NOV 2007

NOVEMBER 2007 Archive

(Images removed, for space reasons) (new blog) – (old blog)

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More Evidence Based Medicine

Influenza Vaccination

How much damage has been done over the years, during this seemingly useless campaign? How much money has been made? Why is the advice still to have the influenza vaccine?

Taken from:

Influenza vaccine benefits exaggerated in elderly

Pharmatimes – 26 September 2007

The benefits of vaccinating the elderly against influenza have been greatly exaggerated, according to a major review of the literature published in the latest issue of The Lancet Infectious Diseases. Health policy in most Western countries aims to cuts flu deaths by targeting people aged at least 65 years for vaccination. However, the authors from George Washington University, Washington DC, point out that although placebo-controlled randomised trials show the influenza vaccine is effective in younger adults, few trials have included elderly people, and especially those aged at least 70 years. This age group is supposed to account for three-quarters of all influenza-related deaths. They add that recent excess mortality studies have been unable to confirm a decline in influenza-related mortality since 1980, even though vaccination coverage increased from 15% to 65% during this period.

Other source:

All this is not new. This item appeared on the BMJ website in October 2006:

Summary Points:

  1. Public policy worldwide recommends the use of inactivated influenza vaccines to prevent seasonal outbreaks
  2. Because viral circulation and antigenic match vary each year and non-randomised studies predominate, systematic reviews of large datasets from several decades provide the best information on vaccine performance
  3. Evidence from systematic reviews shows that inactivated vaccines have little or no effect on the effects measured
  4. Most studies are of poor methodological quality and the impact of confounders is high
  5. Little comparative evidence exists on the safety of these vaccines
  6. Reasons for the current gap between policy and evidence are unclear, but given the huge resources involved, a re-evaluation should be urgently undertaken.

The optimistic and confident tone of some predictions of viral circulation and of the impact of inactivated vaccines, which are at odds with the evidence, is striking. The reasons are probably complex and may involve “a messy blend of truth conflicts and conflicts of interest making it difficult to separate factual disputes from value disputes”22 or a manifestation of optimism bias (an unwarranted belief in the efficacy of interventions).23

Second Bird Flu premises

Bird Flu (Avian Influenza) H5N1 strain has been found at a second premises, which had already been designated a Dangerous Contact premises.

PREXIGE – yet another drug that passed the ‘scientific' tests

As if more evidence were needed that ‘science' and commerce have become so inextricably linked as to be dangerous and UNSCIENTIFIC, here's yet another banned drug, joining the long list of those that passed scientific scrutiny before being marketed, only to maim or kill in the name of medicine.

I am sick and tired of hearing the complaint that homeopathy is not evidence-based, when the current medical system allows such infringements of safety, liberty and decency.

Animal experiments (vivisection), laboratory vagaries, less than scrupulous methodology and greed may be factors that allow the marketing of dangerous (even deadly) chemicals under the guise of ‘medicine'. I don't suppose the multi-billion profits could have anything at all to do with such things?

Prexige has caused serious liver problems and possibly killed several patients. Yet, in the UK, those already on the medicine have been told to ‘keep taking the tablets‘ until their medication has been reviewed by their doctor! That makes sense?

Charity Christmas Cards

Watch out for Charity Christmas Cards that support the scientifically useless and inhumane practice of animal experiments (vivisection). We can unwittingly pour money into the bottomless pit of pseudoscience and animal suffering, unless we have access to the facts.

Don't unwittingly support BAD SCIENCE!

Don't unwittingly support BAD WELFARE!

For a list of UK charities that perform experiments on animals or fund same and those that don't, visit:

PETA publish the following list, information and advice on their website:

“What types of charities are on the “DO TEST” list? Health charities that conduct or fund experiments on animals are included on the “DO TEST” list. These organisations deal with human health issues ranging from lung cancer to drug addiction to blindness. While some do have relevant and effective projects that help improve lives, all of them drain money away from these projects and into cruel experiments on animals. They starve, cripple, burn, poison and slice open animals to study human diseases and disabilities. Such experiments have no practical benefit to anyone. They are unnecessary, unreliable and sometimes dangerously misleading. “Enormous variations exist among rats, rabbits, dogs, pigs and human beings, and meaningful scientific conclusions cannot be drawn about one species by studying another,” says Dr Neal B, “Non-animal methods provide a more accurate method of testing and can be interpreted more objectively.”

