Thursday, 23 November 2017

Thalidomide. Still alive, kicking, and harming patients around the world to this day!

The magazine 'What Doctors Don't Tell You' (WDDTY) published an article on Thalidomide in its October 2017 edition. It gave the drug's timeline, which I reproduce here in order to draw out some of the salient features of how conventional medicine deals with pharmaceutical drugs that are known to be harmful to patients.

1953. Thalidomide is discovered in a German laboratory.
After the discovery of a new drug they are tested by medical science for both its effectiveness and safety, then approved by drug regulatory agencies. These agencies were not so developed then as they are today, largely as a result of the damage Thalidomide was later to cause.

1956. Thalidomide is launched as a prescription drug for anxiety and insomnia in West Germany.
The drug company conducted all the trials considered necessary at the time, which found that the drug was both effective and safe (they usually do), or they manipulated the trial results to indicate that the drug was effective and safe. In other words, and for whatever reason, medical science was unable to detect that there was anything wrong with Thalidomide.

1957. Thalidomide is made available as an over-the-counter drug (without a prescription) to east morning sickness in pregnant women.
I am aware that many people continue to believe that if a drug is available at the local chemist, or from the supermarket, they are safer than drugs that are available only with a doctors prescription. This is not so, and has never been so. I have blogged about this before. The most disastrous pharmaceutical drug, that was destined to do so much damage to unsuspecting patients, was mostly purchased at the local pharmacy!

1958. Up to 7,000 children in Germany are born with severe birth deformities. In the same year the UK introduced the drug on to the market.
Pharmaceutical drugs spread much quicker across the world than most viruses! Presumably the UK authorities also approved Thalidomide on as an effective and safe drug for patients, including pregnant women, and certainly the drug companies were eager to profit from it as soon as possible.

1961. Thalidomide is taken off the market in most Western countries, with at least 10,000 babies born with severe deformities; unofficial estimates put the figure at 100,000 cases.
It took over four years for medical science, and the drug regulatory authorities, to determine that one of their approved pharmaceutical drugs was causing this devastation. It is important to bear in mind that whilst ALL pharmaceutical drugs are tested for safety, it takes this length of time, sometimes longer, to discover that they are not safe, even when the consequences of taking Thalidomide are so blindingly obvious!

1962. Canada is still prescribing the drug. The drug also remains available in Spain throughout the 1970's and 1980's.
This is an amazing feature of pharmaceutical drugs. They can be banned in one country but continue to be sold in others. It is a regular feature of drug histories, it happens all the time, with lots of unsafe drugs. This suggests that either the drug regulatory agencies do not speak to each other, or that they make their decisions based on some kind of bogus 'benefit-risk' calculation that comes up with a different answer! Thalidomide was as dangerous in Canada and Spain as it was in the UK.

As far as the pharmaceutical industry is concerned, it demonstrates that they are quite willing to sell any drug, however dangerous, anywhere in the world, and despite the damage they know the drug to be causing.

1965. Thalidomide is licensed in Brazil for erytherma nodosum leprosum (ENL).
Most people assume that when a pharmaceutical drug has been found to be harmful to patients, and has been banned because it has caused the kind of horrendous damage to human life as Thalidomide, drug companies are still quite happy to sell it, and find other reasons for selling it.

Of course, the drug was not sold as 'Thalidomide'. The name was changed, presumably so that patients were not aware of what they were taking. It is a diabolical corruption!

1998. Thalidomide is approved in the USA for treating ENL.
If dangerous drugs can be approved in the USA, where pride is taken in their drug regulatory system (perhaps inappropriately) they can be approved as safe and effective just about anywhere. Again, the drug is not called Thalidomide, even though the drug regulators would have known that what they were approving. It must be supposed that they were happy to go along with the deception!

The use of dangerous pharmaceutical drugs is allowed throughout the world, with drug regulatory agencies apparently keener to assist drug company with their profitability rather than performing their primary statutory function - to keep patients safe!

2008. Thalidomide is approved for use in the UK as a treatment for multiple myeloma, a cancer of the blood.
There is no-where in the world safe from the exploitation of patients by the pharmaceutical industry, or the willingness of drug regulators to connive in that exploitation. No doubt medical science, and the drug regulation agencies, placed many restrictions on the use of the drug, although with what success is harder to fathom.

2010. The World Health Organisation pronounces that Thalidomide should not be used for any condition, as its use cannot be properly controlled.
For an agency that has also been so heavily infiltrated by the pharmaceutical industry this was a surprising and unusual decision. However, its advice was completely ignored!

2017. The UK approves the third spin-off drug from Thalidomide for treating multiple myeloma. Today, 48 countries actively use the drug.
Ask anyone whether they know about Thalidomide. Most people will know that it caused untold harm to thousands of children. Ask anyone whether they think that Thalidomide is still prescribed by doctors for their patients. Most people will say 'No'! So the moral of this timeline is clear.

  • Patients are NOT protected from dangerous pharmaceutical drugs by medical science, or by the Drug Regulatory system. 
  • The Pharmaceutical industry will sell their drugs to anyone, anywhere in the world, in the full knowledge that they are dangerous, but caring more about their profits than patients.
  • Doctors are willing to prescribe these drugs, whether in ignorance, or on the 'evidence' produced by medical science, or just with the authority given by a drug regulator.
  • The entire conventional medical establishment - governments, national health services, doctors, nurses - just go along with it.
So are you taking Thalidomide? Probably not, although it is now used for a wide variety of conditions, ranging from cancer, multiple melanoma, psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis and ENL (leprosy).

But if you are taking Thalidomide, it will be called something else, perhaps an 'analogue' of thalidomide (not thalidomide, but something so damned similar as to make little difference). It will be called Lenalidomide, or Pomalidomide, or Apremilast, or Otezla, and no doubt a host of other names.

The conventional medical establishment should not be allowed to play these games with our safety. But they are! And they do!

We all need to search for safer and more effective treatments, practiced by more honest practitioners.


Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Concordia and Liothyronine. Monopolies both large and small within the Health Service

The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has found that the drug company, Concordia, has overcharged the NHS for its thyroid drug, Liothyronine. The CMA said that in 2016 the NHS spent £34 million on its drug, liothyronine, whilst in 2006 it was just £600,000. The amount the NHS paid per pack rose from about £4.46 in 2007 to £258.19 by July 2017, a staggering increase of almost 6,000%.

So what is the problem? Has demand for the drug risen? Are there lots more people suffering hypothyroidism? No, all kinds of sickness is rising, but not by 6000% in 10 years! Has there been a supply problem then, some difficulty making the drug, an increase in the cost of making it? No, the CMA said the price rise took place despite production costs being "broadly stable".

               "We allege that Concordia used its market dominance in the supply of liothyronine tablets to do exactly that."

So this is yet another example of pharmaceutical industry profiteering. Nor is it an isolated incident of a drug company milking national governments, national health services, and patients. I blogged in October 2015 about the drug Daraprim and Turing Pharmaceuticals, which gained control over the drug and increased the price from $13.50 to $750, a rise of over 5,000%!

The strategy appears to be for smaller drug companies to gain control over a specific drug, and once in a monopoly position to exploit it for all it is worth.

The price change happened after the drug was de-branded in 2007, that is, the patent expired. Drugs are expensive under patent; but the government can cap the profits drug companies are allowed to make. Afterwards, drug prices usually fall. But not if the pharmaceutical industry takes action, and gives an individual company a monopoly in marketing the drug. This is what happened in this case, and the earlier one concerning Daraprim. Concordia was, until earlier this year, the only supplier of the drug, selling in in more than 100 countries. The CMA report commented:

               "Pharmaceutical companies which abuse their position and overcharge for drugs are forcing the NHS - and the UK taxpayer - to pay over the odds for important medical treatments."

And for some patients, in a country where conventional medicine is also a virtual monopoly, this has indeed become an important drug. The mainstream media produced several patients who have found the drug useful, and have been affected by the price hype. Owing to the cost, the NHS stopped doctors prescribing it, and these patients suffered as a result.

