Monday, 29 November 2010

A plug for the charity Homeopathy: Medicine of the 21st Century (H:MC21)

Homeopathy Cares

Homeopathy has a history of success in clinical practice

• In Cuba homeopathy has enabled 2.3 million people to be cheaply and effectively protected against endemic Leptospirosis. [1]
• At Bristol Homeopathic Hospital 70.7% of 6,500 patients with chronic conditions benefited from homeopathic treatment and had reduced need for conventional medication. [2]
• About 6 million people in the UK choose homeopathy despite the fact that for the vast majority this means that they have to pay for their treatment. [3]
• There is considerable research evidence for homeopathy, with more randomised controlled trials being positive than negative. For more information see www.britishhomeopathic.org.

Homeopathy offers solutions to the NHS

• The NHS spends £11 billion annually on conventional drugs out of a budget of £100 billion, and this cost keeps rising, so it is essential to look seriously at alternatives. [4]
• Only 0.001% of the NHS drugs budget is spent on homeopathic medicines, and these are mainly used to treat patients with chronic health problems who have not been helped, despite great cost, by conventional means. [5,6]
• The NHS also spends £2 billion annually on treating the adverse side effects of conventional drugs. Homeopathy has no side effects. [7]
• Even a small increase in spending on homeopathy could produce dramatic savings, cutting waste and increasing patient satisfaction.

Opposition to homeopathy is based on propaganda

• Homeopathy has a growing evidence base, but according to the British Medical Journal, of the 2,500 most commonly used treatments in the NHS, 51% have unknown effectiveness, and only 11% have been shown to be beneficial.[8,9]
• The leading so-called ‘expert’ and critic of homeopathy, Professor Edzard Ernst, has admitted that he has no qualifications in homeopathy.[10]
• The leading organisation opposing homeopathy, Sense About Science, is funded by pharmaceutical companies and relies on a strategy of propaganda stunts rather than scientific research.[11,12]
• The leading popular book critical of homeopathy (Trick or Treatment?) has been shown to be scientifically unreliable. It was co-authored by Simon Singh (a trustee of Sense About Science) and Professor Ernst.[13]
• The recent Science and Technology Committee report on homeopathy was voted for by only three MPs. Of these only one attended the hearings and he has strong links to Sense About Science (Dr Evan Harris).[14,15,16]

A vision for an economic and effective medical future

H:MC21 believes that the NHS should increase the integration of homeopathic practitioners into front-line healthcare whilst monitoring both clinical and cost benefits.

H:MC21 believes that, by sharing clinical experience and skills in this way, homeopathic and conventional practitioners can provide the safest, most economic and most effective service to patients.

H:MC21 believes that this will allow the NHS to confirm the benefits of homeopathy in the real world of clinical practice.

References

1. G. Bracho et al., ‘Large-scale application of highly-diluted bacteria for Leptospirosis epidemic control’, Homeopathy, 99 (2010),156-66, available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20674839.
2. D.S. Spence, E.A. Thompson, S.J. Barron, ‘Homeopathic Treatment for Chronic Disease: A 6-Year, University-Hospital Outpatient Observational Study’, JACM, 2005, 11:793-798.
3. Professor Kent Woods, Chief Executive of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), response to Q211, House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, Evidence Check: Homeopathy (2010), p. Ev 70, at   http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/45/45.pdf
4. Mr Mike O’Brien, Minister for Health Services, Department of Health, response to Q244, Evidence Check, p. Ev 73.
5. O’Brien, response to Q244, Evidence Check, p. Ev 73.
6. Spence et al.
7. Sarah Boseley, ‘Adverse drug reactions cost NHS £2bn’, The Guardian, 3 April 2008,
  http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2008/apr/03/nhs.drugsandalcohol, accessed 14 November 2008.
8. http://www.britishhomeopathic.org /research/
9. ‘How much do we know?’, BMJ Clinical Evidence at   http://clinicalevidence.bmj.com/ceweb/about/knowledge.jsp.
10. ‘Interview mit Professor Edzard Ernst, Exeter’, Hom√∂opathische Nachrichten, April 2010, 1-3, translation at http://www.hmc21.org/ #/edzard-ernst/4543212059.
11. Funding information taken from the annual accounts at the Charity Commission.
12. Strategy information from the ‘Memorandum submitted by Sense About Science’ (HO36), Evidence Check, pp. Ev 7-8.
13. William Alderson, Halloween Science (Stoke Ferry: Homeopathy: Medicine for the 21st Century, 2009), available at http://www.hmc21.org/#/ halloween-science/4535659799.
14. ‘Formal minutes’, Evidence Check, pp. 48-50.
15. Register of Members’ Interests, available at http://www.theyworkforyou.com/regmem/?p=10261, accessed 22 May 2010.
16. http://www.senseaboutscience.org.uk/index.php/site/other/491/, accessed 22 May 2010.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Cost of swine flu "pandemic" - socalled. £1.2bn