What can be done to stop charities from experimenting on animals?
Many charities know that we can improve treatments through modern, non-animal methods, and they fund only non-animal research, leading to real progress in the prevention and treatment of disease. The next time you receive a donation request from a health charity, ask if it funds animal tests. Let charities know that you only give to organisations that alleviate suffering, not contribute to it.

Please note that most colleges and universities have laboratories that conduct animal experiments for health and other purposes. If you would like to know whether a specific school has an animal laboratory, please contact PETA. For information on the experiments being conducted and to voice your opinion, please contact the school. The following health charities and service organisations DO conduct or fund animal experiments.

For more information on the programs and activities of an organisation, please contact the organisation or PETA.”

  • Action Research
  • Alzheimer’s Society
  • Arthritis Research Campaign
  • Association for International Cancer Research
  • Backcare (members AMRC)
  • Brain Research Trust
  • Breakthrough Breast Cancer
  • British Heart Foundation
  • British Lung Foundation
  • Brittle Bone Society
  • Cancer Prevention Research Trust
  • Cancer Research Campaign
  • Children’s Nationwide Medical Research Fund
  • Cystic Fibrosis Research Trust
  • Defeating Deafness
  • Diabetes UK
  • Digestive Disorders Foundation
  • Epilepsy Research Foundation
  • Imperial Cancer Research Fund
  • Institute of Cancer Research
  • Iris Fund for Prevention of Blindness
  • Lepra
  • Leukaemia Research Fund
  • ME Association
  • Marie Curie Cancer Care
  • Migraine Trust
  • Multiple Sclerosis Society of Great Britain
  • Muscular Dystrophy Campaign
  • National Society for Colitis and Crohn’s Disease
  • National Asthma Campaign
  • National Heart Research Fund
  • National Kidney Research Fund
  • National Meningitis Trust
  • Parkinson’s Disease Society of the UK
  • Research Into Aging
  • Scope
  • Tenovus
  • Wellcome Trust
  • World Cancer Research Fund

The March of biotechnology

Researchers at the Oregon Health & Science University have created for the first time cloned embryos of monkeys from which they extracted stem cells. Despite the apparent success, the technique has a very high rate of failure: of 304 eggs from 14 rhesus macaque monkeys, only two stem cell lines resulted.

It is only a matter of time until we are routinely doing this with human embryos. The technique has already been demonstrated. Does no one feel fear?

It appears, thank goodness, that someone does and that there are some ethical and sensible individuals out there, in policy-making:

“A global ban on cloning humans must be introduced “urgently” to prevent rogue scientists creating cloned babies, a United Nations report warns.

The report, published by law experts at the UN University's Institute of Advanced Studies, which advises the organisation, warns that it is just a matter of time before a human is cloned.

The authors say that although 50 countries have legislation that outlaws human reproductive cloning, another 140 members of the UN have no such laws, providing loopholes for unscrupulous scientists.”

As usual, all this would appear to have more to do with money and kudos than with medical advances.

  ‘Science' is at it again

Millions of pounds of charity donations and taxpayers' money have been wasted on worthless cancer studies, the BBC has learned.

File On 4 has discovered thousands of studies have been invalidated.

It found some scientists have failed to carry out simple and inexpensive checks to ensure they are working with the right forms of human tumour cells.

Cancer Research UK said it used robust procedures to check the cell-lines used in research.

Of course Cancer Research says it uses ‘robust procedures'. Not robust enough, apparently.

Cancer research benefactors may be justifiably extremely angry – however, they can take consolation in the assurance that even more millions are squandered and wasted on useless animal-based research (vivisection) by Cancer Research and others.

This ‘science' is the same whose results and papers we are supposed to revere and which is used as a benchmark by which to find homeopathy wanting in effectiveness. The more you look, the more cracks appear in the facade.

Avian flu confirmed as potentially deadly H5N1 strain

The new outbreak of avian influenza (bird flu) has today been confirmed as the H5N1 strain, which has already killed several hundred humans throughout the world. We are told it is only a risk to those who are in close contact with infected birds.

This may be right but it appears that it's only a matter of time before this virus mutates to take on the ability for human-human transmission.

The 5,000 birds in Diss will be ‘culled' but that is only like a pinhead to the slaughter that is planned again, for this Christmas. While we continue to keep birds as intensively as we do, in the UK, we are putting animal welfare and our own health and safety at risk.

Last year, 17.14 million turkey poults were placed on UK farms. This is compared with 40.21 in 1997. Numbers are falling, because of cheap imports. Could it be the cheap imports that have brought in this new infection? Rest assured, the Bernard Matthews turkey meat shuttle will be very active, right now, between the UK and Eastern Europe.

