MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

big pharma

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On this blog and elsewhere, I have heard many strange arguments against COVID-19 vaccinations. I get the impression that most proponents of so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) hold or sympathize with such notions. Here is a list of those arguments that have come up most frequently together with my (very short) comments:

COVID is not dangerous

It’s just a flu and nothing to be really afraid of, they say. Therefore, no good reason exists for getting vaccinated. This, I think, is easily countered by pointing out that to date about 5.5 million people have died of COVID-19. In addition, I fear that the issues of ‘long-COVID’ is omitted in such discussions

It’s only the oldies who die

As an oldie myself, I find this argument quite distasteful. More importantly, it is simply not correct.

Vaccines don’t work

True they do not protect us 100% from the infection. But they very dramatically reduce the likelihood of severe illness or death from COVID-19.

Vaccines are unsafe

We have now administered almost 10 billion vaccinations worldwide. Thus we know a lot about the risks. In absolute terms, there is a vast amount of cases, and it would be very odd otherwise; just think of the rate of nocebo effects that must be expected. However, the risks are mostly minor, and serious ones are very rare. Some anti-vaxxers predicted that, by last September, the vaccinated population would be dead. This did not happen, did it? The fact is that the benefits of these vaccinations hugely outweigh the risks.

Vaccines are a vicious tracking system

Some claim that ‘they‘ use vaccines to be able to trace the vaccinated people. Who are ‘they‘, and why would anyone want to trace me when my credit card, mobile phone, etc. already could do that?

Vaccines are used for population control

They‘ want to reduce the world population through deadly vaccines to ~5 billion, some anti-vaxxers say. Again, who are ‘they‘ and would ‘they‘ want to do that? Presumably ‘they‘ need us to pay taxes and buy their goods and services.

There has not been enough research

If those who make this argument would bother to go on Medline and look for COVID-related research, they might see how ill-informed this argument is. Since 2021, more than 200 000 papers on the subject have emerged.

I trust my immune system

This is just daft. I am triple-vaccinated and also hope that I can trust my immune system – this is why I got vaccinated in the first place. Vaccinations rely on the immune system to work.

It’s all about making money

Yes, the pharma industry aims to make money; this is a sad reality. But does that really mean that their products are useless? I don’t see the logic here.

People should have the choice

I am all for it! But if someone’s poor choice endangers my life, I do object. For instance, I expect other people not to smoke in public places, stop at red traffic lights and drive on the correct side of the street.

Most COVID patients in hospitals have been vaccinated

If a large percentage of the population has been vaccinated and the vaccine conveys not 100% protection, it would be most surprising, if it were otherwise.

I have a friend who…

All sorts of anecdotes are in circulation. The thing to remember here is that the plural of anecdote is anecdotes and not evidence.

SCAM works just as well

Of course, that argument had to be expected from SCAM proponents. The best response here is this: SHOW ME THE EVIDENCE! In response SCAM fans have so far only been able to produce ‘studies’ that are unconvincing or outright laughable.

In conclusion, the arguments put forward by anti-vaxxers or vaccination-hesitant people are rubbish. It is time they inform themselves better and consider information that originates from outside their bubble. It is time they realize that their attitude is endangering others.

 

We all need cheering up a bit, I’m sure.

Luckily, I found just the thing.

The New York Post reported that a former Versace model, Tom Casey, is crediting his youthful looks to drinking his own urine, and to perineum sunning (exposing your butt hole to sunshine). “I drink my own urine every morning — I call it hair of the dog!” Casey proclaimed, “the feeling is electric.” The ex-model also flushes his urine into his rectum and applies it to his skin as a moisturizer. 

“It wasn’t as bad as the mental barrier in my own mind,” the ex-catwalk star reminisced. “I felt a cool buzz. Intuitively, it just felt good. I drank my urine on and off for a while from there.”

Casey began drinking his own urine on a daily basis back in 2008 and hasn’t looked back. He has even completed a “seven-day urine fast,” drinking nothing but his own urine for an entire week. He also bottles his pee, lets it “ferment” and uses it in an enema. “I would cultivate my own urine and ferment it in a sealed Mason jar for two weeks before transferring it into my rectum,” he explained. “Aged urine enemas are so powerful for your health and I got my six-pack abs after doing them. It flushed out my gut and that’s when I got really ripped.”

Casey uses his urine also as a moisturizer, which he believes helps maintain his appearance. “What it did for my mood and muscle building was amazing. I put it on my skin, especially when I’m on the beach, and it’s so electrifying and strengthening,” he cooed. “It’s a big psychological leap for people to use their own urine as a moisturizer but it’s so euphoric and anti-aging. Uric acid is used in high-end skin care products.”