Sorry for being late in posting this. For posterity, as so many of us publicly warned the authorities not to go down this route but they did, I think it is important to remember the cost of this fiasco. It is also illustrative to see what very much looks like a whitewash when what the public needed was an honest account of what the Labour Government and their medical advisors at the time did wrong and how many people suffered as a result.

http://news.uk.msn.com/uk/articles.aspx?cp-documentid=153993463

Swine flu pandemic cost UK £1.2bn

Dame Deirdre Hine discusses the report into the UK's response to the swine flu pandemic

The swine flu pandemic cost Britain more than £1.2 billion despite being much less severe than feared, a Government-commissioned review has found.

Warnings that 65,000 people in the UK could die in a worst-case scenario proved far too pessimistic - and the actual death toll during the outbreak was 457.

An inquiry into the handling of the emergency concluded that the Government's response was "proportionate and effective". [Comment: Well they would say that wouldn't they?]

But it criticised the restrictive contracts with drug companies which have left a stockpile of over 20 million unused doses of swine flu vaccines for England alone. The review revealed that Britain spent £654 million preparing for a possible flu pandemic, and £587 million responding to last year's H1N1 outbreak - a total of £1.24 billion. This included £1.01 billion on drugs, among them anti-virals, vaccines and antibiotics, as well as £115.4 million on items like face masks and respirators.

Critics questioned why the bill for tackling the pandemic was so large, with one describing Britain's response as a "hugely expensive farce". But Dame Deirdre Hine, a former chief medical officer for Wales who led the review, defended the cost. "I think we have got to set these figures, which seem enormous, against the potential for saving lives," she told reporters. "It is fairly clear that there probably were lives saved of very young people, young children and so on." [Comment: let's have the evidence, and also the stats for those who died and those injured by the vaccine]

After the H1N1 outbreak in April last year, the Government made plans to buy up to 132 million doses of swine flu vaccine, enough to give everyone in the UK two doses. But the contracts it signed with drug manufacturers GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Baxter were too inflexible, the review found. Baxter agreed to a "break clause" allowing the Government to cancel its order for some of the doses but GSK refused.

The Department of Health said it ordered 90 million vaccine doses from GSK, of which it eventually agreed to take 34.8 million. It also placed an order for 36 million doses with Baxter, 9.2 million of which were purchased before the contract was cancelled. About 4.88 million doses of the vaccine were given to people in England in priority groups such as pregnant women and sufferers of asthma, diabetes and heart disease.

The Department of Health said it still held just over 20 million doses of swine flu vaccine for England, with shelf lives that run out by October 2011. Dame Deirdre's review team said commercial confidentiality prevented them from revealing how much money would have been saved if the Government's vaccine contracts had included break clauses. But their report said: "The lack of such a clause in the advance purchase agreements for both contracts consequently exposed the Exchequer to some risk."

Mark Wallace, campaign director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "The swine flu response has proved to be a hugely expensive farce. Serious questions must be asked about why so much was spent on combating a threat that turned out not to be very serious. It's unacceptable to hide the details of this massive bill behind the excuse of commercial confidentiality. We need full details and full answers about this scandalous waste of money."

NHS funding for orthodox medicine risks misleading patients

Yes, I am deliberately transposing the words "NHS funding for homeopathy risks misleading patients" which Sir John Beddington allegedly said.

It was reported in the Guardian, which, one assumes, is proud of producing a regular flow of anti-homeopathy articles,

"Sir John Beddington, the government's chief scientific adviser, said patients might believe homeopathic treatments could protect them against serious illnesses, or treat existing conditions, because GPs and hospitals are allowed to prescribe them on the NHS."

