Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Benzodiazepines. Repulsive drugs that are still harming patients

Benzodiazepines are repulsive pharmaceutical drugs that have caused millions of patients great harm over decades. They should have no place in a civilised, caring society.

Yet the continued to be prescribed by doctors. The conventional medical establishment must know about the harm they cause - and yet they have done little to protect patients.

I will not repeat what I have already written about 'Benzos', but everyone should know about them, and no-one should agree to take them. There are, after all, safer, and more effective ways of treating anxiety and depression.

               "Benzodiazepine drugs have been described as a 40-year plus horror story for tens of thousands of people in the UK, a scandal that has never been properly addressed. This first benzodiazepine drug, Librium, was discovered in 1955, and came to the market in the early 1960's. For many years benzodiazepines were considered to be 'wonder drugs', to the extent that prescriptions soared to 32 million in the UK in 1978. Only then were the adverse effects were recognised, initially by the patients taking them, and only slowly and very reluctantly by the conventional medical establishment.

               The scandal of these drugs broke in the 1980's, after it was accepted that thousands of patients had become horribly addicted to drugs like Librium and Valium. The victims complained of DIEs such as blackouts, epileptic seizures, memory loss, brain damage, insomnia and personality change. What is far worse is that many people who suffered these Benzodiazepine effects still do so, many years later - so clearly these were real DIE's, and not merely short term  side-effects' or 'adverse reactions' as they are often described!"

Yet doctors still prescribe the drug to millions of people throughout the world, subjecting patients to the same harm they were suffering over 40 years ago.

Benzodiazepine drugs should have been banned many years ago, but at least there are now restrictions on their prescription now. Guidance to doctors state that they must not be prescribed for longer than 4 weeks! Yet it would appear that conventional medicine, slave as it is to the pharmaceutical industry, just ignores the guidance!

  • So what use is medical science if it is capable of unleashing dangerous drugs on patients?
  • What use are medical guidelines, based on medical science, and produced to safeguard patients, are routinely ignored by doctors?
  • From where can patients look for unbiased advice about the safety of pharmaceutical drugs if their doctors refuse to do so?
The BNF (British National Formulary - the doctors 'bible' on drug contraindications and side effects - clearly recommends that benzodiazepine drugs should be prescribed ONLY in short courses, and certainly no longer than four weeks. The reason is the high risk of dependency, the adverse neurological and cognitive side effects, and the severe dependency and withdrawal symptoms they are known to produce.

The new research shows that about 100,000 benzodiazepine and Z-drug users in Britain were taking the drugs for at least 12 times longer than the BNF recommends, and that many patients were taking them for over a year.

Patients on the drug found that 43% wanted support to come off the drugs, and that just over 119,000 patients in the UK may also be interested in making use of withdrawal services.

               "Many of the patients experiencing problems with prescribed medicines may have avoided the associated harms if existing prescribing guidelines had been followed.’

Many more would have avoided the consequences of Benzos if they had not been put on them in the first place! But conventional medicine has little safe to offer patients, whether for anxiety or anything else, so doctors continue to justify the prescription of Benzodiazepine drugs. In a Pulse article about the study,  Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard is quoted as saying: 

               "Benzodiazepines and other psychotropic drugs can be very effective when they are prescribed appropriately and in accordance with clinical guidelines; something that GPs are highly trained to do, taking into account the unique physical, psychological and social factors potentially affecting the health of the patient in front of us, and in conversation with them."

Yes, Professor Stokes-Lampard, doctors may be trained to safeguard patients from dangerous drugs and vaccines - but they are clearly not doing so!

Instead, the conventional medical establishment continues to look for reasons to prescribe dangerous drugs like Benzodiazepines. Just a few days earlier the Pulse magazine published an article stating that a study had found there was "no increased risk of death with benzodiazepine use". I have not bothered to research who funded this research, but pharmaceutical money is probably not far away! But what does this type of research tell patients?
  • That Benzodiazepine drugs may cause sleep disturbances and rebound insomnia, restlessness, irritability, elevated anxiety (yes really, an anxiety drug causes increased anxiety), weakness, blurred vision, panic attacks, tremors, sweating/flushing, nausea/vomiting, seizures, psychosis, hallucinations, dependence and withdrawal symptoms.
  • But never mind all this, be satisfied , at least the drug does not kill you!

Friday, 14 July 2017

Depression. Why 'Talking' Therapies are better than Pharmaceutical Drugs.

These people all knew why talking therapies are better than pharmaceutical drugs in the treatment of depression. They have described so much more succinctly the power of the mind over our mental health than ever I could!

“There is no true healing unless there is a change in outlook and peace of  mind.”
Edward Bach.

“No matter how good things get, my capacity to make myself unhappy is always equal to it!”
Hugh Prather

“The best way to stay depressed is to keep thinking of all the reasons why you’re depressed.”
RD Laing

“If you are still hurt by something that happened when you were twelve, it is the thought that’s hurting you now.”
James Hillman.

The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude.”
William James. The Principles of Psychology.

“Thought is not reality, but it is through thought that our realities are created.”
Sydney Banks.

The reason for depression is to do with what is in our mind, not the chemicals in our brain. 

And if treatment is needed, Homeopathy is so much safer and more effective than conventional medicine because it seeks to support our minds, not mess with our brains.

Many thanks to Ian Watson for providing me with these quotations, during a marvellous lecture entitled "Insight. The Key to Healing", given at the Alliance of Registered Homeopaths' Annual Conference in May 2015.

The Contaminated Blood Scandal. The worst cover-up in NHS history?

The UK government has announced an inquiry into the contaminated blood scandal of the 1970's and 1980's. This gap represents the usual 30 year plus gap between a scandal, an Establishment cover-up, and a proper inquiry into what happened. This time-lapse is, for example, similar to the recent Hillsborough disaster, amongst many other scandals that usually results in a time span sufficient to ensure that people or organisations responsible for the scandal no longer have to face the consequences of what they have done, or they have lost their power and influence to prevent a full investigation.

It is now admitted that the contaminated blood scandal involved around 7,500 patients, and caused the death of at least 2,400 people. The prime minister, Theresa May, has spoken about the "appalling injustice" that happened when thousands of NHS patients were given blood products infected with hepatitis C and HIV. Indeed, many have called the scandal 'the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS'. Patients were not told about the potential risks, and May has said, after all this time (over 40 years in this case), that patients deserve answers about how it happened, and why.

  • So is the contaminated blood issue a scandal? Yes, a serious one.
  • Has there been a cover-up by the NHS? Almost certainly!
  • Is it an important inquiry which can lead to belated justice for all those people who have suffered? Hopefully so.

Yet is this really the worst NHS scandal ever? Are there more serious, ongoing scandals associated with the NHS arising from their almost total reliance on dangerous pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines known and proven to be dangerous to our health? My 'DIE's (the 'Disease-Inducing-Effects' of Pharmaceutical Drugs and Vaccines) website picks out the drugs and vaccines that are known to cause serious illness and disease.

Each page demonstrates that there have been many more NHS scandals, affecting many more people, who have taken a vast number of dangerous drugs and vaccines, and as a direct result contracted these diseases.

So the NHS, and the conventional medical establishment generally, have been, and continues to be implicated in cover-ups involving most of the pharmaceutical drugs they have been giving to patients during the last 70 years. They have done so despite the overwhelming evidence pointing to a direct connection between pharmaceutical drugs and serious illness. They have rarely been subject to serious enquiry. Indeed, most drugs and vaccines have still not been recognised as a serious threat to our health.

Despite these exceptions, it is more usual for drugs and vaccines to cause disease, only for the evidence to be denied by the medical establishment, ignored by the mainstream media, or countered with bland reassurances from doctors that the 'benefits' of the drug outweigh the 'risks'.

