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Tuesday 21 May 2024

The Contaminated Blood Scandal and Covid-19 Vaccines. The only difference is 50 years!

We do not learn from our mistakes. History should teach us that scandals, disasters and fiascos are never recognised at the time, or soon afterwards, but usually some 30-40, or even 50 years after they happen. We don't seem to understand this, even today, the day after the Infected Blood inquiry published its final report. This is how the Guardian described the contaminated blood scandal.

            "The scandal has been described as the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS. People treated by the NHS in the UK between the 1970s and 1990s were exposed to tainted blood through transfusions, including during complications in childbirth, or, in the case of haemophiliacs, given contaminated “factor VIII” blood products imported from the US".

I wrote about this scandal here in 2017, in "The Contaminated Blood Scandal. The worst cover-up in NHS history". It certainly has been a cover-up of massive proportions, one that has lasted for over 50 years after the issues were first known.

And now, hiding (as yet unannounced and unrecognised) in the background, is yet another scandal in the making - the Covid-19 vaccine scandal (a mass vaccination campaign using untested experimental vaccines). And I predict that this one might also take another 30, 40 or 50 years before it is fully recognised by the UK's health and political establishments.

This 30+ year gap from event to recognition/apology is not restricted to conventional or pharmaceutical medicine. The Hillsborough tragedy, the Bloody Sunday massacre, and the Post Office scandal, are ample demonstration of this laggardly timescale; but there are many others. Nor will these scandals be the last, there are others to come!

Yet it is within the conventional medical establishment that most of these scandals happen. I wrote about several of these medical scandals in Chapter 9 of my "The Failure of Conventional Medicine" e-book on 'Medical Errors'. And if we are ever going to learn, it is important to understand what is going on, and why these decades-long time-delays are allowed to happen - time and time again.

There are people and organisations implicated behind each and every one of these scandals. They invariably and inevitably hold influential and powerful positions within their industry, within the conventional medical establishment, within government, or within the mainstream media. They are people with reputations to defend, and personal wealth to protect. And they represent corporations or institutions with reputations and profitability at stake. When realise that there is a problem, they defend themselves, vigorously, through many tried and tested strategies:

  • they initially ignore the situation (on the basis that it is best to have no discussion, no unnecessary or unwanted publicity),
  • they obfuscate (it is best that people are confused, or over-whelmed, rather than certain that something 'bad' has happened),
  • they go into denial, they cover-up (they play for time, the "there is no evidence", or the "correlation is not causality" defences),
  • they discount (it might be a slight problem, but only a few people people are involved, and it is not a serious issue), and they excuse themselves (the benefits of what we did outweighed the risks).

The Covid-19 vaccine scandal is at the very earliest stage in the process. When the issue has been raised in Parliament by a handful of MP's, they have spoken to an empty chamber, and received an obfuscatory response from a government minister. Voluminous reports of serious patient harm from Covid-19 vaccines are greater than any other vaccine for the last 70 years. There have been 'excess deaths' each month for the last 3 years, and questions about the links with the vaccines. Such suggestions meet with ridicule and denial, a refusal to investigate further, and the continuation of the vaccination campaign.

Any similarities here with the contaminated blood scandal? Back to the 1970's, 1980's? A pharmaceutical industry not prepared to abandon a profitable vaccine? A health system unwilling to admit that it has caused serious patient harm? A government that does not want to compensate and pay damages to damaged patients?

The problem is we might have to wait 30 years to find out! The process usually takes decades, during which the victims do not receive sympathy, support or compensation. They are the 'ordinary' people, with limited resources; they are not 'experts' in the field, and find it difficult to penetrate 'the system'; and they certainly don't have the funds to take the issue to court. 

On the other side of the fence they face people in positions of power and influence, backed by powerful institutions. The rich and powerful, in extremis, stick together. So corporate directors, senior government officials, and the mainstream media control the information, and the agenda. And they are prepared to protect themselves by joining together, and to sing from the same song-sheet.