I think Beddington is a fool (here I am being polite because I'm an Englishman) to trot out a comment which suggests that a proven alternative and safe form of medicine, unlike the current socalled orthodox medicine, doesn't work. Oh, sorry, I forgot for a moment that he's terribly important - Professor of Applied Population Biology (What?) and is (Labour appointed) Chief Scientific Adviser at £165,000 pa. And, like the hierarchy of the BMA, clearly wants homeopathy killed, which incidentally would make orthodox medicine's monopoly on healthcare complete. Aren’t monopolies meant to be unlawful? Why isn’t the Office of Fair Trading investigating the anti-competitive practices of the BMA?

If Beddington took the trouble to check, he'd find that loads of (“scientifically trained”) doctors through the last couple of hundred years have chosen voluntarily to go over to prescribing homeopathic remedies for the very reason that their orthodox remedies weren't curing their patients. In fact some orthodox remedies were killing or maiming them. These doctors have written loads of books about their experiences. And loads of doctors have cured with homeopathy serious, life threatening illnesses where the conventional medicine of the day had no answers, and used homeopathics effectively prophylactically. And I'm not just talking about curing patients in epidemics eg cholera, typhus, Yellow fever, dyptheria in the old days (see http://www.whale.to/v/winston.html), but recently in Cuba's leptospirosis epidemic in 2007

So, Prof B, just read these snippets:

"One physician in a Pittsburgh hospital asked a nurse if she knew
anything better than what he was doing, because he was losing many
cases. "Yes, Doctor, stop aspirin and go down to a homeopathic
pharmacy, and get homeopathic remedies." The Doctor replied: "But that
is homeopathy." "I know it, but the homeopathic doctors for whom I have
nursed have not lost a single case."--W. F. Edmundson, MD, Pittsburgh"

“In Cuba, Leptospirosis is recorded by an efficient national surveillance programme. Its incidence correlates closely with heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding. In late 2007, in response to a developing epidemic, and with only enough vaccine to treat 15,000 high-risk people, the government decided to treat the entire population of the region, over one year of age, with a homeopathic medicine. This was prepared from the inactivated causative organism by the Cuban National Vaccine Institute.

The homeopathic medicine was given to the 2.3 million population of the provinces usually worst affected. Within a few weeks the number of cases had fallen from the forecast 38 to 4 cases per 100,000 per week, significantly fewer than the historically-based forecast for those weeks of the year. The 8.8 million population of the other provinces did not receive homeopathic treatment and the incidence was as forecast. The effect appeared to be sustained: there was an 84% reduction in infection in the treated region in the following year (2008) when, for the first time, incidence did not correlate with rainfall. In the same period, incidence in the untreated region increased by 22%.” http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/197128.php

Doesn't that make you wonder whether you are talking nonsense, Prof B? Oh, I interrupted you .....

"I have made it completely clear that there is no scientific basis for homeopathy beyond the placebo effect and that there are serious concerns about its efficacy," Professor Beddington told the Commons science and technology committee today.

“He went on to warn that government funding for homeopathy risked legitimising unproven treatments and that patients could harm their health by choosing these over conventional vaccines and medicines.”

Well, Prof B, did you ever hear of something called the swine flu pandemic on which the last Labour Government wasted over £1.2bn of the taxpayer's money and risked harming the health of the British nation with the swine flu vaccine? Perhaps you've forgotten about the nasty side effects it had on so many, and perhaps you've forgotten that homeopathy doesn't have adverse side effects, and that homeopaths are daily called upon to treat the adverse effects of orthodox drugs? The efficacy and safety of that vaccine for all was unproven at the time this country's Government and medical authorities enthusiastically endorsed it. And do you recall the massive percentage of GPs and nurses who when polled said they would never take the vaccine themselves?

What’s that?

“Professor Beddington cited the case of a man who caught malaria after being advised to take a homeopathic preparation to protect against the disease.”

Well, Prof B, there is no orthodox malaria drug which has protected 100% of those given it by their doctors from malaria. And their side effects? Maybe you didn’t know that an orthodox-doctor-prescribed malaria drug ruined my honeymoon and made me so sick that I couldn’t move for days and only got better when I stopped taking it. Yes, I WAS BEING POISONED.

