In 1936, three workers at the Halowax Corporation in New York State, who had been working with chlorinated naphthalenes, developed chloracne – a skin condition that Viktor Yushenko’s face brought dramatically to world attention in 2004, when he was standing as the pro-Western candidate for the presidency of Ukraine.
Chloracne can be caused by many chlorinated compounds from vinyl chloride, through polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Many medicines are chlorinated. I have no idea if this chlorination, as in Zyprexa, olanzapine, for instance can be a problem but Zyprexa and other compounds can certainly give rise to chloracne.
The three workers went on to develop jaundice and then liver failure and died. Halowax had shortly beforehand increased the strength of the chlorinated compounds that went into their halowaxes, which were used as insulators for electrical wires.
The company called in Cecil Drinker, then the dean of Harvard School of Public Health. Drinker and colleagues had helped create industrial hygiene. In this case, the approach involved taking air samples and then testing the chemicals found in the air on laboratory animals – chlorinated naphthalenes and biphenyls. The new more intensely chlorinated compounds were in fact more likely to cause liver damage than the older mixes. The trick then was to find the dose that could cause this problem in rats, half the dose, set this new dose as the maximal exposure permitted, and then recommend ventilation and related measures that would ensure the factory milieu never reached these levels.
There was a tacit understanding that industrial hygienists would not recommend safe levels too difficult for factories to reach. Having undertaken work to manage the issues, factories were well placed in the case of litigation to show they had acted responsibly.
The problem was these tests measured the acute effects of chlorinated compounds – six weeks. They assumed the problems arose from inhalation. And they measured the average effects. This leaves no room for an unusual sensitivity to a chemical, or chronic exposure or exposure that arises from chlorides or related compounds absorbed in unexpected ways.
Vinyl Chlorides can be very safe if used acutely and with discrimination. They are among the materials of choice for dominatrix outfits – as in the featured image.
The vinyl chlorides however also give rise to dioxins. Viktor Yanushenko’s chloracne likely came from dioxin levels that were at 4000 times the safe level in his body. He survived this apparently very acute exposure, which is widely thought to have been a poisoning.
But the cancers that lots of other people have developed since have come not from poisoning by political opponents, or from Sexual Games even those that until recently might have been seen as perverse (longer than usual exposure, variations on the norm and… ), but from chronic exposure to much lower doses than were in the Halowax air in the form of dioxins that have ended up in the food chain.
Without any conspiracy involved, the best science of the day, stamped with a Harvard imprimatur, completely missed the problem. But it did give industry great cover, and helped create the Harvard Department of Public Health and now Global Health.
To be continued.Share this:
Copyright © Data Based Medicine Americas Ltd.
The picture of the breakfast is rather worrying – pity we can’t make out EXACTLY where the dioxins are in the picture. By that I mean – are they actually in the foods or in the wrappers and, through that, also present in the foods? I ask mainly out of interest as, for many years but recently more or less cleared up, I suffered when in contact with many forms of plastic or rubber. No, not in the way mentioned in this piece! – simply plastic carrier bags, rubber gloves, rubber bands, plastic chairs, plastic cups etc. They would cause a wheeze ( being asthmatic, that was not surprising) and also a dreadful itch about 5 minutes after the contact. The whole area would swell and become very hot to the touch. After about 20 minutes or so, it would simply clear up. I am wondering if this was actually a reaction to a ‘poison’ used in production.
When I worked in the hospital they had a company in that made hand-wash for the wards, They had a table with an ultra voilet light that showed up any germs on your hands and said their had wash would kill all germs 100%.
Well I got to thier table and said I’ve been using your hand-wash and look what its done to me. The palms of my hands were covered in eczema from their hand wash. They were horrified but quickly managed to turn to someone else and change the conversation. A few passing Dr’s and nurses were giggling lol.
Killed all germs but ruined your skin! Not very good is it. Hope your hands soon recovered once you stopped using their magical cleanser!
I used to go regularly for physiotherapy and had to lie face down on a treatment table with a hole for my face to rest in. She would put a tissue over it, for each patient. For years there was no problem. Then I began wheezing and coughing when my head touched the tissue. The reason? She had changed over to using recycled paper tissues and they use bleach in the process! This makes them cheap, but, for me, nasty. I took my own tissues with me, but then she had other complaints from patients and went back to her old brand. No further problems….