The result is that we are now experiencing chronic illnesses and diseases at epidemic levels - diseases like ADHDAllergyDementiaArthritisAsthmaAutism, a whole host of Auto-immune diseasesCancerChronic Fatigue (ME)DiabetesHeart diseaseKidney diseaseLiver diseaseOsteoporosis, and many others. Add to this the rise of several killer Superbugs, and a variety of mental health diseases, like depression and anxiety, our society is probably sicker now than it has ever been.

All these disease are known to be caused, and/or exacerbated by pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines. Each link, to each of the diseases listed above, gives details of the drugs and vaccines known to be associated with them.

  • So how many children have been damaged by vaccines? 7,500. How many children have died as the result of vaccination? 2,400? Undoubtedly the figures are far higher than this.
  • How many women have suffered breast or cervical cancer as a direct result of HRT treatment? More that 7,500? How many have died? More than 2,400?
  • How many people currently taking Statin drugs have contracted the many serious illnesses and diseases associated with them, or will do so in the future?
  • How many older people now suffer dementia because they have taken a combination of drugs and vaccines that are known to cause dementia. More than 7,500? How many have died as a result of drug-induced Alzheimer's disease? More than 2,400? Without any doubt.

It is often said that there are simple ways of keeping healthy, and avoiding illness. A good, well-balanced diet is one. Exercise is another. Without doubt, avoiding pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines, at all cost, has become another - as well as finding a safer, more effective medical therapy for when we do become ill.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Low Morale in the NHS - is this the real reason?

Evidence of low morale within the National Health Service is plain to see. Indeed it has been evident for many years, and it is undoubtedly increasing. The reasons given for this low morale are usually as follows:

  1. Lack of investment in the NHS.
  2. Staff salaries have been subject to pay freezes for the past decade.
  3. High and ever-increasing demand for medical services owing to an ageing population.
Yet each of these reasons, as the real cause of staff demoralization, needs to be seriously questioned if a solution is to be found. 
  • The New Labour government, between 1997 and 2010 increased spending on the NHS massively, by three-fold, from about £40 billion to about £110 billion. Since then the NHS has been 'protected' from the spending cuts imposed by Tory-led governments on other departments. The NHS is not underfunded.
  • Staff salaries have been frozen to 1% annually, but salaries in other parts of the public sector have been similarly frozen, and generally within the private sector wages have been stagnant. And doctor's are amongst the highest paid public employees, and nurses, although not brilliantly paid, once argued that their profession was more about vocation than remuneration.
  • The demand for health services have increased rapidly, as they have increased ever since the NHS was established in 1948. In recent years increased demand has been demonstrated in two sectors in particular, GP surgeries and hospital accident and emergency (A&E) departments. But it also apparent in lengthening waiting times for treatment and operations, and the many treatment 'targets' that are now being missed. Blame for this increased demand is routinely placed on 'an ageing population', but do elderly people really constitute the main reason for health service demands? It seems unlikely, and I have never seen statistics to prove it.
There is another reason for low morale, but it is one that is never mentioned within the conventional medical establishment, the government, the NHS, or indeed the mainstream media. And this is that the NHS medical system, based as it is on pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines, is failing. There is little confidence, even amongst the conventional medical profession, that these drugs are working, or that vaccines are preventing illness. 

The froth of conventional medical confidence may still be heard at the surface, but it is clear that the inner confidence has gone. 

And there is a growing realisation that pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines not only offer sick people ineffective treatment, but treatments that actually produce increasing levels and seriousness of sickness through their so-called 'side effects' and 'adverse reactions'. In other words, doctors are nurses are not making patients better, they are making them sicker. Is there anything more demoralising than such a realisation. 
  • Consider a football or cricket team who, hard as they tried, always lost; who were constantly beaten by teams (bacteria and viruses) that they once believed they could beat. 
  • Think of the tennis player who, however hard he/she works to return the ball (the patient) back safely over the net - only to find it return, even harder, even more difficult to return successfully.
Being a medical professional, working with treatments that, at best, ameliorates sick patients, and, at worst, exacerbates sickness (and cause death too) must be a deeply frustrating experience. Is there any wonder that morale is low, that staff are becoming increasingly demoralised, and leaving the profession, often for lower paid, lower status jobs. And what about the suggested solutions?
  • More money for the NHS will only be spent on the same old, failed treatments, and so will do nothing to improve the morale of staff.
  • Increased salaries will see staff doing the same old things, and with no greater success.
  • The population will continue to age for many years to come; but so too will the illnesses and diseases that are striking patients at younger and younger ages.
Staff morale, and the problems of funding the NHS, will only improve when money is spent on more effective medical therapies, and treatments that do not cause additional disease, and are capable of actually making patients better. It would be a win for government funding, a win for the NHS, a win for doctors and nurses, and most certainly a win for patients.

Medical Science. Does one hand know what the other is doing? Aspirin and PPI drugs - the implication for patients.

Medical science is a wonderful thing, we are told. It provides us with the evidence base that underpins conventional medicine. It tells our doctors whether a drug or vaccine is effective. It informs us when conventional medicine is unsafe for patients.

Or does it? Consider these two pieces of recent news, straight from medical science!

The first concerns aspirin, and has been covered by the mainstream media. For instance, the BBC headline, 14th June 2017, said:

               "People over 75 taking daily aspirin after a stroke or heart attack are at higher risk of major - and sometimes fatal - stomach bleeds than previously thought, research in the Lancet shows."

This seems clear enough, although you might ask why the mainstream media is carrying a 'bad news' story about pharmaceutical drugs. The reason is simple. Medical science has made it into a 'good news' story, and the media as usual has merely parroted the transformation. These are the BBC's next sentences,

               "Scientists say that, to reduce these risks, older people should also take stomach-protecting PPI pills. But they insist aspirin has important benefits - such as preventing heart attacks - that outweigh the risks. And they warn that stopping aspirin suddenly can be harmful."

So that's alright again. If one drug is dangerous, take another one at the same time! And, as usual, the benefits outweigh the risks! And don't stop taking the drug, even if it is harmful, because stopping taking the harmful drug is also harmful. Okay? Does that all make sense? In essence we are being told:
  • Pharmaceutical drugs may be harmful, but another drug will reduce the harm it causes!
  • Pharmaceutical drugs may be harmful, but the benefits still outweigh the risks!
  • It may be harmful taking pharmaceutical drugs, but it is also harmful stopping taking them!
However, there is worse! Another piece of medical science has recently led to new guidance being given to our doctors. This advice concerns PPI (proton pump) drugs, widely used by millions of people for indigestion, acid reflux, and other stomach complaints. And, of course, for people taking their daily aspirin! You may not have heard about this new advice on the mainstream media, the reason being simple, it constitutes 'bad' news, and as yet there has been no attempt to spin it into something good! You can read it here, in the doctors e-magazine, Pulse (4th July 2017), in an article entitled "GPs should ‘limit use and duration’ of PPIs". This is what it says,

               "Prescribers should be more vigilant about only prescribing PPIs when necessary as they are associated with increased risk of death, according to a new study. The observational study found that there was a heightened risk of death in patients taking PPIs compared to patients taking other drugs that reduce the amount of stomach acid produced, such as H2 blockers, leading researchers to suggest that doctors should be more selective about who they prescribe the drugs to."

So, thanks to medical science, the picture now seems much clearer (sic), and it goes something like this. 
  • Patients are asked by their doctors to take aspirin in order to avoid a stroke or heart attack.
  • Unfortunately, aspirin may cause fatal heart bleeds.
  • So to protect again these fatal heart bleeds, we are told to keep taking the aspirin, but in addition to take PPI drugs too!
  • However, PPI drugs also heightens the risk of death!
So what will our doctors do? Are they conflicted? Are they confused? Well, they have certainly been warned by medical science!

               "The findings in our study highlight a potential excess risk of death among users of PPI, and in particular among cohort participants without gastrointestinal comorbidities, and that risk is increased with prolonged duration of PPI exposure."

Yet once again a 'scientific' study that has linked a pharmaceutical drug to patient harm comes with a warning that the patient should not stop taking the harmful drug. 

