Search This Blog

Friday 28 December 2018

ANTIBIOTIC DRUGS. More problems for these wonder drugs, on which conventional medicine depends so heavily

The reputation of conventional medicine depends largely on the success of antibiotic drugs during the last 70 years. I am old enough to remember them being described as 'wonder drugs', and that they were also 'completely safe'. It is the kind of rhetoric, and false promise, on which conventional medicine has based its apparent success.

I wrote about it back in 2012 that "Antibiotics. The failure of conventional medicine's wonder drug", and in 2013 that "Antibiotics - not such a wonder drug?"

The ongoing failure of antibiotics has been described as "an antibiotic apocalypse" - the drug is considered to be that important to the viability of conventional medicine. The problem with antibiotics, as presented in the mainstream media, has focused mainly on bacterial resistance. Doctors have few antibiotics that actually work now, and the lifespan of the remaining drugs is time-limited.

Yet, as I said back in 2015, "Antibiotics. Not as safe as we have been told", resistance is only one part of the problem. As the blog outlined, the drugs are, and always have been, harmful to patient health - more harmful than has ever been admitted.

Now there is further news about the harm they cause. It has come from MIMS in October 2018 which reported that the EMA, the European Drugs Agency, has said that the use of quinolone antibiotics should be restricted "owing to disabling and potentially long-lasting adverse effects reported with their use". This is what it said

              "The EMA's Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee made its recommendations following a review of serious adverse effects reported with the use of quinolone antibiotics given orally, parenterally or by inhalation. Such effects have been reported very rarely and mainly involve muscles, tendons and bones, and the nervous system."

As ever, with all dangerous pharmaceutical drugs, these antibiotics have NOT been withdrawn or banned. Instead, doctors have been asked to use them "with caution", and not to prescribe them for certain conditions.

  • Have you read about this, then? No! Well, not a surprise as the mainstream media has not bothered to mention it, as far as I can see. Clearly they don't think we should know about drugs that cause "disabling and potentially long-last adverse effects".
  • So is this the conventional medical establishment acting, in a timely way, to protect patients? Hardly, doctors have been prescribing quinolone antibiotics since the early 1960's, so they have been causing patient harm for over 50 years!
  • Perhaps, then, it is just that doctors haven't noticed (or haven't accepted, or haven't reported) that they cause patient harm. Well, this does not stand scrutiny either - serious side effects have been known about for a long time. "The FDA first added a Boxed Warning to fluoroquinolones in July 2008 for the increased risk of tendinitis and tendon rupture."
The reality is that all pharmaceutical drugs are harmful, and that the conventional medical establishment just does not give a damn! 

Conventional medicine reacts to patient harm only when it can no longer continue to deny that they are causing patient harm!

And then, routinely, through censorship, or perhaps sheer embarrassment, patients are not told that they have been taking drugs that may have harmed them!

This is just one more example that demonstrates that the future of medicine does NOT lay with pharmaceutical drugs. They are all proving to be largely ineffective. They are all, without exception, dangerous. And drug companies are not even pretending, these days, to suggest they have new drugs coming through the pipeline.

Conventional Medicine - RIP - Quickly please

Wednesday 26 December 2018

"You have Diabetes!" The diagnosis is a shock. The consequences are alarming. But then your doctor gives you a drug. So all is well?

So the doctor tells you - you have diabetes. The diagnosis is a shock. It's a lifetime condition, the doctor says. And it's not just the illness, he says, it's what can arise from the illness, including vision loss and blindness, kidney failure, cardiovascular disease, stroke, nerve damage leading to peripheral neuropathy, and even limb amputation.

Never mind, though. At least the doctor says that diabetes is treatable. You've been given lots of good advice about diet and exercise. And then there is this drug, canaglifozin, taken orally for the rest of your life, which helps control blood sugar levels. So it all sounds just fine. The drug will help the kidneys get rid of glucose from the bloodstream. Conventional medicine has it all in control!

Nothing to worry about, then (?)