After developing a ‘spreading sensitivity’ to chemicals, following bad reaction to organophosphate sheep dip, I had to avoid the smell of bleach, nail varnish (acetone), polish, glues, certain foods and worst of all, petrol for many years. When we got near a filling station, I had to get out of the car and wait a distance away, whilst the driver filled up, and then they’d turn round and come back for me. If I didn’t avoid these things, I’d get a feeling like I was going to die, I used to say it’s what I’d imagine a goldfish would feel like if plucked out of its bowl of water and laid on a plate. My heart would race, I would feel like I was going dizzy, then faint, fading away. My nose tip, hands and feet would buzz and tingle. Sounds amusing put like that, but it was hell, and limited my social life cos I never knew what allergens, if that’s what they were, I would meet when out and about. This went on for years. In the end I found a specialist in a private hospital offering help with environmental damage, who prescribed me a food supplement product with which to line my gut before eating. They’d seen plenty like me before, My husband had similar problems from the Dip, but not so strongly affecting as mine.
I was driven to find this help cos I once got caught out very badly. I was doing a school art and illustration workshop in our county, near the end of Term, in a hot July. It was a rural school and a farmer was out spraying the fields adjacent to it. At lunchtime, as a treat for the children, we were all having a picnic in the grounds. I must have inhaled a bit of the chemical in the air cos suddenly I was on the ground, fighting for breath.
My husband drove me to the GP (not far away) and she gave me an injection of ?adrenaline, and then, unfortunately as it turned out, a 2 week course of steroid tablets. The steroids had a dire effect on me. Racing heart, pains down the arms, chest pains, pressure behind the eyes, shaking hands, and worst of all, a sense of impending doom, extreme anxiety, and irritability. It felt as though my diaphragm wouldn’t work, to take in a breath. My poor husband sat beside the bed holding my hand and trying to help me do relaxation breathing, but hard as I tried, I couldn’t physically do it.
One evening, after about 7 days of this, it was so bad, we rang the GP. We’d already reported problems over the phone and been told to persevere to finish the course. But one evening i had such judders hammering through my arms and legs, incontinence and pressure in the head, that my husband insisted on the GP seeing me. He rather crossly said he would, if I was brought down to the surgery, there was no way he was coming out on a visit as it was evening.
I explained how I felt. He looked at me with a slight smile. He said there was no way steroids could cause this as steroids are used to counteract allergies, not cause them. He said he fully accepted that I thought I was feeling what I was reporting, but it was all in my mind and what I needed was a psychiatrist. When I tried to politely but firmly defend my point of view, he accused me of being aggressive. My husband tried too, and he looked at him with undisguised pity. We came home and I lay in shaking fear all night. When dawn came up, I got up and went outside to sit and think, and mentally ‘ask for guidance’. There seemed no help for me. I knew this couldn’t be psychological, cos it only started when I smelt the spray, and I’d had all those bleach etc reactions for a long time.
I knew there was a lady in our village who did reflexology. I had nothing to lose now, could hardly think, so asked her help. She said she knew she shouldn’t really treat me as I had this stuff in my system but I was desperate. So she did. Within hours great waves and tremors raged down from my head through my body to my feet. I rode it all day as best I could, drinking water moderately and pacing up and down.. She’d mentioned a local Natural Therapy Centre, suggesting I ask for advice. I did, and eventually found the doctor at the Environmental Hospital, many miles away, who gave me the UltraClear Sustain gut lining powder drink vits and mins) and said they see hundreds of people like me with these reactions, their GPs etc having labelled them as in need of psychiatric intervention!. My steroid experience left me with acute anxiety, racing mind, and oral thrush, for 9 months. It was utter hell. My work suffered, and I was lucky to manage to fulfill my contract, on a wing and a prayer, literally!