               "Although our results should not deter prescription and use of PPI where medically indicated, they may be used to encourage and promote pharmacovigilance and emphasise the need to exercise judicious use of PPI and limit use and duration of therapy to instances where there is a clear medical indication and where benefit outweighs potential risk."

So now, older people over 75 years of age are taking two drugs, both of them dangerous, all in order to prevent them having a stroke or heart attack. So perhaps there is a third drug available, to counteract the dangers caused by PPI drugs? Watch this space! I will tell you about it as soon as I hear!

Yet surely it is good that our doctors now know that there is an inconsistency here. The Pulse article points out the inconsistencies of what are doctors are being asked to do,

               "The findings come as research published in June suggested that GPs should be co-prescribing PPIs in patients taking daily aspirin to reduce the risk of gastrointestinal bleeds in the elderly."

Pulse does not suggest a solution, and the GP comments at the foot of the Pulse article indicates that they are as conflicted and confused about the situation as medical science. "So many confounders here", says one. Another is more dismissive, "people who drink fluids and eat solids have a risk of death". Another goes further, "everything has a risk. Let us not eat, breath or walk, one might get cancer, from food and PM2.5 particles, or one might slip and fall". One might, indeed! But eating, drinking and breathing is not a voluntary action, like taking a dangerous drug! Another doctor appears more phlegmatic, "I would have thought this would be good news? Cut polypharmcy, cut expense, cut workload, cut risk.... why are we moaning?" And yet another doctor believes that if patients had to pay for their drugs the situation would be different. 

              "Any Drug prescribed will be taken only when necessary ONLY WHEN PATIENTS PAY FOR IT. When everybody is charged for medications, patient will ask doctors DO I REALLY HAVE TO TAKE IT? IS IT A MUST? At current rate of 89 % public not paying for medications, no matter of how much we telling people will work."

So even doctors are telling us we should not be taking the drugs! But doctors continue to prescribe them. Perhaps it might help if the mainstream media, and the conventional medical establishment, including our doctors, began to tell patients about the real harm done by the drugs and vaccines, we would all be better able to make an informed choice!

Sunday, 2 July 2017

BBC News and Fake Health News

I have been asked why I often comment on BBC's reporting of health news. Is it really any worse than the reporting of other news agencies? The answer is 'No' - it is no worse. But the BBC is a public service broadcaster. It is paid by licence fee payers, ordinary citizens, and it is NOT funded by Big Business, and Big Pharma in particular.

Most other news agencies ARE dependent on the largesse of big advertisers. So advertising pharmaceutical drugs is important to their survival, and drug companies can threaten their viability if they refuse to spend their money on 'critical' advertising outlets. This does not make these uncritical news agencies any better than BBC News, but it does provide a reason for their support and promotion of dangerous drugs and vaccines, and their lack of interest in patient safety.

BBC News has no such excuse. They take every opportunity to promote Big Pharma drugs and vaccines, usually without any mention of the dangers. And they regularly attack homeopathy and other safer and more effective alternative therapies quite gratuitously. As a licence payer myself, and as someone who would suffer from the drugs and vaccines they tirelessly promote if I were to believe what they tell me, I object to the 'fake news' they regularly promote.

These are the blogs I have written over the last fews years about BBC News coverage of health issues, these being the main ones. Do have a read by clicking on each one!

April 2012. Diabetes and Statin drugs.

May 2012. BBC News whitewashes Statin Drugs

July 2012. BBC News. A sudden conversion to honesty?

November 2012. BBC News supports drug taking (Ritalin) to enhance work performance!

January 2013. Breast Cancer and Tamoxifen. BBC meekly announces 'great news'.

August 2014. Aspirin and the Media (BBC News)

September 2015. Autism, the MMR Vaccine, and Media Censorship.

December 2015. The refusal of BBC News to report important health information

April 2017. BBC News. Advertising another dangerous drug for the pharmaceutical industry.

April 2017. BBC News. A statement on Vaccine Policy.

June 2017. Statin drugs going out of favour?  (BBC News promoting a new vaccine).

As more people are discovering the dangers of pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines, often by tragic  personal experience, as more patients are turning to safer medical therapies, as conventional medicine gradually dies, and bankrupt nations, through its inability to deal with epidemic levels of chronic disease (if not actually creating them in the first place!) the craven attitude of BBC News needs to be highlighted. The craven and unquestioning attitude of the BBC to pharmaceutical drugs, it's total failure to investigate and question the serious health issues that have confronted us throughout this time, needs to be a matter of record.

BBC News, and the mainstream media generally, have a lot of questions to answer, questions that will become increasingly important to people as the real harm caused by pharmaceutical drugs become obvious, and conventional medicine become completely indefensible?

  • how many people have taken pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines because they have not been aware of the dangers?
  • how many people have taken conventional medication for illness for years in the belief that it would make them better - because no-one has ever questioned this assumption?
  • how many people have suffered the side effects, adverse reactions, and really the illness and disease, that are being caused by pharmaceutical medicine?
  • how many of these people can rightly accuse the mainstream media that they are seriously ill, or that their friends and relatives have died, because the media has failed to question or investigate the dishonest and fraudulent practices of the pharmaceutical industry?

So I will continue through this blog to castigate BBC News (and the rest of the mainstream media) as a promoter of 'fake' health news. Hopefully, in time, many more people will want to know why their 'public service broadcaster' has failed, if not actually refused, to tell them the truth.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Patients who should not be prescribed drugs are given them anyway!

All pharmaceutical drugs have side effects. The conventional medical establishment recognises this. Many drugs should not be given to patients with certain medical conditions. In medical jargon these are called 'contraindications'. 

Yet a new study, published in the British Journal for General Practice, suggests that 40,000 patients with an irregular heartbeat are being treated with anti-coagulant drugs even though they are known to be at risk of serious adverse effects.

Doctors prescribe anticoagulants, such as warfarin and pradaxa, to patients with an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) to reduce the risk of stroke. Yet it is known that anticoagulants increase the risk of bleeding, so doctors are advised not to prescribe them for who are at risk, for instance, if they have an ulcer, or are pregnant, or have previously had a stroke due to bleeding.

The study, undertaken by the University of Birmingham, investigated whether these contraindications had an effect on anticoagulant prescribing in the UK. In other words, were doctors following the guidelines, and protecting their patients from drug harm? As Pulse, the GP e-magazine summarised,

               "The researchers found that patients with atrial fibrillation and contraindications to anticoagulants were just as likely to be prescribed the drugs as those without any risk factors."

The author of the study, Professor Tom Marshall is reported as saying that the situation had not changed over the 11 year period under investigation:

               "Safety advice seems not to influence prescribing of anticoagulants. Patients considered a safety risk were just as likely to be prescribed the drugs. It was the same in every year from 2004 to 2015."

Marshall added that doctors should be more aware of the risks, and understand "whether patients might come to any harm"! NICE (the National Institute for Clinical Excellence) is absolutely precise in its guidelines, stating that "anticoagulants should only be used in the absence of contraindications". So the guidance is ignored by our doctors, and thereby patients are placed in harm.

Is this a problem? The study says that more research is needed to understand why GPs prescribe anticoagulants to at-risk patients! And whether some patients with contraindications might still benefit from anticoagulant treatment! Pulse itself goes on to mention another study that suggested one-third of stroke and mini-stroke patients "could be missing out on preventive drugs".

It would appear that whilst the conventional medical establishment knows it is using dangerous drugs, when they discover they are being used inappropriately they seek to justify the misuse rather than preventing it. They play with patients' lives! NHS Choices appears to confirm this when it states:

               "Warfarin is an anticoagulant, which means it stops the blood clotting. There's an increased risk of bleeding in people who take warfarin, but this small risk is usually outweighed by the benefits of preventing a stroke." My emphasis.

So what chance do patients have? Doctors certainly seem to be ignoring the overwhelming evidence that anticoagulant drugs are not only dangerous but lethal. I wrote about this in June 2014 in my blog "Atrial Fibrillation. The dangers of blood-thinning drugs" saying this about Pradaxa (a newer drug developed as a safer alternative to Warfarin).