Canaglifozin, marketed as Invokana, Invokamet and Invokamet XR, is a new drug, approved by the USA's drug regulator, the FDA, in March 2013. So it's effective, it does what it says, and it's safe. This must be so, that's the only basis that drug regulators approve a drug.

So roll on 4 years, to May 2017. The FDA now concludes that canaglifozen increases the risk of leg and foot amputations. The evidence, it says, is based on new data from two large clinical trials.

Damn! The drug will now be withdrawn, perhaps even banned. After all, conventional medicine states that its primary principle is "First, do no harm". And the precautionary principle will surely mean that the drug will no longer be available for used.

But no, hold on! The drug isn't being banned. The FDA is recommending a 'Black Box' warning to the labelling. You can still continue taking it. So how will you be protected? Will you be safe?

               "Patients taking canagliflozin should notify your health care professionals right away if you develop new pain or tenderness, sores or ulcers, or infections in your legs or feet. Talk to your health care professional if you have questions or concerns. Do not stop taking your diabetes medicine without first talking to your health care professional."

Okay! But it seems strange that you take a drug because you have diabetes, and the drug gives you an increased risk of suffering one of the worst consequences of having diabetes. This is not what your doctor told you. So what has your doctors got to do, how will they protect you?

               "Health care professionals should, before starting canagliflozin, consider factors that may predispose patients to the need for amputations. These factors include a history of prior amputation, peripheral vascular disease, neuropathy, and diabetic foot ulcers. Monitor patients receiving canagliflozin for the signs and symptoms described above and discontinue canagliflozin if these complications occur."

Okay! Well, you can always have a word with your doctor next time you see him.

Except that, in actual fact, you don't even know about the increased risk of amputation! The threat may have been published on the FDA website, by Reuters, and by health websites like Health Watch, but whoever reads them. Why should you? Everyone else tells us that pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines are safe. Why on earth should we question what everyone tells us? And anyway, if you look carefully at the FDA's instructions, no-one has been asked or instructed to contact you, and inform you about the risk.

And note. This story has not appeared in any of the newspapers, or the radio and television channels, that most people watch.

So you may be taking a drug that could be harmful to your health, but don't worry about it - you are entirely unaware of it!
  • Johnson and Johnson, the manufacturer, knows about it, and they still want to profit by selling the drug. Of course they do!
  • The FDA know about it, and they are quite happy for J&J to continue selling it to me. Well, drug regulators are controlled by the drugs industry anyway, so of course they do!
And if you live outside the USA? What then? 

Well, there is no indication that drug regulators in the rest of the world know about it, or else they have decided not to do anything about it anyway. So you will certainly not know about it. So, just as the FDA instructs, please don't stop taking your diabetes medication. It must be doing you good - at least, as far as you are aware!

See also these blogs on the subject of diabetes.

Monday 24 December 2018

Spina Bifida. A brilliant new operation? Or a drastic intervention for a condition that is often caused by conventional medicine?

Spina Bifida is a condition where the baby's spine and spinal cord fail to develop normally within the womb, causing a gap, called a neural tube defect to form. The neural tube is the structure that forms in early pregnancy, and normally closes about 4 weeks after conception. In spina bifida the closure is incomplete, and this can lead to defects in the spinal cord and vertebrae.

This can lead to weakness or paralysis in the lower limbs, muscle weakness that can affect bone development, causing dislocated or deformed joints, bone fractures, mis-shapen bones, and scoliosis. It can also lead to bladder and bowel problems, including incontinence, urinary track infections, kidney problems, constipation and/or diarrhoea. It can also cause hydrocephalus, and related problems.

Announcing a brilliant new operation?
So spina bifida is not a minor condition. For many years surgery has been used soon after birth to close this gap in the spine, but often the nervous system will already have been damaged by this time. So in more recent years the operation has been carried out several weeks before the baby is born, in the hope that this will improve some of these difficulties, and lead to better long-term health. In December 2018. in Britain, it's been announced that the operation is to become routinely available on the National Health Service (NHS).

