional?"

Ernst said that when he 'did the science' it became clear that homeopathy is placebo.

Now, lets look at this word, placebo. The Oxford English Dictionary defines 'the placebo effects' as"

          "A beneficial effect produced by a placebo drug or treatment, which cannot be attributed to the properties of the placebo itself, and must therefore be due to the patient’s belief in that treatment"

So by using the term 'placebo' Ernst is once again saying the homeopathy has a 'beneficial effect' on patients who are ill. Lawson did ask Ernst whether there was anything wrong using placebo if this brought positive benefits to patients. Ernst said that people got better anyway! (Is it really is a simple as this?)

Lawson, now thoroughly convinced of Ernst's arguments, asked him whether he thought homeopaths were lying. With some apparent grace, Ernst said that lying was a strong term, but they were 'deluded', and 'treated homeopathy as a religion'.

Lawson came back, asking why there were lots of qualified doctors who believe in homeopathy, and whether they should be struck off, or stopped from practising? No, said Ernst, they were just not thinking critically, and needed to be educated out of their delusions.

Presumably, for both Lawson and Ernst, using a medical therapy that worked and brought benefit to patients, but which science could not explain, should be restricted, if not banned altogether.

Lawson's final question clearly demonstrated his partiality. "Can we justify homeopathy, or any other kind of quackery? (My emphasis). "No", said Ernst, predictably!

The BBC regularly broadcasts these kind of anti-homeopathy, anti-alternative-medicine programmes, with never an attempt to redress the balance. They will never broadcast a programme that provides an alternative medical view. The BBC appears to be firmly in the camp of the conventional medical establishment, and committed to providing time to anti-homeopaths without any 'right of reply'.

Why, for example, was there no question about the quality of the 'science' Ernst is associated with?  Certainly, his science has come under serious scrutiny. For instance, I blogged about "The contribution of Professor Edzard Ernst to disinformation about Homeopathy" in September 2015. This followed an assessment made by Professor Robert Kahn about the quality of Ernst's science. This was his conclusion.

          "I have never seen a science writer so blatantly biased as Edzard Ernst: his work should not be considered of any worth at all, and discarded."

Kahn's paper shows, in his view, how 'science' has been taken over by ideology, (or as I suggested the financial interests of Big Corporations like Big Pharma). He revealed that in order to demonstrate homeopathy is ineffective over 95% of scientific research into homeopathy has to be discarded or removed!

There was, of course, no mention of this in the BBC programme!

So if Ernst's change of mind was 'scientific', it was based on bad science, the kind of science much discussed in this blog, bought science, cheque book science, the kind of science based on university faculties funded by the pharmaceutical industry. Ernst's funding dried up when his academic position had become untenable, and he lost the support of his financial backers. As my friends and colleague said, in response to the programme:

          "Ernst's religion is Science, not the well being of the patients. I wonder how many listeners will
be influenced by him as he does come across as an experienced and rational man?" 

I agree with her assessment. Anyone can come over as an 'experience and rational man' when given an uncritical platform, such as this BBC programme proved to be. Certainly, Peter Fisher, the Queen's homeopath, was one of his main critics. Why, Lawson asked Ernst, did homeopathy have 'such a grip' on the Royal Family? Ernst did not know, but he did know that "when they get really ill they do not go to a homeopathy, otherwise they would not get so old!"

At this point I began to wonder on what knowledge Ernst used to know how the Royal Family were being treated, and scientific basis his belief that their longevity was nothing to do with homeopathy? The question was never asked, so we will, I fear, never know!

Wednesday 11 May 2016

What happens when doctors harm patients?

We should all be getting used to the idea that pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines cause harm to patients. This manifests itself when patients, who take drugs for one illness, develop new diseases (often called side effects), and even death.

So how do doctors protect themselves from the consequences of prescribing drugs and vaccines, that by their own admission, are inherently harmful?

The answer is that they insure themselves against the risk. If my doctor harms me, or if your doctor harms you, or your children, the consequences are borne by an insurance company - much in the same way that our cars, and our houses are covered in the event of being damaged.

There have been a series of articles on the issue of 'indemnity insurance' in the GP e-magazine, Pulse, which outlines the problem doctors are facing with this. The underlying problem is that as conventional medicine is harming an increasing number of patients so the cost of this indemnity insurance is rapidly increasing.

On 22nd March 2016 Pulse reported that there had been a large increase in 'multimillion pound compensation claims against GP's. The article refers to figures reported by the Medical Defence Union (MDU).

          "Multimillion-pound compensation claims against GPs and private consultants have risen three-fold over the past decade.... The Medical Defence Union said that it has settled 12 compensation claims in excess of £1m in 2015.

It was stated that in 2005, just 4 settled claims exceeded £1m, whilst there was only one claim of that amount in 1995.

And it is not just conventional doctors that are facing this problem. On 16th February 2016 Pulse reported a 'Sharp rise in negligence claims against practice nurses'. The MDU stated that the number of clinical negligence claims against practice nurses have risen sharply over the past decade.

          "Only two nurse practitioner members reported clinical negligence claims to the MDU in 2005 but climbed to 25 in 2015."

