Samizdat Health

January, 6, 2020 | 28 Comments


  1. Thank you,

    I have just watched and carefully listened to “Health Care or Health Services”?

    An absolutely compelling recollection of a time when we were trained, and expected to practice medicine with individual discretion, sincere clinical judgment and with the courage to commit to striving for the best for our patients.

    This was based on listening to, and not rejecting what patients were telling us.
    Especially important when attempting to understand possible adverse drug reactions.

    Recommended to all final year medical students???

  2. I see that some of us have not taken a long, restful break over Christmas! The Samizdat health website looks very impressive indeed. I wish you all the luck in the world with this venture – one that you promised a good while ago – and hope that it continues to provide valuable information as, indeed, and David’s blog already do.

  3. If you can’t, ostensibly, beat them, then do something else – I love this!

    Lateral thinking, out of the box –

    The confidence to draw the tricks, out
    The confidence to speak, man up
    The confidence to write, draw, globally

    Je suis Charlie

    I wrote ‘I am Charlie’, and he [Biard] cried. Then I wrote ‘All is forgiven’, and I cried too. And then we had it – we had our front page.
    It’s not the front page the world wanted. It’s not the front page a terrorist would have wanted – there are no terrorists on there. There’s just a guy who’s crying.
    This Mohammed is so much nicer than the ones the terrorists brandish. He’s sympathetic. Look at him, he’s crying.

    Nogracias Retweeted

    Abel Novoa Retweeted

    Carlos Coscollar

    “La práctica clínica ha sido y debe seguir siendo un ejercicio de juicio impulsado por los hechos que un médico y un paciente tienen delante de ellos, en lugar de por la adhesión irreflexiva a lo que un manual dice”

    “Clinical practice has been and should continue to be an exercise in judgment driven by the facts that a doctor and a patient have before them, rather than by thoughtless adherence to what a manual says”

    Better to die on your feet than live on your knees

  4. During the seventies Western psychiatrists were condemning Russia fro subjecting ‘dissidents’ to forced psychiatric treatments and incarceration. Calling the pot black….

    The Gulag Archipelago
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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    The Gulag Archipelago
    Gulag Archipelago.jpg
    Author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
    Original title Архипелаг ГУЛАГ
    Translator Geneviève Johannet, José Johannet, Nikita Struve (French)
    Thomas P. Whitney (English)
    Country France
    Language Russian
    Publisher Éditions du Seuil
    Publication date
    Published in English
    Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
    ISBN 0-06-013914-5
    OCLC 802879
    Dewey Decimal
    LC Class HV9713 .S6413 1974
    The Gulag Archipelago: An Experiment in Literary Investigation (Russian: Архипелаг ГУЛАГ, Arkhipelag GULAG) is a three-volume, non-fiction text written between 1958 and 1968 by Russian writer and historian Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. It was first published in 1973, followed by an English translation the following year. It covers life in what is often known as the Gulag, the Communist Soviet forced labour camp system, through a narrative constructed from various sources including reports, interviews, statements, diaries, legal documents, and Solzhenitsyn’s own experience as a Gulag prisoner. In Russian, the term GULAG (ГУЛАГ) is an acronym for Main Directorate of Camps (Главное управление лагерей).

    Following its publication, the book initially circulated in samizdat underground publication in the Soviet Union until its appearance in the literary journal Novy Mir in 1989, in which a third of the work was published in three issues.[1] Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, The Gulag Archipelago has been officially published in Russia.

  5. Nuestros amigos …

    Nogracias Retweeted

    A Short History of the Rise and Fall of Healthcare

    Juan Irigoyen

    Texto imprescindible para comprender la medicina contemporánea.

    Essential text to understand contemporary medicine.

    Javier Del Águila

    Empezamos el año y ya tenemos horizontes (epistemicos). ¿Está el exceso de MBE haciendo daño? Si, en manos de la industria y el marketing, que han encontrado en el tsunami de información la mejor herramienta para anular el conocimiento médico, que debe hallar su camino de regreso

    We start the year and we already have horizons (epistemic). Is excess MBE hurting? If, in the hands of industry and marketing, they have found in the information tsunami the best tool to cancel medical knowledge, they must find their way back

  6. David,

    May this enterprise flourish. A year and a half ago I wrote this rather portentous comment on Age of Autism in relation to EU “copyright reform” (which is essentially about corporate control of the internet, now set to be in place across the union by April next year), and it may be germane:


    “In the wellknown line from a not so wellknown play (Almansor) by Heinrich Heine: “Where they have burned books, they will end in burning people.”