So is this another example of a brilliant new surgical technique 
that will help transform our experience of health care?

Maybe - but as usual with surgical breakthroughs of this kind it is not as simple as that. Conventional medicine likes to tell us about their new 'wonder' drugs, and their brilliant new surgical techniques. They do so regularly. But the real situation is usually more complicated - as in this case.

The causes of Spina Bifida
It is thought that Spina Bifida has been with us since time began, although the condition certainly increased during the 20th century, but has since levelled off in more recent years because of earlier detection, and the recognition that prevention is possible by ensuring the mother has sufficient folate acid levels during pregnancy. So what causes spina bifida?

  • Conventional medicine tells us that it is a congenital condition, and happens when pregnant mother's have low levels of folate acid during their pregnancy.
  • What conventional medicine often does not tell us is that there is another known cause of Spina Bifida (and low folate levels) - pharmaceutical drugs prescribed to pregnant women during pregnancy.

Drugs that cause Spina Bifida?
Surprisingly, and untypically, NHS Choices does admit that "taking certain medications during pregnancy has been linked to an increased risk of having a baby with spina bifida or other birth defects". It specifically mentions epileptic drugs, such as valproate and carbamazepine (which are also used to treat bipolar disorder). Yet amazingly the solution offered is not to stop taking them, it is that "doctors will try to avoid prescribing these medications if there's a chance you could get pregnant while taking them", plus advice to women not to get pregnant whilst taking them! Or to take folic acid supplements!

The Health Prep website is a little more forthcoming, saying that "any time a woman is pregnant, the pills she takes can end up affecting her unborn child", including spina bifida. Again, it mentions anti-seizure drugs, "but some other types of drugs can also cause issues". It goes on to suggest that drugs cause spina bifida "because they alter the body’s ability to absorb certain nutrients" like folic acid. This reminds us that the cause of (rather than an explanation for) spina bifida is NOT a lack of folic acid, but the reason WHY there is a lack of folic acid in the first place. Anti-convulsant drugs, such as Topamax or Depokote, seem to directly affect the ability of the foetus, and the mother, to metabolize folate acid, so they are directly implicated in the reduction of folate levels.

The WebMD website, in an article published in 2010, refers to research published in the BMJ Online First journal, that found babies born to women who have taken the anti-seizure drug Carbamazepine have a more than twofold increased risk of a spina bifida child, but that this was better than another epilepsy drug, Valproic acid (which is marketed under a multiplicity of trade names). The study showed that among nearly 4 million babies born in Europe between 1995 and 2005, including almost 100,000 who had major birth defects, 2,680 were born to mothers who took carbamazepine during the first three months of pregnancy.

Yet it is not just anti-epileptic drugs that are known to cause spina bifida. The Spina Bifida HQ website states clearly that antidepressant drugs are also implicated. It says "... antidepressants that increase the concentration of serotonin available in a woman’s system (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs) seem to especially increase a child’s risk for spina bifida" and that the SSRI's implicated are some of the most common antidepressant drugs prescribed, such as Prozac, Lexapro, Paxil, Zoloft and Celexa "among others". It adds that "the percentage risk of a child having spina bifida if the mother takes an SSRI during pregnancy has not been clearly established." Given the seriousness of this disease it might have been expected that conventional medicine might have done so by now!

Even the USA drug regulator, the FDA, has warned about the link between antidepressants drugs and spina bifida. Several FDA warnings given over the years have been outlined in this Drug Reporter website yet nothing has been done to protect women, and their unborn babies. The conventional medical establishment, whilst recognising the serious dangers of the drugs they use, continue to insist that they are necessary in order to treat other conditions. So dangerous drugs are never withdrawn or banned, and babies continue to be born with spina bifida and other birth defects, and they are dismissed as 'congenital' or a lack of folate acid!