So is this a problem for the conventional medical establishment? In an earlier article, on 4th February 2016, 'Out-of-hours group increased recruitment threefold', Pulse reported that a GP out-of-hours service provider had offered doctors free indemnity cover and that this had boosted recruitment threefold over the last six months. The company, Vocare, said it recruited 175 GPs to work out of hours during the past six month period, compared to just 60 in the six-month period prior to this when it struggled to fill shifts.

          "A survey by Urgent Health UK recently found that four out of five out-of-hours GPs said spiralling indemnity fees are limiting the number of out-of-hours shifts they’re willing to do."

The article mentions that doctor recruitment was at 'an all-time low', the implication being that doctors are increasingly reluctant to practise their medical skills, dominated as they are by the prescription of pharmaceutical drugs, in case they damage their patients, and are brought to task for doing so.

Similar news came through five days later, on 9th February 2016, when Pulse reported that 'Paying out-of-hours indemnity added 15,000 shifts this winter'. It stated that over 500 GPs had booked extra out-of-hours shifts under NHS England’s £2m winter scheme "to cover their medical indemnity costs". This totalled 14,264 extra shifts made available to patients needing out-of-hours GP care. The article stated that NHS England will run the 'experimental scheme' until the end of March "while continuing discussions with the GPC on longer-term solutions to the problem of rising indemnity fees for out-of-hours work."

At the bottom of this article was another feature, entitled "We need to protect GPs from litigation. Here's how." It stated that the scheme was introduced "after increasing evidence that the cost of indemnity fees was putting GPs off taking on out-of-hours shifts, with a Pulse survey revealing that half of GPs turn down out-of-hours shifts because the cover is too expensive."

NHS England said that they introduced the scheme as indemnity fees were acting as "a barrier to delivering care."

So the message is clear. Doctors, who provide us with conventional medical care, are increasingly reluctant to do so because of the cost of indemnity insurance, that is, that cost to them if they harm patients by their treatment. Doctors, it would appear, are more prepared to do so if they do not have to bear the cost of insuring themselves against such an eventuality.

GP practices have also expressed their concern about the cost of indemnity insurance, and whether it covers their staff in all eventualities. On 14th March 2016 Pulse sought to answer the question 'How do I make sure all my staff have appropriate indemnity'. This article started with the observation that GP indemnity costs were "spiralling out of control", quoting the Pulse report that they rose by an average of 25.5% in 12 months leading up to November 2015. Yet the article goes on to explain that some indemnity cover can leave staff "without the necessary cover, which can be dangerous for the practice, as well as the affected staff".

So the conventional medical establishment has a problem. Its drugs and vaccines can cause harm to patients. When patients are harmed it can lead to expensive litigation. To protect themselves from this litigation doctors, nurses, pharmacists and others need to be insured.

Yet conventional medicine is now causing so much harm the spiralling cost of indemnity insurance had become an important issue, affecting whether doctors are prepared to offer their medicine to patients.

So the government recognises indemnity insurance is a problem for the conventional medical establishment, and decides to intervene - in order to encourage doctors to practise their trade! On 21st April 2016 Pulse reported that 'NHS promises to address rising indemnity fees but falls short of full funding'. What they are proposing, apparently, is a problem for the conventional medical profession.

          "NHS England is not going to cover GP indemnity costs as part of its general practice rescue deal, despite calls from the profession to do so, instead focusing on a ‘discussion’ to address rising fees."

Instead of fully funding the cost of indemnity insurance, NHS England is proposing to look at how costs can be contained, or reduced, or perhaps to enable new 'multi-speciality community practices' to take on corporate indemnity cover for all their GPs under one policy.

The article also discusses a proposal that there should be a cap on costs that claimaint lawyers can recover from clinical negligence claims. In response, NHS England said it did not believe that 'Crown Indemnity' was actually ‘the intent of the profession’, as this would ‘mean it is not possible to sue for damages and that the small minority of patients who had suffered harm as a result of clinical negligence would not have recourse to any financial compensation’.

So is this is what our doctors want ? Full indemnity against harming patients, without any cost to them? This series of Pulse articles have described what doctors (and other medical practitioners) want but it might be useful to consider what this means for patients. So let's use an analogy.

Suppose I drive a dangerous car (all cars are dangerous) on the roads, and I know that driving too fast can cause serious injury to other road users. In order to do so I pay for motor insurance every year, but as I and my colleagues have caused a series of serious accidents over a period of many years, I find that my insurance premiums are now sky-high! They have become a serious expense. They have actually raised questions about whether I should continue to risk driving my car.

So I persuade someone else to pay my insurance premiums for me! And actually, it is YOU (as a tax payer) who have taken on this responsibility. I am extremely happy about this! It means that I can continue to drive my dangerous car, I can drive it as fast and recklessly as I want, and I do not have to be too concerned about the serious damage I might do to other peoples lives.

Pharmaceutical drugs companies have achieved a similar result, with governments throughout the world providing them with indemnity against the consequences of any harm caused by their drugs and vaccines. It is not the companies who profit from their drugs and vaccines that pay for the harm they cause to patients - it is patients. And if their drugs and vaccines lead to expensive litigation, the government, courtesy of the taxpayer, will pay all the costs.

Now, conventional doctors want to have equal treatment! In the world of conventional medicine, it would seem, the responsibility for causing harm to patients has been taken away from those who cause it.

For an update of this information, go to this blog, "What happens when doctors harm patients? (2)"

A further update is available here. "Indemnity. What happens when doctors harm patients? (3)"