               "Most of the complaints about Pradaxa were that the drug company failed to warn patients about the risk of internal bleeding. Yet did the FDA do anything about these complaints. Of course not! One piece of research indicates that Pradaxa can be blamed for a total of 1,158 deaths, and 12,494 serious injuries - just in the USA!"

This is a dangerous world for any patients who submit themselves to conventional medical treatment, with the medical establishment justifying the use of dangerous and lethal drugs, with pharmaceutical companies prepared to sell drugs and vaccines, quite regardless of the harm they cause, with drug regulators failing to take effective action to protect patients, and with doctors who are prepared to prescribe dangerous drugs to patients even when they have been told they should not have them!

Monday, 26 June 2017

Do not go gently into that good night

Do not go gentle into that wonder cure,
Let health persist and struggle until the close of play;
Rage, rage against iatrogenic death, for sure.

Though wise men at their end know death is best,
Because their warnings forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good rest.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how right
Their honest trust might have been in an honest day,
Rage, rage against their drug induced plight.

Wild men who lived lives of outrage with a shrug,
And learn, too late, that doctors had their way,
Do not go gentle into that miracle drug.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

That it was their bodies who held the key to ongoing health,
Rage, rage against Big Pharma's might.

Giving full attribution, but with the sincerest apologies, to Dylan Thomas

Friday, 23 June 2017

The NHS, Pfizer and Lyrica. Corporate Profit and Patient Harm

Conventional medicine treats neuropathic pain with a drug called pregabalin, conditions such as fibromyalgia, shingles, diabetic nerve problems, spinal cord injury, and many others. It is an anticonvulsant and neuropathic pain agent - and a dispute over patenting rights with drug companies has cost the English NHS, and the British taxpayer, an estimated additional £54 million.

Pregabalin is a nasty little drug, with lots of nasty side effects. The website lists these, and they include infection, ataxia, blurred vision, constipation, diplopia, dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, headache, peripheral edema, tremor, weight gain, visual field loss, accidental injury, xerostomia, abnormal gait, abnormality in thinking, amnesia, arthralgia, asthenia, cognitive dysfunction, confusion (dementia), edema, neuropathy, sinusitis, speech disturbance, vertigo, visual disturbance, myasthenia, amblyopia, and so on.

Yet the harm it is known to cause patients has not been the issue, as usual. The problem has been money and profits - as usual! From July 2014 to March 2015 most prescriptions for pregabalin were for the 'generic' (the cheaper but identical) versions of the drug. However, the manufacturers of the branded (the expensive) version, Pfizer and Warner-Lambert, did not like this. When their UK patent for Lyrica expired in July 2014 they claimed they still held a ‘second medical use’ patent for when it is prescribed for 'neuropathic pain'. So they took the matter to court. An interim judgment found in favour of Pfizer, so in March 2015 NHS England backed down and issued guidance forcing doctors to switch thousands of patients’ prescriptions for generic pregabalin back to Lyrica.

In September 2015 the High Court threw out Pfizer's patent claim as 'invalid', and the Judge stated that Pfizer had made ‘groundless threats’ to pharmacists about dispensing the generic drug. They, too, backed down, and the GP magazine Pulse says that "some pharmacies even triggered a significant event alert every time a GP prescribed so as not to fall foul of Pfizer’s ‘threats’."

So now, after two years, and an appeal, the English NHS is directing doctors to switch thousands of patients back to generic pregabalin. Well, all is fair in love (the love affair between the NHS and drug companies) and war (the battle for profit)!

Pulse analysed the cost of this decision, estimating that prescribing Lyrica instead of generic pregabalin had cost the NHS an extra £54m between February and September 2015 - less than a year! It stated a BMA spokesman, Dr Andrew Green, told them that patients had lost out.

               "Pfizer, by threatening legal action against pharmacists and doctors if they prescribed generically, have boosted their profits and denied patients effective treatments that otherwise could have been provided with that money."

Financially, this is certainly true. The NHS has been screwed by Pfizer, but by now it should be used to this, pharmaceutical companies have been screwing the NHS for nearly 70 years! Green added,

               "They now have a moral duty to pay that money back to the NHS."

Maybe. But there seems precious little 'moral duty' around within the NHS, and certainly not within the pharmaceutical industry! They are both locked together in a medical monopoly, together with most patients who depend on the NHS, and therefore depend on pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines.

What nobody has been spared, or even discussed, during all this time, have been the dangerous side effects of taking this awful drug.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Patients are 'confused' when told about the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs!

A new study has found that only 37% of the public trust evidence from medical research. This means that two-thirds do not, and prefer to trust the experiences of friends and family! This was reported in the Academy of Medical Sciences website on 19th June 2017, and reports on "the significant difficulties patients and some healthcare professionals face in using evidence from research to judge the benefits and harms of medicines". It calls for "concerted action to improve the information patients receive".

The confusion faced by patients needs to be unwrapped a little in order to understand what is happening. Although the news media refuses to tell patients about the serious side effects of pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines, drug companies are obliged to provide a 'patient information leaflet' with each prescription, and these PILS contain the known (or rather the accepted) side effects of the drug. The study was instigated following public debate about the benefits and harms of treatments such as statins, hormone replacement therapy and Tamiflu. The debate (quiet as it has been in most of the news media) has apparently led patients to reject these treatments, which is, of course, a problem for the conventional medical establishment!

The AMS study calls for "a range of actions including significant improvements to patient information leaflets, better use of medical appointments and a bigger role for NHS Choices as the ‘go to’ source of trusted information online for patients and carers, as well as healthcare professionals".

In other words, the information patients are being given is becoming a problem. It is creating doubt in the mind of patients, who are beginning to question the value, effectiveness and safety of what doctors are offering them! The study's leader. Professor Sir John Tooke, FMedSci, is reported as saying:

               “It is startling to hear that only about a third of the public trust medical research, and that patients are struggling to make sense of the information they receive from their doctor, the TV, the internet and their friends and family about medicines."

Clearly, information is a bad thing when it comes to patients understanding more about the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines! Making an 'informed choice' is not what is required by the conventional medical establishment! Our doctors know best.

               “With our ageing population and ever more sophisticated treatments being made available, we need to act now to give patients clearer and more useful information about the medicines they take.”

PILS were described as being ‘impenetrable’ and ‘unreadable’ (which they are) and the report calls for substantial changes to the leaflets at a national and EU level.

               "The report calls on the European Commission and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to work with national regulatory authorities, pharmaceutical companies and patients to reform patient information leaflets to give a clearer and more balanced summary of both the potential benefits and harms of medicines. At present, patient information leaflets detail all of the possible side effects but are particularly poor at outlining the potential benefits of treatments, hindering informed decisions about medicines.  

What we seem to be facing here, amidst the 'clearer' and 'more balanced' information', is an attempt to prevent patients being 'confused' by censoring our access to negative information! These are the same arguments used for mandatory vaccinations in other parts of the world, the USA, Italy, Australia and elsewhere. The doctor knows best. As far as patients are concerned, a little information is a dangerous thing! The role of the doctor is to give us drugs on the basis of their understanding of their value to our health. Our role is to take them, and anything that contributes to us making our own decision is not to be tolerated. Nothing about "No decision about me without me" here!

The AMS study decries "the ever-increasing volume of information available online", recommending that the NHS Choices website should be built into "a trusted ‘go to’ source of online information for patients and health professionals, providing clear, accurate, up-to-date, evidence-based information about medicines". Any cursory examination of this official website (as I have undertaken in my website, "Why Homeopath?", which compares conventional and homeopathic treatment of a variety of illnesses, will demonstrate the NHS Choices does not always give an honest account of drug side effects, and rarely a full account of their known dangers!

The agenda of the AMS study was made clear with this statement - it is the rehabilitation of discredited treatments such statins, HRT, and Tamiflu.