Conventional medicine causes disease, and then produces expensive cures
The human cost of of these pharmaceutical drugs is immense, both to the damaged child, and to his/her family. So anything that can be done to ameliorate the tragedy of spina bifida should be applauded. So what about this new surgical breakthrough.

Yet there is also a huge financial cost too. This arises when conventional medicine knows, full well, that a significant cause of spina bifida is not congenital, but the pharmaceutical drugs doctors continue to give to pregnant women. The condition is caused, in many instances, by a so-called 'side effect' of earlier conventional medical treatment.

If this primary causation was properly admitted by conventional medicine the solution would NOT be a brilliant new operation. It would be to ban the pharmaceutical drugs that have caused the condition in the first place.

As in so many similar situations, if conventional medicine were able to accept the damage to health it is causing through its pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines, an easier and simpler solution would be to stop this damage at source. To stop prescribing drugs that caused foetal harm. Coming up with expensive new solutions (however brilliant they might be) is not the best solution to problems conventional medicine has caused in the first place!

In part this explains why is conventional medicine in crisis? It is not under-funding. It is the inability of the conventional medical establishment to recognise that they have to continually invent new treatments to illnesses and diseases that they have created, or added to, in the first place.

Sunday 23 December 2018

GSK & Pfizer to merge their Healthcare Operations. Is this to improve patient health? Or is it Unity in Dishonesty, Fraud and Corruption?

Two of the largest and most influential drug companies, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Pfizer are to merge their healthcare operations, whose combined annual sales will reach nearly £10 billion. The deal still has to be approved by shareholders, but as they are more interested in profit than patient health, this is not likely to be a problem.

Earlier this year, GSK took full control of a previously joint operation with Novartis, paying them over £9 billion for its 36.5% stake in their Consumer Healthcare Business.

The merger deals are about selling drugs, as many drugs as possible, for as much profit as possible. Every industry engages in similar manoeuvres, but the merger between drug companies makes particular sense. They all profit from the sale of drugs and vaccines. They all profit from ongoing sickness and disease. But more importantly, they are all leaders in an industry that is regularly, some would say routinely, engaged in
  • dishonesty
  • fraud
  • corruption
So drug companies fit well together!

The evidence for such a devastating judgement on the ethics of the pharmaceutical industry is plentiful, although it has not been well publicised by our governments, or by our compliant media, both of whom have studiously failed/refused to publicise the evidence against this powerful and influential industry.

I have written about this before, in some detail, when outlining the ongoing failure of the Conventional Medicine, so here I will do no more than outline some of the details of this activity over the last decade or so, appertaining just to these two companies.
  • 2009. Pfizer, was fined $2.3 billion when it pleaded guilty to misbranding the painkiller, Bextra, with the intent to mislead and defraud, and then promoting it to treat acute pain at dosages the drug regulator, FDA, had previously deemed dangerous. Bextra had been banned in 2005 for safety reasons. It was also found that Pfizer had illegally promoted three other drugs, the antipsychotic Geodon, an antibiotic Zyvox, and an anti-epileptic drug, Lyrica.
  • 2012 GSK was fined 400,00 pesos when 14 babies died in an illegal vaccine trial. It was found that doctors had taken advantage of illiterate parents who took their children for treatment, but were pressured and forced to sign a 28-page consent form.
  • 2012 GSK agreed to pay $3 billion in civil and criminal liabilities following its promotion of several drugs, failure to report negative safety data, and making unsupported safety claims, particularly for its diabetes drug, Avandia. The company was aware that the drug increased the risk of heart attacks, and congestive heart failure but they withheld this information for 7 years! The company also pleaded guilty to promoting the antidepressant drug, Paxil, for patients under 18 although it had never been approved for that age group. GSK were also found guilty of paying bribes to doctors, with one attorney prosecuting the case saying that the company used every imaginable form of high-priced entertainment and paid millions of dollars in bribes to doctors. One doctor is reported as receiving $275,000 to promote just one GSK drug.
  • 2012. Pfizer were forced to pay $60 million after bribing European and Asian health officials to dispense their drugs and vaccines. The fraud involved doctors and public health officials in Bulgaria, China, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Italy, Kazakhstan, Russia and Serbia. When the company realised they might be caught they apparently attempted to hide the illicit transactions by burying them in accounting records as 'business expenses'.
  • 2014. GSK were ordered to pay $105 million to 44 states for providing it sales representatives with financial incentives to make misleading claims and statements to doctors about its drugs Advair, Paxil and Wellbutrin. The company was sued for deceptive trade practices and violations of consumer law.
So the business practices of both these drug companies seem well suited! These are just the criminal cases in which GSK and Pfizer were involved. There are many others, listed on the page referred to, that have been taken against other pharmaceutical companies. In my book I concluded.
                   "And so it goes on. The list of fraud and dishonesty practised by the pharmaceutical companies is a long one, and certainly a continuing one. Those mentioned above are just a few selected examples from recent years. They are not isolated incidents. They have become a regular part of the pharmaceutical business. They form a pattern of behaviour that has continued over many decades. And for every case brought to court there are probably hundreds more that never reach that stage, or which go unexamined."

