“All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to remain silent”

Apparently, patients are losing trust in doctors and scientists.

Dame Sally Davies, the UK’s Chief Medical Officer has decided to make the research behind medical treatments ‘much more transparent’ amid concerns that the public increasingly believe that doctors and medical scientists are “untrustworthy”. The reasons, she claimed, were that doctors over –medicate and prescribe medicines too freely, while scientists are distrusted because of Big Pharma funding.

A BBC ‘File on Four’ documentary on Alteplase, which breaks down blood clots seems to have prompted her action. According to The Times, stroke ‘expert’, Alistair Buchan has said that researchers should publish every figure behind their claims about whether or not a new drug is useful.

But, this move to transparency may not be quite what you or I really hope for. Buchan goes on to talk about negative comments in the media “putting stroke treatment back to where we started”.

Let’s get a few things straight. Peter C. Gotzsche, head of the prestigious Nordic Cochrane Centre has published a book entitled, “Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma has Corrupted Healthcare”. In February there was a report from the FDA stating that at least 40 per cent of clinical trials were flawed, and recently Dr. Richard Horton, Editor-in-chief of the top rated medical journal, The Lancet, stated that much of the published research data on drugs is unreliable and at least half is false. “The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.”

Gotszche notes that prescription drugs are the third largest cause of death in the Western world after heart disease and cancer.

Patients are right to have concerns.

The smart public knows this – we know that Big Pharma has spent years bribing and falsifying. Fraud seems second nature to some companies. In the last couple of years Glaxo has been hit with massive fines from America to China.

The added problem is that the hierarchy in medicine has made the doctor complicit, whether he is an ‘expert’ oncologist or a local GP.

Doctors – it’s your own fault patients don’t trust you any more. ‘All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to remain silent”.

Yes, we are concerned that you over-medicate. Polypharmacy (dishing out a cocktail of drugs to patients) is the number one cause of death in the state of Florida where the average age is higher than most other places. Thirteen drugs per patient is not uncommon. When did you ever see a clinical trial featuring thirteen drugs?!

But the bigger issue is the dismissive nature of many doctors. Offered statins by his doctor, a friend of mine asked about the side-effects. “There aren’t any” came the reply. “Well what about heart and muscle problems”. “They aren’t problems – we have tests for those”.

The doctor didn’t even consider talking about increased risks of diabetes.

I listen to patients offered Taxol and told there is nothing to worry about when they ask about side-effects. Yet German research presented at the European Breast Cancer Symposium a few years ago expressed real concerns on it causing cancer spread.

Meanwhile the same doctors tell patients not to take supplements, when there is no research on conflict. It’s not just that some doctors are corrupted by Big Pharma bribery. Their advice is a mess.

So, what is the answer? Unfortunately, Dame Sally is looking at ‘a proliferation of contradictory claims in the press and scientific journals’. There’s a possible next step.

Stop the media reporting that drugs might be dodgy. Then scientists and doctors will become trustworthy again. Brilliant!

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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE

I was asked recently what I thought of ‘alternative medicine’. I replied as I have consistently done for a number of years, ‘There is no such thing as alternative medicine. A treatment either works or it doesn’t’.

If you talk to cancer patients and ask them what they want a treatment to do, it is simply to cure them.
Here I side with Dr. Henry Friedman of the Preston Robert Tisch Cancer Center at Duke University Medical Center, Carolina. He said, on the front page of the website, ‘I believe cancer can be cured; it may be in remission but it can be in remission permanently’. Brave words from a man who treats people with gliomas, which are often described as ‘terminal’.

So his aim is to get a patient into remission and, ideally, even cure them.

Talk to patients. Their aim is to be cured. It’s as simple as that. ‘Manage your cancer with drugs for the rest of your life, madam?’ ‘No thanks, I’d rather be cured.’

This fits with the way things are going for cancer patients too. In a 2012 report, the American Cancer Society concluded that since 2006 there had been an explosion in research into complementary therapies and that there was ‘overwhelming evidence’ that certain of them like diet and exercise could increase survival and even prevent a cancer returning.

Sounds like a result to me. And obviously to patients at large.

Which leads me to the fact that there is a humungous problem with cancer drugs. They don’t cure cancer. In 2012 it was proven beyond any reasonable doubt, that at the heart of all cancers lay cancer stem cells. An ‘inconvenient truth’ is that while drugs can cause a decrease in tumour size of 50, 60 or even 70%, as of today there is not one single drug known to man that kills off the cancer stem cells at the heart of the tumour.