I never looked back. But I make sure in my Notes it states I am unable to tolerate steroids, hormones, antihistamines, iodine dyes (they give me anaphylactic shock as did hay fever injections when I was 20), in fact, unless I am actually dying and am given clear facts about why I need to take something, I’ve stated I won’t have anything. I’ve been ok with paracetamol, taken rarely and only when really needed, and heparin injections when I was lying flat for some weeks in hospital when I broke my neck. I was at that time very glad of the UltraClear Sustain drink, cos I could just manage to sip it through a straw, when eating was very difficult, and it built up my immune system I feel.
I think it’s important to try to slowly build up tolerance to foods and chemicals, so that you don’t have to live in fear and avoid them for ever. But it needs doing slowly. I can eat salmon now (for some reason it used to affect me, maybe cos of chemicals used in salmon farms?) and I can bear the smell of bleach etc in public toilets, but I use environmentally friendly products at home. I always try to have a scoop of UltraClear Sustain in a big glass of bottled water, well whizzed up, before breakfast! It’s made by Nutri, they send it by post, and no, I (sadly) don’t have shares in it! Any doctor can agree to your request for it, but these days, we all have to pay for it. This is my personal story and recommendation but I know it may not suit everyone. I’ve only written this cos I remember the hell of the life limiting situation I was in and long to save others from the same, in case what helped me might help them.
(Heather -have just put another musical link to mental health on for you – it’s in last week’s comments but gone on today).
ADs actually got a mention on the Archers tonight didn’t they – hope they come into the picture again during the next instalments.
I sympathise with your ‘unusual reactions – suffered, to a far lesser degree, in much the same way myself. I’m not fit to be in human company when on antibiotics – and when I ( seldom thankfully) need steroids because of chest problems, then I’m not fit for animal company either! The ‘sense of doom’ that you describe, in me, is more a sense of unleashed fury. I seem to wait for someone to put a toe ( way less than a foot!) wrong so that I can pounce! It is a horrid, selfish way to be – but how much worse must be the feelings of those who suffer adversely to ADs and antipsychotics.
Mary, with reference to ADs on the Archer’s in the discussion between the jury, I am beginning to suspect that a perfect opportunity for getting the truth across to the public about these medications, is going to be missed. One juror said, in referring to Helen’s violent act of stabbing husband Rob “well, she’d only been on antidepressants a few days and we all know they take at least 3 weeks to have an effect, so she must have been in control of her own mind”. Another juror was a pharmacist, but didn’t correct this assumption.
If ever there was an opportunity for Dr David Healy to enlighten the public about the fact that effects can begin almost at once (eg what happened to Katinka Newman – ‘The Pill that Steals Lives’, it is NOW. With a massive following of listeners currently, I expect many others on this Blog would implore him, if he hasn’t already done so, to contact the scriptwriters, who say they pride themselves on accuracy, and explain to them how these ADs really work and how they can cause out-of-character sudden violence. Maybe DH has done so already. But we can’t let the listening public presume the juror was correct in saying the ADs couldn’t have been affecting Helen so soon.
Mary, as to steroids – yes, pent up fury is a side effect I felt. I growled at my son totally unreasonably for not tidying his room when it couldn’t have mattered less, and then suddenly realised they were making me horrid. I only took them for 11 days. When I stopped them, I lost 3 stone over the next 2 months. I hadn’t been carrying that much weight before I had the course.
All these medications are strong, and affect our bodies differently and in a myriad of ways. The desperate worry is that so many doctors just do not seem to grasp this, and they are playing Russian roulette with our lives. I feel they mostly don’t know what is in the stuff, I’d guess many of them don’t spend a lot of time in their training studying biochemistry. They don’t seem to want to tread gently, start on a mini dose, monitor carefully, believe the reporting patient etc. Attention to detail seems to be something there is no time for, and this is very convenient for Pharma who are only too happy to supply their own slant on the detail which sells the pill.
Please DH, do put The Archers audience straight. Give them the true detail. There are incredible numbers following this serial at present. Your information can reach a massive audience, and carry great weight.
Heather, you are quite correct that an AD Strike can happen within hours, days or weeks.
But, to be quite frank I am of the opinion that ADs were used by the scripwriter as an allegiance to stigma.
She was on anti-depressants, therefore quite mad.