“I’m 55 years old and most people don’t look and feel like I do at my age. No one can deny that I’m ripped, and that’s down to the fact that I love being extremely healthy and practicing natural healing methods.”

Casey claims Big Pharma is terrified of people learning that the secret to their health lies within themselves.

“What so many pharmaceutical companies don’t want to tell you is that we as humans are the secret to health. That’s what I try to teach people in everything I do,” he stated.

“People should be scared if they’re eating s–tty food and doing pharmaceutical drugs. Why should they be scared to try their own urine?”

____________________________

Personally, I feel that Casey believes the sun might be shining out of his arse. In any case, it is hard to deny that the former Versace model is suffering from proctophasia and/or is taking the piss.

This study assessed the effectiveness of Oscillococcinum in the protection from upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) in patients with COPD who had been vaccinated against influenza infection over the 2018-2019 winter season.

A total of 106 patients were randomized into two groups:

  • group V received influenza vaccination only
  • group OV received influenza vaccination plus Oscillococcinum® (one oral dose per week from inclusion in the study until the end of follow-up, with a maximum of 6 months follow-up over the winter season).

The primary endpoint was the incidence rate of URTIs (number of URTIs/1000 patient-treatment exposure days) during follow-up compared between the two groups.

There was no significant difference in any of the demographic characteristics, baseline COPD, or clinical data between the two treatment groups (OV and V). The URTI incidence rate was significantly higher in group V than in group OV (2.9 versus 1.2 episodes/1000 treatment days, difference OV-V = -1.7; p=0.0312). There was a significant delay in occurrence of an URTI episode in the OV group versus the V group (mean ± standard error: 48.7 ± 3.0 versus 67.0 ± 2.8 days, respectively; p=0.0158). Limitations to this study include its small population size and the self-recording by patients of the number and duration of URTIs and exacerbations.

The authors concluded that the use of Oscillococcinum in patients with COPD led to a significant decrease in incidence and a delay in the appearance of URTI symptoms during the influenza-exposure period. The results of this study confirm the impact of this homeopathic medication on URTIs in patients with COPD.

Primary endpoint, comparison of the number of upper respiratory tract infections in the two treatment groups during follow-up

This prospective, randomized, single-center study was funded by Laboratoires Boiron, was conducted in the Pneumology Department of Charles Nicolle Hospital, Tunis, and was written up by a commercial firm specializing in writing for the pharmaceutical industry. The latter point may explain why it reads well and elegantly glosses over the many flaws of the trial.

If I did not know better, I might suspect that the study was designed to deceive us (Boiron would, of course, never do this!): The primary endpoint was the incidence rate of URTIs (number of URTIs/1000 patient-treatment exposure days) in the two groups during the follow-up period. This rate is calculated as the number of episodes of URTIs per 1000 days of follow-up/treatment exposure. The rates were then compared between the OV and V groups. The following symptoms were considered indicative of an URTI: fever, shivering, runny or blocked nose, sneezing, muscular aches/pain, sore throat, watery eyes, headaches, nausea/vomiting, diarrhoea, fatigue and loss of appetite.

This means that there was no verification whatsoever of the primary endpoint. In itself, this flaw would perhaps not be so bad. But put it together with the fact that patients were not blinded (there were no placebos!), it certainly is fatal.

In essence, the study shows that patients who perceive to receive treatment will also perceive to have fewer URTIs.

SURPRISE, SURPRISE! 

Yesterday, it was announced that the new German health secretary will be Dr. Karl Lauterbach. This seems a most reasonable choice (when did the UK last have a physician in that post?), and I certainly wish him the best of luck in his new position.

Lauterbach studied medicine at the RWTH Aachen University, University of Texas at San Antonio and University of Düsseldorf, where he graduated. From 1989 to 1992, he studied health policy and management as well as epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, graduating with a Doctor of Science in 1992. From 1992 to 1993, he held a fellowship at the Harvard Medical School.

From 1998 until 2005, Lauterbach served as the director of the Institute of Health Economics and Clinical Epidemiology (IGKE) at the University of Cologne. He was appointed adjunct professor at the Harvard School of Public Health in 2008. He was a member of the Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der Entwicklung im Gesundheitswesen (the council of experts advising the federal government on developments in the German healthcare system) from 1999 until he was elected to the Bundestag in September 2005.