    “That was written in 1823, before the days of the internet. Heine finally fleed Germany c. 1830 because of the rise in anti-semitism. Many of my American friends are worried about having their guns taken away, but people will find in the end that is nothing compared to having their words taken away. The mainstream media is completely discredited, so now they have to stop people talking and writing in the public medium of the time which is the internet (Almansor btw is set at the time of the expulsion of the Moriscos from Spain, not long after the invention of printing). Governments are not concerned about FAKE NEWS, they are terrified of REAL NEWS: they are deliberately dismantling any means by which the government-corporate machine can be held to account – they pretend this is about the rights of artists but it is about freedom of speech. I promise you if people don’t stand up (and sadly perhaps even if they do) we are heading for barbarism and chaos. This is the logic of human history.”

    This is, of course, not to say that we will not get our British version anyway despite Brexit. I am sure Simon Stevens and Matt Hancock have plans. Has anyone noticed how the main NHS website, which used to be called “NHS Choices” is now just called “NHS”?


  7. We definitely need a Samizdat Press! The number of dodgy medical “truths” that can’t be questioned in print is huge and growing. Is the root cause a Cult of Health which has pushed Religion and Politics to the sidelines? I’m not sure …

    At times it seems to me that all three take a back seat to the cult of Economics: the worship of wealth as the ultimate good, and the Entrepreneur as our one-and-only Messiah.

    For years Eli Lilly & friends told me I needed their antidepressants “just like a diabetic needs insulin.” Could there be a more compelling argument? You’ve got a disease. We’ve got a cure. Just like … diabetes! No effort should be spared to get these drugs to all the chemically-imbalanced among us.

    Now I am watching vigorous young people with Type 1 diabetes drop dead … because they can’t afford their insulin. The price of which has more than tripled in the last decade. Which of course makes Eli Lilly & friends very happy indeed.

    Not to mention fifty-year-olds dying at home from pneumonia, and accident victims frantically pushing away the ambulance driver, because they’re terrified of the ER bill. Or a president who (seriously) wants to deny entry to refugees who can’t prove their ability to afford private health insurance.

    What the hell kind of “health care system” is this? I don’t know–but we gotta ask the question.

  8. The pharmacists fighting high drug prices on
    People Fixing the World World News today am

    When drug prices went up, pharmacists stepped in to make medicines themselves . An awesome, inspiring example of Samizdat explained in detail on podcast They say in ‘The fight for affordable meds the priority is the health of patients’. and didn’t let up until they won.

    Choose your file
    Higher quality (128kbps)
    Lower quality (64kbps)

    This is an amazing action taken by Dutch pharmacists who took action themselves to produce drugs using an outdated device which could manufatutre the compounds on a small scale. – they had rocketed in price leaving people at risk as the Dutch insurance scheme would not fund them They also of course had to deal with the shennanigans from pharma companies.. Eventually the public got on board and forced politicians to take action.

  9. Hurrah – this Samizdat is ‘just what the doctor ordered.’
    Very interesting lecture about the Management Controllers. They did indeed start to really begin their stranglehold under New Labour. In the olden days of the 1960s and 1970s the Hospital Secretary, as he was then called, was an ordinary down to earth sort of fellow to whom, if you were a hospital social worker, you trotted along to sign for and collect your pay slip and cheque each month. Ours had a little ordinary office tucked away at the end of a corridor. He was pleasant and friendly but did not appear to wield power, except by dishing out the money. The Power, as far as we could see, was in the hands of Matron.

    But then in came the Managers who had degrees to flash about; we have one in our own family. He’d studied Psychology and Economics. He was a new, young, big and supposedly bright, highly competitive fish swimming like a shark in a far less bright pool, and he was all set for greatness. The times, he told us, confidentially, they were a-changing. From starting by being tasked with the ordering of toilet rolls in bulk and hospital supplies, he graduated up and up. He often told us that the whole game was the pleasing of the politicians. They in turn wanted re-election via all the brownie points they could muster. So, they wanted a smooth passage, no trouble, no querying of policies. Doctors and Unions were regarded as a challenge, to be cleverly handled, using managerial psychological tactics learned at endless courses and put into practice at endless bureaucratic committee meetings discussing endless new directives, buzzwords, policies, and the raising of salaries to stratospheric proportions. Under Tony Blair, more and more of these over valued managers sprouted like mushrooms, with more and more power. Costing more and more money. Most with their eyes on the New Year’s Honours List.