               "Implementing the changes recommended in the report could help avoid future confusion about the benefits and harms of medicines, such as arose in the past around statins to prevent cardiovascular disease, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to treat the symptoms of the menopause and Tamiflu to treat flu."

The dangers of these drug treatments have been well documented, and I have written about them many times in this blog. Do a search on each at the top of the page. Instead, we are provide with the usual propaganda.

               "... for example, questions raised about the risk-benefit balance for statins was associated with a greater number of people stopping treatment causing an estimated 2,000 excess cardiovascular disease events, such as heart attacks and strokes, over the next ten years in the UK.

Not a word about the side effects of Statin drugs, and the damage and disease that they are now known to cause! The problem is that the conventional medical establishment is losing control of the health debate. It might have bought-off any significant criticism by the press. The BBC covered this story this morning, uncritically. But what 'friends' and 'relatives' are tell patients is that the drugs and vaccines doctors are giving us are neither effective or safe.

Note on the Academy of Medical Sciences.
Who, or what is the AMS? This is what the Green Med Info website has discovered.

               "The AMS is a self-proclaimed “independent body in the UK representing the diversity of medical science” who, according to their website, is funded by GlaxoSmithKline, Amgen, Merck Sharp and Dohme, and Roche".

So let's not be too confused about who the AMS speak for!

Statins drugs going out of favour?

BBC News is today promoting yet another vaccine. It is part of its role as the 'echo chamber' for the pharmaceutical industry, an unofficial, unpaid position that our 'public service broadcaster' has accepted for many years now.

Michelle Roberts, the Health Editor, has produced this article on the BBC website, "Cholesterol-lowering jab to help prevent heart disease". The article informs us that human trials of a "cholesterol-lowering vaccine" is being produced to help prevent heart disease. As usual, it sounds like another amazing medical breakthrough, but before popping off to see you doctor for the jab, hold on! There have been "successful studies in mice" to date, according to researchers at the Medical University of Vienna, and they are testing the safety of the vaccine on 72 volunteers!

               "It will take years more of testing to know if the treatment will be safe and effective enough for human use.... Even if it does become available, in six years' time, it should not be seen as an excuse for people to avoid exercise and eat lots of high-fat food".

So we have another 6 years to wait before this wonder-vaccine will begin to have an impact on the epidemic levels of heart disease we are currently experiencing, allegedly caused by 'fatty deposits clogging up our arteries!'

The BBC does this all the time, giving us the 'good news' about pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines, which is always about the good news that will  happen in the years to come! Years which never seem to arrive!

At the same time as hearing BBC News promoting the pharmaceutical industry this morning (20th June 2017) I received an email of WDDTY (What Doctor's Don't Tell You). They reported two items. The first was Aspirin is a bigger killer among the over 75's than everyone thought! I wrote about this in my recent blog, "Aspirin causes gastrointestinal bleeding, so the solution is to take PPI drugs which cause .... and so it goes on!" Did the BBC pick up this important piece of news? Of course not!

The other WDDTY article was about the deaths caused by pharmaceutical drugs in the USA, estimated to be nearly 500,000 annually. Did the BBC pick up this important (and regular) piece of news? Of course not!

The BBC tells us about the 'good' news, that may (or may not) happen in 6 years time. But it refuses to cover the news about what is happening to patients right now (and for decades past)!

Yet there is another, more interesting news story here. I ought to mention it as the BBC is unlikely to do so! For decades patients have been told that Statin drugs prevented 'fatty deposits clogging up our arteries'. Moreover, these drugs were entirely safe, so safe in fact that everyone should be taking them. The BBC have been part of this media hype about the benefits and safety of Statin drugs for a long time. It was the 'good news' story of yester-year! The question is, why is there a need to develop a vaccine to do what Statins have been doing, apparently so successfully and safely, for decades? The BBC has the answer, probably straight from the news release of the pharmaceutical industry!

               "It would offer patients an alternative to taking daily pills to cut their risk of stroke, angina and heart attacks."

Or, alternatively, is it more to do with the fact (unmentioned by the BBC of course) that Statin drugs are now implicated in having serious side effects, including liver dysfunction, kidney failure, muscle weakness, cataracts, and more recently, memory loss, confusion and dementia?

So maybe this is the first indication that conventional doctors are now beginning to realise that the drugs they have been giving to patients for years are causing more harm to patients then they realised, or were told. They are certainly doing more harm than the BBC has ever informed us about!

And this is, of course, what happens regularly in the world of the pharmaceutical drugs. Dangerous drugs and vaccines are marketed, they cause harm to patients, and when the harm becomes to great to hide (and profitability is reduced because patents run out) they are quietly withdrawn. And this process seems to happen more quickly when Big Pharma has a replacement!

The new vaccine would also appear to be a profitable venture too. As the BBC article suggests, booster jabs will be required, "the researchers envisage that patients could have a yearly booster shot to top up their immunity."

And conventional medicine presents this as medical progress!

Can anyone trust the BBC and its coverage of health issues? Absolutely not. Or mainstream newspapers (who similarly peddle pharmaceutical propaganda)? Absolutely not. The newspapers wonder why their circulations are declining! The BBC are beginning to understand (in non-health areas anyway) the reason why people are turning to 'alternative' news sources, and are rejecting the 'establishment' view on many social issues, including health. The reason is simple.

It is because the public is beginning to realise that the mainstream media has consistently refused to tell us the truth! 

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

A Sociological assessment of the 'benefits' of pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines

An eminent American sociologist, Donald Light, has weighed in on the debate about pharmaceutical drugs. In fact, he did so in June 2013, four years ago, when his research was published in the Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics was published (Vol 14, No 3: 590-610), entitled "Institutional Corruption of Pharmaceuticals and the Myth of Safe and Effective Drugs". This is what he said summarising his devastating findings:

               "Over the past 35 years, patients have suffered from a largely hidden epidemic of side effects from drugs that usually have few offsetting benefits. The pharmaceutical industry has corrupted the practice of medicine through its influence over what drugs are developed, how they are tested, and how medical knowledge is created. Since 1906, heavy commercial influence has compromised Congressional legislation to protect the public from unsafe drugs. The authorization of user fees in 1992 has turned drug companies into the FDA’s prime clients, deepening the regulatory and cultural capture of the agency. Industry has demanded shorter average review times and, with less time to thoroughly review evidence, increased hospitalizations and deaths have resulted. Meeting the needs of the drug companies has taken priority over meeting the needs of patients. Unless this corruption of regulatory intent is reversed, the situation will continue to deteriorate. We offer practical suggestions including: separating the funding of clinical trials from their conduct, analysis, and publication: independent FDA leadership; full public funding for all FDA activities; measures to discourage R&D on drugs with few if any new clinical benefits; and the creation of a National Drug Safety Board."

In the journal 'Footnotes' journal of the American Sociological Association, Light was described as the 2013 recipient of ASA’s Distinguished Career Award for the Practice of Sociology, and he said this in his article, 'The Epidemic of Sickness and Death from Prescription Drugs' he had more to say, and it is sufficient here to repeat his words in a series of hard-hitting statements:

               "At the intersection of medical and economic sociology sits prescription drugs. Economically, the strange, government-protected markets for drugs lead to prices largely unrelated to either value or cost, though companies claim they reflect one or the other, or both at the same time." 

               "Epidemiologically, appropriately prescribed, prescription drugs are the fourth leading cause of death, tied with stroke at about 2,460 deaths each week in the United States. About 330,000 patients die each year from prescription drugs in the United States and Europe. They cause an epidemic of about 20 times more hospitalizations, as well as falls, road accidents, and about 80 million medically minor problems such as pains, discomforts, and dysfunctions that hobble productivity or the ability to care for others. Deaths and adverse effects from overmedication, errors, and self-medication would increase these figures."