Forgive me if I’m wrong, but at no time did I hear that Helen got a prescription, took a tablet or even thought they were a good idea when pregnant.
The Archers Storyline was about abuse within families, coercion and bullying leading to violence. I really don’t think the author penned a kitchen sink drama about every day country folk with a view to someone like Professor David Healy sullying his hands.
However, I love reading your stuff but I really think more time should be spent on investigating real life dramas as opposed to fiction..for example, why is there litigation with Glaxosmithkline across the UK..when we have every proof that US litigation has proven ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ that Seroxat induces possible murder of one’s children, relatives and/or oneself..
Heather, losing Olly must have been devastating for you and your husband and family members not on your side with your other son, equally disturbing….with ADHD, I am so very sorry for all the lifelong pain you are suffering and believe me, we listen to your every word.
The archers story is very sad but the reality is far, far worse. These drugs can destroy lives more than anyone can ever even imagine. I wish I had never gone on them and my advice to anyone considering taking them is Don’t!
Thank You Mickey Nardo – the Paxil workshops
Episodes like ‘Toronto’ are much clearer; now..
Great Title/Great Picture..
How GlaxoSmithKline Took Its Medicine
Selected ‘highlights’ from the UN..
Report of the
UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL’S
ON ACCESS TO MEDICINES
The United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Innovation and Access to Health Technologies (High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines for short, also High-Level Panel) was comprised of 15 eminent individuals with a deep knowledge and understanding of a broad range of human rights, legal, commercial, trade and public health issues critical to promoting innovation and access to health technologies.
Improving access to medicines for patients and citizens across the world is one of the great challenges of our time. It is an issue of great importance to me. I am proud that GSK has led the independent Access to Medicines Index on each of the four occasions it has been compiled.
Nobody would dispute the need for improvement in both innovation of healthcare technology and access to it. Everyone understands there is much to do. People are being left behind.
4.2.2 Clinical trials
Healthcare providers need complete, up-to-date clinical trial data to give patients the safest, best treatments. A 2013 United Kingdom parliamentary committee pointed out the serious problem of lack of information sharing from clinical trials: “Important information about clinical trials is routinely and legally withheld from doctors and researchers by manufacturers. This longstanding regulatory and cultural failure impacts on all of medicine and undermines the ability of clinicians, researchers and patients to make informed decisions about which treatment is best.” 213
Clinical trials are required by regulatory authorities before approval is given to manufacturers to enter the market and are meant to assure the safety and efficacy of health-related products. Clinical trials are also the biggest R&D expense.214 Increased transparency of clinical trial information is an important contributor to improved public health outcomes. Secondary and meta-analyses may change clinical practices and reveal that interventions are ineffective or unsafe, as happened in the case of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors antidepressants. 215
215 Mann, J., et al. (2006) ACNP Task force report on SSRIs and suicidal behavior in youth. Neuropsychopharmacology, 31(3), pp. 473-492.
Annie, thanks for your supportive comment. I totally agree that the point of this Blog is to fight for justice re Pharma corruption etc, but my reason for suggesting DH put our point across to the Archers scriptwriter (as I think Mary and others have suggested a few times earlier too) was to find a way to get the facts that we all know, in front of the public.
We have tried tackiling Pharma head on, in their boardrooms, sitting down with Government ministers in Parliament, getting an MHRA inquiry, putting in a deposition to the GMC, writing endless strong and fact filled letters, and it’s like Carla writes here, it is hopeless, because underlying it is the complacency and lack of will to change anything, never mind the power of well funded Pharma lobbying. It is vital to get THE PEOPLE to stand with us all, and we’ll only get that by reaching them through the Media, repeatedly, coming in from other angles, and like the Telly Tubbies, saying it over and over again.
Having said that, it could help a bit right now, as on BBC1 9.00pm last night (Thursday) we saw the first epiisode in a series of programmes called ‘The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs, by Dr Chris van Tulleken, who is tackling ‘the creeping influence of pharmacutical lobbyists’ but last night showed how he worked alongside skeptical GPs seeing their patients with them and trying to get to the root of their illnesses and treat them without using drugs, including one girl who went on antidepressants when 16 and 8 years later, wants to get off. He used a new process, developed by a doctor in ?Oxford, using swimming in very cold water, to shock the body – not sure how it works, but did seem to, and in the next episode she tries to start tapering, so well worth a watch next week, and also, if one can, seeing last night’s again, if you missed it, on Iplayer. It’s another BBC effort to get the message across. Again and again.