    There is no way now anyone or anything could be allowed to rock their boat. They have it all neatly tied up, and Guidelines etc are all perfectly structured to fit. At the head, in distant offices, are the Ministers of Health, never to be allowed to suffer embarrassment, and generously helping to save costs in monetary terms are all the Pharma enterprises, anticipating any ills the population might manifest and offering cut prize bulk offer medications and tests, to assure those who think they are in charge, that all is well and under (their) control. It’s all happened in the last 30 years or so. A total turnaround. A shift in values, a talking shop taking charge where once we had hands-on affordable effective common sense and generally good outcomes if we were actually ill. Too big a machine to unscrew and dismantle now. Terrifying, like a horror movie.

    • Heather, you have ‘nailed it’ in this response …. an excellent observation on the current (corrupt) state of play and how it evolved

      VIVA Samzidat !

  10. John, the word ‘Choice’ when it was introduced, was one of those lovely Tony Blair buzzwords linked to the NHS. Patients should feel SO happy and grateful that they had control over their treatment at last, they suddenly had the facility offered to them to CHOOSE. This was a big Managerial Project. Cost a lot. However, excuse my naive question, but between what, or how do you choose? You can only choose between a red lolly and a green lolly if both lollies are in existence. And, like hidden in all the tricky dicky insurance policies in general everyday living, there are small print exclusions too. You have NO choice when it comes to mental health treatment; ‘patient choice’ doesn’t stretch that far. Maybe if you could be considered crackers, you are not fit to make sensible choices? So, if they’ve magicked the word CHOICE away un-noticed by us all, maybe they realise the masses are realising it’s not fit for purpose and possibly only very rarely ever was. Perhaps we should be grateful that they are becoming more transparent in their service descriptions?……😊

  11. Choice … Viva the Revolution in ‘Health’ Care …

    ‘So, the real story here is that there is still not enough access to treatments – so I think patients want a range of treatments, they want choice’

    The recently retired John Humphreys talks to Dr Adrian James, who will become the new President of the UK College of Psychiatrists. He is married to Sarah Wollaston, who recently lost her seat.

    It reminds me, in a slightly softer way, of the James Naughtie interview with JP Ganier, of GSK, also on Today…

    The Guardian/2008

    Tough questions

    When Jean-Pierre Garnier was interviewed by James Naughtie on Radio 4’s Today programme yesterday he faced questioning over whether GSK was prepared to make public all information about the potentially dangers of Seroxat. As the interview progressed Garnier became increasingly annoyed when challenged on the issue. “Either you want me to answer the question or you don’t,” said Garnier after Naughtie interrupted one of his answers. When the interviewer asked Garnier about a request from the government regulator MHRA for GSK to put all information about the possible dangerous side effects of Seroxat into the public domain, Garnier said GSK had said it will handle all information requests on Seroxat. When asked whether he will leave a company that will “be honest” about the safety of its drugs Garnier drew the interview to a close. GSK has denied it has improperly withheld Seroxat data and said it has never been marketed to under-18s. Regulators in Britain and the US have not passed the drug for under-18s.

    ‘It is unfortunate that the issue of antidepressant discontinuation reactions has been monopolised by experts like David Healy, who tend to adopt a maverick position in psychiatry.2’

    Q&A: Seroxat

    Who failed the Seroxat suicide watch?

    The issue is unlikely to go away anytime soon. When asked by Panorama whether GSK had acted promptly in getting the information about Seroxat’s use in children to the regulator, the MHRA’s chairman, Sir Alasdair Breckenridge, says: “This is a matter which we are investigating at the present time.
    “There is an investigation going on being conducted by the . . . inspection and enforcement sector of the agency and with lawyers to decide whether or not they did.”

    Depending on its findings, the MHRA could choose to prosecute GSK as a company or go after named individuals. If found guilty, penalties could include fines or imprisonment.

    If Samizdat, The Writer’s Co-operative, gives the scientific freedom to exemplify the criminal wrongdoings in the ‘World of Pharmaceuticals’, then it surely will earn it’s place in the History Books and that is the best thing of all – it will bring out the ‘Mavericks’ in all of us … for the greater good – and how essential is that?.