               "The Edmund J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard is devoted to researching “institutional corruption” in a range of domains, including Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Institutional corruption refers to legal ways in which an institution’s social mission and basic values get distorted, usually by big money. For example, the FDA, developed around a series of drug disasters to protect the public from unsafe and ineffective drugs, devotes only 10 percent of its budget to monitoring for harmful side effects. Further, evidence of serious risks is reviewed by the same committee that approved the drug in the first place as 'safe and effective'. This builds on another institutionally corrupt arrangement - companies testing their own products. They use well-documented techniques to produce evidence that new drugs appear safer and less harmful than they are in actual practice. These practices include randomly sampling from a preselected biased population, using substitute outcome measures, and using a high dose to hasten evidence of benefit while running trials too short to record the resulting adverse side effects.

Light states there hitherto there has been a lack of sociological research into the prevalence of mild and serious harms from prescription drugs.

               "Medical sociologists often concentrate their research on diabetes or Alzheimer’s disease rather than on prescription drugs as major cause of illness and death. Drugs as a major health risk, especially given that few new ones have offsetting advantages compared to their higher risks, unites the two sides of medical sociology because physicians prescribe them to help patients. It’s a field waiting for graduate students and faculty to explore."

The articles goes into detail about the operation of large pharmaceutical companies, which Light studied, and led his to realise that a far worse problem existed.... "the epidemic of harmful side effects from drugs that usually offer few or no new clinical advantages over existing drugs to offset their risks."

Light and his colleague went into many other medically related sociological issues, including evidence that new drugs were no better than old ones, questioning how much benefit drugs conferred, how inadequate testing regularly produced disasters such as those associated with Vioxx, that drug pricing was unjustified, and that American federal law required that Medicare payoff any FDA approved drug at the prices drug companies set. His conclusion was clear.

               "What, then, is going on? We concluded that companies charge unaffordable, impoverishing prices because legal protections in the United States encourage them. Further, we found in the large data set on prescription prices .... that companies keep raising these prices in subsequent years, doubling every five years. Thus the pricing of cancer, cardiovascular, and other specialty drugs can be characterized as 'market spiral pricing'.” 

The other factor spiralling out of control is the damage pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines are doing to patients throughout the world.

Aspirin causes gastrointestinal bleeding, so the solution is to take PPI drugs which cause .... and so it goes on!

Medical Research scientists at Oxford University have studied over 3,000 patients over 75 years taking anti-platelet drugs, notably aspirin, over a 10-year period. More than 300, that is, 10%, were taken to hospital for gastrointestinal bleeding. They concluded that the overall risk of developing serious bleeding was 10 times higher, which they concluded was "at least as likely to be disabling or fatal" as another stroke. The research was published in the Lancet yesterday, 13th June 2017, "Age-specific risks, severity, time course, and outcome of bleeding on long-term antiplatelet treatment after vascular events: a population-based cohort study".

The research estimated that between 40–66% of adults aged 75 years or older in the USA and Europe take daily aspirin, or another anti platelet drug. Aspirin is known to increase the risk of major gastrointestinal bleeding. Indeed conventional medicine has known this for decades, and this is not the first time medical science has proved it! So what is new? Nothing really. This research proves that aspirin causes more bleeding in more older people than was previously thought!

What this demonstrates is that it takes the conventional medical establishment a long time to work out the damage caused by pharmaceutical drugs! Aspirin was first patented as a drug in 1889, nearly 130 years ago, so it might have been hoped, even expected, that by now they might by now realise the full extent of the damage it is causing to patients. Clearly they do not!

It is proof, if proof is really needed, that conventional medicine is happy to provide patients with dangerous drugs, for a century and more, without fully realising just how dangerous they are to human health!

Worse is the conclusion that the researchers drew from this new evidence. Aspirin may be dangerous, but the solution is not to stop taking it, but to take another pharmaceutical drug instead, PPI's or Proton Pump Inhibitor drugs. So are these drugs safe? Of course not. As my 'Why Homeopathy?' webpage outlines, PPI's are known to cause a host of serious problems - the superbug C.Diff, Pneumonia, Osteoporosis, Heart Attacks, Kidney damage, and dementia. And, of course, all these diseases are suffered particularly by older people!

So, out of the frying pan into the fire? Well, not really. Patients take them together. So they are both in the frying pan and the fire!

It must also be remembered that conventional medicine has been using Aspirin and PPI's together for many years. It is not new advice.  This is how the doctor's e-magazine, Pulse, puts it.

               "Current NICE guidance on NSAID prescribing already recommends co-prescription of PPIs in patients at increased risk of adverse GI effects, which includes those aged 65 or above. Despite this, such treatment is not routine and among the study participants just one third of patients were prescribed a PPI. Experts are now calling for guidance to be updated so that patients aged 75 or above on long-term anti-platelet therapy are routinely co-prescribed a PPI."

So this is another piece of medical science that clearly demonstrates harm but does absolutely nothing about it. Yet there is a further problem. If patients taking Aspirin need to take another drug to stop gastrointestinal bleeding, do they also need to take further drugs to prevent its other known side effects? This is not mentioned! But Aspirin is known to cause a whole host of other serious side effects. My blog "Aspirin. That nice, harmless painkiller, outlines the following information:

  • Although used to prevent heart attacks and strokes Aspirin is known that aspirin actually doubles the risk.
  • Aspirin is known to cause a variety of eyesight problems, from macular degeneration to blindness.
  • Although aspirin is sometimes used to prevent cancer, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that it is actually linked to "a significantly increased risk of developing cancer".
  • And one study, undertaken at the University of Florida and reported in the magazine WDDTY (What Doctor's Don't Tell You), showed that patients taking regular doses of aspirin increased their risk of dying by 47%.

So do patients need to guard against these side effects? There is silence on this! And so the conventional medical circus rolls on, apparently learning lots, but understanding little. Conventional medicine is a game of pretence - pretending to care about whether pharmaceutical drugs cause harm to patients, but when they discover that they do, doing little or nothing about it. The charade just carries on.

  • "The drugs do more good than harm!" - but with precious little evidence of what good they actually do.
  • "All medical treatment has side effects!" - a nonsense statement for anyone who knows about homeopathy, acupuncture and most every other forms of traditional or alternative medicine.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Antidepressant Drugs and Depression. Another sign of the failure of conventional medicine

A doctor, writing in the GP's magazine 'Pulse' has said that doctors "need to stop prescribing antidepressants".  These medications, he says, are overprescribed and prescribed for too long. He is, of course, talking against the perceived wisdom of the conventional medical establishment, that has been stating for several years that mental health, and depression in particular, has been under-diagnosed and under-treated, and more drug treatment is needed. Dr Des Spence, a GP in Glasgow, and a tutor at the University of Glasgow, says this:

               "The ‘Defeat Depression’ campaign in adults in the 1990s was an unmitigated disaster for society. It led to vast numbers of prescriptions, lifelong treatment and side effects. Antidepressant prescribing rates have since doubled in a decade, to an eye watering 61 million prescriptions in 2015."

This campaign was orchestrated by the pharmaceutical industry, to promote and sell its antidepressant drugs which were based on the 'chemical imbalance' theory of depression. Drug companies believed (or at least they wanted us to believe) that antidepressant drugs could rectify this imbalance. But, as Spence states, the chemical imbalance theory "has limited science to support it", and cites this study, Lacasse JR, Leo J. Serotonin and depression: a disconnect between the advertisements and the scientific literature. PLoS Med 2005; 12: e392, to support this. Certainly, the use of antidepressant like Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil, SSRI (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor) antidepressants that were designed to increase Serotonin levels in the brain, have been spectacularly unsuccessful!

Spence mentions that there is "much evidence suggesting antidepressants are completely ineffective". He quotes two studies to support his statement,

               Fournier JC et al. Antidepressant drug effects and depression severity: a patient-level meta-analysis. JAMA 2010; 303: 47-53

               Kirsch I et al. Initial severity and antidepressant benefits: a meta-analysis of data submitted to the Food and Drug Administration. PLoS Med 2008; 5:e45 

He also mentioned studies that I have already mentioned in my blogs, namely "that even by the most optimistic calculations 85% of patients get no benefit from medication at all".

