Archive for category Pharmaceuticals

Good medicine: homeopathy, Cuba, the Finlay Institute and homeoprophylaxis for Leptospirosis

BMJ 2012345 doi: (Published 14 September 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e6184

Good medicine: homeopathy

26 November 2012
Christopher M Johnson
Naturopathic Doctor
Private Practice
4910 31st St S, Suite A, Arlington, VA 22206

Once again it must be said that what passes for ‘scientific’ discussion amongst homeopathic critics is almost entirely lacking in substance. Scientific statements, by definition, must be precise and testable. Unfortunately, criticisms of homeopathy rarely pass this test.

Alan Henness, who calls himself a ‘challenger of misleading health claims,’ continues to make vague assertions and accusations without having any grasp of the basic facts.

His previous attempts to delegitimize the Cuban homeopathic leptospirosis trial having been defused by David Eyles, he falls back on this last attempt:

“Presumably then, if homeoprophylaxis for Leptospirosis was so successful and saved so many lives, the Cuban health authorities will have been boldly rolling it out all over Cuba for the last five years?”

In fact, this is precisely what has been done, with remarkable effect: leptospirosis is now nearly eradicated – so much so that the homeopathic prophylaxis is no longer routinely needed.

Somehow, ten years of using the conventional vaccine never brought about such success.

It is clear that homeopathic ‘skeptics’ do not like being bothered with data and evidence, but for those who are interested, the facts of the Cuban experience with prophylactic homeopathy are as follows:

1) The authors of the Cuban homeopathic leptospirosis trial were not homeopaths. They were veteran conventional medical researchers and scientists who had been manufacturing, testing and implementing the use of conventional vaccinations for decades. They were highly respected in the vaccine world. Their work had previously been published in many of the major vaccine journals such as, Vaccine, Human Vaccines, Expert Review of Vaccines, etc. They were and are in fact, amongst the world’s leading experts on leptospirosis vaccination – with the trivalent Vax-spiral (the only conventional leptospirosis vaccine made anywhere in the world) designed and manufactured in their own facilities (the Finlay Institute – a WHO-designated research center). In sum, they were not homeopathic apologists. Prior to the leptospirosis study, they had no ‘skin in the game’ whatsoever, and no reason at all to defend or advocate for homeopathy.

2) The authors implemented the use of the homeopathic leptospirosis prophylaxis as a last ditch effort in 2007, when the island was overwhelmed by a record hurricane season and there were insufficient resources/time to produce enough of the conventional vaccine. They tried homeopathy in light of having no other options.

3) Unlike the conventional vaccine, the homeopathic product could be produced in less than 2 weeks (compared to 6 months), cost 2% of the conventional vaccine, and was far more easily stored and administered.

4) The results of using the homeopathic product in 2007 were far more successful than any previous use of the conventional vaccine, despite what was objectively one of the worst Atlantic hurricane seasons in modern history. Within 2 weeks of administering the homeopathic product, they observed a 90% decrease in incidence of leptospirosis in the intervention region (comprising 2.1 million persons), while in the low-risk areas which did not receive any intervention (either homeopathic or conventional) incidence of the disease continued to rise – a set of facts that would have been drastically reversed if the homeopathic product had no efficacy.

5) The homeopathic prophylaxis was then, in the ensuing years, administered to the entire Cuban population (11 million persons), to the effect of near eradication of the disease on the island – a result not achieved with use of the conventional vaccine product.

6) Despite the fact that the researchers had for decades published papers in the leading vaccine journals, none of these journals were willing to publish this groundbreaking trial – by all accounts, one of the largest ever conducted in medicine. What happened? Were the researchers no longer ‘experts?’ Did they forget how to conduct a proper trial? Was the trial of insufficient quality? No legitimate criticism has been registered to date and none was given by the journals. I’ll leave it to readers to make up their own minds, but will provide some historical context: from the beginning of homeopathy the conventional medical community has repeatedly sabotaged homeopathic research. Throughout the 19th century, on numerous occasions, conventional medial authorities simply confiscated and destroyed the records of successful homeopathic trials. Of course, we know the scientific world is much more ‘civilized’ now, right?