  12. Update on Antipsychotic Withdrawal Survey — (Not the sort of research we would find in mainstream psychiatry – and participants would definitely not be getting the feedback Will has provided).

    Maastricht University via
    1:52 AM (8 hours ago)
    to me

    Thanks for your support for the Maastricht World Survey on Antipsychotic Medication Withdrawal!

    I’m writing with an update on the progress with the study. We are continuing to collect data and invite people to take the survey, and are going ahead with data organization and analysis to start preparing for publication. I created a presentation about the study progress, in the form of a video as well as a PDF, to let you know where things are at.

    Thanks to everyone and thanks especially for your patience with this huge project! Much gratitude to the thousands of people from around the world who have taken the survey, and all the translators and supporters who have been doing work behind the scenes. I’ll send another update as we progress.

    Happy new year —

    Will Hall
    Maastricht University

    Please check the video presentation here:

    and you can download the PDF of the presentation here:

  13. A Question of Madness – by Zhores and Ray Medvedey

    Another book published when Russians were at risk of incarceration , as Zhores head of Radiology dept,was,in prison or mental insitutions for speaking the truth not just publicly but where others could hear and report them – including their children might accuse them of crazy talk..

    ‘The author wishes to express his profound gratitude to all those friends aquaintances and strangers abroad who by protesting in various ways against the inhumane use of medicine for political purposes created a climate of opinion which ment freedom for him and hope for others illegally’ confined in psychiatric hospitals.’

    Zores said – ‘I was asked to forget what i am now about to describe. I agreed but only under certain conditions Now, three months after the main events of the storyit has become clear that the other isde has not kept it’s part of the bargainand this unties my hands. In these circumstances there can be no dilemma; one cannot conceal facts that are of such public importance.; Zhores even named the psychiatrists and others involved in false diagnoses and collusion with his treatment. (Doesn’t it all ring a belll presently)

    The number of diagnoses hung on people these days ensures that more of the population can be kept under control. new laws legitimise surveillance , people opposing vaccination etc can be hounded and stalked by governmnt groups set up to supress what they deem to be fake news… and so on.all in the name of ‘protecting’ us. (some of it legit and necessay but we are not talkng of that here) In the days when Russia was being exposed for misue of psychiatry it was mainly those described as ‘intellectuals/academics’ from priveledged parts of society mainly, who spoke out – where are they now when it it common knowledge how corrupt medicine in UK is? Where are they when so many vulnerable people are incarcerated in Chinese ‘re-education centres?

    There is controversy about the Millgram experiment though – it is claimed on one course I took that some of the participants were not so much afraid of the ‘doctors as authority figures as thinking that they didn’t really believe severe shocks were being given ,they carried on what they thought was a pretence for the money they were being paid. Rings a bell? Just as in the experiment where college students were put into groups of prisoners and jailers – the jailers began to act in cruel ways towards the ‘prisoners’ Some later admitted they were acting because they were so bored – both parties played the game of pretence of fear of authority figures. I think a lot of not just doctors do the same – if enough spoke out instead of keeping quiet they could change the disgrace of the way people in uk and across the globe are abused by pharma and it’s cohorts.

    There is this sense of justice in us as well as less acceptable traits which isn’t cordinated enough yet to be able to deal with corruption in medicine – authority figures do get pushed out and more well trained bodies fill their place like a virus.
    But I find Zhores’ message gives hope – without it would be pointless to even try.


    Quote from Bangor University’s submission to : Disinformation and Fake News -‘ Attention should be paid to the emergent empathatic media centre companies such as …Cambridge Analytica who should be identified and contacted to discuss ethical ways forward to prevent the intensification of the spread of fake news in the rise of empathatically optimised automated fake news.’

    They got that wrong then. See Wikipedia and The guardian Jan 2020

    Wonder if they are monitoring your blogs David? Would be surprised if they aren’t.

  15. To, the Present Day –

    Fascinating chat; that forensic psychiatry makes no reference to SSRI or other medications that can cause aggression, violence, suicide and homicide –

    Understanding Mental Health: conditions, caring, and contexts: Forensic Psychiatry – Professor John Crichton

    January 7, 2020

    John Crichton, Chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland, was the individual who contacted the employers of Dr. Peter Gordon – once again, making no reference to, the medication, in this case, Paroxetine.