Indeed, with health scandals in particular, one notable feature of these scandals is that no action is taken to correct the fault. The infected blood products continue to be sold; the opioid drugs are still marketed; Sodium Valproate continues to be prescribed; and even the infamous Thalidomide drug is still being used, today! These sales continue until such time that the scandal becomes bigger, when sales begin to fall, or the hitherto toothless, incompetent drug regulator bans it; or the drug company 'withdraws' it because it has become "uncommercial". One of the Covid-19 vaccines has suffered this fate!

Or perhaps another "miracle wonder drug" will come along. A common thread that runs through all these medical scandals is that drug/vaccine/treatment involved usually started life as a "wonder drug", a "game changer" that will transform the treatment of one disease or another. However, each one has moved from being loudly heralded "a miracle cure" to be quietly being dropped as a killer drug.

And then we are led to believe that such a thing has never happened before! Even at the very end, as in the 'contaminated blood scandal', the issue is usually discounted as being a 'one-off' issue, a single, isolated and terrible mistake which must not be allowed to happen again. They are situations that would not be allowed to happen, not now, because times have moved on, establishments have changed. So, a defective, disease-inducing blood scandal product becomes "the worse disaster in the history of the NHS" - the implication being that something as bad as this has never happened before; and of course the Inquiry will insure that no such thing will never happen again!

So usually no-one is ever held to account. This is the main purpose of the long history of obstruction and delay. If the accounting can be delayed for 30, 40, and 50 years on, the people involved in the scandal will either be dead, or too old; their scandal-driven profits enjoyed, spent, so no longer available. The pharmaceutical industry will have re-organised, and the old, often defunct drug companies, will not be around to question, or prosecute. The politicians and civil servants involved with the scandal will have moved on, or died. Documentation might have been 'lost'. So it is the government (that is, tax payers) who foots the compensation/damages bill, especially when drug companies have been given immunity from prosecution.

Conventional medicine is naturally secretive. This is because it relies heavily (totally) on pharmaceutical drug treatments, all of which are known to have serious side effects, that can cause serious patient harm. This is at the heart of what makes the NHS defensive in all its dealing with the public. This is why they do not, perhaps cannot function openly, transparently, or honestly.

So there will be more health scandals, and with all the available evidence at this point there seems little doubt that Covid-19 vaccine, which are already suspected to have caused so much serious patient harm (heart conditions, cancer, damage to the immune system, to mental health, et al), will be grabbing our attention; but not, perhaps, for another 30 or 40 years!

So how can we identify a scandal 30 to 40 years earlier? I have a couple of tips.

  • Watch for a new 'medical breakthrough', the promotion of a new 'ground beating' medical treatment by both government, and the mainstream media,
  • Listen to who is speaking, and what they are saying. (i) the voice of the 'common' people who claim they have been harmed, but who remain largely unheard, or beaten back, and (ii) the denials and obfuscations of the medical and political establishments.

If these conditions apply then we just might have another medical scandal to witness - if we live long enough to see it unravel!

Friday 17 May 2024

Informed Consent to Pharmaceutical Medical Treatment. What information do patients' require?

Informed consent is important in medicine. It is especially important in Conventional (Pharmaceutical) medicine which has a long history of causing patient harm. (Click here for a list of withdrawn and banned medical drugs prescribed by doctors, especially over the last 70 years). Conventional medicine has always emphasised the importance of informed consent. For example, the UK's National Health Service (NHS) states that: 

            "For consent to be valid, it must be voluntary and informed, and the person consenting must have the capacity to make the decision. The meaning of these terms are:
    * voluntary – the decision to either consent or not to consent to treatment must be made by the person, and must not be influenced by pressure from medical staff, friends or family;
    * informed – the person must be given all of the information about what the treatment involves, including the benefits and risks, whether there are reasonable alternative treatments, and what will happen if treatment does not go ahead;
    * capacity – the person must be capable of giving consent, which means they understand the information given to them and can use it to make an informed decision.”