It is, of course, a good human interest news story, and most of the mainstream media reported it. What they did not report, or even suggest, was that this story demonstrates clearly that drug companies are essentially private business enterprises, interested mainly in maximising their profit. Producing drugs is not, for them, a philanthropic patient-centred exercise. Indeed, by hyping the price to this extent it is clear that the last people the company were thinking about were the patients!

Nor did the media ask what appears to be a natural question. How is it that within the pharmaceutical world one small drug company is allowed a monopoly over the manufacture and distribution of a drug? How is it that when an established drug comes off patent, and are 'debranded', its price can rocket? Apparently this is the CMA has challenged a number of drugs companies about. It is not an isolated example.

The company, Concordia, has stated that it did "not believe that competition law has been infringed", and that the pricing of  liothyronine had been conducted "openly and transparently with the Department of Health in the UK over a period of 10 years". However, earlier in 2017, Concordia was accused of pushing up the price of another NHS drug, hydrocortisone, by striking a deal not to compete with another firm. Their innocence, and the innocence of the pharmaceutical industry generally, seems to be highly questionable.

Moreover, the liothyronine case is not the only one being investigated by the CMA. The drug giants Pfizer and Flynn Pharma have been intestigated for excessive and unfair prices being set for the anti-epilepsy treatment, phenytoin sodium capsules, and it has imposed fines of about £45 million on a number of other pharmaceutical companies in relation to the anti-depressant drug, paroxetine.

All this raises another unasked question. If this is so, how is it that a government department, and the NHS, has not picked up on the profiteering? Has there been collusion, at a time when the NHS is getting deeper into crisis and bankrupcy? As I have argued at length elsewhere, the pharmaceutical industry is important to government because it is an important part of the British economy.

Yet as always the main unasked question is whether this drug is safe. Although the media produced patients who felt they had benefitted from it, the Drugs.com website outlines the side effects of the drug, some of them serious. It warns that any patient should get "emergency help immediately" if any of the following known side effects of the drug occurs:

               * Arm, back or jaw pain
               * changes in appetite
               * changes in menstrual periods
               * chest pain or discomfort
               * chest tightness or heaviness
               * cold clammy skin
               * confusion
               * decreased urine output
               * diarrhoea
               * dilated neck veins
               * dizziness
               * extreme fatigue
               * fainting
               * fast, slow, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
               * fever
               * hand tremors
               * headache
               * increased bowel movements
               * irregular breathing
               * irritability
               * leg cramps
               * lightheadedness
               * menstrual changes
               * nausea
               * nervousness
               * sensitivity to heat
               * shortness of breath
               * sweating
               * swelling of face, fingers, feet, or lower legs
               * troubled breathing
               * trouble sleeping
               * vomiting
               * weak pulse
               * weight gain
               * weight loss
               * wheezing

Monopoly is a major problem in the provision of health care services. A monopoly over the sale of a single drug can lead to cost of pharmaceutical drugs becoming exhorbitant. The monopoly of a single type of medicine within a national health service can lead to patients having to suffer the consequence of harmful and dangerous drugs, with patients believing that they are the only way to treat their illness.

  

Monday, 20 November 2017

The Dead Horse Theory. "When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount!"

The Dekota Indians had an excellent theory, and it is one that the many governments around the world which are struggling to fund their national health service, dominated by pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines, might benefit from learning. It is the 'Dead Horse'. The 14 points that follow clearly represents the current strategy many governments use, including the British government's policy towards the National Health Service.







































The NHS is in constant crisis. It spends an enormous amount of money, mainly on pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines (= the dead horse), yet year by year demand for health services outstrips the supply. More money is then demanded, given, and spent on yet more drugs, but quite regardless of this, the crisis continues. The horse is, indeed, dead, and it has been dead for some time. The animal is, after all, over 70 years old, and it has been fed, almost exclusively, on pharmaceutical drugs during all that time! The NHS does not realise this, or if it does it ignores the wisdom of the Dakota Indians, and instead makes use of 'more advanced' responses!

1. Buying a stronger whip.
The NHS believes that it would be able to produce better outcomes for patients if staff could only be made to work harder, to increase their productivity.

2. Changing riders.
The NHS regularly changes it riders, managers are sacked who are just not good enough, and do not spend the money properly. It is important to employ better riders to manage the available resources.

3. Threatening the horse with termination.
The NHS cannot pursue this policy, as unfortunately, in this case, the dead horse has wealthy and influential backers, too powerful to be 'terminated'. However, it regularly terminates some drugs and vaccines because they are so clearly dead, but never the complete animal.

4. Appointing a committee to study the horse.
NHS committees are rife, and have been vital to the NHS development. They study why the demand for health care continually outstrips supply, why offering more drugs and vaccines appears to lead to more sickness (invariably deciding it is due to patients getting older), and to come up with new ideas about how the NHS might function better.

5. Arranging to visit other countries to see how others ride dead horses.
The NHS regularly examines health services in other parts of the world. They usually find there is not much difference because they, too, are trying to ride the same dead horse! But some countries spend more of their GDP on health, so if only they could have more money too......

6. Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included.
The NHS regularly seeks to lower standards, for instance, nurses doing the work of doctors, hospital beds being reduced, et al. This is not to save money, but to release more money to spend on reviving the dead horse with more pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines.

7. Re-classifying the dead horse as 'living impaired'.
The NHS, whilst hyping the value of every new pharmaceutical drug and vaccine, is at the same time trying to reduce patient expectations. Look at the NHS Choices website to see just how many illnesses and diseases there are for which, we are told, their is no treatment, no cure, no chance of recovery.

8. Hiring outside contractors to ride the dead horse.
The NHS is an inefficient public enterprise, say some, and if more of the work could be contracted out to private companies the greater efficiency would ensure that the dead horse might be able to enhance health outcomes for patients.

9. Harnessing several dead horses together to increase the dead horses performance.
The NHS is constantly asking for new horses, new pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines to help them if their fight against disease. The one's they have may not work, the new ones just might be better.

10 Providing additional funding and/or training to increase the dead horses performance.
The NHS always needs more doctors and more nurses to provide even more health treatment to an increasingly sick population, treatments based, of course, on those that has been offered for decades.

11. Doing a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horse's performance.
It is frequently said that the NHS is too 'top-heavy', that there are too many managers and administrators (people who do not give patients the drugs) and not enough doctors and nurses, who do.

12. Declaring that as the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is less costly, carries lower overheads, and therefore contributes substantially more than the bottom line of the economy than do some other horses.
Unfortunately the NHS is totally committed to the most expensive of all medical treatments, so this is a difficult argument to make. However, it does regularly state that the newer drugs costs are too expensive, and that 'generic' cost less.

13. Re-writing the expected performance requirement for all horses.
The NHS has struggled for decades to keep waiting times (for a doctors' appointment, for A&E, for operations, for hospital beds) to a minimum. We are regularly told that unless more money is spent on the dead horse, patients must expect longer waiting times.

14 Promoting the dead horse to a supervisory position of hiring another horse.
Most NHS managers and supervisors are former doctors who have spent their careers prescribing 'dead horse' drugs and vaccines to their patients. Why should they start recognising that the horse is dead after a lifetime of devotion to it?

IT IS TIME WE STOPPED FLOGGING THE DEAD HORSE!
IT IS TIME TO GIVE THE HORSE A DECENT BURIAL!



Thursday, 16 November 2017

Yippee! Another Wonder Drug, this time for Breast Cancer! But does it stand up to media hype? And is there a better alternative?

The avalanche of new wonder drugs never seems to cease. There are only two other things seem to match the sheer numbers of these announcements:

  • the rise of the diseases these drugs are supposed to treat
  • and the profits of the pharmaceutical industry
Still, lets take a look at the two new wonder treatments for advance breast cancer. As I often do, I have used the BBC News feature to describe how they act as advertising agents for the drug company, Pfizer. They always regurgitate the press release, unquestioned and unexamined, as do the rest of our 'free' news organisations!