I doubt you’d want to believe it, but I recently had a patient who’d contracted typhoid while on holiday (confirmed by tests). The reason I had him – for homeopathic treatment – was because orthodox medicine wasn’t curing him. In fact he was feeling very ill indeed, had a lot of nasty symptoms, and was getting very concerned. Two homeopathic remedies and three days later he was feeling so much better he returned to work. In homeopathy we are used to such cases. But do you see us saying that all of orthodox medicine should be scrapped? Not often. But then, we homeopaths generally have open minds. I’m sorry that you don’t. Hence the headline for this posting.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Your Human Rights to Health are under attack!

This is an incredibly important topic for everyone who believes as this blog does that it is a basic human right not to have your Government or a Government sitting in Belgium tell you what you can or cannot put into your mouth or use in any other way you reasonably choose, or deny or restrict any individual the right of access to natural herbs or supplements to treat themselves, or their patients if they are a natural therapist.

I've extracted below the whole of an article at the URL mentioned. It's written from a US perspective but it's nonetheless applicable to us all in EU.

Fine for those who are not "into" treating themselves with natural remedies with little or no side effects, and who prefer to trot along to doctor trusting him/her to make decisions for them about stuffing some noxious chemicals down them. I'm happy for them if they are comfortable with the "what synthetic drug can I sell you?" system and turn a blind eye to the side effects. But for the large minority of us who don't buy into that system, who do our homework on what natural substances are available for us to self-treat safely and effectively, or who wish to consult a natural therapist on that subject, and have them prescribe us accordingly, this level of control is totally unacceptable. Natural healthcare has been effectively and safely used for generations without the burdensome controls now being imposed, and there is no reason to change this.

Let's all support the Alliance for Natural Health's legal challenge to the new EU laws, and let's have some public naming and shaming. It's high time that the bumpkins who have the impudence to interfere in our lives in this way were "outed" so that we can where possible deprive them of any future influence over us and try and make their lives very much less comfortable.

http://healthfreedoms.org/2010/11/09/traditional-medicines-to-become-illegal-in-europe/

In less than a year, virtually all medicinal herbs will be illegal in the European Union.

It sounds like a bad April Fool’s joke, but it’s not. On the first of April next year, thousands of products associated with traditional medicine will become illegal throughout the European Union.

April 1, 2011, is the date the Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive (THMPD) comes into force throughout Europe. Many herbal products—including those already sold safely as food supplements—will need to be registered under THMPD if they are to be made available. But registration involves a series of eligibility and technical challenges as well as prohibitive costs, so a large number of traditional medicines will be prevented from being registered. This is especially true if the medicines are made by smaller companies with low annual sales volumes—a fairly common occurrence with traditional medicines.

In their take-no-prisoners strategy to wipe out every penny of competition and gain complete control of the health of the people, Big Pharma and Agribusiness have scored a major win in Europe. Similar, potentially devastating battles are also underway in the U.S.

How can this be happening?

The secret weapon used by drug companies is trade law. According to Gaia Health:
“Rather than treating food and traditional medicines as human rights issues, they have been treated as trade issues. That makes the desires of large corporations the focus of food and herbal law, rather than the needs and desires of people.
It’s this twisting that has resulted in the FDA’s making outrageously absurd statements, such as claiming that Cheerios and walnuts quite literally become drugs simply because of health claims made for them.”

A related concern is that laws and regulations that are enacted in Europe often influence US policy—and a negative outcome over there is a dangerous precedent that could be adopted here at home. So preserving access in the EU is absolutely critical to our own health freedoms.

Our colleagues at the Alliance for Natural Health International (ANH-Intl), together with the European Benefyt Foundation (EBF), have established a joint working group to coordinate their response to this issue. They plan a three-pronged attack:

1. Force a judicial review of THMPD as being an unsuitable vehicle for assessing traditional medicines. Not a single Ayurvedic or traditional Chinese medicine product has been registered under it. This will be expensive—please see the ANH website about how you can help - at http://www.anh-europe.org/about-us.

2. Change the EU food supplement regulations. The current regulations say that herbal products previously sold as food supplements are to be reclassified as medicines; a food or herb preparation is considered “novel” (and thus banned from sale) if it cannot be proved that one or more of its ingredients had been used significantly in the EU before May 1997; and health claims made by many herbal products are banned, limiting consumer choice.

3. Facilitate a new regulatory framework for traditional medicinal products to replace THMPD and expand its scope. This would regulate not only over-the-counter herbal medicines, but practitioner-prescribed and pharmacy-dispensed supplements as well. The European Benefyt Foundation has been working to develop such a framework for over a year.