Yet conventional medicine has a poor record in assuring that the patients have given their "voluntary informed consent" when it comes to the prescription of pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines. Conventional medicine is adept at informing us of the 'benefits' of drugs/vaccines; but they have been less ready to admit to the serious adverse reactions they can cause.

Indeed, in many during the recent Covid-19 pandemic it was clear that conventional medicine was prepared to mandate (force) patients to be vaccinated, without their consent, with vaccines that were (are) by its own admission 'experimental'. Even by the rather 'carefree' standards of pharmaceutical drug testing, were not fully or properly tested.

In December 2023 the USA drug regulator, the FDA, appears to have ditched the concept of voluntary informed consent entirely when it issued a 'final rule' providing an exception from the requirement to obtain informed consent when a clinical investigation poses no more than minimal risk to the human subject, and includes appropriate safeguards to protect the rights, safety and welfare of human subjects. This is, perhaps, thin edge of a very hefty wedge? Or perhaps, for a fundamentally dishonest industry, it is now trying to find reasons to ignore this principle altogether. Remember, at the time conventional medicine told us that Thalidomide, Vioxx, Avandia, Acomplia, Opioid painkillers, Sodium Valproate, and many others, came with "appropriate safeguards to protect the rights, safety and welfare of human subjects"! And they killed patients!

Conventional medicine has always been highly secretive about its treatments. Electro-Convulsive Treatment continues to be used on mental health patients (perhaps less now than before) quite regardless of the lack of evidence for its efficacy. But it is the prescription of pharmaceutical drugs/vaccines, and their adverse effects on patients, that most secrecy exists. Remember, "the person must be given all of the information about what the treatment involves, including the benefits and risks, whether there are reasonable alternative treatments, and what will happen if treatment does not go ahead" (my emphasis). The reverse is usually true.

  • Often the patient will not be told about 'side effects' at all.
  • Or they are told only of minor 'side effects'.
  • Or the serious 'side effects' are minimised, discounted, described as "uncommon" or "rare".
  • Or, when the patient suffers a side effect, the doctor assures the patient the drug was not the cause.
  • Or a patient suffers serious harm, and conventional medicine completely denies any link.

I wrote about informed consent in May 2012. This blog was in response to a report that described, in some detail, the problem of medical paternalism (I am a medical professional - I know best - you should/must take this drug - it is "safe and effective" - and I don't expect to be questioned). The report said that:

            "Doctors are deliberately withholding information about the dangers of some routine screening and clinical procedures - often because they fear patients would then refuse treatment".

In other words, doctors were refusing to give patients information which might help them make an "informed choice", that is, a choice different to the decision of the doctor! The report suggested that patients should ask the following questions before agreeing to take any prescription drugs:

  1. How long has the drug been on the market (if less than 2 years ask for an 'older generation' drug)?
  2. Can you confirm I am not taking part in a drug trial?
  3. Is the drug suitable for my age/gender/condition?
  4. Are you using this drug 'off-label' or for the condition for which it was originally licensed?
  5. Are there any special warning or 'black-box' alerts for this drug?
  6. Can you explain to me the known side-effects and the likelihood of me suffering them?
  7. Has the drug been tested among people similar to my own age/gender?
  8. Do you know if the drug has been banned from use in other countries? (Note, many drugs which are banned in one country are still sold and prescribed in others).
  9. Have you given this drug to other patients? If so, have they reported any adverse reactions?
  10. Is the dose you are recommending within the guidelines of the manufacturer for my age/ gender/ condition?
  11. Do you know if the new drug will react with other drugs I am currently taking?
  12. If I start to suffer from health problems when I take the drug, I shall stop immediately, and come to see you again. Do you agree this is the best course of action?