7) Despite all this, the researchers and scientists involved with the study still advocate for and use conventional vaccination in many diseases. Unlike homeopathic ‘skeptics,’ these people are actually committed to science – i.e. unbiased and objective observation. They care only about what works and are not blinded by dogma and ideology.

8) Based on the results achieved with leptospirosis, the Cuban Ministry of Health began using homeopathic prophylaxis and treatment for other infectious epidemics, including dengue fever, ‘swine’ flu, hepatitis A and conjunctivitis – all with similar success.

Competing interests: No competing interests

Secrets of trial data revealed Records of side effects seen in clinical tests are missing from publicly available documents.

Nature cover 10.10.13With thanks to Nature Vol. 502. 10.10.2013. Pages 153-155. Secrets of Trial date revealed: records of side effects seen in clinical tests are missing from publicly available documents.

See also

‘… Drug companies, regulatory bodies and research groups are in a deadlock over plans to throw open the vaults of sensitive data gleaned from clinical trials. But just as the battle seems to be coming to a head, a study (B. Wieseler et al. PLoS Medicine 10, e1001526; 2013) has revealed exactly why the restricted information could be so valuable to researchers. Read the rest of this entry »

Undue industry influences that distort healthcare research, strategy, expenditure and practice: a review

Conflict of InterestsUndue industry influences that distort healthcare research, strategy, expenditure and practice: a review European Journal of Clinical Investigation, Volume 43, Issue 5, pages 469–475, May 2013. Emmanuel Stamatakis1,2,, Richard Weiler3, John P.A. Ioannidis4,5, Article first published online: 25 MAR 2013


See also

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Abstract: Background: Expenditure on industry products (mostly drugs and devices) has spiraled over the last 15 years and accounts for substantial part of healthcare expenditure. The enormous financial interests involved in the development and marketing of drugs and devices may have given excessive power to these industries to influence medical research, policy, and practice.

Material and methods: Review of the literature and analysis of the multiple pathways through which the industry has directly or indirectly infiltrated the broader healthcare systems. We present the analysis of the industry influences at the following levels: (i) evidence base production, (ii) evidence synthesis, (iii) understanding of safety and harms issues, (iv) cost-effectiveness evaluation, (v) clinical practice guidelines formation, (vi) healthcare professional education, (vii) healthcare practice, (viii) healthcare consumer’s decisions.

Results: We located abundance of consistent evidence demonstrating that the industry has created means to intervene in all steps of the processes that determine healthcare research, strategy, expenditure, practice and education. As a result of these interferences, the benefits of drugs and other products are often exaggerated and their potential harms are downplayed, and clinical guidelines, medical practice, and healthcare expenditure decisions are biased. 

Conclusion: To serve its interests, the industry masterfully influences evidence base production, evidence synthesis, understanding of harms issues, cost-effectiveness evaluations, clinical practice guidelines and healthcare professional education and also exerts direct influences on professional decisions and health consumers. There is an urgent need for regulation and other action towards redefining the mission of medicine towards a more objective and patient-, population- and society-benefit direction that is free from conflict of interests.  Read the rest of this entry »

Comparison of Registered and Published Primary Outcomes in Randomized Clinical Trials of Surgical Interventions

Annals of SurgeryWith thanks to The Annals of Surgery 12 February 2013 doi: 10.1097/SLA.0b013e3182864fa3 






Comparison of Registered and Published Primary Outcomes in Randomized Clinical Trials of Surgical Interventions

Hannink, Gerjon PhD; Gooszen, Hein G. MD, PhD; Rovers, Maroeska M. PhD Read the rest of this entry »