But why does his appointment put the German defenders of homeopathy in a panic? The reason is simple: Lauterbach has in the past repeatedly argued against the reimbursement of homeopathy in Germany. This is, for instance, what DER SPIEGEL wrote in 2019 (my translation):

SPD parliamentary group vice-chairman Karl Lauterbach wants to prohibit public health insurance companies from reimbursing the costs of homeopathy. “We have to talk about this in the coalition,” he told the “Tagesspiegel”. Health insurance companies in Germany are not obliged to cover the costs of homeopathic treatments. However, they can pay for it voluntarily.

Voluntary benefits by health insurers must also be economically and medically reasonable, Lauterbach argues, referring to a similar push in France. According to the French Supreme Health Authority (HAS), the funds do not have sufficient scientific effect. The Ministry of Health had previously commissioned the HAS with the examination. It is considered likely that the French government will soon abolish the coverage of costs.

“In the spirit of reason and education as well as patient protection, it is also wrong in Germany for insurance companies to pay for homeopathy for marketing reasons,” Lauterbach wrote on Twitter in reaction to the decision in France. His demand is not new. Lauterbach had already spoken out in 2010 for a ban on the assumption of costs.

Many observers expect that Lauterbach – after getting the pandemic under control (not an easy task by any measure) – will indeed stop the reimbursement of homeopathy. Germany’s largest homeopathy producer reacted swiftly and is currently running an expensive campaign with full-page advertisements in German newspapers trying to improve the much-damaged public image of homeopathy:

In the advertisement above, for instance, it is implied that homeopaths are all in favor of vaccination. Regular readers of my blog will know that this is not true…

… and so does Dr. Lauterbach!

Anthony Fauci is the American physician, scientist, and immunologist who serves as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the Chief Medical Advisor to the President. I have never met him in person but, from all that I know about him, I have great respect for him and his work (he also happens to share with me a John Maddox Prize for standing up for science; he received it in 2020 and I in 2015). Not everyone, however, shares my admiration for Fauci.Image

This week Lara Logan, a host on Fox News’ streaming platform Fox Nation, confirmed Godwin’s law by comparing Dr. Anthony Fauci to Josef Mengele, the Nazi doctor who performed some of the most horrific experiments on Jewish twins at Auschwitz Concentration Camp during the Third Reich: “This is what people say to me: He doesn’t represent science,” the former “Logan of Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He represents Josef Mengele … the Nazi doctor who did experiments on Jews during the Second World War in the concentration camps. And I am talking about people all across the world are saying this! Because the response from COVID. What it has done to countries everywhere. What it has done to civil liberties. The suicide rates. The poverty.”

She made the comment during an appearance on “Fox News Primetime,” following a rant about how there was “no justification for putting people out of their jobs or forcing mandates” for a disease that has death rates “that compare very much to seasonal flu.” (The death rate from COVID-19 is up to 10 times higher than that of most strains of the flu.)

Only hours after the comments by Logan, the Fox News host, Tucker Carlson has compared Dr Anthony Fauci to Italian fascist World War II dictator Benito Mussolini. Holocaust comparisons have become a common feature of protests against COVID-19 strategies. Conservative politicians and media personalities have repeatedly compared vaccine mandates and pandemic restrictions to the treatment of Jews during the Holocaust.

The US is sadly not alone. In Germany and Austria, such comparisons between the atrocities of the Third Reich and COVID vaccinations have become common too. In Germany, this has gone so far that the judiciary is now taking action against people who compare Corona politics with the crimes of Nazis.

Personally, I find these comparisons not just stupid but despicable, and I agree that they should be outlawed. Journalists, in particular, must know that by employing this type of rhetoric, they act against all decency and undermine our efforts to protect the public from the pandemic. I, therefore, feel that Logan, Carlson, and anyone else who descends that low should be prosecuted.

“There is a battle raging for humanity”, claims Dr Carrie Madej, a US osteopathic doctor (in the US, osteopaths are [almost] conventional physicians). She thinks she has discovered how Big Tech collaborates with Big Pharma introduced new technologies in the coming vaccines, that will alter our DNA and turn us into hybrids. This, she submits, will end humanity as we know it, and start the process of transhumanism: HUMAN 2.0 They use vaccines to inject nanotechnology into our bodies and connect us to the Cloud and artificial intelligence. This will enable corrupt governments and tech giants to control us, without us being aware of it.Image

Dr. Carrie Madej is from Dearborn, Michigan, and received her medical degree from Kansas City University of Medical Biosciences in 2001. She then completed her traditional internship at The Medical Center in Columbus, Georgia, and internal medicine residency at Mercer University in Macon Georgia. Dr. Madej served as a private clinician and medical director of clinics in Georgia until 2015. Dr. Madej also served as an attending physician for the Pennsylvania College of Osteopathic Medicine. She has served as a public speaker and was featured in the documentary, “The Marketing of Madness” about the overuse of prescription psychotropic medicines. Dr. Madej now dedicates her time educating others on vaccines, nanotechnology, and human rights via multiple platforms and speaking engagements.