However, the report went on to question whether the average doctor would be able to answer many of these questions. In other words, it questions how well informed doctors are about the drugs they prescribe, and how reliant they are on inadequate, and partial information from the pharmaceutical industry, and the medical 'science' that it controls.

And then there is the question about whether medical staff are allowed to provide patients with 'negative' information about conventional medical treatment. The Telegraph has recently published a series of articles entitled "The four-step 'playbook' the NHS uses to break whistleblowers" which discuses how  doctors, who raise patient safety concerns, are confronted with systemic bullying and harassment from their managers and colleagues. 

This raises the important question - can doctors who wish to tell patients the whole truth about medical treatment actually allowed to do so?

The Telegraph articles outline how NHS whistleblowers have had their careers ruined whilc trying to raise concern about patient safety. It outlines how over 50 doctors and nurses have raised concerns about patient death, and poor patient care, and how rather than dealing with the problems raised NHS executives seek to undermine them using 4 specific tactics.

  1. Investigating the whistleblowers rather than investigating the issues raised.
  2. Bullying and Intimidatory tactics against the whistleblowers.
  3. Weaponising General Medical Council referrals to silence whistleblowers.
  4. Demotion, Disciplinary Action, and Dismissal.

Few medical professionals would want to g through this type of persecution? So the assumption must be that most do not go public with the information? So the information that the NHS does not want patient to hear about does not reach the public. And the patient has to make his/her "voluntary informed choice" without this important information.

Does this sound like an open, honest, transparent medical system to you?

Are you undertaking conventional medical treatment, or taking pharmaceutical drugs or vaccines?

Are you being denied information that would help you make an informed choice?

Even patients who were determined to obtain information about the treatment recommended to them. This link describes one woman's battle for medical information. The response she received to her questions show how careful patients must be to protect themselves from pharmaceutical harm; and the extent to which conventional medical authorities will go to ignore, discount and deny important information required by patients who seek to know the full picture about proposed medical treatment.

So 'voluntary informed consent' is not an easy, perhaps closer to impossible for the sceptical patients to elicit - which is perhaps why so many patients are seriously harmed by drugs which were given to make them well. The patient instead suffers serious iatrogenic harm which is then denied or discounted. 

No government, no mainstream news media, will assist you, as they invariably appear to follow the pharmaceutical line. An internet search might provide important information that doctors will otherwise keep secret. But even this is often difficult to find for ordinary, non-medical people to find.

One piece of advice I received when learning to drive a car, many years ago, was to assume that everyone else on the road was an idiot. It was good advice! It has kept me safe.

Similarly, I would advice any patient to assume that any doctor, if not an idiot, will not be prepared, or will not able, or willing, to tell the truth about the medical treatment you are being offered. So scepticism might just help keep you safe from iatrogenic harm!

Post Script

If you agree that informed choice is important in medicine, please have a look at the 'Free Speech for Health' website, and sign their petition.

Monday 13 May 2024

The Largesse of the Pharmaceutical Industry. Why did doctors recommend that we take Covid-19 vaccines?

During the Covid-19 pandemic, everyone was constantly urged/cajoled by the National Health Service, the Government, and the entire mainstream media, to get vaccinated against the virus. This recommendation, so regularly repeated, became known by many as "The Narrative" such was its uniformity and persistence. 

Most people in the UK who were vaccinated in 2021were given the Oxford University AstraZeneca vaccine which has now been withdrawn, effectively banned because of the harm it caused to patients. We were told, via the Narrative, that this vaccine was "safe and effective", indeed more, that the vaccine was the only thing that could save us from the virus.

One of the most important elements of the "The Narrative" was a string of doctors who regularly appeared on the media, reinforcing the pro-vaccine message. They told us we must all get vaccinated, not just to protect ourselves, but to protect other people too. Vaccination became A civic duty. 