False positives: fraud and misconduct are threatening scientific research

With thanks to the Guardian , science correspondent

The questions are certainly intriguing, but unfortunately for anyone wanting truthful answers, some of Smeesters’ work turned out to be fraudulent. The psychologist, who admitted “massaging” the data in some of his papers, resigned from his position in June after being investigated by his university, which had been tipped off by Uri Simonsohn from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Simonsohn carried out an independent analysis of the data and was suspicious of how perfect many of Smeesters’ results seemed when, statistically speaking, there should have been more variation in his measurements. Read the rest of this entry »

The end of Modern Medicine has arrived, according to the WHO

With thanks to Natural News  17.5.12:

The day is coming when the host of antibiotics doctors currently use to fight off bacterial infections won’t work anymore, leaving the world’s population vulnerable to everything from scratches on your knee to disease, according to the United Nation‘s (UN)World Health Organization(WHO).

That’s because bacteria are becoming so resistant to common antibiotics that the phenomenon will bring about the “end of modern medicine as we know it,” warns Margaret Chan, the director-general of WHO.,-who-director-general,-nominated-for-second-term

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Wikipedia founder to help in government’s research scheme to help Academic Spring

With thanks to The Guardian and , science correspondent

Academic spring campaign aims to make all taxpayer-funded academic research available for free online. Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia, is to help the government in its bid to make taxpayer-funded research available for free online.  The government has drafted in the Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales to help make all taxpayer-funded academic research in Britain available online to anyone who wants to read or use it.

The initiative, which has the backing of No 10 and should be up and running in two years, will be announced by the universities and science minister, David Willetts, in a speech to the Publishers Association on Wednesday.

Note: the Academic Spring was started by Timothy Gowers (Royal Society Research Professor at the Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics at Cambridge University) ‘… In January 2012 Timothy Gowers made a post on his personal blog which initiated a project called The Cost of Knowledge. The blog post called for a boycott of Elsevier. The Cost of Knowledge is a petition for change in which researchers commit to discontinue support for Elsevier journals. As a result, Timothy Gowers has been credited with starting the Academic Spring…’

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The Imperative to Share Clinical Study Reports: Recommendations from the Tamiflu Experience

With thanks to the One Click Group 12.4.12:

One Click Note: Succinctly put for the layman, this paper means that many of the big-seller pharma drugs doled out to you by your drug dealer doctor are suss because their data has been purposefully suppressed by the pharmaceutical industry. Moreover this data suppression has been actively sanctioned by the various authorities charged with the overview of drug ‘safety’. Combine this with the cosy relationship enjoyed by pharma with the medical press stuffed with ghost writers and bent academics means that the general public are experiencing drug deception on a truly monstrous scale.

The noxious smell currently wafting over the medical industry in all its guises is beginning to stink as badly as Bhopal.

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Wellcome Trust joins ‘academic spring’ to open up science

With thanks to  science correspondent at The Guardian 9.4.2012:

Wellcome backs campaign to break stranglehold of academic journals and allow all research papers to be shared free online

Wellcome’s move adds weight to the campaign for open access to academic knowledge, which could lead to benefits across a broad range of research fields. One of the world’s largest funders of science is to throw its weight behind a growing campaign to break the stranglehold of academic journals and allow all research papers to be shared online.

Nearly 9,000 researchers have already signed up to a boycott of journals that restrict free sharing as part of a campaign dubbed the “academic spring” by supporters due to its potential for revolutionising the spread of knowledge. Read the rest of this entry »

Pharma’s influence over published clinical evidence

With thanks to the One Click Group 5.4.12

Pharma’s influence over published clinical evidence by Adam Dunn Research Fellow at University of New South Wales: 

TRANSPARENCY AND MEDICINE – A series examining issues from ethics to the evidence in evidence-based medicine, the influence of medical journals to the role of Big Pharma in our present and future health.

Here Adam Dunn discusses his research into authorship networks, which revealed the position of industry researchers in academic publishing. There’s growing concern that large pharmaceutical companies are capable of undermining the truth about the published evidence doctors use to treat patients. The suspicion is that pharmaceutical companies may be trading lives for profits. Read the rest of this entry »