    Promoting Mental Health through the Lessons of History…

    Prisoners or Patients; Podcast Series –

    The Pharmacological Revolution

    One Revolution is, different to, ‘Another’s Revolution’ …

  16. John – I notice the link I gave above is banned -readers can click on and see the message -ie ‘….the settings for this app prevent the details being viewed remotely (for security reasons.)…’.shame as Bangor’s submission is very ‘interesting’. It can be found though in Written Evidence to the Parliamentary Cttee submitted 2017 All cttee work was held up by the election then relaunched =it may be possible to read on FNW0054 Another site has been taken down -relating to Bangors submission by Andrew Mcstay and Vian Bakir of The Network for the Study of Media and and Persuasive Communication – Bangor Uni (ref to the ‘network’ is by the way ;interesting’)
    There’s masses to read including submissions from different scources as you will know – thanks for your links.

    Disinformation and ‘fake news’
    All committees A-Z
    Commons Select
    Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee
    Parliament 2017
    Disinformation and ‘fake news’
    Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee

    Disinformation and ‘fake news’
    Inquiry status:Concluded
    Sub-Committee launched on 2 April 2019 to continue work on Disinformation.

    Interim Report published on 29 July 2018. Final Report published 18 February 2019.

    Disinformation and ‘fake news’ Interim Report
    Disinformation and ‘fake news’ Final Report

    It’s not an easy find also various stated as published in Feb march May via googe and some lead tother stuff rather than the final report

    Current Committee’s Disinformation and ‘fake news’ publications
    Former Committee’s fake news written evidence
    Scope of the inquiry
    Final Report: Disinformation and ‘fake news’ (HC 1791 17/19), published 18 February 2019.
    Government Response to Final Report (HC 2184 17/19), published 9 May 2019.
    Interim Report: Disinformation and ‘fake news’ (HC 363 17/19), published 29 July 2018.
    Government Response to Interim Report (HC 1630 17/19), published 23 October 2018.
    This inquiry continues the former Committee’s work on fake news.

  17. BBC 1 Wednesday evening.. A weekly programme hosted by Dr Micheal Mossley.. The title of the programme is ‘Trust me I, m a Doctor’ Everything on it is presented as ‘fact’ last night in a blantent attempt to discredit OTC CBD products, it was stated these products were marketed as ‘Food products’ therefore not subject to the much stricter rigours of ‘Medicine testing’ I suspect ‘Trust me I, m a Dr’ Gets millions of views… Someone somewhere has to change this dominent narrative, and make it appealing to those millions who ‘like lambs to slaughter’ do blindly trust Dr’s and their shaky ‘Science’

  18. #Trust me I, m a Dr. Why are Dr’s all over mainstream dieting programmes… Dr Zand and Dr Lawal tell us on Channel 4’s weekly programme ‘How to lose weight well’ That knitting, gaming, etc can help with weight loss. They both propose radical diets… The banana and milk diet… Literally a week of bananas and milk, also the ‘Israeli weight loss diet… 2 days of apples, 2 days of cheese, 2 days of chicken, most people would raise eyebrows if told to virtually fast for a week… There was also mention of a flab injection, some hormone injection administered by a Dr…. I watch this incredulous that Because a Dr suggests it, it is deemed more than a good idea. It is a great idea…. If a Dr suggested a hot poker shoved up your arse would cure I don’t know ‘constipatition’ people would do it…. This Blind faith in Dr’s has to be challenged…..

  19. Dupont has morphed into 3 different chemical companies ….

    ‘Dark Waters’ movie poses risk for 3M, analyst says

    Pippa Stevens
    “Dark Waters,”
    a movie about an attorney’s battle against chemical giant DuPont, could raise awareness of potentially toxic chemical use, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch said in a note to clients Wednesday.
    The firm said that mining and manufacturing company 3M faces “risks from potential legislative action” that in a very extreme case could cost the company up to $102 billion.
    The new movie “Dark Waters” may be about an attorney’s battle against chemical company DuPont, but the film could shine a sharper spotlight on the industry in general, hurting companies like 3M, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch said on Wednesday.

    The movie chronicles the 15-year battle that ensued — uncovering more than just cattle deaths along the way — which ultimately led to a class-action lawsuit and DuPont paying roughly $670 million to settle about 3,550 personal injury claims. The company, as well as Chemours which was also implicated, denied any wrongdoing.