We must now await DEFRA's assessment of the source of infection, before we know any more.

  Another triumph of ‘science'

Roaccutane, an acne drug that has been used for 25 years, has been blamed for depression and suicides.

“University of Bath scientists tested Roaccutane after claims it has caused depression and suicide in patients since its introduction in 1982.”

“Their work, published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, is the first to back up these reports with firm scientific evidence.”

The news is followed by a cry to rally the wavering troops – keep taking the tablets lads:

“Dr Bailey said teenagers should not stop taking the drug, but seek medical advice if they started to feel depressed. Parents should also watch out for any mood changes in their children.”

However, it must be said that these ‘scientific' findings are so far only a result of experiments on mice. Nonetheless, I thought we were supposed to be ‘protected' by all that animal experiment stuff BEFORE a drug hit the market. Is it me?

To make things even more difficult to understand, Roche (the manufacturers) have always claimed that it is the acne itself that causes the depression and suicide. How come? I thought the drug was supposed to get rid of the acne? They may find themselves digging deep into their pockets to repay just a little of their massive profits in compensation.

Need anyone be in doubt about the true motivation of drug manufacture and marketing? The real tragedy comes when the medical and veterinary professions join in.

Our thoughts go out to those who have suffered and to those families tragically affected by the scores of deaths that have been reported. It shouldn't have to happen.

Here are some more links:

Bird Flu again

The good old turkey industry has done it again. H5 strain avian influenza virus has been found in a large flock of ducks, geese and turkeys, near Diss, on the Norfolk/Suffolk border.

Tests are ongoing to see if it's H5N1, the strain that has killed humans.

Apparently, it's not Bernard Matthews this time but farming methods have not been altered in the light of previous lessons. How much will it take for us to realise that we cannot keep birds as intensively as we do? It is inhumane. It is sordid and obscene. It is also dangerous.

We do not yet know the circumstances of this farm or how the virus arrived. However, there is no doubt that the more birds we have per square mile and the more in any given premises, the more likely any infection can take hold and spread quickly.

5,000 turkeys, 500 geese and 1,000 ducks will be snuffed out, on this farm alone, which will perhaps make everyone feel better …………………

See-Saw Science

Here we go again. See-saw science.

Ritalin was given to 55,000 UK children last year, costing you and me around £28million, via the NHS.

Firstly, it was thought to be beneficial, now it is thought not to be beneficial (but it does apparently, stunt growth!) (see also Old Blog: Reliable Science & Evidence Based Medicine – 8th November).

If this is science, I don't want any. My idea of proper science is a much higher standard of accuracy, care and ethics.

Despite all these obvious ‘scientific' calamities, we still hear bleating calls for homeopathy to be banned because it doesn't share the ‘scientific' pedigree of conventional drug medicine! From the way things have been going, in the ‘scientific' world, I would think that not conforming to such standards would be to homeopathy's eternal credit. What do I know, though?

Jack & Jill went up the hill

To get a dose of Ritalin

Where's the common sense in science?

It could do with just a little in.

Remembrance and reflection

  1. I. P.

Today we rightly paid respects to those that have fallen in the service of their country. This year, we are officially allowed to remember some put to death by their own comrades, supposedly for cowardice in the face of the enemy but now officially pardoned.

The service at the Cenotaph was dignified and moving. Last night's Royal Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall was truly moving. 109 year-old westcountryman Harry Patch was amazing.

While remembering all those of both ‘sides' who died in two terrible world wars and in the countless conflicts since (including our two current ‘theatres' of war), we should contemplate how we humans can learn to resolve our differences in some other way. We must avoid glorifying war.

War is obscene. It appears to bring out the best and the worst in mankind. The best shows in personal courage, nobility, comradeship, loyalty and sacrifice and in the unification of society. The worst is seen in man's inhumanity to man and his incredible inventiveness when it comes to finding new, more efficient and more terrible ways to do the business of killing.

War tears families apart, it ravages societies, it destroys cultures, it pollutes our already troubled world and it dismembers and maims individuals caught up in its horrendous fury.

Let us pray for all the souls torn from their bodies by war, for all those whose lives or bodies have been damaged by war and for a better mankind that ceases to do war.

Good to be fat?