IN HER NEWEST SCORCHED EARTH DISCUSSION, Dr. Carrie Madej simply Can NOT stay silent about the ABSOLUTE DANGERS of the Covid-19 “vaccines” any longer! In fact, in this SCATHING PRESENTATION, she literally describes the ‘Killer Concoctions’ as ‘THE FRANKENSTEIN CODE” and HAMMERS the ‘Purveyors of the Poison Jab’ as ‘Murdering Psychopath Witch Doctors’ who are HELL BENT on the TOTAL DESTRUCTION & ANNIHILATION of the ENTIRE HUMAN RACE, as we know it today.

The ‘Kung Flu’ (as it’s been referred to by none other than POTUS Trump), is only ‘KILLING PEOPLE who are already suffering from cancer, diabetes, heart disease and a plethora of other autoimmune problems’ – so now WHY IN THE WORLD IS EVERYBODY being told to get the ‘Killer Jab’ when the risk of DIRE & GROTESQUE INJURY FAR OUTWEIGHS the risk of dying from Covid-19 or the fake Delta Variant, or Beta, or Gamma or WHATEVER ELSE THE DEMONIC FAUCI & GATES CONCOCT NEXT?! Get ready for a BEATING unlike you’ve seen in recent days, as Dr. Madej RIPS THE THROATS straight out of these Deep State Demons in this ‘DO NOT MISS’ Epic Video! Grab the popcorn, and get ready for a trip down the Rabbit Hole and a takedown of Satan’s Army!

This was published by the ‘REPUBLIC BROADCASTING NETWORK’ (RBN) who also published articles such as ‘Who are the Jews behind the coronavirus vaccines?

Dr. Carrie Madej is certainly no fan of COVID vaccines: Doctor Carrie Madej says she personally examined multiple vials of the vaccines that are being forced into people’s arms, and she was horrified by what she saw. She says she cried harder than she ever has before. Elsewhere she explained in detail:

“First it looked just translucent. And then as time went on, over two hours, colors appeared. I had never seen anything like this. There wasn’t a chemical reaction happening. It was a brilliant blue, and royal purple, yellow, and sometimes green,” she said.

She later shared that when she asked nanotech engineers what the emerging brilliant colors might come from, the engineers said the “only thing they knew that could do that” was a white light, over time, causing a reaction on “a super-conducting material.” In this case, Madej noted, white light came from the microscope itself.

She pointed out that an example of a super-conducting substance would be “an injectable computing system.”

Madej went on, “These fibers were appearing more and more. Some of the fibers had a little cube structure on them, I’m not sure what that was. And also metallic fragments were in there. They were not metallic fragments I’m used to seeing. They were exotic. They were very opaque.”

In time, Madej said, “all the particulates, all these colors started moving to the edge” of the cover slide. “There was self-assembling going on, things were growing. They looked synthetic.”

Madej noticed something else quite strange: “There was one particular object or organism, I’m not sure what to call it, that had tentacles coming from it. It was able to lift itself up off of the glass slide. It appeared to be self-aware, or to be able to grow or move in space.”

She found it disturbing but said she thought, “Maybe that was a fluke in a way, maybe that was just that one vial.”

Some time later, the same lab obtained more vials from a different batch of Moderna shots, as well as a J&J vial. Madej was concerned to see the same things she had observed in the first vial.

“Another one of those tentacle-like structures appeared,” she said. “This was now completely under the cover slip, so there was no movement because it wasn’t on the edge, but I just couldn’t believe I saw another one. Same thing.” Madej also saw the “same colors” appear over time, as well as the fibers.

In the J&J vial, Madej said, there was “definitely a substance that looked like graphene. They all had graphene-like structures in there. Whether or not they were, I don’t have the capability of testing them in order to know at this lab, but that’s what they appeared to be.”

The vial’s contents also had “fatty substances, a sticky glue-like substance that would be considered a hydrogel in those, both of them.”

The J&J vial “also had colors appear.” “Their colors were different, like a fluorescent pastel kind of color. Again, a lot of synthetic structures in there as well.” Madej also noticed many “spherical ring structures” in the J&J contents.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before. They’re not supposed to be in these injections. What are they going to do to somebody? What are they going to do to a child? I started crying when I saw these the second time under a microscope, because it was confirmation of everything I saw the first time,” Madej said.