Now it has been discovered the drug companies were paying doctors: "AstraZeneca pays doctors to promote vaccines on ITV". This Expose article examined information from the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, which is required to disclose all money that has been paid to healthcare professionals. It found that 2022 disclosures revealed that AstraZeneca had paid doctors for "contracted services". These doctors then appeared on ITV to promote the 'safe vaccine' Narrative, and to downplay concerns about vaccine injuries that quickly arose.

The figures show that AstraZeneca paid "UK healthcare professionals, and other relevant decision makers" over £7 million! They were the most generous company of all, but certainly not the only drug company that paid for these "contracted services". In total drug companies paid out nearly £63 million! The Expose article is well worth reading, in full. The figures appear to be genuine, and to date no-one appears to have refuted them (or indeed even mentioned them).

Most people who watched the testimony of these doctors on ITV, and no doubt other broadcasters too, would have assumed that they were medical professionals who were providing us with the benefit of their clinical experience, giving their considered and unbiased opinions on the vaccines. What they told us, repeatedly, would certainly have persuaded large numbers of people that they should take the vaccine. Indeed it would have been an important part of the information on which the vaccinated based their decision, their "informed consent". Most people still trust their doctors. They believe what they are told, in good faith.

  • However, I never heard one of these doctors mention that they had a conflict of interest, that they had received money from the industry for "contracted services". 
  • Nor did I hear any interviewer ask whether they might have a conflict of interest. 
  • Nor do I know why mainstream news channels asked only these same doctors, time and time again, for their views, but none of the doctors who expressed concern about their safety and effectiveness.

Nor are my expectations high about getting any future information. I do I expect the doctors involved,  ITV, or indeed any other news channel, to answer these questions. I doubt whether there will be any apologies. I doubt whether anyone will even to mention it. I have written about this before, over 15 years ago. We are dealing with a dangerous industry that routinely harms patients - yet they are capable of keeping this from the general public!

Yet there is more. Another Expose article, looking at the same (publicly available) data, has discovered that "Big Pharma have paid UK healthcare organisations £404 million during 2020-2022". So what is this huge some of money for?

According to the ABPI Code of Practice, healthcare organisations are "either a healthcare, medical or scientific association or organisation such as a hospital, clinic, foundation, university or other teaching institution or learned society whose business address, place of incorporation or primary place of operation is in Europe or an organisation through which one or more health professionals or other relevant decision makes provide services".

Apparently the beneficiary organisations do not have to be declared, as Health Care Organisations are not considered to be 'personal data', therefore "a lawful basis is not required to publish organisation names and addresses on Disclosure UK". 

  • But it is perhaps not unreasonable to suppose that organisations that benefit from this pharmaceutical largesse are expected to be supportive, and certainly not too critical, of the industry. 
  • And it is not unreasonable to assume that the beneficiaries will include organisations that supply information about pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines to the general public, like media news organisations, Health Charities, and Patient Support groups.

That is, any organisation which might be expected to provide important health information, who might be persuaded to promote their produce, and who might otherwise be critical of them.

The pharmaceutical industry is certainly prepared to spend a large part of its income and wealth on ensuring that the general public is given only 'positive' information, that what we hear about its products is good, rather than bad news. For an industry that has done so much patient harm over the years this appears to be a good strategy.  - however much harm they might cause.  

For instance, I have written before on this blog about how the pharmaceutical industry provides Health Charities, and Patient Support groups with generous funding. 

In return for this funding, drug companies gain organisations that are supportive of pharmaceutical approaches to health care, uncritical of any adverse reactions treatment may cause, and dismissive or any suggestion that the illness they support might have an iatrogenic, or 'doctor-induced' cause.

The pharmaceutical industry has long been adept at applying huge amounts of their income and wealth on restricting the health information available to us. Indeed, doing so is an important, indeed crucial element in the success of conventional, drug-based medicine. The industry recognises that without controlling what the public is told about the dangers of pharmaceutical medicine, their credibility would soon be fatally damaging.

And it is for this reason that they are prepared to spend very large amounts of money to ensure we are all getting the 'right' message!