    H/O: Dark Waters movie still Mark Ruffalo
    A scene from the film Dark Waters starring Mark Ruffalo.

    The chemicals in focus are PFAS, or per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, which are a group of synthetic chemicals that have been used in the United States since 1940. They’re now found in everything from clothing to drinking water to cooking wear to human bloodstreams, and they are known as “forever chemicals” since they don’t biodegrade. This means that if they enter a water source, for example, the water will remain contaminated for decades after the initial interaction.

    A growing body of research has highlighted the potentially serious health consequences from frequent and concentrated interaction, such as from drinking contaminated water.
    “Dark Waters” was produced by Participant Media, which was also behind public-discourse sparking movies like “An Inconvenient Truth,”

  20. A Pact with the Devil The Master and Margarita
    The Master and Margarita was a risky book for Bulgakov to write, which ultimately explains why it wasn’t published during his lifetime. The novel is consistently——critical of authorities and shows up the follies of a state exerting too much of an interfering influence on its people.

    It was easier to identify the devil and those who who colluded during the years of blatant Russian depotism – but one message of the book is that human nature doesn’t change Some People will dissent, some will keep silent (for good reasons) some will lead some will follow I have seen that It is unpredictable though how we might change or what forces in out lives may activate activism
    Who though have become the leaders in present society ? There are a handful or two who activate compare to those who oppress -mainly from useful positions in mini hierarchies where their voices can be broadcast and they have contacts and the knowledge gained from privliged education. egThe leaders of the main Extinction survival group are from the same background even if claiming to be democratic.they know how to set up communications, use the law to advantage ,have money to survive and thrive themselves with no fear of being chased by benefits officers. There are thousands of grass roots activists who hold faith in protest but are treated like slaves begging the masters , (who constantly change like shapeshifters moving from one position to another so that they are no longer accountable,)for better lives instead of acting as equals in a democracy making decisions and policies together.Instead we are duped by ‘consultations’ and promises . But the oppression now is more diffuse – who has decided people with mental health issues should be forced into ‘treatments’ Who actually gives drugs against a persons will – those down the hierarchy, nurses not doctors or politicians,Who sets up social projects and who works in them – none of the status quo gets disrupted in any area of activism We may not have the Huxleys or the Bertrand Russells or the Bloomsbury group of yesteryear with their access to publication but even with the internet ‘s power of communication Who has the power now? On the news today there was yet another exposure with Peter Kinderman doing his bit to highlight the plight of people in ‘deprived ‘ areas being prescribed massive amounts of opioids Peolple addicted to poison cannot activate they die early.Simulated Shock horror on the BBC? Not in ‘the community.It’s being going on for decades – who keeps the lid on it it – such a tangled web There is no easily identifiable ‘who’ it takes decades to unravel a scandal – and then another pops up.

  21. Doctor David Watkins couldn’t get the regulators to listen so he took action

    Babylon, the provider of GP at Hand, has labelled a doctor who tested its AI app and reported the results on social media as a ‘troll’.

    In a 700-word+ statement, it describes how a ‘Twitter troll’ spends ‘hundreds of hours conducting 2,400 tests’ on its chatbot function app, which allows patients to answer questions about their symptoms and then gives ‘treatment advice’, according to its site.

    It claims that Dr David Watkins, a consultant oncologist at The Royal Marsden who goes by the name @DrMurphy11 on Twitter, ‘posted over 6,000 misleading attacks’.

    However, Dr Watkins told Pulse that he simply inputted ‘red flag presentations and common issues’, such as colds, chest pain and breathlessness, and found that the app didn’t always give correct advice.

    Pulse carried out an investigation last year on the growing influence of medical apps, and found that they often took a more cautious approach.

    Babylon, which markets itself as ‘the UK’s leading digital health provider’, claims: ‘@DrMurphy11 has trolled us at every turn. At every stage, we have attempted to start a positive conversation with this anonymous person. We have invited him in to start a dialogue, to test our AI, and to meet with the senior doctors who build our products. We have corresponded with him openly and honestly when he has brought issues to our attention.

    ‘We have repeatedly opened our doors, but revealingly he prefers to troll on Twitter. He refused to meet us.

    ‘As a scientific organisation, we are all about evidence.’

    Babylon’s post continued: ‘So today we’re making a big offer: @DrMurphy11 now that you have stepped out from behind your computer, why not be part of an open, independent analysis of your AI testing: publish the entirety of your work, and let the totality of your data be assessed by any objective expert.’