    So this merger has little to do with patient health. It is to do with safeguarding the future profitability of the industry. This has become more necessary as more people realise that pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines are harmful to health, and so resistance to taking them is increasing. The competitors of GSK and Pfizer is no longer each other - it is falling drug sales, the banning and withdrawal of failed drugs, and the failure over many years now to come up with new 'blockbuster' drugs. So the industry is reforming itself to tackle these problems.

    Another problem faced by drug companies is the growing realisation that curing illness and disease is actually bad business for the industry! It is better not to cure disease, to keep patients sick, so that they continue to be drug consumers! 

    Goldman Sachs have confirmed this in a recent report, admitting that biotech companies have no incentive to cure illnesses. Their analysis was published in a report entitled, “The Genome Revolution” which looked at whether curing patients was a sustainable business model. Their answer was a clear - "No" - it is not sustainable!

    But selling drugs that don't work, better still if side effects cause even more illness, is sustainable. But drug companies are realising that to continue selling them they can continue convincing patients that their drugs and vaccines DO make sick people better when in fact they don't! 

    So combining their healthcare operations makes a great deal of sense.

    Wednesday 19 December 2018

    Parliamentary Group Call for Integrated Healthcare. It has to be the future for the NHS

    This press release has not been seen in the mainstream media.
    I wonder why?
    So please read it - it has to be the future for the NHS

    PRESS RELEASE                            

    13TH DECEMBER 2018
    MPs want complementary, traditional and natural medicine to rescue NHS from financial crisis

    Changing health needs requires different approach, says new report

    In 70 years of the NHS patients’ health needs have changed. Growing numbers of people suffering from long-term illnesses pose significant threats to the future sustainability of the NHS, a new report released by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Integrated Healthcare warns.

    MPs urge the NHS to embrace complementary, traditional and natural medicine to ease the mounting burden on service provision.

    The report says that the rising costs to the health system require a whole person approach to health delivery which focuses on prevention and tackles the root cause of illness.

    More patients suffer from multimorbidity (suffering from 2 or more long-term health conditions) than ever before, with the number of people in England with one or more long-term condition projected to increase to around 18 million by 2025.

    A staggering 70% of total health expenditure on health and care in England is associated with treating the 30% of the population with one long-term condition or more.

    The result of these complex health conditions is the growing problem of polypharmacy (the use of several drugs at the same time).

    This is perhaps the biggest threat to the future economic viability of the NHS, with increasing costs of pharmaceutical drugs needed to treat patients with multiple illnesses, coupled with largely unknown effects of the long-term use of these drugs in combination.

    The PGIH report argues that Government needs to devise a strategy to fully assess the degree of drug interactions, determine the long-term health effects on patients, and arrest the trend of over medicating the population.

    A significant part of this strategy is to treat patients as whole persons, with individual needs, rather than with a variety of illnesses that are treated separately.