Madej again appeared on the Stew Peters show on October 20 to discuss her findings from a Pfizer jab vial as well as another J&J vial. “What I’m seeing in all of these manufacturers are synthetic substances, graphene-like, also these nano-carbon tubes,” Madej said.

“In this particular J&J” vial, Madej saw “round spheres, which were not air bubbles.” She continued, “There’s many of these rings, and as time went on they would get thinner and thinner and expand out and then finally extrude out some gelatinous material — I’m not sure what it was, but different kinds of things were inside these spheres. So they’re almost like a delivery structure, that’s what they were doing.”

On one of these rings, Madej saw what “looked like a translucent organism that went around, and back and forth.” Madej first “thought it was another water parasite,” but after continuing to observe its movements, “thought perhaps it was moving in a more robotic way.”

Madej saw the “same kind of synthetic things” in the Pfizer jab, as well as “something that looks similar to teslaphoresis. That’s when these little graphite-like black, metallic particles start to coalesce into strings, like a spider web. They do that through any external force — it could be light, it could be a magnetic force, it could be an impulse, like a frequency. Anyhow, all these little particles would then coalesce and form their own neural network, or their own fibers, or wires.”

After listening to Madej’s findings and seeing the photo and video documentation she provided, Peters commented, “It’s like I’m watching a seriously bad B-movie, a horror thriller.”

Madej believes the tentacled entity she found in the Moderna jabs has a connection with the organism hydra vulgaris. “It is one of the model organisms that the transhumanists like to study and look at. They feel that this is an amazing organism for humanity,” said Madej, in part because “it’s immortal in the lab setting” and “continuously produces its own stem cells.”

“It never stops. You can chop it up into little bits, put it in a petri dish and it forms itself again and again,” she continued. “They’re thinking, wouldn’t this be great if we could put this inside of a human body’s genome, and then if your hand was chopped off by a trauma, you could grow a new hand.”

My friend Joe Schwarcz recently wrote a brilliant article about Dr. Madej. He concluded by asking:  Is Dr. Madej a maddeningly malicious malfeasant, or does she just have a few loose marbles? I fear that it might be both.

The global market for dietary supplements has grown continuously during the past years. In 2019, it amounted to around US$ 353 billion. The pandemic led to a further significant boost in sales. Evidently, many consumers listened to the sly promotion by the supplement industry. Thus they began to be convinced that supplements might stimulate their immune system and thus protect them against COVID-19 infections.

During the pre-pandemic years, the US sales figures had typically increased by about 5% year on year. In 2020, the increase amounted to a staggering 44 % (US$435 million) during the six weeks preceding April 5th, 2020 relative to the same period in 2019. The demand for multivitamins in the US reached a peak in March 2020 when sales figures had risen by 51.2 %. Total sales of vitamins and other supplements amounted to almost 120 million units for that period alone. In the UK, vitamin sales increased by 63 % and, in France, sales grew by around 40–60 % in March 2020 compared to the same period of the previous year.

Vis a vis such impressive sales figures, one should ask whether dietary supplements really do produce the benefit that consumers hope for. More precisely, is there any sound evidence that these supplements protect us from getting infected by COVID-19? In an attempt to answer this question, I conducted several Medline searches. Here are the conclusions of the relevant clinical trials and systematic reviews that I thus found:

Confused?

Me too!

Does the evidence justify the boom in sales of dietary supplements?

More specifically, is there good evidence that the products the US supplement industry is selling protect us against COVID-19 infections?

No, I don’t think so.

So, what precisely is behind the recent sales boom?

It surely is the claim that supplements protect us from Covid-19 which is being promoted in many different ways by the industry. In other words, we are being taken for a (very expensive) ride.

Weleda, the firm founded by Rudolf Steiner and Ita Wegman originally for producing and selling their anthroposophic remedies, celebrates its 100th anniversary. It is a truly auspicious occasion for which I feel compelled to offer a birthday present.

I hope they like it!

On the Weleda UK website, we find an article entitled ‘ An introduction to Homeopathy‘ which contains the following statements:

  1. Homeopathy works by stimulating the body’s own natural healing capacity. The remedy triggers the body’s own healing forces and so a remedy is prescribed on a very individual basis.
  2. If you do experience complex, persistent or worrying symptoms then please seek the advice of a doctor who specialises in homeopathy.
  3. Today there are four homeopathic hospitals offering treatment under the National Health Service – in London, Glasgow, Liverpool and Bristol.
  4. It’s still the only alternative medicine incorporated into the NHS.
  5. Homeopathy can be used to treat the same wide range of illness as conventional medicine, and may even prove successful when all other forms of treatment have failed.
  6. Over-the-counter homeopathic medicines are made using natural plant, mineral and, occasionally, animal substances
  7. … active elements are in infinitesimally small quantities.