    Speaking to Pulse, Dr Watkins said he first raised concerns about the AI-based site in 2017. When issues reached a ‘critical’ level in May 2018, with ‘dangerous flaws’ ‘missing red flag presentations’, he requested a meeting with Babylon and regulatory authorities, but this was not acknowledged.

    In February 2019, he continued to identify potential risk, and again flagged this with the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

    He received a response from MHRA in August 2019, but felt the necessary measures were not being implemented to protect patients from harm.

    Dr Watkins added: ‘As an anonymous entity, your voice isn’t as strong, in this situation’.

    He then decided to go public over social media.

    However, he was subsequently approached by a Babylon employee, who was also a fellow at the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM).

    He said: ‘I had what I felt were constructive conversations with Babylon’s leadership team,’ at Monday’s digital health conference at the RSM, where he and Babylon publicly met for the first time.

    ‘I raised my concerns with the flaws in the chatbot being unaddressed, in conjunction with their overblown hype.

    ‘If a chatbot is just flawed, fair enough, but when they’ve gone around and said: “this is 100% safe, this is as good as a doctor, it can diagnose” – you can’t have it both ways.

    ‘I had expected, after those discussions, a more mature response from Babylon, but they have gone back to trying to silence the voice of the person with concerns, discrediting them and being dismissive of criticism.’

    Dr Watkins continued: ‘I consider it to be mildly threatening, in terms of a company which says: “raise concerns about us, and we’ll go after you”.

    ‘I’m a jobbing doctor, I have no associations with health tech or AI – I come at this from a perspective of patient safety, and the one thing that stifles patient safety is people not feeling that they can speak up freely when they’ve got concerns.

    ‘How are people working within the company meant to speak up, if this is what they see as the behaviour of the company?’

    Looking ahead, Dr Watkins believes questions must be asked of why the regulatory authorities took so long to address the issue, and why Babylon were ‘allowed to go ahead with such bold promotional claims, despite concerns being raised’.

    He planned since last year to reveal his identity at Monday’s event, where Babylon representatives presented before he did, in which they mentioned the ‘Twitter troll’ claim.

    ‘So it was clearly something they had anticipated’, said Dr Watkins.

    Babylon’s unparalleled post has created significant discussion within the medical community.

    Christina Farr, of American business news site CNBC, tweeted: ‘Calling a critic a “troll” because they’ve uncovered evidence of problems that led to the company *fixing them* and making their technology safer for patients is another level.’

  22. Row over Babylon’s chatbot shows lack of regulation
    BMJ 2020; 368 doi: (Published 28 February
    Four regulators oversee AI in healthcare, but there is still a lack of accountability, finds Gareth Iacobucci, after one doctor’s concerns about a triage system are dismissed

    The debate over regulation of artificial intelligence in healthcare was reignited this week when a doctor who had repeatedly questioned the safety of Babylon Health’s “chatbot” triage service (box 1) went public with his concerns. David Watkins, a consultant oncologist at the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, has regularly tweeted videos (under his Twitter name @DrMurphy1) of Babylon’s chatbot triage to show what he says is the bot missing potentially significant red flag symptoms.

    Box 1
    How do patients use Babylon’s chatbot?
    Babylon Health’s symptom checker works through a chatbot that patients can use on a smartphone app or website. Users put in their symptoms, and the checker, after asking questions, identifies possible causes and gives them advice, such as “book a consultation with a GP” or “go to hospital.” Since 2017 NHS patients have been able to access it if they sign up to Babylon’s GP at Hand digital service. A growing number of NHS trusts are looking to partner with Babylon to make the technology available to patients in secondary care too.

    Watkins made his identity public for the first time on 24 February when he spoke at a debate on artificial intelligence in healthcare at the Royal Society of Medicine.1 He presented an example of a Babylon chatbot triage he had carried out as a test, where he posed as a 67 year old white man who was a 20 …

  23. 1977, Podrabinek published Punitive Medicine [Карательная медицина], the Russian edition of his book on the systematic abuse of psychiatry for political purposes in the USSR.[25][26]
    In 1987, Podrabinek founded the weekly samizdat newspaper Express Chronicle, which appeared in Russian and English between 1987 and 2000. As the first uncensored media outlet in the USSR, with the Glasnost journal of Sergei Grigoryants,

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