    This strategy should make greater use of natural, traditional and complementary therapies, which are widely used for a variety of conditions. There is a huge under-utilised resource of therapists which could work in collaboration with conventional medicine to improve patient outcomes and ease the burden on the NHS.

    The PGIH report is due to launch in the House of Commons, Committee Room 6, on Thursday 13th December at 10.30am.

    Modern medicine has been very effective in tackling many of the health conditions we face today. However, there are areas, often called Effectiveness Gaps (EGs), where available treatments in modern clinical practice are not fully effective.

    Musculoskeletal problems are commonly regarded as being affected by EGs. Depression, eczema, allergies, chronic pain, and irritable bowel syndrome are also frequently mentioned.

    For these types of conditions a different approach is needed, one which does not involve giving more and more costly but ineffective drugs.

    David Tredinnick MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group which produced the report, insisted that the current approach being taken by the Government is unsustainable for the long-term future of the country.

    “Despite positive signs that ministers are proving open to change, words must translate into reality. For some time our treasured NHS has faced threats to its financial sustainability and to common trust in the system.”

    “Multimorbidity is more apparent now in the UK than at any time in our recent history. As a trend it threatens to swamp a struggling NHS, but the good news is that many self-limiting conditions can be treated at home with the most minimal of expert intervention.”

    “Other European governments facing similar challenges have considered the benefits of exploring complementary, traditional and natural medicines. If we are to hand on our most invaluable institution to future generations, so should we.”


    Monday 17 December 2018

    Polio. A disease conquered by conventional medicine and vaccines? So what is the Acute Flaccid Myelitis mystery??

    One of the crowning triumphs of conventional medicine (sic) is that it has vanquished the scourge of poliomyelitis. It stands alongside the triumph of antibiotic drugs, which are now approaching the final stages of usefulness.

    So what, then, is Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM)? The BMJ describes it as 'a mystery'. Wherever else AFM is mentioned it is described as 'a polio-like' illness. It is now said to be 'sweeping the USA'. It is 'being investigated' in Britain too (an no doubt around the world as well).And there are also claims, from families with children who have been struck down by the illness that the USA's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is doing all it can to cover this up, and pretend that nothing is happening.

    So is this yet another cover-up by the conventional medical establishment?

    Pharmaceutical companies have a history of changing the names of their drugs. Every drug has a multiplicity of names, used to confuse patients (and doctors?) about what they are taking. For instance, perhaps the most infamous of all pharmaceutical drugs - Thalidomide - was never actually banned but miraculously re-appeared in 1998 as a treatment for leprosy! But, of course, the drug was not marketed as thalidomide. The drug remained the same. Only its name changed! In case we noticed!

    So how does conventional medicine protect its reputation? It would be devastating for them to admit that polio, or any of the other 'vaccine-conquered' illness, still existed. So there is no longer any Whooping Cough (Pertussin) around now - thanks to the MMR vaccine of course. But there is a huge increase in what doctors now call the "100 day cough".

    So what about AFM? Is it really polio?

    Conventional medicine does not deny the existence of AFM. The 2015 BMJ article, referred to above, states that "it affects motor neurons in spinal cord gray matter resulting in asymmetrical limb weakness affecting main young children", concluding that "case control studies are planned to look for clues, but presently AFM is a mystery disease of unknown cause" (my emphasis). The similarity between AFM symptoms, loss of muscle tone, difficulty swallowing, loss of reflexes, sudden weakness, leading to paralysis and often death with polio symptoms seems to have quite escaped them! Even the Dr Mercola website is coy, (it is more reluctant today to question the conventional medical establishment than it was a few years ago) saying that "the mysterious disease is reminiscent of polio and primarily affects children, causing sometime permanent paralysis".

    There is considerable doubt about the success of the polio vaccine in the 1950's. This Health Impact News website covers much of this, although unsurprisingly this evidence is hotly contested by the conventional medical establishment. It is not my intention to enter this historical argument here, only to raise the question about AFM, and whether this is another example of a cover-up of an serious illness that is assumed to have been controlled by pharmaceutical vaccines.