As I understand a bit about the subject – not as much as my friend Dana Ullman, of course, but evidently more than the Weleda team – I thought I might offer them, as a birthday present, a free correction of these 7 passages. Here we go:

  1. Homeopathy is claimed to work by stimulating the body’s own natural healing capacity. In fact, it does not work. Yet, believers argue that the remedy triggers the body’s own healing forces and so a remedy is prescribed on a very individual basis.
  2. If you do experience complex, persistent or worrying symptoms then please seek the advice of a doctor who specializes in something other than homeopathy.
  3. Today there are no homeopathic hospitals offering treatment under the National Health Service – the ones in London, Glasgow, Liverpool, and Bristol all closed or changed their names.
  4. It’s no longer incorporated into the NHS.
  5. Homeopathy cannot be used to treat the same wide range of illnesses as conventional medicine and is not successful when all other forms of treatment have failed.
  6. Over-the-counter homeopathic medicines are made using any imaginable substance and even non-material stuff like vacuum or X-rays.
  7. … active elements are absent.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, WELEDA!

 

So-called alternative medicine (SCAM) for cancer is the title of my new book. I was informed that it has been published but, in reality, the hard copy might still take a few days until it is available (there were major problems at the proof-reading stage which caused a considerable delay). To give you a flavor of the book, allow me to show you my introduction; here it is:

 

In February 2013, my wife and I were in good spirits. I had recently retired from my post at Exeter University, and we were heading off to celebrate Danielle’s round birthday with her family in Brittany. There was just one thing that bothered us: Danielle had recurring abdominal pains. She had seen our GP in England several times about it. The last time, she had received a prescription for some antibiotics. I knew they would not help; her symptoms were not due to an infection.

After our arrival in France, things got worse, and Danielle consulted a gynaecologist at the out-patient clinic of the local hospital. More tests were ordered; an ultrasound showed an abnormality; a subsequent MRI revealed a tumour of the uterus. The gynaecologist advised to operate as soon as possible, and Danielle agreed.

The operation went well, but the gynaecologist, Dr Matthieu Jacquot, was concerned and said he had to be more radical than he had anticipated. The diagnosis was still uncertain until the results from the histology lab were in. A few days later, when we saw Dr Jacquot again, our hopes that all was fine were thoroughly dashed. He explained that Danielle had cancer of the endometrium and laid out the treatment plan which an entire team of oncologists had designed after an in-depth review of her case: a second, much more extensive operation, followed by six sessions of chemotherapy, followed by months of daily radiotherapy, followed by two sessions of brachytherapy.

Dr Jacquot could not have been more empathetic. He explained in detail what consequences all this would have. Danielle’s life would be dominated for the next year by a long series of treatments that were unpleasant to say the least. We were both shocked and close to tears.

Before arriving at a decision, we talked to friends and experts in this area. Opinions differed marginally. Two days later, we had made up her mind: we would stay in Brittany for the entire year and get Danielle treated exactly as Dr Jacquot suggested.

The second operation was much tougher than the first, but Danielle recovered well. Ten days later, she was back in our home and looked after by a nurse who came daily to change the bandages and give injections. On her third visit, the nurse broached the subject of chemotherapy which was scheduled to start soon. She explained how unpleasant it would be and what horrendous side effects Danielle was facing. Then she said: ‘You know, you don’t need to go through all this. They only pump you full with poison. There is a much better approach. Just follow the anti-cancer diet of Dr Schwartz.[1] It is natural and has no side effects. It would surely cure your cancer.’ When Danielle told me about this conversation, I informed the nurse that from now on I would myself take charge of the post-operative care of my wife and that her services were no longer required.

Today, Danielle is cancer-free. Had she listened to the nurse, she would almost certainly no longer be with us. But the lure of a ‘natural’ cancer cure with no side effects is almost irresistible. Faced with a serious diagnosis like cancer, most patients would consider any therapy that promises help without harm. Inevitably, they encounter a myriad of so-called alternative medicines (SCAMs), and many patients give SCAM a try.