               Arroll B et al. Antidepressants versus placebo for depression in primary care. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2009; 3: CD007954

               Haddad PM, Anderson IM. Recognising and managing antidepressant discontinuation symptoms. Adv Psychiatr Treat 2007; 13: 447–57

Spence also mention the withdrawal symptoms when patients have to stop taking the drugs, causing agitation, insomnia and mood swings "which many construe as a return of their low mood".

Yet he does not mention how spectacularly dangerous antidepressant drugs have been. I have written about this extensively on this page of my 'Why Homeopathy? website. There is now convincing evidence that these drugs have become a major cause of violence and suicide. The dangers of antidepressants is well-enough This does not prevent the conventional medical establishment promoting such drugs. It never has! And Spence himself knows that amongst his peers he is a voice in the wilderness.

               "Most people in primary care have reactive depression or adjustment disorders. But challenging this prevailing wisdom of course means I am stigmatising and dismissing mental illness and should be shouted down. But we all suffer mental illness at times, be it anxiety or depression, I know that I certainly have. The issue is how we manage mental illness."

                "Clearly psychological pain, just like physical pain, has a purpose - it is an evolutionary response. Psychological pain is the catalyst of change, acceptance and moving on. Talking it through, addressing social stresses, changing lifestyle and perhaps ending unhappy relationships is the solution. Antidepressants are not the answer for the vast, vast majority of people. We should aim to normalise, not medicalise."

                "Of course this will be dismissed as simplistic drivel, as life ‘is more complex than this’. But in my view it isn't, it really is as simple as that." 

Presumably Spence realises that his colleagues will prescribe antidepressant drugs quite regardless of how ineffective they are, or how dangerous they can be. This is what happens within the NHS. He calls for more use of, and improved access to counselling as a top priority. But he probably realises that 'talking therapies' are not profitable to the pharmaceutical industry, and so are unlikely to be promoted as he wants.

Yet Spence's article does indicate that there are doctors out there, no doubt too few, who are beginning to realise that conventional, drug-based medicine, is failing. So far (at the time of writing) there have been 43 responses to his article. I have looked through these, and perhaps 5 are critical of his article. Most responses seem resigned in hopelessness - doctors have to respond somehow - prescribing antibiotic drugs is 'pragmatic' -  they may not work, but they are effective as 'placebo'. A few responses suggest that if this is true of the prescription of antidepressant drugs, it is also true of antibiotics, and many other areas of conventional medical practice.

Sadly, few doctors seem to be aware of the serious side effects of antidepressant drugs. But the realisation that conventional medicine is failing is slowly progressing, and this article, and the responses, show that even the soldiers, the ground troops of conventional medicine, are realising that the game is up.

A case of Phlebitis, cured with Homeopathy, but then denied by conventional doctors

This is a story of homeopathy successfully treating an illness, Phlebitis, which had been formally diagnosed by conventional medical staff, but who were not treating is successfully. Once the condition had improved with homeopathy, a doctor and a specialist refused to accept that homeopathy could have any affect on the condition, so the answer must be that she never had the condition - it had been wrong diagnosed! Such is the denial of the conventional medical establishment.

It was July 2004 when Catherine (not her real name) came to see me. She was 79 years old. The condition she wanted me to treat had been diagnosed as Phlebitis, and her doctor was treating it, but she said without much success. She was going to see the practice nurse after our appointment. She was having her leg bandaged.

Catherine showed me her problem left leg. It had a thick dark mark running down it from several inches below her knee to her ankle. She complained of shooting pains, upwards from her ankle to her calf, which led to an aching pain. Her ankles were swollen ankles. Although in the morning she could be free of pain the shooting pain could happen any time, and the aching gets worse as day goes by. By the evening they became unbearable, and she had to sit with her feet up, which she did dislike as she  enjoys being active. She also complained of itching. Her leg generated heat. There was no ulceration. Walking was painful, but the pain tended to ease with exercise. Her other leg was not painful, although she had varicose veins in both legs for 25-30 years.

Catherine was also on conventional drugs, Losatin (for high blood pressure) and Pesentin (for a mini-stroke she had 2-3 years earlier). She also took aspirin for the arthritis in her right knee, and had regular flu vaccinations. But it was the pain that she wanted me to treat. It was becoming unbearable.

I saw Catherine again on 5th August 2004. The condition had not improved but she said that she was beginning to feel better "within herself". One thing that homeopathy teaches you is that feeling better, or stronger, or having more energy is often a precursor to the body getting stronger, and so getting more able to cope with physical conditions like phlebitis. So I decided to stick with the remedy I had been giving her - Hamamelis (made from Witch Hazel). I also looked at the side effects of one of the drug she was taking, Losartan, and wondered whether this might be causing or aggravating the condition. I decided to make a potentized remedy from the drug to see if this helped.

On 17th August 2004 Cathering phone me to say she had been given new drug, Arthrotec. She had taken a few of these, but had stopped as they gave her indigestion. But she was unsure whether this was making her leg better, or whether it was the homeopathic remedies. She said that the leg was looking better, and there was less pain. I asked her to continue taking the remedies as I had asked.

On 16th September 2004 we met again. Her leg was feeling much better, there was only a slight residual pain now. She also said her arthritis was a little better too, and wondered whether I had treated this too. I told her that I was treating her, and not any specific condition.

Ten days later, on 26th September 2004, Catherine phoned again. She has been to her hospital appointment, but the specialist told her that it could not have been Phlebitis, it had been something else. She had also told them that I had given her a homeopathic Losartin, but they said that this had no connection with her conditionHe had given it a name, but she could not remember what it was. Her leg, she said, was "not too bad, not much pain, but she still knows it is there".

Our next meeting was on 18th November 2004, Catherine confirmed that both her doctor, and her specialist had told  her that it was not Phlebitis that she had! She reflected that she had always been well, until she turned 75, when she started taking pharmaceutical drugs for high blood pressure. It was shortly after this that she had a mini-stroke. And then she began to suffer from a series of conditions.

Catherine had no pain at all, except for an occasional twinge. She wondered what the condition was that had caused so much pain. I asked her whether it mattered. Her doctor had called it phlebitis. Her specialist had contradicted the diagnosis. But the real point was, surely, that she was now free of pain, however the pain was diagnosed. I told her that the main remedy she had used, Hamamelis, was a well known, and often used remedy for Phlebitis, but if conventional medicine wanted to diagnose it with some other name, it made little difference.

Driving home I smiled, and shook my head. Conventional medicine had proved ineffective. Homeopathy had worked. So, faced with this, two doctors had preferred to admit that their diagnosis had been wrong rather than to acknowledge that homeopathy had worked.

Protelos. Another Big Pharma drug bites the dust! Osteoporosis sufferers beware!

The doctor's E-Magazine, Pulse, announced yesterday (5th June 2017) that GP's will have to review any osteoporisis patients treated with the drug Protelos, or Strontium Ranelate, as it "ceases to be available in the UK from August".

     Why is this?

The pharmaceutical company, Servier, said it was due to "decreasing numbers of prescriptions".

     Why the decrease in prescriptions?

Pulse says that this is due to evidence of a "heightened risk of cardiovascular events in 2014" so that it is now "only prescribed to patients who cannot use other approved treatments for the condition, and under careful monitoring."

In other words, Protelos is yet another drug that medical science, and drug regulators has passed as effective and safe has proven to be neither - certainly not safe!

The Pulse article says that Strontium ranelate has been used to treat severe osteoporosis in postmenopausal women, and adult men, who were unable to tolerate other osteoporosis drugs. Yet the history of the drug is more interesting than this!

First, reviewing the clinical trials that led to the drug's use, the evidence appears to show the most marginal improvement in bone fracture. Read about the two main trials on this website.

               "When looking at results of the two studies taken together, fewer women in the Protelos group developed breaks at any site outside the spine (including the hip) than in the placebo group (331 out of 3,295 with Protelos compared with 389 out of 3,256 for placebo). This showed that the risk of breaking a bone is reduced."