I don’t feel DH would be ‘sullying’ his hands as you describe it, by approaching the Archers’ scriptwriters, I feel it would be putting the record straight in front of the listeners, because I think the only way to change the appalling criminally ruined lives of so many of us, is to get ordinary people to wake up and vote with their feet. I know people who have worked on that programme and I think they’d be grateful to hear from him. Whether you like that serial or hate the sig tune and find the whole thing parochial, the point is, people all over the country, even abroad, LISTEN to it. And it’s ordinary people who we MUST alert to the danger of these drugs, so they refuse them, if they are lucky enough not to have started on them, but if they are well down the damage road, we need everyone to acknowledge, as DH is quoted as saying, something like “it is the greatest medical scandal of our age’ and fight for some kind of compensation. I also feel there should be millions put into research by some kind of State Scientific labs, NOT funded or infiltrated by the current Pharma industry, to unravel exactly what these psychotropic drugs are doing in brains, nervous systems, so we can find antidotes, healing processes to rebuild nerves, receptors, hormones, whatever, as naturally as possible. If we can understand this, maybe we can offer people their normal functioning neurology back and they can live again. We need billions put into this, maybe via taxation, but then reclaimed by hammering the drug companies to pay it back, once we can prove chemically what their concoctions have done.
In the meantime, I keep banging on about things like Nutri’s UltraClear Sustain powder drink, cos it’s a way of getting a non allergenic balance of vitamins, minerals, enzymes etc into those of us who are already damaged, without much effort, and giving the body and brain a bit of help to heal. I know it won’t lessen the horror of what has happened, but I also saw what it did for Olly, in periods when he agreed to take it, and I know what it did for me and my husband. We take 2 small scoops each before eating every morning and it costs us approx 73p per scoop. We take half the recommended serving, but when we started, when we were really ill, we’d have had 2 scoops three times a day, and if you wanted it instead of an actual food meal, 4 scoops would be needed. You can mix it with a banana (full of serotonin) or fruit juice, to make the taste better, although it is not at all unpleasant. For someone feeling so dizzy, shaky and frankly terrible, when tapering etc, it might just help a little, and a doctor’s sanction is needed for people to get it, some do on prescription. I would love to think that there could be a trial of its use.
Reading all these Blogs, my heart breaks for us all – reading the needless senseless loss of our loved ones, our regard by our skeptical families, and lives totally wrecked. I just feel that we need, those of us who can, to fight and raise awareness on all fronts, looking at the problem from every possible angle. I also feel that often, those damaged badly, feel so ill they can’t care about anything. When the Seroxat action got under way, we wanted Olly to sign up, but he was too tired and felt too hopeless, to make the effort.
The Reports we have all sent in last week for the Government Suicide Inquiry, may help a bit. And some of us are writing books. The truth will ultimately have to come out, and the longer it takes, the worse it will be for those who perpetuated the cover ups.
Annie, you mentioned our lads. I apologise for going on about them so much. Sadly we have effectively lost them both now. I personally feel that working with young children to help them with resilience, is the way to make a difference for me, to try to make sure they will cope with whatever life throws at them, without trusting in pills and doctors to bring them happiness. We are all fighting for justice in our various ways, and gaining strength from solidarity on these Blogs, which really are a great resource to share our different ideas and suggestions.
A really wonderful post, Heather – you write so well, factually and eloquently.
PS – Annie, forgot to say, yes, Helen was coerced into going to a private psychiatrist (fixed up by husband) and said she didn’t want to take the pills when pregnant. She delayed in getting the prescription made up, so he went and got them for her, and kept on and on at her till in the end, only a few days before she stabbed him, she gave in to his pressure and started them. He wore her down. Many people in troubled relationships get worn down like this, from a partner, and even where the partner is caring and decent, they tell them ‘go on, trust the doctor, he wouldn’t have given them to you if you hadn’t needed them’, so they give in.