    This article outlines how doctors change the name of diseases when vaccines claims cannot be evidenced.

                   "Doctors around the world are being faced with children catching the diseases they have been vaccinated against. Rather than diagnosing these children correctly, professionals have discovered that the doctors are giving the diseases new names. This suggests a cover-up is going on and the vaccinations we are all being told are safe and effective are in fact completely useless.

                    "...... many professionals now believe that the vaccinations are actually causing the diseases they are supposed to prevent.It appears that they could be right because news has just been released that 47,500 children became paralyzed after polio vaccinations in India in 2011 (my emphasis). According to Dr Jacob ..... after receiving the polio vaccination, an additional 47,500 children were newly paralyzed, over and above the standard rate of 2 children per 100,000 non-polio AFP (acute flaccid paralysis) cases."

    So another cover-up certainly appears to be in operation. CNN (November 2018) ran the story that many parents are accusing the CDC of failing to report their children's death from AFM. The CDC is an integral part of the conventional medical establishment, and in the article is accused of downplaying the severity of AFM, an accusation the CDC does not appear to challenge. The articles says that although 37 USA states have confirmed or possible cases of AFM, 90 cases in 2018 alone, the CDC does not mention that there has been any deaths from the illness. Perhaps the only encouraging thing about this censorship is that it is encouraging to see that a mainstream USA news agency has reported on the issue.

    So this has all the classic signs of a medical cover up.
    • An illness that has no known cause. 
    • An illness that has similar (identical) symptoms to another illness that has supposed to be overcome by conventional medicine. 
    • And an unwillingness to report issues of public concern to the public - unless forced to do so.
    I have a horrible feeling that this is not the last we are going to hear about Acute Flaccid Myelitis!

    Monday 3 December 2018

    THE FREE PRESS. Most of our newspapers are in trouble. So what can be done to save them?

    300 years ago our British media began to develop. Newspapers began to appear, and reach the people, providing them with information that they would have otherwise been ignorant.

    The Governments of the time did not like these news sheets, not least because they were often castigated and ridiculed by them.

    So Governments tried to suppress them, and a long battle ensued for press freedom - the fight for the ability to publish the truth free from political influence. Over the years, the press won. A 'Free Press' emerged, becoming one of the king-pins of our democracy.

    Now, our 'Free Press' is in trouble, serious financial trouble. The circulation of many national and local newspapers have declined, many have gone.

    My attention was drawn to this last week when I received a reference to a Guardian article on Homeopathy. I went to the Guardian website and read what was a well written, and well balanced piece on the subject. Unfortunately the article was over 15 years old!

    But whilst reading it I noticed that part of the screen was taken up with request to pay for my visit to the Guardian website. This was the message (with my emphasis).

    Since you’re here…
    … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading the Guardian than ever, but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

    The Guardian is editorially independent. So we set our own agenda. Our journalism is free from commercial bias. It isn’t influenced by billionaire owners, politicians or shareholders. No one edits our editor. No one steers our opinion. This means we can give a voice to the voiceless. It lets us challenge the powerful - and hold them to account. At a time when our honest, factual reporting is critical, it’s one of many things that set us apart.

    Our approach is different from others in the media. While others offer only fixed subscriptions, we give our readers the option to support us voluntarily. This is not meant as a short term solution; this approach is for now and for the future. By supporting The Guardian, you’re investing in the long term sustainability of our independent, investigative journalism.

    If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps to support it, our future would be much more secure. For as little as £1, you can support the Guardian – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.

    The Guardian newspaper was once my paper. I was a regular reader, long before the internet. I read it because I trusted it as a source of serious, progressive, independent information about the world around us.

    So why did I stop reading it? And why did I not send a £1 to support my old newspaper? 
    The reason can be found above, in the second paragraph
    • editorially independent?
    • we set our own agenda?
    • our journalism is free from commercial bias?
    • it isn't influenced by billionaire owners, politicians or shareholders?
    Would that this was true! If is was I would still be buying the newspaper, leave alone sending them a £1 over the internet!