This is the item that prompted the previous blog:

Now doctors say it's good to be fat

After years of anti-obesity public health advice, a major new study causes an outcry by concluding that the overweight live longer

By David Usborne in New York

Published: 08 November 2007

A startling new study by medical researchers in the United States has caused consternation among public health professionals by suggesting that, contrary to conventional wisdom, being overweight might actually be beneficial for health.

The study, published yesterday in the respected Journal of the American Medical Association, runs counter to almost all other advice to consumers by saying that carrying a little extra flab – though not too much – might help people to live longer. …………………………………


Reliable science and evidence based medicine

Certain scientific criteria are used in assessing the evidence base of medicine. They seem to be taken as the ‘gold standard' for scientific assessment.

Would those criteria in any way resemble the criteria that allow madly conflicting scientific reports to flutter onto our door mats, on an almost daily basis?

A few memorable examples:

It's healthy to eat eggs – It's not healthy to eat eggs.

It's healthy to drink milk – It's not healthy to drink milk.

It's good to drink wine – It's not good to drink wine.

Sun brings on ageing – Sun delays ageing.

Global warming is a myth – Global warming is reality.

It's bad to be fat – It's good to be fat.

Organic food is not better – Organic food is better.

Vegetarians are not healthier – Vegetarians are healthier.

Is it the science that's bad or those who use (abuse?) it or those who interpret it? Either way, how reliable is all this stuff?

Veggie in Spain

When we went to Spain, we had been told that it was hopeless for vegetarian food.

We have to put the record straight. As long as you go carefully through the menu, there is plenty there – very tasty, very wholesome and very nutritious. The mistake is to ask them if they cater for veggie. They look surprised and just say no!

We ate wonderfully well. We even found organic veggie in both Sevilla and Tarifa!

  Bird Flu scare still running

While I was away in Spain, the following story broke. It means that the scare is still active and will almost certainly be followed by an offer of vaccination, at some point in the future. I shall place my hopes in homeopathy, should this ever turn into the threatened pandemic!

Bird flu virus mutating into human-unfriendly form

NEW YORK, Oct 4 (Reuters) – The H5N1 bird flu virus has mutated to infect people more easily, although it still has not transformed into a pandemic strain, researchers said on Thursday.

The changes are worrying, said Dr. Yoshihiro K of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“We have identified a specific change that could make bird flu grow in the upper respiratory tract of humans,” said Kawaoka, who led the study.

“The viruses that are circulating in Africa and Europe are the ones closest to becoming a human virus,” Kawaoka said.

Recent samples of virus taken from birds in Africa and Europe all carry the mutation, Kawaoka and colleagues report in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS Pathogens.

“I don’t like to scare the public, because they cannot do very much. But at the same time it is important to the scientific community to understand what is happening,” Kawaoka said in a telephone interview.

The H5N1 avian flu virus, which mostly infects birds, has since 2003 infected 329 people in 12 countries, killing 201 of them. It very rarely passes from one person to another, but if it acquires the ability to do so easily, it likely will cause a global epidemic.

All flu viruses evolve constantly and scientists have some ideas about what mutations are needed to change a virus from one that infects birds easily to one more comfortable in humans.

Birds usually have a body temperature of 41 degrees Celsius (106 degrees F), and humans are 37 degrees C (98.6 degrees F) usually. The human nose and throat, where flu viruses usually enter, is usually around 33 degrees C (91.4 degrees F).

“So usually the bird flu doesn’t grow well in the nose or throat of humans,” Kawaoka said. This particular mutation allows H5N1 to live well in the cooler temperatures of the human upper respiratory tract.

H5N1 caused its first mass die-off among wild waterfowl in 2005 at Qinghai Lake in central China, where hundreds of thousands of migratory birds congregate.

That strain of the virus was carried across Asia to Africa and Europe by migrating birds. Its descendants carry the mutation, Kawaoka said.

“So the viruses circulating in Europe and Africa, they all have this mutation. So they are the ones that are closer to human-like flu,” Kawaoka said.

Luckily, they do not carry other mutations, he said.

“Clearly there are more mutations that are needed. We don’t know how many mutations are needed for them to become pandemic strains.”

Bird flu story source: Reuters

Declawing of crabs

I had no idea this was happening, let alone being condoned.

I add the text, without comment:

ScienceDaily (Oct. 10, 2007) — The future sustainability of  fishermen who declaw edible sea crabs has been questioned by a Queen’s academic.

Professor Bob E, from the School of Biological Sciences studied crabs’ reaction to declawing. Crabs felt increased stress and had a lower survival rate after the removal of one claw.

He said: “Should a crab survive declawing it will not be able to feed effectively and may subsequently die of starvation.”