In addition to Dr Schwartz’s cancer diet, there are hundreds of SCAMs that specifically target vulnerable cancer patients like Danielle. How can patients not be confused, and who might give them responsible advice? Conventional doctors rarely do. A recent summary of 29 relevant papers concluded that physicians will discuss complementary therapies only when a patient him/herself raises this issue within a consultation.[2] But cancer patients are often too embarrassed to ask about SCAM. Those who are courageous enough usually get short shrift. Many conventional doctors are not just critical about SCAM, but also know very little about the subject.[3]

Patients deserve evidence-based information, instead they often get unhelpful blanket statements from their GPs such as:

  • ‘there is no evidence’;
  • ‘that’s all rubbish, best to stay well clear of it’;
  • ‘if you want to try it, go ahead, it cannot do much harm’.

All of these are untrue. Frustrated by such erroneous platitudes, patients might go on the Internet for help where they are bombarded with uncritical promotion. We investigated the information on SCAM for cancer provided by popular websites and found that they offer information of extremely variable quality. Many endorse unproven therapies and some are outright dangerous.[4] Sadly, the advice patients might glean from newspapers[5] or health-food stores[6] tends to be equally misleading and potentially harmful.

Subsequently, some patients might visit a library and read one of the many books on the subject. If anything, they are even worse. We have repeatedly analysed the contents of consumer guides on SCAM and always concluded that following their recommendations would shorten the life of the reader.[7] To give you a flavour, here are a few titles currently on sale:

  • Cancer Medicine from Nature
  • Outsmart Your Cancer: Alternative Non-Toxic Treatments That Work
  • Cancer Medicine from Nature
  • Perfect Guide on How to Cure Breast Cancer Through Curative Approved Alkaline Diets & Herbs
  • How to Starve Cancer
  • Healing the Prostate: The Best Holistic Methods to Treat the Prostate and Other Common Male-Related Conditions
  • Outsmart Cancer: Defeat Cancer With Vitamin B17, Healthy Nutrition and Alternative Medicine

Cancer patients would, of course, all like to ‘outsmart cancer’; they are desperate and vulnerable. In this state of mind, they easily fall victim to anyone who sells false hope at inflated prices. The consequences can be tragic.

In 2016, the actress English Leah Bracknell, for example, raised ~£50 000 to treat her lung cancer in the German ‘Hallwang Private Oncology Clinic’. The SCAMs used there included homeopathy, micronutrients, natural supplements, whole-body hyperthermia, and ozone therapy, none of which cures cancer. If cancer patients fall for bogus treatments, they not just lose their money but also their lives. Leah Bracknell died of her cancer in 2019.[8]

Three basic facts are indisputably clear:

  • a high percentage of cancer patients use SCAM,
  • misinformation about SCAM is rife,
  • misinformation endangers the lives of cancer patients.

It follows that there is an obvious and urgent need for an evidence-based text naming the SCAMs that are potentially harmful and discussing those that might be helpful.

My book is aimed at doing just that.

[1] Dr Laurent Schwartz cancérologue iconoclaste — Guérir du Cancer (guerir-du-cancer.fr)

[2] Stub T, Quandt SA, Arcury TA, et al. Perception of risk and communication among conventional and complementary health care providers involving cancer patients’ use of complementary therapies: a literature review. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2016;16(1):353. Published 2016 Sep 8. doi:10.1186/s12906-016-1326-3

[3] Ziodeen KA, Misra SM. Complementary and integrative medicine attitudes and perceived knowledge in a large pediatric residency program. Complement Ther Med. 2018;37:133-135. doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2018.02.004

[4] Schmidt K, Ernst E. Assessing websites on complementary and alternative medicine for cancer. Ann Oncol. 2004;15(5):733-742. doi:10.1093/annonc/mdh174

[5] Milazzo S, Ernst E. Newspaper coverage of complementary and alternative therapies for cancer–UK 2002-2004. Support Care Cancer. 2006;14(9):885-889. doi:10.1007/s00520-006-0068-z

[6] Mills E, Ernst E, Singh R, Ross C, Wilson K. Health food store recommendations: implications for breast cancer patients. Breast Cancer Res. 2003;5(6):R170-R174. doi:10.1186/bcr636

[7] https://edzardernst.com/2013/09/drowning-in-a-sea-of-misinformation-part-8-books-on-alternative-medicine/

[8] https://edzardernst.com/2019/10/leah-blacknell-1964-2019-another-victim-of-cancer-quackery/

____________________________________________

The publication of this book is perhaps the right occasion to publicly thank two regular and one occasional contributor to this blog. I am grateful to

  • Prof. Michael Baum, emeritus professor, for writing the foreword,
  • Dr. Julian Money-Kyrle, retired consultant oncologist, for his constructive comments on chapter 1.4,
  • Richard Rasker for his corrections and advice on the entire text.

Thank you all.

Ever wondered what homeopathy truly is?

Who better to ask than Boiron?