Also, I should have said that the woman who was 24 but had been on ADs since 16, gave a very limited account of why she was on them when interviewed in the 7-10 mins in the GPs surgery. When Dr van Tulleken visited her AT HOME and took time to listen to her, he found that her house was pretty messy with clutter, apart from her baby daughter’s bedroom, (sign of depression) but looking through a photo album she shows him her dad who died from an accidental overdose, and her brother, (possibly suicide) also died, so no wonder she was feeling low aged 16! But maybe the GP hadn’t had time to find all this out. The home visit showed the house full of the brother’s things (hence the cluttered rooms) and her only comfort being the love she has for her baby, who she says, makes her feel needed. Dr van T finds out that she used to love running and swimming, so takes her wild water swimming. Next week she starts tapering off ADs. In the trailer for the next episode she is crying, so it’s obviously going to be no picnic – don’t we know…
There are a lot of snap judgements made by GPs and psychiatrists about people, cos they cannot offer the time to really get a grasp of the true picture by understanding it. Wrong value judgements are made, again and again. How can a GP possibly treat someone in order to heal them, in 7-10 minutes. Their only resource seems to be the prescription. This is the nub of the problem. So, how to solve it?
Go figure on Statins..Dame Sally..?
Statins: we need an independent review
Fiona Godlee, The BMJ’s editor, has written to Dame Sally urging her to launch an inquiry into statins. She said an independent review of their safety and effectiveness ‘remains an essential next step if this increasingly bitter and unproductive dispute is to be resolved’.
Data transparency is the only way
When it comes to hiding and misreporting clinical trial data, the industry has a long string of inglorious scandals to its name: oseltamivir (Roche), reboxetine (Pfizer), and paroxetine (GlaxoSmithKline)
Is This Leading Suicide Prevention Organization a Front for Big Pharma?
September 15, 2016 | 7:16 AM
Do you know Dr. Healy either personally or by reputation
Published on 12 Sep 2016
Video deposition of IAN R. B. HUDSON, M.R.C.P., M.D., taken pursuant to notice, held at 2005 Market Street, 36th Floor, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19103, on Friday, December 15, 2000
“This is not really about any one drug or any one trial or any one condition,” said Dr. David Healy, one of the researchers who analyzed the Glaxo trial data and a professor of psychiatry at Bangor University in Wales. “It’s really about access to data. Because if you don’t have access, you can’t see how a company can manipulate data and, therefore, miss the harms” a drug may cause.
September 20, 2015
September 16, 2016
Efforts to market the antidepressant Paxil for teenagers more than a decade ago stimulated the push for better reporting. A recent analysis5 in the journal BMJ found that GlaxoSmithKline, Paxil’s manufacturer, failed to disclose 2001 data showing the drug to be no more effective than a placebo, and was linked to increased suicide attempts by teens.
How did Seroxat arrive in rural Scotland in 1999 and how did doctors strip the willow..?
But, so much for your ‘death’ card, right?
Brilliant bit of info here Annie re Martha Rosenberg’s piece on Pharma funded organisation for (ho ho) suicide prevention. Great piece of journalism.
Thanks Annie, the stuff you constantly come up with is mind blowing. I imagine you, scanning the internet round the clock, keeping us all at the forefront of what is going on, like a wise owl up in a tree, who nothing gets past! Your radar is amazing!
The whole irony about so called ‘suicide prevention’ is that despite all the reassuring fluffy platitudes like ‘do encourage people to go and talk about their suididal thoughts before it is too late’ – which sounds absolutely ideal, it isn’t! Who do you talk to, who has time to unpick your worries/pressures/confused feelings with? The GP in 7-10 mins (with his trusty prescription ready to hand) or if even (un)luckier, the local psychiatrist for 20-30 mins with his ADs at the ready, and the often adopted attitude – ‘Mmmm, so you feel suicidal…..well, why don’t you stop expressing these unfounded suicidal thoughts, if you were serious about it you’d have done it by now’ and similar combative language. Kindness, apparently, doesn’t work these days. Sympathy is encouraging people to be dependant, and we don’t want that, do we chaps, people leaning on others for support.