The BBC described them as 'breakthrough', 'life-changing' drugs, as usual. The news story is that they have now been approved for use in the NHS by NICE, which is not a surprise as they are funded by the pharmaceutical industry, and by people who have worked, or will work in the industry. The drugs are called palbociclib and ribociclib.

Palbociclib was approved in the USA in February 2015, Ribociclib in 2017. Apparently, these breakthrough drugs slow down advanced breast cancer to about 10 months, and can delay the need for chemotherapy. Even if the terms 'breakthrough' and 'life-changing' are supported by these claims is questionable, but certainly they come at a cost. The BBC reported that just one cycle of palbociclib, 21 capsules, £2,950, and for 63 tablets of ribociclib, the price is the same.

To support the case for the drugs the BBC used a patient who had used the drug (without using the word 'anacdotal'), the head of oncology at Pfizer UK, and a professor of molecular oncology from the Institute of Cancer Research, who was also a consultant medical oncologist, and the Professor who led the clinical trials. The latter said that "these drugs have allowed women to live a normal life for longer".

As usual, no-one from outside the conventional medical establishment was asked to comment. And on the Today programme, no questions were asked about the side effects of the drug. The Drug.com website has produced these for both palbociclib and for ribociclib, at least those currently accepted, these being drug used sparingly over a short period, and with very few patients. For palbociclib they include:

  • body aches or pain
  • ear congestion
  • fever
  • headache
  • loss of voice
  • painful or difficult urination
  • swelling or inflammation of the mouth
  • trouble breathing
  • ulcers, sores, or white spots in the mouth
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • Anxiety
  • chest pain
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • fainting
  • fast heartbeat
  • sudden shortness of breath or troubled breathing

As usual, our mainstream media does not believe that patients are entitled to know about these. It is difficult to know how patients can make an 'informed choice' about whether to take these drugs, or other pharmaceutical drugs, without this knowledge. The only side effect mentioned was from the patient who had tried the drug "You get slight fatigue from it, but it was manageable..." was all she said, perhaps someone who had a better than normal experience of the drug, and perhaps someone put forward by the drug company for this very reason.

I would predict that in time the adverse drug reactions will be far worse that those already known. This has been the history of every pharmaceutical drug, and there is no reason to think that these drugs will be any different.

Breast cancer patients require treatment. And there is safer, and more effective treatment (providing a life expectancy gain far in excess of 10 months). It is homeopathy. I have written about it many times before, although this one was criticised for being 'anacdotal (something convention medicine does not do, of course)! First, cancer is often the end result, the 'side effects' of pharmaceutical drugs taken for other conditions. So to avoid cancer it is sensible to avoid these drugs. But in addition there is research evidence to confirm over 200 years of clinical outcomes, that homeopathy is an effective treatment for cancer. Yet the media is not interest, of course. So although Homeopathy might be able to provide effective treatment for cancer, including breast cancer, this is not considered to be a medical 'breakthrough', it is not considered to be 'life changing'.

But, of course, it is!



Friday, 10 November 2017

The NHS Crisis (2017-2018)

This is becoming an annual blog - the British NHS in crisis! Despite spending increasing £ billions on the NHS over the last 70 years, the amount of sickness and disease continues to increase, demand for conventional health care expands year by year, hospital waiting times lengthen, difficulty getting an appointment with a doctor more difficult, and major demands for yet more funding become shriller and more strident.

So the pattern is this - increased sickness, followed by increased spending on conventional medicine, followed by even more sickness, and increased demands for even more money. Yet no one EVER questions whether spending more money on a medical system that is clearly and demonstrably failing is the appropriate response to NHS problems. It has always been thus - read my previous blogs.

This year, the expected crisis has been heralded by Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England since April 2014. His recent speech, made two weeks before the Budget, outlines the crisis that he is expecting this winter. For a fuller account of what he said go to the Telegraph report of his speech.  Basically, what he said was that NHS performance would decline significantly without an immediate cash injection, and made the usual case for spending more money, - an extra £4 billion next year. He warned that if increases were limited to 0.4% next year, as currently planned, it would mean deeper rationing of care, staff cuts and record waiting lists. He added that the budget for next year would fall “well short of what is currently needed to properly look after our patients.” He continued

               "Our duty of candour requires us to explain the consequences of these decisions to help inform the difficult choices that will be made in the years ahead.”

My duty of candour is to ask why it is that, year by year, the conventional medical establishment is still unable to cope with the demand for health services, and ask the pertinent question - why the medicine the NHS is using consistently leads to increasing rather than reducing demands on those health services. 
  • Should we not expect that patients get well after treatment? 
  • And certainly that they don't get sicker, leading to increased levels of health need.
Anyway, these are a few of Simon Stevens chilling warnings about what he expects to happen over the winter of 2017-2018, and his demands for yet more money for the NHS.
  • He says that without extra funding, waiting times would rise to a record high of 5 million patients, an extra million people on the waiting list, with 1 in 10 people stuck on a waiting list by 2021. It would be, he said, the highest number ever!
  • He stated that the deterioration would be so steep that Parliament would need to pass new laws, abolishing rights to treatment within 18 weeks.
  •      "It boils down to this, on the current budget, far from growing the number of nurses and other frontline staff, in many parts of the country next year hospitals, community health services and GPs are more likely to be retrenching and retreating.
  •      "On the current funding outlook, it is going to be increasingly hard to expand mental health services or improve cancer care. Services the public need and rightly want.
  • He said that the NHS has already "reluctantly" limited the annual increase of waiting list operations, to protect funding for Accident & Emergency, Mental Health services, and GP care, and that these temporary measures to manage demand would have to become permanent.
  • He said that this would mean that the government would have to publicly, legally abolish patients' national waiting times guarantees.
Stevens went on to claim that the British NHS were underfunded by some £20 to £30 billion per year! This is on top of the (approximately) £120 billion already being spent on conventional health care! And in demanding more resources he referred to the Brexit battle bus, and the slogan on its side, 'Vote Leave for a better funded health service, £350m a week'. This is the amount of additional money he is looking for, amounting to £18,200 billion every year. Stevens demands also came with a threat to politicians.

               "Rather than our criticising these clear Brexit funding commitments to NHS patients - promises entered into by cabinet ministers and by MPs - the public want to see them honoured. Trust in democratic politics will not be strengthened if anyone now tries to argue, 'You voted Brexit, partly for a better funded health service. But precisely because of Brexit, you now can't have one.'"

So what would this staggering increase in NHS resources be spend on? The same as before! The same failed conventional treatments, the same failed pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines, with all their side effects and adverse reactions. 

In the Telegraph article, referred to above, it is interesting to see a conventional medical explanation for why the NHS is under so much pressure. It gives 4 separate reasons.
  1. An ageing population. There are one million more people over the age of 65 than five years ago. This has caused a surge in demand for medical care.
  2. Cuts to budgets for social care. While the NHS budget has been protected, social services for home helps and other care have fallen by 11 per cent in five years. This has caused record levels of “bedblocking”; people with no medical need to be in hospital are stuck there because they can’t be supported at home. 
  3. Staff shortages. While hospital doctor and nurse numbers have risen over the last decade, they have not kept pace with the rise in demand. Meanwhile 2016 saw record numbers of GP practices close, displacing patients on to A&E departments as they seek medical advice
  4. Lifestyle factors. Drinking too much alcohol, smoking, a poor diet with not enough fruit and vegetables and not doing enough exercise are all major reasons for becoming unwell and needing to rely on our health services. Growing numbers of overweight children show this problem is currently set to continue
These are all inadequate explanations, singly and together.
  1. There are indeed more older people, but demand is not coming just from older people now. Diseases once believed to be a product of ageing now strikes people of all ages. The huge increase in Cancer now affects all age groups, including very young children. Diabetes strikes irrespective of age. Arthritis and joint replacements is no longer age sensitive, with younger people suffering the complaint, and replacement surgery. The rise and rise of heart, liver and kidney disease, and the need for organ transplantation, similarly affects younger, middle aged and older people.
  2. Conventional medicine has been able to keep people alive, but it has not been able to maintain people's quality of life. So whilst more people may be kept alive after illness, but without the ability to function adequately, or to cope with the everyday tasks of living. They are alive but dependent, and this is the result of health services, dominated by conventional medicine, for over 70 years.
  3. This is not an explanation. Staff shortages are the direct result of the failure of conventional medicine to make patients better. More demand for health services, more sickness, more dependency on car leads to the need for more doctors, more nurses, and other medical personnel.
  4. Lifestyle factors have always been a factor in our health, both individually and as a nation. In the past conventional medicine has been tardy in its recognising the importance of lifestyle factors to health, preferring instead to prescribe pharmaceutical drugs to deal with the resulting problems rather than pointing to the need for lifestyle change.
So how difficult the winter of 2017/2018 will be for the British NHS remains to be seen. No doubt I will be blogging about this in due course! But one thing is certain - spending more money on the same old, failed medicine will not improve matters. Indeed, it will make matters worse. The side effects and adverse effects of pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines are misnomers. They are really new illnesses and disease, all of which have to be treated. And when they are treated, with more pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines, the sicker patients become, and the more demand they make on health services.