But despite this, 54 per cent of people do beat cancer (or at least survive 5 years – which, I agree, is not really the same).

Cue Dr. Young S. Kim of the National Cancer Institute in America who concluded from her research in 2012, that people who employed a poor diet saw their cancers return. While people who employed a good diet – including foods that were high in sulphoraphanes, curcumin, piperine, EGCG, choline, genistein, vitamin A and E, and a couple of others – could prevent the cancer returning. She even went so far as to say that these bioactive compounds could be obtained via quality supplements.

The fact is, that very few patients nowadays rely on their oncologist’s medicines to cure a cancer. They may use them, but they employ a range of their own treatments from fasting, juice diets, colourful Mediterranean diets, yoga, IVC, weight control, even (perish the thought) localized hyperthermia, HIFU and the dreaded apricot kernels. Several women I know have used a herbal poultice called Black Salve. Oncologists treating the ladies both said the same thing.: Having confirmed that the ‘thing’ in the jar was indeed a tumour, they said they had never seen anything like it. But it was beyond their training and they could comment no more.

Of course not all these treatments have been through ‘The rigours of a clinical trial’. Actually, ‘rigourous trial’ when it comes to drugs is a bit of an oxymoron. Even the FDA has just concluded that almost 40% of drug clinical trials were sloppy and inaccurate. Worse, Peter Grotzsche, the head of the highly respected Nordic Cochrane Centre, has a book called ‘Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma has Corrupted Healthcare’. The title says it all. And it is the British Medical Association’s 2014 book of the year!!

Radiotherapy and surgery have hardly a clinical trial between them. Surgery, even biopsies, have been linked to increased metastatic activity. Cutting out a colorectal cancer is certainly no guarantee that the cancer won’t return in your lungs or liver.

Brachytherapy, used for prostate cancer is now used in some parts of America for up to 60% of breast cancers, meriting huge protests. Why? Errr, there are no clinical trials to support it. The new sexy Cyberknife will cause less damage – who says? Show me the proof. Does it prevent a cancer returning?

Meanwhile Hospitals feed the cancer with ice cream, sweet desserts and milky, sugary tea. The drink and snack food dispensers all offer chocolate bars, and cans of fizzy soft drinks full of High Fructose Corn Syrup. Leading cancer charities say there is no harm in feeding cancer patients cows’ dairy and sugar. They are out of their tiny minds. 2014 research showed sugar CAUSED cancer. 2013 research showed people with the highest blood sugar levels survived least.

And so it goes on.

A subplot over the last few years included research from Johns Hopkins that showed chemo drugs actually caused a cancer to return – and stronger; German research that showed Taxol caused metastases 6 months after treatment was finished and Scientists from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Amherst showed in research published in January 2015 that some chemotherapy drugs actually caused cancer stem cells to re-grow. Another ‘inconvenient truth’?

So, there are treatments that have the power to prevent a cancer returning. And there are others that don’t. Some may even make matters worse.

The ones that do keep cancers at bay – diet, exercise, quality supplements and a few others, are thus treatments that work. The others – chemo, radio and surgery are but unproven alternatives supported by dodgy research, vested interest, mafia-like unions, some paid skeptics and often simple fraud.

Patients are right to think of self-empowerment. Offering chemical potions that simply don’t give them what they want – preventing a cancer from returning – that’s just unproven alternative medicine.

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GlaxoSmithKlein – an endemic culture of fraud?

GSK the UK pharmaceutical to deodorant company is fast making a name for itself with brand values that include bribery, fraud and corruption, plus a fair smattering of junk science thrown in for good measure.

You would think that one bribery case would be enough to force the board to review its whole business strategy worldwide – especially as getting caught in America was extremely serious. The criminal fraud case involved a variety of drugs and issues such as making false claims, ‘exaggerating’ research conclusions, telling lies and bribery. That case in America cost them $3 billion plus change. Well, it was the largest fraud case in medical history. At this point, most boards of companies would be looking at themselves and putting ‘best practice’ into place to avoid any chance of a repetition.

But it doesn’t seem quite like this at GSK. Over the past months allegations of fraud, bribing doctors and even sex scandals have emerged in the great frontier market of China. A whistleblower sent an e mail in January alleging that doctors were sent expensive gifts and even cash. They would be invited to attend conferences, which were really all-expenses-paid holidays. (Isn’t this exactly what happens in Europe and America?). And payments were allegedly channeled through a ‘travel agency’ business. Hardly dodgy at all, really.