What they don’t seem to get, is that life can be over full of challenges for certain folk at any one particular time and they don’t know where to turn to make sense of it. Too much ballast in their boat is about to sink them. So they need help unloading it, not a chemical blindfold wrapped round their heads so they don’t notice when the water laps over the side. The Samaritans are the best resource my son ever found, because they listen without judgement. I despair of the rest of our tick-box one size fits all and the devil take the hindmost, new system. Compassion and respect for each human being, seems out of fashion. Or it is because it takes TIME and that is a rare commodity these days?
When I was a teenager, we were told that the coming electronic age would free us all up from mundane work to have time to spend on leisure pursuits and things we all wanted to do. Work would no longer fill our days from beginning to end. So OK, where’s all this free time, for us all to use to help our fellow man with? It’s all spent watching the Media, living through others’ lives, hiding away from face to face contact with the real world. Smiling at people, just for no reason, is rare. But that’s what we need to do, to engage warmly with others and end the isolation that can lead to suicide.
Did anyone see the second part of the BBC One programme on Thursday 22nd Sept at 9pm, presented and made by Dr van Tulleken called ‘The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs’?
Personally I thought it made a brave start into showing the public how Pharma bribe the GPs into using their drugs, and got nearer the truth than any other BBC programme I’ve seen so far. It was done with a light touch, using irony and humour, to show what is happening and let us see how criminal it is, without risking being sued by the drug companies. There was a lovely little visual collage of names like GSK next to headlines from newspaper and reports showing prosecutions for fraud etc – so the subliminal message was there for all to absorb.
For those who didn’t see it, (I referred to it in a previous comment to Annie, about use of the Media to get people to wake up), Dr vanT, a doctor with his headlights on, asks for volunteers amongst the patients in a London GP practice who would like to cut down on, and eventually stop, using medication. He had back pain sufferers who were still crippled with pain despite taking massive amounts of codeine and other drugs, diabetes sufferers, high blood pressure medication takers, and a lady who’d been on antidepressants for 8 years.
I think there were two major points made:-
One was that the GP practice had a WEEKLY lunch with yummy food, provided by the various drug companies, at which their reps gave a presentation on their latest goodies. They said they liked the lunch but didn’t necessarily feel swayed by it to use the products introduced to them in the Talk. He told them he was appalled and went to ask Big Pharma head on whether or not this was blatant bribery. The interview with their spokesperson at their Institution in London (good place to mount a Demo possibly?) has to be listened to, it is masterful in how to turn a situation round to one’s own advantage. Gist of it was, ( and you do need to see the lady’s body language and facial expression as she delivers it) :
“Well, we really do these lunches to glean information from GPs on how well our products are working, and about what their patients’ needs are, so we can improve what we are doing….”
The question of ‘bribery’ he raised, was not answered.
He had not been allowed to sit in at the actual Rep talks at the lunches or speak to the Reps, by the way, which is why he went to their ‘professional’ bodies.
Anyway, he showed this to the GPs and got them to decide to stop having the Drug Funded lunches and presentations.
He had considerable success with the chosen patients, and the main thing that seemed to work was to get them to join into groups for walking, swimming together etc, and generally to use exercise. The BP, diabetes and all other results amazed the GPs who had to admit that his ideas were working. The drawback for them was that they felt patients would lose motivation, hence the need for these group studies and for regular GP monitoring of progress. The bags and bags of strong drugs these people had been lugging home from the pharmacy before they started his regimes, were mind blowing.
I know the outcomes may seem slightly fairytale and designed to fit the time allowed, but actually we thought it was on balance an excellent programme and will be writing to the BBC to say so and to ask for more. We’ve contributed to a couple of their programmes on the acne drug RoAccutane and we know how incredibly restricted they are in what they can accuse Big Pharma of, without risking being sued. But if it’s done cleverly, and Dr van T’s was, they can use body language and leave meaningful gaps in comment, which says it all, by saying nothing and letting the audience decide by seeing what is obvious but remains unspoken. It’s like Jazz, the empty beats are just as important as the music.
I do hope someone who saw these two programmes will feel they are worth a comment here. I can’t be the only person writing on this Blog who did, surely?