On their website, Boiron (the largest manufacturer of homeopthics) explains:

Homeopathy is a therapeutic method that uses natural substances to relieve symptoms. It derives from the Greek words homeo, meaning “similar,” and pathos, meaning “suffering” (such as the pathology of a disease). Homeopathy operates on a “like cures like” principle that has been used empirically for more than 200 years and continues to be confirmed in pharmacological research and clinical studies.

What this means is a person suffering from symptoms can be treated by microdoses of a substance capable of producing similar symptoms in a healthy person. It is said that homeopathic medicines stimulate the body’s physiological reactions that restore health. This is accomplished with a very low risk of side effects due to the use of microdoses.

Homeopathy in Action

An example of how homeopathic medicines work is the similarity of symptoms between allergies and chopping onions. When you cut into an onion, your eyes will water and your nose runs. If similar symptoms appear after contact with pollen or a pet, the homeopathic medicine most appropriate to treat these symptoms is made from a tiny amount of onion. Instead of masking symptoms, the medicine sends the body a signal to help it rebalance and heal.

The Benefits of Homeopathy and You

A natural choice. The active ingredients in homeopathic medicines are made from diluted extracts of plants, animals, minerals, or other raw substances found in nature.

For everyday use. Similar to other over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, homeopathic medicines can be used to relieve symptoms of a wide range of common health conditions such as allergies, coughs, colds, flu, stress, arthritis pain, muscle pain, and teething.

Safe and reliable. Homeopathy has been used for more than 200 years, building a remarkable safety record and generating a great body of knowledge. Homeopathic medicines do not mask symptoms, are not contraindicated with pre-existing conditions, and are not known to interact with other medications or supplements, making them one of the safest choices for self-treatment.

Rigorous standards. Homeopathic medicines are manufactured according to the highest standards, complying with U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations and the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States (HPUS).

More choices and preferences. Homeopathic medicines are available in a variety of dosage forms such as gels, ointments, creams, syrups, eye drops, tablets, and suppositories.

_________________________

Are you pleased with this explanation?

No?

One must not be too harsh with Boiron and forgive them their errors; a powerful conflict of interest might have clouded their views. Therefore, I shall now take the liberty to edit and update their text ever so slightly.

Homeopathy is an obsolete method that used all sorts of substances in the misguided hope to relieve symptoms. The word derives from the Greek words homeo, meaning “similar,” and pathos, meaning “suffering” (such as the pathology of a disease). Homeopathy was alleged to operate on a “like cures like” principle that had been used empirically for more than 200 years but was refuted by pharmacological research, clinical studies and more.

What it suggested was that a person suffering from symptoms might be treated by the absence of a substance capable of producing similar symptoms in a healthy person. It was said that homeopathic medicines stimulate the body’s physiological reactions that restore health. These assumptions proved to be erroneous.

Homeopathy in Action

An example of how homeopathic medicines were supposed to work is the similarity of symptoms between allergies and chopping onions. When you cut into an onion, your eyes will water and your nose runs. If similar symptoms appear after contact with pollen or a pet, the homeopathic medicine most appropriate to treat these symptoms was assumed to be made with the memory of an onion. These ideas were never proven and had no basis in science.

The Alleged Benefits of Homeopathy

A natural choice. The active ingredients in homeopathic medicines were often made from diluted extracts of plants, animals, minerals, or other raw substances found in nature. The appeal to nature is, however, misleading: firstly the typical remedy did not contain anything; secondly, some remedies were made from synthetic substances (e. g. Berlin wall) or no substances (e. g. X-ray).

For everyday use. Similar to other over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, homeopathic medicines were promoted to relieve symptoms of a wide range of common health conditions such as allergies, coughs, colds, flu, stress, arthritis pain, muscle pain, and teething. These claims could never be verified and are therefore bogus.

Safe and reliable. Homeopathy had been used for more than 200 years. During all these years, no reliable safety record or body of knowledge had been forthcoming. Homeopathic medicines do not mask symptoms, are not contraindicated with pre-existing conditions, and are not known to interact with other medications or supplements. In fact, they have no effects whatsoever beyond placebo.

Rigorous standards. Homeopathic medicines were said to be manufactured according to the highest standards, complying with U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations and the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States (HPUS). This guaranteed that they were devoid of any active ingredient and made them pure placebos.

More choices and preferences. Homeopathic medicines were available in a variety of dosage forms such as gels, ointments, creams, syrups, eye drops, tablets, and suppositories. This means they offered a range of placebos to chose from.

In case, Boiron feels like adopting my updated, evidence-based version of their text, I am sure we can come to an agreement based on an adequate fee.

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