For this marginal benefit, the article goes on to outline the side effects - ischaemic heart disease (such as angina or a heart attack), peripheral arterial disease (obstruction of the blood flow in the arteries, usually in the legs), cerebrovascular disease (diseases affecting the blood vessels in the brain, such as stroke). Actually, there are many more serious side effects, see this NetDoctor website. But despite the (at best) marginal benefits, and the serious potential side effects, this conclusion was reached.

               "The CHMP (Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use) decided that Protelos’s benefits are greater than its risks and recommended that it be given marketing authorisation."

Clearly they were wrong! Yet this is not unusual in the history of pharmaceutical drugs. Risks are measured in grams, benefits in kilograms! It is more profitable for the drug companies that way!

Second, whilst the drug has been approved in Europe, it was not approved by the FDA in the USA! Clearly, conventional medicine concluded, as it often does, that the was 'safe' for Europeans, but not safe for Americans! I have no explanation for why this should be - but it happens quite frequently, one way or another!

So now patients on this unsafe drug have to be called in, and the Pulse article makes it clear that doctors do not have too many alternative treatments for them. So perhaps osteoporosis patients need to look seriously to alternative therapies for a solution to their condition!

Yet the most serious feature of this news is the conventional medicine has used an unsafe drug for osteoporosis patients for over a decade, on the basis that it was safe. Again, this is not unusual for the pharmaceutical industry, and the supine drug regulatory agencies.
  • Protelos was approved in Europe in 2004 for the treatment of osteoporosis.
  • In 2012, this approval was extended to men with an increased fracture risk.
  • In April 2013 there was a recommendation to restrict the use of Protelos because of the risk of serious heart problems (including heart attacks), blood clots, and a range of other conditions such as serious skin reactions, disturbances in consciousness, seizures, liver inflammation and reduced number of blood cells.
  • In January 2014 the EDA, the European drug regulator, 'following an in-depth review' decided that that Protelos should no longer be used to treat osteoporosis. The European Medicines Agency's Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee should not be available anymore as "the drug's risks outweigh its benefits".
So over three years have elapsed before Pulse has given this information to the doctor's who have been prescribing it.
  • How many osteoporosis patients have been taking this dangerous pharmaceutical drug since 2004 on the basis of wrong information?
  • How many osteoporosis patients have been taking this dangerous pharmaceutical drug since the EMA decided that the drug should be withdrawn?
  • How many patients of conventional medicine are taking other dangerous pharmaceutical drugs that have not been banned AT THIS VERY MOMENT?
These appear to be unanswered questions. Indeed, they are questions that are never asked! The pharmaceutical industry cannot be trusted. The conventional medical establishment cannot be trusted to regulate the powerful drugs industry. 

What needs to be learnt from this situation is that patients who accept conventional medical treatment are just not safe. And remember, patients on Protelos still do not know about the risks they face, and have been facing, courtesy of this drug, for many years.

Monday, 5 June 2017

The failure of pharmaceutical drugs, but patients are kept in the dark.

The failure of pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines should have been quite apparent to everyone now: except, of course, for the equally disgraceful failure of the conventional news media to report on the evidence for it! Evidence about the ineffectiveness of drugs, and their dangers, emerge regularly. Doctors and the conventional medical establishment does not tell us. And they are rarely publicised in the national media.

Three recent studies demonstrate how patients are being kept in the dark. All three point to the ineffectiveness and dangerousness of prescription drugs, all three have largely been published without patients being given to opportunity to know about them.

Useless Medicine
The British Medical Journal (BMJ) has published an article that discussed the issue of 'useless' conventional medical treatment. It is called "Choosing Wisely in the UK: the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges’ initiative to reduce the harms of too much medicine". BMJ 2015;350:h2308.

The article indicates that it is not just the effectiveness of pharmaceutical drugs that is being discussed, but also the cost and the value to patients of the treatment, and its dangers. However, the conclusion it reaches is, to say the least, a mild one, merely that we are being offered too much of it! The article says that dozens of common medical treatments and procedures, routinely given to patients by doctors, are effectively pointless". The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AMRC) says that "scores of treatments which can be given to patients for various ailments ranging from grazes to cancer frequently do little more or the same as doing nothing at all, while also potentially incurring side effects".

It has been estimated that in Britain alone, the NHS is spending £2 billion on what are, in effect, "useless or harmful treatment”.

Harmful Medicine
Another study, published in May 2017 by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), 2017; doi: 10.1001, has been reported by WDDTY. It looked at what has happened to FDA approved drugs since their approval. Remarkably, it found that one third of all FDA approved drugs subsequently turned out to have serious safety problems!

               "The dangers of the new drugs often don't come to light until four years after they have been licensed, which means that many thousands of patients may have been affected. But in every case, doctors and patients believed the drugs were safe because they had passed all the usual tests for safety and effectiveness."

So much for the ability of drug regulators to keep us all free from unsafe and dangerous medical drugs and vaccines!

NSAID Painkillers
Yet the situation is actually far worse even than this! It can take much more than 4 years for the dangers of pharmaceutical drugs to become known, and then accepted - a a lot longer for patients to be told!

For instance, conventional medicine has been feeding us painkilling drugs, in huge quantities, for over 100 years now. Ibuprofen is one of the 'younger' ones, and has become one of the stawlwarts of conventional medicine. It has been known about since the 1950's, its history summarised here and taken from the Prezi website.

     1958 First clinical trial of ibupeofen - it was found to be no better than aspirin!

     1961 A patent is filed for ibuprofen, and in 1964 Ibuprofen is selected for further development.

     1966 Clinical trials of ibuprofen take place at the Northern General Hospital in Edinburgh and show its anti-inflammatory effect in patients.

     1969 Ibuprofen launched in the UK on prescription only.

     1983 Because of its safety record, ibuprofen is made available without prescription.

So after such a long period of time, it might have been expected the conventional medicine were fully aware of the dangers of this type of painkiller. But this is not so!

A recent analysis, by a team at Bern University, evaluated 31 studies, involving over 116,000 patient,s who had taken the painkillers regularly, mostly for arthritis pain. Its findings were published in the British Medical Journal. As well as ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac, celecoxib, etoricoxib, rofecoxib or Vioxx, and lumiracoxib were also implicated in the findings.

               "It was found that compared with placebo, rofecoxib and lumiracoxib were associated with twice the risk of heart attack, while ibuprofen was associated with more than three times the risk of stroke. Etoricoxib and diclofenac were associated a fourfold risk of death from a heart attack or stroke."

Indeed, the study found that these painkillers could significantly increase the chances of having a heart attack within a week or a month, especially if high doses were taken. The research team found that more than 90% of all painkillers assessed were tied to a significant increased risk of heart attack.

Will Patients be told?
Yet it is unlikely that patients will be told about any of this, either by their doctors, or by the mainstream media. The ineffectiveness and dangers of conventional drugs have been frequently discovered in studies, but the information never seems to reach anyone outside a small group of academics. Certainly, the dangers of painkillers has been known about for decades. There are considerable constraints placed on doctors prescribing painkillers because of their known dangers. But patients are not told.

If doctors told patients about these dangers, if the mainstream media were prepared to publicise the dangers, patients would make their own decisions, an informed choice, about taking them and risking the serious dangers.

But patients are not told. Studies about the ineffectiveness of pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines come and go without any impact on what doctors prescribe to to. Ask people about painkillers, and what they know about the dangers, and most would declare that they are fairly safe! After all, their doctors can prescribe them; anyone can buy them, openly, over-the-counter, without a doctor's prescription. And taking painkillers is something they, and their parents and grand-parents have done for years.

Medical science is a game without outcome, without consequence. Pharmaceutical drugs may be useless. They may be dangerous. If might not even be known how useless or dangerous they are! But patients are told only about the 'positive' science: the new 'wonder' drugs. The negative stuff remains an insiders secret, something doctors dare not tell us, and the mainstream will not tell us!