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Medical Association to challange Pharma

Letter on putting science back into medicine  ---  1/19/16

Dear - - - - -

Challenging bad pharma   --  on line version  http://healthfully.org/rg/id5.html with embedded links

Introduction:  While nearly all those working in health care in a professional way are aware of the inroads made by corporations to serve their financial interest, only a few go public and are counted as critics.  I am writing you because I am involved in the struggle to put patients first (see http://healthfully.org/rg--more on that below).  I have an idea how to make a difference and want to share that idea with you.  You are in a better position to challenge bad pharma.  I have an idea of how to limit pharma’s ability to cause harm.  Please take the time and consider what I purpose.

Organize:    Doctors need an organization to challenge pharma’s influence upon the information, education, regulations, and the guideline systems; viz., to end the ways in which pharma frames our understanding of conditions and treatments.  Since the 50s the AMA has become a lap-dog of pharma: it receives most of its funding from pharma.  Not surprisingly only 15% of doctors belong to the AMA—and its dues is just $420.[1]   While the BMA has a louder bark, and thus greater percentage of member (over 70%), it too is pharma friendly.  Physicians (and the public) need a voice that challenges pharma.  We need a Medical Science Association (MSA), a physicians’ association committed to pure medical science.  Where the AMA and BMA fail, the MSA would act:  act to write guidelines, to write medical textbooks, to publish medical journals and books, to expose the tobaccos science of bad pharma, to give continuing medical education classes (CME), and to lobby for changes.  Taking into account that positive bias is the norm[2] for all published pharma funded trials, the MSA’s guidelines would require strong evidence when deviating from the standard practices during the golden (scientific) era of medicine.[3]  MSA would lobby for a firewall between pharma funding and research.  As a patients’ advocate, a broad-base movement would develop to repair the evidence base.  MSA would support AllTrials and more.  As part of its efforts it would lobby like AllTrials for the opening up of the data banks of the various national health services.  Computer programs for comparative effectiveness research (CER) would tease out of their large data banks treatment evaluations from real-world patients (see Scientific American July 2011).  Unlike WorstPill.org and Cochrane Collaboration, MSA isn’t trying to reach the largest audience of doctors; thus MSA would expose the widely accepted distortions generated by pharma.  MSA would gather information on pharma’s KOLs (key opinion leaders) and make public this information.  MSA would encourage members to take a pledge to be pharma free (like No Free Lunch).  MSA would provide an office plaque for pharma-free members, and provide the public brochures and documentaries about the medical-industrial complex.  This information would permit the public as a consumer to seek out members of MSA.  Beside guidelines MSA would fund scientists to write position papers for the general public on the best treatments.  We are all in it together:  tobacco science is bad for everyone.   

In the future:  Once the data banks are opened for CER analysis, the way we practice medicine would change.  MSA would issue guidelines, and thus provide a legal defense for deviating from the current dodgy guidelines.  MSA would negotiate for improved working conditions and to limit the computerization of treatments by corporate hospitals and clinics.  MSA as an organization could pressure legislatures to pass real fixes.[4]    Only through an organization with extensive support by physicians and the public would there be sufficient pressure applied to the legislatures for it to pass effective reforms and inforce them.

Publishing house for medical science.  There is a current need for a publisher of medical science.  Too many worthy books go unpublished or are self-published.  This year I bought 3 self-published books on the topic cardiovascular and the role of cholesterol.[5]  Other works languish in foreign languages or obscure journals.[6]  One such work is a French book on useless and dangerous drugs, which the Guardian has published a review and interviewed one author (at http://healthfully.org/rep/id7.html) Guide des 4000 Médicaments Utiles Inutiles ou Dangereux au Service des Malades et de Praticiens, Dr. Philippe Even director of the prestigious Necker Institute (other author by Dr. Bernard Debre depute de Paris).  Possible you could contact its authors and use your influence to promote an English edition.  There is a need for the publication and wide distribution of works that expose pharma’s tobacco science.  

Production of documentaries:  On YouTube are thousands of documentaries and lectures, many exposing the harm done by corporate medicine—see my page with links.   With your wide readership you ought to be involved in the production of quality documentaries.  Dr. Lustig’s lecture Sugar the Bitter Truth, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM) UCTV has been downloaded 5,730,000 times by June.  His documentary The Complete Skinny http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moQZd1-BC0Y is for a wider audience.  Prof. Angell had recorded her President’s lecture at University of Montana based on her book The Truth About Drug Companies  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqKY6Gr6D3Q.  Moreover you and associates could make documentaries to be played on LINK, FSTV, BBC, CBC, ABC and other alternatives to corporate stations. Wikileaks, Wikipharma:  One last thought, a Wikileaks type website would open the closed doors of bad pharma. Possible someone in your university’s computer science department could set it up.   

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^



[1] CMAJ 2011, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3153537/ and http://www.citizen.org/documents/HL_201211.pdf. Their membership went from 278,000 in 2002 to 217,000 in 2011 a decline of 22%. 

[2] Positive bias averaged 32% (range 11 to 69%) in a NEJM article, 2008.  The study of neuroleptic drugs made a comparison of 74 journal articles to the raw data which was obtained by FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) from the FDA. See http://healthfully.org/index/id9.html, or http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/short/358/3/252 

[3] I have a website which in the last 5 years has taken a long-hard look at a number of treatments that deviate from the golden era, which ended in the 80’s, and found most of current treatments are worse than what came before.  These finding I published at http://healthfully.org/rc/.  Over and over again basic health science has been rewritten to promote the sales of patented drugs based on dodgy clinical trials.  The blockbusters Vioxx & Tamiflu are blueprints for pharma.    