    My problem with the Guardian is that, for over 15 years, it has published nothing positive about homeopathy. Indeed, it has become a bastion of medical fundamentalists, and homeopathy skeptics, people like Ben Goldacre, who have been allowed to publish both their affirmative views on so-called 'scientific' medicine, and their jaundiced and unsupported views on homeopathy. In neither has the Guardian give 'a voice to the voiceless'. There has been no right of reply to allow the homeopathic community to air their views in the Guardian, or indeed, in any other part of the mainstream media.

    So I do not believe that the Guardian is 'editorially independent', that it is any longer a paper 'that sets its own objectives', or that its journalism is 'free from commercial bias'. If its advertising revenues are declining what remains of them are still coming mainly from the pharmaceutical industry and its allies. Perhaps it is a little too much to expect the Guardian (and other struggling newspapers) to bite the hand that is feeding them.

    So if I, and indeed the entire homeopathic community, is being continually attacked by the Guardian to win and maintain pharmaceutical advertising, I (and many other like-minded people) will certainly do nothing to support it. 

    In taking this stance I am not alone. Many of my colleagues, practitioners of homeopathy and other natural therapies, feel the same. You don't feed that hand that attacks you!

    And as conventional medicine declines, throughout the world, and natural therapies increase in popularity, the media now finds itself riding a horse that is destined to be a loser! The Guardian, and most of the mainstream media organisations, have lost out on the support of a small, but significant and growing group of people. Moreover it is a group of people who would once have gravitated around the Guardian. But no more. Natural medicine is alive and well, despite the sustained attacks the Guardian has made on it.
    Natural medicine is growing. 
    The Guardian is in decline.

    There was a touch of regret when I wrote that. Yet actually, the situation is worse than this. As far as health is concerned, I am aware of two main trends that the Guardian steadfastly refuses to recognise and report.

    1. That conventional medicine, and pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines, are causing serious illness and ill-health. It does not take much 'investigative journalism' to realise this, and that it is a scandal needing investigation. So is the Guardian challenging the powerful pharmaceutical companies about this? No, it is not.
    2. That homeopathy is a safe and effective medical therapy, one that has cured my illnesses over the years, and the sickness of many millions of patients over the last 220 years. So is the Guardian giving a voice to homeopathy, and other natural therapies? No, it has removed its voice, and refuses to hear it.
    The fact that the Guardian refuses to publish anything about either of these trends, and refuses even to acknowledge or discuss them, has a further consequence. It means that I can no longer trust what the newspaper says about anything else.

    If it is not prepared to be honest in what it publishes about health, something I have been involved in for some time now, how can I any longer believe that the paper is reporting openly, impartially, honestly and fairly about politics, or the environment, or anything else?

    But wait, I hear someone say. Was it not the Guardian that reported recently on the harm being caused by medical implants? Yes, indeed, the Guardian was involved in this piece of real investigative journalism. 

    Yet, as I asked on my blog, why did this investigation look into, and heavily criticise medical implants, when it continues steadfastly to refuse to criticise the harm being done to patients by the pharmaceutical industry? I can only assume that the Guardian is not supported by the medical implant industry which is smaller, less influential, and provides the Guardian, and other newspapers, with insufficient financial support.

    This is why we no longer have a free press. The press is free from government, but it is not free from the commercial and industrial interests that continue to support it. And this is why the mainstream media picks and chooses who it attacks, and who it supports.

    So the Guardian is not editorially independent. It does not set its own agenda. Its journalism is not free from commercial bias. And it is influenced by corporate interests, which control its editorial policy, and steers the opinions it shares with the public. The Guardian is controlled by the powerful, and together they have ensured that natural medicine has become voiceless.

    Fortunately, natural medicine speaks for itself in its ability to treat sick people, safely, effectively, and inexpensively. People continue to hear us. But not by reading the Guardian.