It is a horrible vicious circle that no-one has yet considered!

Thursday, 9 November 2017

What have corrupt USA Admirals have in common with the mayhem caused by the pharmaceutical industry

This morning, amidst all the trifling news of political scandal being reported in the mainstream media, I turned over to RT (Russia Today) news. They were dealing with the 'Fat Leonard' corruption scandal. I was amazed as this was not a new story but something that has been going on for months. Why did I now know about it? But then, I thought, why do 99% of people not know about the ongoing corruption associated with the pharmaceutical industry? It is censored news which is not reported in our 'free' news media. What we are allowed to know depends on what the Establishment wants us to know.

I searched the internet in order to find out who was reporting the story. "USA", "Admirals" produced an article from RT, and little else. I noted that the scandal was called the "Fat Leonard" scandal, so another search. To my surprise, Wikipedia had a page, and apparently the scandal dates back to 2010. It said that the Washington Post called the scandal "perhaps the worst national-security breach of its kind to hit the Navy since the end of the Cold War." This referred to an article published in 2016, "The man who seduced the 7th fleet". The search showed that in the UK the Daily Mail had reported on the scandal recently, and the Guardian some months ago. But most information available came from non-mainstream news websites.

As Wikipedia outlines, at the heart of the scandal was Leonard Glenn Francis, known as "Fat Leonard" for his 350-pound weight. Apparently he had provided thousands of dollars in cash, travel expenses, luxury items, and prostitutes to a large number of US uniformed officers. In return they gave him classified material about the movements of US ships and submarines, confidential contracting information, and information about active law enforcement investigations his company. The, Francis "exploited the intelligence for illicit profit, brazenly ordering his moles to redirect aircraft carriers to ports he controlled in Southeast Asia so he could more easily bilk the Navy for fuel, tugboats, barges, food, water and sewage removal." Wikipedia stated that in 2013, 31 people have been criminally charged in connection with the Fat Leonard. The RT feature today declared that the scandal now involved 60 admirals, and hundreds of officers within the US Seventh Fleet.

Is this not a news story that deserves more public attention and examination - the most powerful navy in the world caught up in bribery and corruption at the highest levels? Perhaps I should have known about it, but then, ask the next 100 people you meet what they know about it, and find out how many of them are aware of the story!

At the same time, ask them whether they know about the harm pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines cause to millions of patients every year, and discover how many people know about this.

The fact is that our mainstream news media does not tell us the truth. At least, it does not tell us the whole truth! We may believe (because we have always been told) that our press and news media are 'free', and can investigate and report on any matter of public importance. This is part of our democracy, an integral part of our personal freedoms. It takes governments to task. It exposes crime and corruption wherever it happens. And so on......

But of course, it does no such thing, and certainly not all of it. We can all recognise, and can look back at news reporting in time of war (WW1, WW2, Vietnam, et al) when the full enormity of the death and destruction occurring were intentionally kept from the public. It would not have been in the public interest for us to know at the time, we are told. But this does not happen in peacetime.

Yet it does. As far as the 'Fat Leonard' scandal is concerned it is not in the wider public interest for us to be too aware of the corruption that exists within powerful military forces, which are protecting the free world! If we knew this, to the full extent that it exists, would have dreadful implications for our government! So people in the corridors of power mingle with people in the corridors of information to determine what we are allowed to know, and how much we are allowed to know.

Similarly, with the Pharmaceutical industry. The public should not be told about the harm and disease caused by drugs and vaccines because it is these things that keep us healthy. For instance, if we all knew that childhood vaccines have been instrumental in causing the Autism epidemic over recent decades people would refuse to vaccinate their children. This would have dreadful consequences for the main funder of mainstream news organisations. So people in the corridors of the drugs industry mingle with people in the corridors of information to determine what we are allowed to know, and how much we are allowed to know.

This is how important news, across the entire spectrum, is censored. There is news that is too sensitive, has too many implications, for the Establishment to want to divulge. Although individuals wrong-doing can be investigated and pursued (they are just bad, corrupt people with evil intentions), pursuing rich and influential institutions is much more difficult. They are vital components to our life, and our society. Or so they believe!

Saturday, 28 October 2017

MIMS. Can doctors advise us about the dangers of pharmaceutical drugs that are not yet known?

MIMS is one of the 'bibles' used by conventional doctors. They rely on it for advice about the dangers of the pharmaceutical drugs they prescribe. I receive their regular (monthly?) updates, and a few days ago they published a bulletin that came up with an enormous amount of new advice. This is just one update for doctors. I have copied the new advice below, but let me first ask several questions.
  1. Conventional medicine routinely peddles dangerous drugs, but this regular change of advice suggests that it does not know exactly what the dangers are! So does conventional medicine really know just how dangerous pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines are?
  2. And how do doctor's retain all this information. Remember this is just one month's new or revised guidance on the drugs mentioned. So can patients be sure that their doctor can retain and recall all this information when they are prescribing pharmaceutical drugs?
So this is the new advice. Don't worry if you do not understand exactly what this means - the point is that these drugs have been prescribed to patients for years, during which time these warnings were not known about.

     Adjust gabapentin dose to avoid respiratory depression, MHRA advises
Prescribers may need to adjust the dose of gabapentin in patients at risk of respiratory depression, including those taking CNS depressants and elderly people.

     Cows' milk allergy warning over methylprednisolone use
Lactose-containing methylprednisolone preparations should not be used in patients with cows' milk allergy, the MHRA has advised prescribers.

     Risk of serious skin reactions with anaemia drugs
Severe cutaneous adverse reactions can occur in patients treated with erythropoietins, the manufacturers have warned in a letter to healthcare professionals.

     Clozapine prescribers reminded of intestinal obstruction risk
Clozapine can impair intestinal peristalsis, leading in very rare cases to potentially fatal intestinal obstruction, faecal impaction, and paralytic ileus.

     Advise women to take combined contraceptive pills continuously, says family planning expert
The 21/7 contraceptive pill regimen is 'outdated' and taking combined oral contraceptives without a 7-day break is the '21st century way to take the pill', according to Professor John Guillebaud.

So perhaps patients should routinely ask their doctors to be ENTIRELY sure that they know about ALL the contraindications and side effects of the drugs they want US to take, and that they also know about all the new contraindications and side effects that MIMS will announce next month, the month after, and the years to come. Impossible, of course.

YET WITHOUT THAT ASSURANCE WE CANNOT BE ENTIRELY CONFIDENT THAT THE PHARMACEUTICAL DRUGS OR VACCINES OUR DOCTORS PRESCRIBE FOR US ARE SAFE, OR EFFECTIVE!

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

An Alternative NHS?