[4] A lesson from history:  Franklin D. Roosevelt believed the way to prevent a revolution and thus save the corporate system was to put money in the hands of those who are at the bottom of the economic pyramid.  He believed in the Keynesian solution, thus a living wage was central in his program for economic recovery.  Wages to factory workers had been cut 50%.  In 1933 he had a meeting with the union leaders at the White House.  In that meeting he told them of his proposed legislation to protect the union members’ right to organize.  However he couldn’t pass the legislation without their help.  At the end of the meet he said to them, “Make me pass the legislation”.  Labor’s efforts through major strikes and mass demonstrations drove home the message that the masses were moving towards overturning the capitalist system.  Over 1 million had voted in the 1932 election for socialist candidates.  Radical change was needed to defuse the masses, so Congress passed the Wagner Act which protected the right to have union shops & strikes.  With sufficient pressure from the public and physician, the legislatures would act to restore science & limit pharma’s power. 

[5] The Great Cholesterol Con, 5th Edition, 2012, by Anthony Colpo.   Prof. Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD, Ignore the Awkward!  How the Cholesterol Myths are Kept Alive, 2010—both are highly recommended.  The Statin Damage Crisis, Dr. Duane Graveline.

[6]  Peter Gotzsche in Deadly Medicine and Organized Crime, 2013, page 16-17, writes of such a situation where his important clinical trial found only a Danish publisher.  Ben Goldacre in Bad Pharma writes of a case where an editor admits in writing that his rejection  of a submission was because the drug manufacturer opposed its publication.  More common is self-sensor by editors. 

About me:   As a utilitarian (http://www.skeptically.org/enlightenment/id18.html), to do good always comes first.  After taking a long hard look at corporate dismantling of Keynesian economic and unions, I realized that globalization has occurred, so I focused upon how pharma functions.  The results of my efforts help people live better and exposes pharma’s tobacco science and tobacco ethics.  My science and philosophy training (over 85 credit hours in sciences; and for philosophy 2 years undergraduate and 2 years of graduate school) created an ability to spot the violation of consistency.  Thus for example my knowledge of the functions of cholesterol caused me question pharma’s treatments for cardiovascular disease.  I confirmed my doubts at the UCSD Medical College Library.  Over and over again upon investigation I found junk produced by bad pharma. 

In addition to my schooling, my long-term studies of evidence based health issues makes me qualified.  In 1971I bought my first medical textbook, the next in 1981 was Goodman and Gilman’s pharmacology textbook—since then 18 medical textbooks.  I also read been reading medical journals.  In 2001, I started http://www.skeptically.org/ dedicated to exposing beliefs that are not sufficiently supported by the evidence.  At that site there are 4 sections on quack medicine.  At its high point, 11,000 pages were downloaded daily.  

Medical website:  In 2004 I started http://healthfully.org/  which caused me to expand my areas of interest and to gradual realize that medicine today is much different than in the 70s and before.  The site averages for the last 6 years over 1,000 pages downloaded daily.  In 2008 after listening to the audio version of Prof Marcia Angell The Truth About Drug Companies and How they Deceive Us, I learned that my reliance upon KOLs was misplaced.  I started a new section in 2010 with “recommendation” in its tag, so as to distinguish it from my earlier efforts.  Recommendations’ main goals are to expose bad pharma and their tobacco science, and to provide the best evidence based advice.  About 30% of web-space is posting journal articles exposing bad pharma.  My latest efforts--lasting 23 months--has been to find the causes of the obesity and diabetes pandemics and the other health consequences of the Western diet, to expose the dietary tobacco science, and to present the best remedies.  Since retiring in 2012, I spend over 40-hours per week in studies and writing on medical issues.   With our current expert-based medicine in which pharma supplies the KOLs, there is slime under every rock.  You’d be surprised at how many beliefs about diseases and treatments are produced by bad pharma.  Each website section’s home-page has an internal Google search engine. You may use make use of my website efforts and the ideas in this letter as seems fit to you, and acknowledgement is not required, but feedback is appreciated. 

Conclusion:  Given your connection, hopefully you would become involved and contact others who would help to build an MSA?   Iain Chalmers succeeded to organize doctors to support the Cochrane Collaboration, why not you for MSA?  Networking works.  Thank you for your time, and I hope that you can send me an email (jerome69@sbcglobal.net).   My gateway page is http://healthfully.org/rg/, video library at rg/id4.html, index of article at rg/id3.html, and a version of this letter at http://healthfully.org/rg/id5.html with links. 

Yours truly

 

AllTrials (sometimes called All Trials or AllTrials.net) is a project which advocates that clinical research adopt principles of open research. The project summarizes itself as "All trials registered, all results reported": that is, all clinical trials should be listed in a clinical trials registry, and their results should always be shared as open data.

At the center of the organisation is a petition signed by over 63,000 individuals and over 450 organisations (as of February 2014).  At the center of the organisation is a petition signed by over 85,000 individuals and 599 organisations (as of August 2015):

Thousands of clinical trials have not reported their results; some have not even been registered.

Information on what was done and what was found in these trials could be lost forever to doctors and researchers, leading to bad treatment decisions, missed opportunities for good medicine, and trials being repeated.

All trials past and present should be registered, and the full methods and the results reported.

We call on governments, regulators and research bodies to implement measures to achieve this.

INTERNAL SITE SEARCH ENGINE by Google

Harvard Prof. Dr. Marcia Angell: “We certainly are in a health care crisis, ... If we had set out to design the worst system that we could imagine, we couldn't have imagined one as bad as we have.”