After a Private detective, Peter Humphrey, hired by GSK to investigate a smear campaign against them, reported that he thought claims might well be true and he himself was jailed this week for buying and selling private information, the likely outcome in China looks not much better than it did in America. Chinese authorities have filed criminal charges of bribery, corruption and fraud against Mark Reilly, the former head of GSK operations in China with the Serious Fraud Squad crawling all over the company – the UK is now helping their Chinese counterparts.

Such allegations, if proven, would also bring the American Authorities back into play. The US Dept. of Justice is now looking into possible breaches of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Britain may also investigate as it has a new ‘Bribery Act’.

But now GSK faces new corruption claims in Syria where it is alleged to have bribed doctors and officials to drive sales. Of course, there are some that would say that GSK was just being caught up in politics, given the war and views on Britain held locally. But then GlaxoSmithKlein is also being investigated for bribery in Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Poland.

GSK has issued a statement saying that they are ‘committed to taking disciplinary actions’ if guilt is proven and that they have ‘zero tolerance’ of unethical behavior. One wonders quite who it is that has the ‘zero tolerance’?

And isn’t this all huff and puff? Par for the course? Peter C. Gotzsche, a Danish Medical researcher and leader of the prestigious Nordic Cochrane Centre has written a complete review of the atrocities that Big Pharma routinely get up to in his book, Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma has Corrupted Healthcare (first published 2013; ISBN 9781846198847). You can guess the atrocities he talks about. Anyone with an open mind knew them long ago.

We have covered GSK in Junk Science before – that time they had been in top medical journal, BMJ, with the finding that 80% of flu vaccine research did not hold up to proper scrutiny.

We also covered this: Just a decade ago Dr. Allen Roses the worldwide Vice President of genetics and a top executive of the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline stated simply that “The vast majority of drugs – more than 90% – only work in 30 to 50% of the people.”

Isn’t that the crux of the problem? If GSK made wonderful drugs that worked for the majority of people, why would doctors need to be bribed to use them? Maybe the drugs aren’t that wonderful; and/or maybe all the competitors are playing the same games too?

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Breast cancer screening useless

I hate to say ‘I told you so’. I hate to say it about so many things I have said since I started this ‘mission’ in cancer 10 years ago. The problem is that when you come afresh, with no baggage, no vested interests, no politics, you see things more clearly.

Now here’s another. I told you so. ‘Breast cancer screening fails to cut deaths from breast cancer’. I have been absolutely consistent about this. Why? Because research has been saying this for nearly 10 years and I read and use research. But for some reason the powers that be have consistently ignored it.

Be clear: This is not my conclusion but that that of a ‘landmark study’. To quote: ‘25 years of breast cancer screening has failed to significantly reduce deaths from the disease, according to a landmark study’

While the number of women who die from breast cancer has decreased over the last 20 years, there is “no evidence” to suggest this is because of screening programmes according to researchers from Oxford University (Journal Royal Society of Medicine).

After research from America and the Nordic Cochrane Centre showed that screening mammograms caused more harm than good, we also presented research that if women had DNA mutations the last thing they should have was an annual mammogram. Several months ago, the Department of Health review also found that for every case of breast cancer ‘diagnosed’ at least three women underwent treatment for cancer which would never have harmed or killed them!

Despite all this Cancer Research UK and the powers that be have been insisting in recent months that screening mammograms save roughly 1500 lives a year. There is simply no evidence for this. It borders on quackery.

The new study even showed that the largest drop in mortality has been in women under the age of 40, who are not routinely screened for the disease.

Toqir Mukhtar, of the Department of Public Health (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_137712.html), who led the latest study said, “We found in our study that the unscreened age group had the greatest reduction in breast cancer mortality, which shows you that screening has not delivered the desired effect at a population level.”
About 1.6 million women are tested each year under the NHS breast screening programme, with women aged 50 to 70 automatically invited for screening every three years by their GP. The programme, which cost £75 million in 2011, is being extended and will apply to all women aged 47 to 73 by 2016.

The new study examined 39 years’ worth of data on breast cancer deaths for different age groups. 20,000 medical records from Oxford were studied, with each listing breast cancer on the death certificate. This was then compared with general data for England on deaths where breast cancer was specifically marked as the underlying cause.

If the screening programme had been responsible for lowering death rates, the scientists explained, they would expect to see the largest decrease among women who would have been offered at least one screening test. They did not.

At the national level it seems better treatment from drugs and complementary therapies are likely to be contributing to the better survival rate. 20 years ago hardly any women used a complementary therapy. Now almost two thirds use one or more.

To read the sorry ten year tale click on http://www.canceractive.com/cancer-active-page-link.aspx?n=1420

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