The NHS wants to stop patient access to homeopathy. They initiated a consultation exercise asking our opinion, part of a 'saving money' initiative. I blogged about this in July, 'Banning Homeopathy on the NHS'. Following the Department of Health's response to a petition opposing this, I wrote another blog, 'Homeopathy, the NHS, and Patient Choice'. Given the vested interests that control the NHS, both asked whether homeopathy should want to be, or continue to be part of the NHS. I also raised the question, almost rhetorically, whether it would not be better to establish an 'alternative' NHS that offered patients a variety of traditional therapies. In this blog, I want to develop that idea.

My blogs, so far, have focused on the negative aspects of the current situation. The NHS is now completely hostile to alternative medical therapies, especially homeopathy. The NHS is now completely controlled by the conventional medical establishment, which is itself is completely controlled by the pharmaceutical industry. This is making it almost impossible to debate health issues with these powerful vested interests as they just repeat their mantras, 'there is no evidence that homeopathy works'.

At the same time the government says that it supports 'patient choice', that there should be within the NHS 'no decision about me without me'. Yet whilst this might be their policy, their actions say otherwise. They are intent on restricting and denying patient choice, not developing it.

As I predicted, the homeopathic community is going to fight this, and I am aware of its plans to do so. Indeed, they may be quite right to respond to yet another attack on health freedom. My question is, should we bother? Should we, instead, set up some kind of 'alternative NHS' that provides patients with real patient choice?

The case for doing so is a strong one, but it is one that will require considerable work and effort to establish - and it is something we should seek to do alongside our colleagues from other alternative medical therapies, who suffer equal neglect and marginalisation.

1. A Declaration of Independence.
Homeopathy is different to conventional medicine. In most crucial respects it is superior. It is more effective. It is safer. It is less expensive. It is inferior only in one important respect. It is not organised, it has no structure. Patients, even those who know that we exist, don't know what we do, or even how how to find us in their locality.

The conventional medical establishment clearly does not want us. We are a threat to their virtual monopoly within the NHS. They are trying to get rid of us. We are not welcome. And most people, most organisations, do not thrive within hostile environments. Homeopathy is no different. So leaving the NHS, voluntarily, would be like declaring our independence. It would be liberating, invigorating.

2. A Declaration of Disassociation
NHS medicine, dominated as it is by pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines, is failing, fast. Conventional medicine is failing for many reasons. Its drugs and vaccines do not work, they are not effective in treating the epidemics of chronic disease that are creating demands the NHS cannot cope with. Worse, it is the side effect and adverse reactions of pharmaceutical drugs are causing these illness and disease epidemics.

The result is that the NHS is virtually bankrupt. It cannot recruit sufficient staff to meet the ever-increasing demand for health care, the epidemic levels of chronic illness, which, in significant part, have been caused by dangerous drugs and vaccines. It is difficult to get a doctor's appointment, and the NHS is finding it difficult to recruit more doctors. Waiting lists for treatments and operations are growing. Accident and Emergency services throughout the country are at breaking point.

Does homeopathy want to be part of this failure? The NHS does not use homeopathy to any significant degree, so there is little that the homeopathic community is going to lose. Homeopathy has survived throughout the world for over 220 years, and it has done so without the support of national health service schemes.

3. A Declaration for Safe Medicine
Conventional medicine harms patients. Iatrogenic (doctor-induced) disease is rife. In the past many pharmaceutical drugs have been either banned or withdrawn. Today, the drugs and vaccines doctors are using are heavily restricted because of the patient harm they are known to cause. Medical science and the drug regulatory process has completely failed to protect patients from iatrogenic harm.

Homeopathy is safe medicine. Why should it want to be associated with a medical system that has caused illness and disease through its side effects, killed millions, and continues to do so every year. Homeopathy can, and probably should stand on its own, and declare that it is different. Why do we need to work with medics who tell us that any medicine or treatment, to be useful, has to be harmful?

4. A Declaration in favour of Effective Medicine
Homeopaths often say that we treat people who are ill, not illness itself. Whilst this is true, we rarely sit back and think about how different we are. For instance, we don't want patients to tell us they have arthritis, we want to know when that arthritis is worse, and when better; whether it is better or worse for exercise; and a whole host of other individual symptoms. Homeopaths don't believe that illness is caused by bacteria and viruses, just why we have become susceptible to them. We don't believe that we have an ability to prevent and cure human illness and disease, but we do know that we have knowledge of, and access to remedies that will help the body heal itself.

Homeopathy is effective medicine because it understands what causes illness that relates to the real, observable world. And through our Materia Medica (knowledge of what symptoms remedies will treat), and over two centuries of clinical experience, we know that they work. And we know that they work because we see them working. We do not create illness and disease with our remedies, we treat them successfully, we cure them. Why do we think that we need to work with a medical system that has overseen such a prodigious increase in illness and disease?

5. A Declaration of Our Existence!
So where on earth are we? Do we exist within the NHS? Only a handful of doctor-homeopaths operate from there. Most homeopaths work independently, in their local communities. So how do we operate within these communities. Do homeopaths have high visibility? Can anyone living there find us easily?

The fact is that homeopathy has never been well organised. At best, we are a collection of well-intentioned individuals, working alone, in isolation, relying on the successful treatment of patients to get us more widely known. This can work well. But it cannot be called 'organisation'. And if homeopathy does decide it has had enough of the NHS, its myopia and its hostility, we will need to organise. We will have to declare that we are here, we do exist. How do we do this?

The Need for an Alternative NHS
Homeopathy needs an organisation within which to base our practice. It should not be an organisation that restricts how homeopathy practices, what we can and cannot do. Homeopaths are healers, and we all have their own ways of operating. Homeopaths do not need an organisation that restricts us - but our patients need an organisation that makes us visible!.

If someone becomes sick, what do they do? They do what is easiest, closest to hand. They contact NHS Choices, or go to their GP surgery, or to the local hospital. They do so because that is how conventional medicine has organised. If patients want to use homeopath what do they do? Are we in Yellow Pages? Are we on the internet? Perhaps the surgery, or the local pharmacy, or our hospital will know. Or perhaps not!

And how much does homeopathy cost? NHS treatment is free. It may not work, it may not be safe - but it IS free! This is the big argument about staying within the NHS. Poorer people, entitled to free NHS treatment, are unlikely to opt to pay for homeopathy. Yet this argument fails in two ways.

  • It ignores the important fact that most people, in most parts of the country, are already denied access to homeopathy. 
  • And it ignores the fact that homeopathy has failed to organise, to work within an organisation that people know about, and can find easily, that offers homeopathy at that stressful time when illness strikes.

Other Alternative Therapies
I am a homeopath, and I have focused on homeopathy. There are many other alternative practitioners, and they all have the same problem. They are all excluded from the NHS, and the conventional medical establishment is hostile to them. So similar things can be said about their current organisation, or the lack of it. No-one knows for certain what they do, or for whom, where they can be found, and how much it will cost.

There is every reason for alternative medical therapies to join together in such an enterprise.

Each therapy has similar problems. Each therapy seeks to cure patients without the need for pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines. Each therapy provides a safer, gentler, more effective medical discipline that relies on helping the body heal itself. So why not join together. It makes imminent sense.

So how can alternative medicine organise itself. What would such an organisation look like? How would practitoners relate to it? How will patients find it? And how will treatment be funded?

An Alternative Health Service (AHS)
The organisation will need a name, and a logo that people will be easily recognised. For the sake of simplicity, lets call it AHS - the Alternative Health Service. The first objective should for AHS to develop, gradually, over time, a presence in every community Many communities already have independent health centres devoted to alternative medical therapies. These could all be invited to work under the auspices of the AHS, completely independently.

      1. Practitioners
Qualified and registered health practitioners, whether they be homeopaths, osteopaths, acupuncturists, herbalists, naturopaths, reflexologists, would sign up to the aims and objective or the AHS - which would be simply to offer their services to patients who are searching for safe and effective medical treatment. When they treat patients the AHS will pay their fee.

     2. Patients
The AHS would be largely funded by patients. There is no alternative to this when our government is totally, myopically committed to an ineffective and unsafe medical system based on pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines, and whilst it remains so hostile to alternative medical therapies.