Under current UK laws, fishermen can legally remove both claws and then put the animal back into the sea. According to Professor Elwood, this can result in stress and a high mortality rate for crabs.

Professor Elwood said: “We found a strong stress response within ten minutes of taking off one claw and this stress remained after 24 hours. The stress response was greater if the crab was declawed rather than being induced to cast off a claw. So, the stress is not due specifically to claw loss but to the manner of the claw loss.

“In the past, declawing has been defended because it has been likened to claws being naturally cast off, but this study shows clearly the two are very different.

“Of particular concern was that claw removal resulted in a substantial mortality within 24 hours that appeared to occur when the wound size was large. The typical fishery practice of removing two claws is likely to result in a much higher mortality than that observed in these experiments and so will have marked implications for the sustainability of crab claw fisheries.”

Looking at the declawing process around the world he concluded: “A fishery in the USA only allows removal of one claw. This is difficult to regulate because it cannot easily be determined if two claws are from the same crab or different crabs. In most other places the whole crab is used for food not just the claws.”

“In our experiments we were aware of ethical concerns about repeating the practice of claw removal in a scientific investigation. We believe though that the small number of animals is justified as it gives important data that might save very large numbers of crabs from this experience.”

Adapted from materials provided by Queen's University, Belfast.”

Obesity and Cancer

About 6,000 cases of cancer each year in women in their 50s and early 60s are attributed to them being obese, Oxford University researchers have found.

The result of being overweight was particularly striking when it came to women who had gone on to develop womb cancer and a certain type of throat cancer — as half of all cases were linked to weight.

The study of more than a million women also found that being overweight significantly increased the risk of kidney cancer, leukaemia, multiple myeloma, pancreatic cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, ovarian cancer and, in some age-groups, breast and bowel cancer.

The study comes after a report suggested that a third of all cancers are linked to diet and weight. Researchers have warned that the obesity epidemic is set to worsen with over half of adults and a quarter of children predicted to be overweight by 2050.

Are we being entirely logical and scientific here? Surely, it is possible that obesity may not be the 'cause' of the cancer but may share a common cause? Unsuitable foods in our diets can cause all sorts of health problems, including obesity and cancer. The nature of the food, its processing, its additives and its pollutants are surely very powerful likely causes of the cancer and of the obesity.

Of course, GM foods may also be a risk, as might the single cell cultures in vaccinations, drug medications, vaccination itself and environmental pollution.

For other articles on this subject, put a search word (e.g. obesity) in the search box.

New Planet – Life in Space?

Astronomers in the US say they have found a new planet in orbit around a star 41 light years from Earth.”

This news broke just today. There's all sorts of conjecture that this very large ‘planet', probably a ‘gas giant' and the fifth to be found orbiting the sun '55 Cancri', may have moons that could hold water pools and therefore the pre-conditions for life. This ‘solar system' has similarities to our own.

Is there intelligent life out there? Well, I hope so, because there's not much sign of it down here!

One party homeopathy won't be joining

In the USA:

“Adverse Drug Events (ADEs) result in more than 2.1 million injuries each year and the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that 100,000 Americans die annually of adverse reactions to prescription drugs”

“The FDA's Office of Drug Risk Assessment calculates only 1% of ADEs are reported.”

In the UK:

The BMJ's Clinical Evidence website recently stated that only 15% of the 2,404 orthodox medical treatments reviewed were effective and 47% were of unknown effectiveness.

Personally, I'd be keeping quiet about the evidence base of medicine, if I were promoting conventional medicine. I'd be keeping still quieter about the evidence base of other disciplines!

Why fear homeopathy?

What does the NHS establishment fear about homeopathy? Why should anyone, purporting to have patient welfare at heart, fear a system of medicine that has been bringing massive patient satisfaction for more than 200 years?

Might it be that homeopathy is the mirror that tells the ghastly truth first thing in the morning? Is it the window on the uncomfortable reality of the modern medical health care system (I would not have chosen those words to describe a system which appears to enshrine ill health) in the UK?

Quite why our present times have brought an unprecedented and systematic attack on a system of medicine that has lived peacefully alongside, with the single ambition of helping patients, is a total mystery to me.

Whatever, medical and veterinary homeopaths go about their daily business of delivering real health care.

  More evidence-based medicine

This from 1998:

“Study confirms how dangerous prescription drugs are:
side effects make 2 million sick
Properly prescribed medicine kills 106,000 each year

Drugs that cause worst reactions: heart medications. blood thinners and chemotherapeutic agents for cancer. Most common cause of death: liver or kidney failure, heart rhythm problems and bone marrow destruction.