  • Patients would pay a small monthly fee to enable them to access the treatment of an AHS practitioner.
  • Patients who are unable to pay the monthly fee could apply to AHS for emergency funding.
  • Every patient who undergoes a course of treatment will be asked to provide information about their treatment, and the outcomes of that treatment.

     3. Local Health Centres
These may be existing health centres, who affiliate to AHS, or new ones. Alternative therapists may practice from the premises, or they might prefer to practice elsewhere.

Each centre would identify and approve therapists, seeking to ensure that they have access to therapists from the complete range of therapeutic disciplines.

The centres would be a drop-in point for local patients, where they can seek information and advice, book appointments with therapists, and sign up to the AHS scheme.

In addition, each centre would liaise with local GP surgeries and hospitals. They would pass on information about the functioning of the centre, and how doctors can make referrals to them. When the surgery makes a referral, they would be charged the full cost of an initial period of treatment, plus an administration fee.

     4. The AHS
The central AHS organisation would oversee all this operation, setting guidelines and standards for both affiliated health centres, and therapists, without seeking to restrict or control their practice.

     * AHS would identify existing, and establish new health centres. It would develop simple and unobtrusive guidelines for the operation of each of the centres.

     * AHS would approve therapists submitted by each of these centres.

     * AHS would register patients, and receive their monthly payments. It would pay therapists for the work they do with registered patients.

     * AHS would also seek patrons, people who support the concept, principles and work of the AHS, and who are able to make donations towards its work, and help to subsidise emergency or urgent treatment.

     * AHS would manage a scheme to fund emergency or urgent treatment for patients who cannot afford to pay the monthly fee.

     * AHS would also keep a database of treatment outcomes from Health Centres, and publish these on a regular basis.

     5. The Fee Structure
The AHS should be run by people who are well versed with alternative medical therapies, and can operate the system without encroaching on freedom of therapists to practice. However, as this is essentially a health insurance scheme, it would be important that an insurance company ran this particular aspect of the business.

  • Patients would pay their monthly fee to the AHS, or the insurance agent.
  • The AHS, or the insurance agent, would pay the local health centre who generated the business.
  • The local health centre would pay the therapist for their work undertaken.

Prospects?
No business works unless there is a demand, and there is undoubtedly a demand for safe and effective  medical treatment. At the moment no alternative therapy is organised to systematically tap into this demand.

The proposed AHS would have to be sympathetically led by entrepreneurial business people who were tuned in to the principles and ideals of all the medical therapies they promote.

The proposed AHS would have to be efficiently managed by people who understand the principles and operations of health insurance, and were able to make it an affordable option for most people and their families.

The proposed AHS, along with local health centres, would have to promote alternative therapists efficiently.

If all this were done demand for alternative medicine would quickly increase, and initially AHS might struggle to meet patient demand, particularly in areas where there has been little previous development or promotion of alternative medicine.

Beyond this, the venture will succeed in line with the success of the treatment.

  • Curing a patient will increase demand on a 'word of mouth' basis, as it has always done for alternative medical therapies. 
  • Demand will increase with the ongoing failure of the NHS, its failure to meet demand, its inability to offer timely appointments with doctors.
  • Most important, demand will increase when the outcome surveys mentioned above show that alternative medicine is more effective in the treatment of illness.
If this happened, the government and the department of health would find themselves in some difficulty. They would be funding an NHS, who were offering a medicine, that people no longer wanted. Patients would vote with their feet! 
  • Patients are voters. 
  • Voters influence the result of elections. 
  • Elections determine who our politicians are. 
  • Politicians, to be elected, will want to give people what they want.
  • Politicians determine governments.
  • Governments run the Department of Health.
  • The Department of Health controls the health budget.
Soon, the department would be trying to work out why doctors are under-occupied in their surgeries, why Accident and Emergency departments are no longer struggling to cope, and start asking about all these AHS Health Centres, and why they are so popular. Shortly afterwards, the department would be running down their support for the failing, or failed NHS, and asking the AHS whether it needed any of the spare cash it had because the NHS no longer had many patients.

Could any of this be achieved if homeopathy remains content to be an unwanted, irritating, and insignificant part of the NHS?




Friday, 13 October 2017

Antibiotic Apocalypse. Conventional Medicine needs Homeopathy

Professor Dame Sally Davis hates homeopathy, and she is NHS England's chief medical officer in the Department of Health. This is certainly not unusual, but it is a misfortunate - for her, her department, the NHS, and every patient who relies on pharmaceutical drugs for their health care.

Professor Dame Sally Davis has been talking about antibiotics again, and she is concerned. Antibiotics 'may be lost', she says, through overuse, and she is urging global leaders to tackle the growing threat of antibiotic resistance. She is giving this message to a meeting in Berlin of health officials from around the world. It is, she says, a "call to action" to tackle the problem.

This is not a new warning, medical experts have told us that conventional medicine's 'wonder' drug is being used too much, and that 25,000 people die across Europe each year because of drug-resistant infections. This morning, Professor Dame Sally Davies said that she was "really worried" that without effective antibiotic drugs, common medical procedures such as caesarean sections, cancer treatments and limb replacements could become too risky.

Professor Dame Sally Davis is right of course, and I have blogged about the problems of antibacterial resistance several times.

               In June 2015, I first heard her use the term 'antibiotic apocalypse', and wrote "Antibiotic Apocalypse. The BBC fails again to address the issue", suggesting that whilst she was right, the BBC (and the mainstream media) were asking her the wrong questions. Today, she has repeated the message, and the BBC asked the same questions.

               Later that year, in November 2015, I wrote another blog, when it was suggested I was discounting the serious situation we would be in if Antibiotic drugs failed. This was entitled "Antibiotic resistance. A problem only for conventional medicine?" Antibiotic was not a problem for homeopathy, or anyone who relies on homeopathic treatment. in the treatment of infectious illnesses.

               In May 2016, I blogged about "The Failure of Antibiotic Drugs" in which I outlined the harm that antibiotic drugs caused to patients, something never admitted by Professor Dame Sally Davis, or by conventional doctors throughout the world.

However, this morning I took particular note about her comments that antibiotic failure would jeopardise the future of certain surgical operations. Professor Dame Sally Davis is correct, of course. I could point out that many of these operations might be entirely unnecessary if the NHS embraced homeopathy, and other alternative therapies, as they would be more successful in preventing the need for many such operations, rather than pharmaceutical drugs which are often the reason they become  necesssary! But on this occasion let's focus on another issue.

How can alternative medicine help with surgery - notably the pain, and the danger of infection, created by operations? How can Acupuncture help with the pain? How can Homeopathy help with the infections?

I wondered whether Professor Dame Sally Davis had looked into this possibility, and set up meetings with their professional bodies. Probably not, as she hates homeopathy! Unfortunate. So what has happened during the two-and-a-half years since she last used the term 'Antibiotic Apocalypse'? From what she said this morning, not a lot, except that doctors were now prescribing 4.3% fewer antibiotics. Is this enough? No, she said. Apart from that, Professor Dame Sally Davis said she has been urging drug companies to come up with new antibiotics. Why are they not doing so? There is insufficient profit in it for them, not least because doctors were being urged to use less of them. The drug companies, of course, want them to use more of them!

Indeed, far from seeking to resolve an 'apocalyptic' problem by working co-operatively with alternative therapies, the department she advices is now seeking to ban the use of homeopathy within the NHS. The drowning woman, it would seem, has cut the cord to one ship that might just save her, and the conventional medical establishment, from a severe embarrassment. Perhaps Professor Dame Sally Davis saw that the ship was crewed by homeopaths, acupuncturists, and other therapists she despises so much.

Well, there are still lots of good homeopaths around who have been treating infectious diseases, safely and effectively, without antibiotics for decades. I am sure that they would not withdraw the offer of help, I don't suppose any of them will pull in the cord away whilst she splashes around in the water, with no-where to go but the direction in which conventional medicine is heading - downwards.

However, I am more concerned with patients, especially if they are getting fearful. To them I say, at the same time, that homeopaths and other alternative therapists, will be there for them too, to treat their infectious disease. And I repeat the message - antimicrobial resistance is not a problem for homeopathy But we have no surgeons, and if surgeons need help, they will need to talk to us, as soon as possible, because the crisis hits.



Homeopathy, the NHS, and Patient Choice

The conventional medical establishment is moving to ban all homeopathy from the NHS in England. They are doing so NOT because homeopathy is a danger to patients, like pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines; NOT because homeopathy cannot make patients better; NOT because patients do not want to use homeopathy for their illnesses. It is doing so purely and simply because the NHS, and the conventional medical establishment that controls it, has been captured by the pharmaceutical industry. They want to kill patient choice and health freedom.

To allow homeopathy on the NHS could lead to comparisons which conventional medicine has always found awkward. Why don't their drug treatments work? Why is the NHS in constant crisis? Why do homeopathic 'sugar pills' have such a wonderful effect? Why do patients continue to see homeopaths when they have to pay for the treatment?

It's not that homeopathy costs much, or that the NHS spends a lot of money on homeopathy. In a previous blog, Banning Homeopathy on the NHS, I calculated that homeopathy constituted just 0.001257% of the total NHS drugs budget.

This blog, written on 24th July 2017, outlined what the NHS were doing. It mentioned a petition to the government in support of homeopathy. In the blog I questioned whether homeopathy needed a place within the NHS. After all, it is not where most homeopathy is practiced in Britain. But the petition to government was well supported, and now the Department of Health has responded to it. I am reproducing that response here, commenting on what it says, and the government's position.

               "It is for local NHS organisations to decide on the commissioning and funding of these healthcare treatments. NHS England’s consultation on low value prescription items includes homeopathic treatments."

It would seem that Pontius Pilate rules within the Department of Health! It's nothing to do with us, guv'! We wash our hands of the whole thing! But can they do this without abandoning a key element of the government's policy on health? Read on.....

               "Information from NHS England (NHSE) shows that in 2015, the cost for all prescriptions dispensed in primary care, not including any dispensing costs or fees, was £9.27 billion, a 4.7% increase on the previous year. Due to the increasing cost, NHSE is leading a review of medicines which can be considered as being of low clinical value and develop new guidance for Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). "

Yes, yes. The pharmaceutical drugs bill IS enormous, and the government does need to control it. But that has nothing to do with homeopathy, and the 0.001257% of that budget spent on homeopathy will not have gone up!

               "On 21 July, NHSE launched a three month consultation on the draft guidance on low value prescription items which is based on the latest clinical evidence, including that from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Careful consideration has been given to ensure that particular groups of people are not disproportionately affected, and that principles of best practice on clinical prescribing are adhered to." 

The NHS regularly conducts these 'consultation' exercises when they are proposing to close down homeopathic treatment within the NHS. They did one prior to closing the homeopathy hospital in Lothian in 2014. A large number of patients, and former patients, spoke highly of the facility, and wanted it to continue. But NHS consultation is not about patients, it is about the vested interests of the conventional medical establishment, and their masters, the pharmaceutical industry! It was closed.

               "The commissioning guidance, upon which NHSE is consulting, will be addressed to CCGs to support them to fulfil their duties around the appropriate use of prescribing resources. This will need to be taken into account by CCGs in adopting or amending their own local guidance to their clinicians in primary care."

Most CCG's (Clinical Commissioning Groups) do not spend money on homeopathy, they have long since 'banned' it from the services they offer to patients in their area. This consultation is about preventing the remaining few CCG's from spending money on homeopathy.

               "The aim of this consultation is to provide individuals with information about the proposed national guidance and to seek people’s views about the proposals. NHSE welcomes the views of the public, patients, clinicians, commissioners and providers through this consultation process to help inform the final guidance. The consultation ends on 21 October. Links to the consultation can be found here: https://www.england.nhs.uk/2017/07/medicine-consultation/ and 
https://www.engage.england.nhs.uk/consultation/items-routinely-prescribed/

I am delighted that the Department of Health welcomes people's views! It is a question about whether minority views will be listened to, or whether instead the NHS will go further down the road of mono-medicine, that is, a 'one size fits all' health service, on the basis that if pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines are good enough for most people, they are good enough for everyone.

               "It is the responsibility of local NHS organisations to make decisions on the commissioning and funding of any healthcare treatments for NHS patients, such as homeopathy, taking account of issues to do with safety, clinical and cost-effectiveness and the availability of suitably qualified and regulated practitioners. "

Okay, well homeopathy complies with all that.

  • Homeopathy is safe (indeed, it is demonstrably safer than the conventional treatments that currently dominate the NHS). 
  • Homeopathy has been part of part of the clinical practice of the NHS since 1948, and to my knowledge its clinical practice has never been brought into question.
  • Homeopathy is cost-effective, consisting of a modest consultation fee, and the modest cost of homeopathic remedies.
  • Homeopaths, suitably qualified and regulated, are available throughout England, and the rest of the country (see the 'Find A Homeopath' website).

               "Complementary and alternative medicine (CAMs) treatments can, in principle, feature in a range of services offered by local NHS organisations. A treating clinician would take into account an individual’s circumstances and medical history in deciding what would be the most appropriate treatment for their condition. CCGs will have specific policies on the commissioning and funding of CAMs, and may have also developed local policies on priorities with regards to the funding of treatments. A GP would have to work within such policies in providing any treatments on the NHS."

Now, this is where government policy comes in, something that this Department of Health response seems to totally ignore. Note in the above response that treatments available to the patient are to be determined by the 'treating physician, who will decide "what would be the most appropriate treatment for their condition". Then cast you mind back to 2010, and the new government's White Paper. It made an important policy decision, easily reproduced here.

"No decision about me without me" 

Just a few simple words, but with massive meaning. They do NOT mean that the 'treating physician' will decide on 'the most appropriate treatment'. It puts the patient at the centre of treatment decisions. And many patients, including myself, will always choose homeopathic treatment rather than the pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines routinely handed out by the 'treating physicians' of the NHS.

So the government, and the Department of Health in particular, needs to decide what it's policy is, and if it seeks to place the patient at the centre of decision-making, central government cannot wash its hands of decisions that will only reduce and restrict patient choice. Not, at least, without admitting that it no longer believes in patient choice; or without making 'patient choice' part of the 'proposed national guidelines' which will inform CCG's in coming to their decision.

               "The Department of Health supports an approach to evidence-based prescribing which does not support the commissioning of services which are not clinically and cost effective. We are not aware of any evidence that demonstrates the therapeutic effectiveness of homeopathic products. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) does not currently recommend that homeopathy should be used in the treatment of any health condition, whilst primary care prescribing data shows that there has been a significant decline in the prescribing of homeopathic products over the last 10 years. Furthermore, a good number of NHS organisations are reviewing their funding of homeopathic treatments and some have already stopped funding such treatment altogether.

Here, at last, is the real position of the Department of Health.

Yet, look closely at all these people and organisations brought in by the Department of Health to decide what patients can, and cannot have in terms of medical treatment within the NHS.

  • the treating physician
  • CCG's
  • the evidence base of medical science
  • NICE

So is the patient in this brave new world of NHS reform? Are we moving, ever closer, towards "No decision about me without me"? Or is patient choice dead? Is the concept of health freedom something quite foreign to the Department of Health?

This response only reinforces my belief that patients are going to need an alternative health service, one that is populated by homeopaths, naturopaths, herbalists, acupuncturists, reflexologists, and other alternative therapists, one that is quite separate and distinct from the NHS. Why?

Conventional medicine is failing - fast. Doctors can no longer prescribe painkillers safely. There is an 'Antibiotic Apocalypse' on the way, according to the Chief Medical Officer. Benzodiazepine drugs are an ongoing disaster. Antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs are no better. So many pharmaceutical drugs are on the way to being withdrawn and no new drugs are coming through the pharmaceutical pipeline. The NHS is in constant crisis. It cannot recruit enough doctors, who cannot afford to pay their indemnity insurance for the damage their treatments cause to patients. And, on the other side, an ever-increasing number of patients are realising that the drugs and vaccines the NHS are handing out are harmful - patients are becoming resistant to them, and this will only get worse.