More than 2 million Americans become seriously ill every year because of toxic reactions to correctly prescribed medicines taken properly and 106,000 die from those reactions, a new study concludes. That surprisingly high number makes drug side effects at least the sixth and perhaps even the fourth, most common cause of death in this country. The analysis, the largest and most complete of its kind, suggests that one in 15 hospital patients in the United States can expect a serious reaction to prescription or over-the-counter medicine and about 5 percent of those will die from it.

If the findings are accurate, then the number of people dying each year from drug side effects may be exceeded only by the numbers of people dying from heart disease, cancer and stroke and may be greater than the number dying from lung disease, pneumonia or diabetes. Experts said the study, which appears in today's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, is stronger than previous ones because it looks only at cases in which drugs were taken correctly. Previous hints of similarly high side effect rates had been attributed in large part to people getting the wrong medicines or taking them in the wrong doses.

Only one quarter of the reactions were due to patients being allergic to the drug in question. In theory, those reactions could be avoided by more carefully asking patients about known allergies. The rest of the side effects were classified as essentially inevitable, bound to affect a certain percentage of the population for unknown reasons.

Pharmaceutical manufacturers, drug regulators and the researchers themselves warned against over-reacting to the numbers, noting that the study made no effort to measure the benefits of the same medicines-an equally important part of the cost-benefit calculation that determines the usefulness of a drug.”

Can you imagine the comfort a dying patient would feel, from the knowledge that someone thinks others have benefited from the same drug?

Let's face the facts. When profit is the motive, common sense, science, reason, safety, ethics and decency tend to take flight.

The NHS, which can hardly keep its head above the financial surface, partly because of spiralling drug costs, currently appears to be hell-bent on putting homeopathy behind it, once and for all. Never mind reason. Never mind logic. If the punter doesn't fight for the freedom of choice, it could be flushed down the toilet of vested interest. Homeopathy would then be the prerogative of those who can afford private treatment.

U.S. medical war on the population

Tuesday, July 05, 2005 by: Jessica F.

Statistics prove prescription drugs are 16,400% more deadly than terrorists

According to the groundbreaking 2003 medical report Death by Medicine, by Drs. Gary N, Carolyn D, Martin F, Debora R and Dorothy S, 783,936 people in the United States die every year from conventional medicine mistakes. That's the equivalent of six jumbo jet crashes a day for an entire year. But where is the media attention for this tragedy? Where is the government support for stopping these medical mistakes before they happen?

Why is this not a news headline, each day? Might it be that you're not supposed to know?

I suppose it's all done in the ‘best possible taste'.

Evidence Based Medicine

Here's the evidence base:

Prescription drug deaths double in a decade

By Joanna C

Last Updated: 2:38am BST 24/10/2007

Deaths from adverse reactions to prescription drugs have more than doubled in 10 years, new figures show.

Statistics from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) reveal 973 people died from suspected serious side-effects last year, compared to 382 in 1996.

The MHRA figures also show there were 9,801 cases between May and December last year of patients having a serious, suspected adverse reaction to the drugs they were prescribed.

These are only the recorded cases! In the U.S., the situation is also desperate.

Another estimate:

Prescription drugs linked to 15,000 deaths each year

By Nigel H, Health Editor

DRUGS prescribed to patients for a range of conditions may be responsible for as many as 1,200 sudden deaths a year in Britain. Antibiotics, antipsychotic drugs and those used to treat nausea and vomiting may all be involved because they have the ability to interfere with the electrical activity that controls the heartbeat.

The alarm was sounded by a study in the Netherlands that found that patients taking these drugs had nearly three times the risk of sudden cardiac death. The authors estimate that the drugs cause 320 deaths a year in the Netherlands. By extrapolation, that equates to 1,200 deaths a year in Britain and 15,000 deaths in Europe and the US as a whole.

The Dutch study, published in European Heart Journal, looked at all deaths between 1995 and 2003 in a population of half a million people from 150 general practices nationally for whom complete medical records are kept.

The vociferous and powerful minority lobby that wants to ban homeopathy should perhaps turn its energy and attentions to rather more urgent matters. In their saner moments, they might concede that homeopathy cannot ever wreak such havoc and mayhem. They might even open their minds to the massive scale of positive outcomes after homeopathic treatment. There again, we live in a far-from-perfect world.

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