So let the NHS go. Let conventional medicine monopolise it, and allow it to fail alongside the pharmaceutical drugs industry. This particular patient may shed a quiet tear, the end of a socialist dream, making the best medicine freely available to all. But the NHS is no longer about patients, or patient choice, or health freedom, the things I care about. It operates for the drug companies that control it. So good riddance, and long live the medical therapies of the future.


Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Calpol - do you give it to your children?

Calpol is Paracetamol in syrup, and passed off as a safe medicine for children in Britain, and in many other countries. It is advertised to parents and children as being "tough on pain and fever, but gentle on delicate tummies"

Indeed, most parents will use Calpol believing that it is completely safe for their young children. There is little general information available to say that it might be harmful, particularly as it is such a readily available  'over-the-counter' medication, aimed specifically at children.

Yet as Calpol is Paracetamol it can cause the same serious and dangerous side effects of Paracetamol, especially in children   So although there are general warnings on the packets, such as "keep out of reach and sight of children" and "do not give any other products that contain paracetomol" the real dangers are not spelt out.

If they were, Calpol sales would plummet!

The paper insert in Calpol packets gives instructions about when not to give the medicine, when to speak to a doctor or pharmacist after giving the medicine, and a section on side-effects -which mentions the following:

     • Skin rashes and other signs of allergy.
     • Becoming unusually tired
     • Unexpected bruising or bleeding
     • Getting more infections than usual.

Yet the known side effects of paracetamol are more serious than this. They include liver damage, asthma, skin disease, cardiovascular problems and stroke, kidney failure, gastrointestinal bleeding, blood cancer - and death!

Liver and kidney damage is mentioned on the leaflet - if people "use medicine containing paracetomol every day for a long time (several months or more)".

Unfortunately, this indication about timing is contrary to the most recent research about adults taking Paracetamol, which indicates that organ damage can arise in just a few days rather than months!

Still, a packet of Calpol I saw recently did say that it did not have any added sugar! Well, that's all okay then! But I still think I would be looking for a safer, gentler, more effective, homeopathic alternative to dealing with a child in pain!

Monday, 2 October 2017

SIDs, Cot Death. Can we trust what conventional medicine tells us?

I have written about SIDs on several occasions, pointing out that conventional medicine claims it does not know what causes SIDs (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome - or cot death), and that one reason for this is that the only known cause for cot deaths are vaccines. Perhaps it is a kind of intentional amnesia.

The disease inducing effects of pharmaceutical drugs. SIDs

Sudden Infant Death. Is it caused by conventional medical drugs?

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDs), Co-Sleeping, and the DPT vaccine

The USA Vaccine Court has recently come to an important decision, that there was sufficient evidence to rule that vaccination caused a child to die from SIDs. The ruling can be found here. It is an important ruling because it shows that independent assessment of the evidence can show two things, first, that vaccines are not safe, and second, that the cause of SIDs, or cot deaths, are not unknown.

This is in direct contractions to what conventional medicine tells us - that vaccines are safe, and that the cause of cot deaths are unknown.  The court looked at the package inserts of the vaccine involved, the DPT vaccine, and found that they included a long list of severe adverse reaction. It would appear that when doctors tell us that vaccines are safe they do so only by disregarding the information in front of them.

There are now millions of parents who, over the years, have testified to the fact that their children, healthy prior to a vaccination, became unhealthy and severely damaged shortly afterwards. Conventional medicine has routinely denied such claims. Anecdotal, they say. Unscientific, they pontificate. There is no evidence linking SIDs to vaccines, they say, hoping that no-one will read the evidence in the package insert.

The vaccine court has not usually been so open or honest in the years it has functioned, paying USA taxpayers money out in compensation for the damage caused by the pharmaceutical industry. This decision suggests that something is happening. Perhaps the criticism of the court, hitherto a good friend of the drug companies, has been heard. Perhaps it is getting increasingly difficult to get away with stating that vaccines are safe when they are clearly not.

In this case, the subject of the petition, JB., was born 4 weeks prematurely, and when he was 5 months old he attended his 'well baby' meeting. JB's dad said he was smiling during the meeting, and he was described as "healthy, co-operative, well-nourished and well developed". He had me numerous 4-month developmental milestones, despite his premature birth. He was then vaccinated. Later that day, according to his dad, HB was no longer laughing or cooing like he normally did. He was not moving as much, and he seemed quiet and withdrawn. That night he developed a fever, and did not sleep well. Less than 24 hours later, JB was dead.

How many times have we heard similar accounts? How often have these been ignored by conventional medicine?

How can we imaging what the parents go through, the fathers and mothers of normal healthy babies, who visit their doctors, who they trust, and accept vaccination because they are told they are safe?

Why did these parents win the case when so many others lost? Apparently the case was well documented, the medical examination showed that the child was healthy. It was evidence difficult for doctors to deny, otherwise, presumably, they would have denied it.

So what is conventional medicine doing in order to find out the cause of SIDs? Have a look at this research, and try to fathom what they are looking at! All too technical for most people!

               "..... research is directed at defining the causes of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)..... testing the idea that SIDS ..... is due to a developmental brainstem defect in autonomic and/or respiratory control during sleep. Focusing specifically on the arcuate nucleus in the ventral medulla area of the brainstem ..... (the) team is identifying abnormalities that put an infant at risk for sudden death during sleep. While continuing to study the anatomy and neurochemistry of the ventral medulla in SIDS victims ..... (the) team is also looking at the function and pathology of the ventral medulla in animal models. The ultimate goals of this research are to define ventral medullary abnormalities in living infants and to suggest ways of preventing the abnormalities from leading to sudden infant death."

Well that's clear then. Except it's not! Like most scientific medical research it is difficult for most people to understand this. It is looking for cause from within the body, it is assuming that there is something wrong internally. Perhaps, it other words, it is deliberately obfuscatory. It is failing to look in the right place. Intentionally? Would a genuine study into the possibility that vaccine damage caused SIDs get funding from the main funder of medical science - the pharmaceutical industry?

There is a further question. Why do parents have to take such situations to court in order to find out why their child had died? Why does a court have to hear the case to conclude that the proximity of the sequence - a healthy child - a vaccination - a dead child - might suggest that the vaccine was the cause of death. Is it really possible that doctors, paedriatricians, and pathologists were unable to see the possible link? Are all these professional medics in denial? Do they have to be in denial to maintain their position within the conventional medical establishment?

Instead it falls to organisations like Green Med Info to listen to parents, to make the (all-to-obvious) link, and to try to inform the public of the dangers of vaccination. Green Med Info have produced a database. It says, amongst many other things, that there has been over 600 cases of SIDs following vaccination in the years 1990 to 1997 - that is, between 20 and 30 years ago, and just in the USA. And still, the conventional medical establishment tells us that they do not know the cause of cot deaths.

In Britain, the NHS estimates that about 300 babies "die suddenly and unexpectedly every year". But, we are told, we should not to be alarmed as "SIDS is rare and the risk of your baby dying from it is low". Well, okay. But the NHS does not tell us how many deaths there should be before we are alarmed! And what do they tell us about the cause of SID's, and 300 death per year?

               "The exact cause of SIDS is unknown, but it's thought to be down to a combination of factors."

So what are these factors? Experts, we are told, believe that SIDS occurs at a particular stage in a baby’s development, and that it affects babies who are vulnerable to certain environmental stresses. It mentions premature birth, low birthweight, and "other reasons not yet identified". It mentions tobacco smoke, getting tangled in bedding, a minor illness, or a breathing obstruction. It mentions an association with co-sleeping (sleeping with parents).

               "Babies who die of SIDS are thought to have problems in the way they respond to these stresses and how they regulate their heart rate, breathing and temperature."

But not a mention of any link with vaccination! The conventional medical establishment maintains its silence. It is in denial. It points to an important conclusion. Doctors cannot be trusted to tell us the truth about SIDs, and cot death.