Category Archives: Big Pharma

Measles – Where art thou?

I live on the outskirts of, and commute daily into our great capital city. Yet, since being promised a measles outbreak in London by numerous medical experts over the last few months I have been disappointed in the lack of cases this year…I jest obviously but still I feel rather cheated. The assertion from the medical establishment, politicians and the media that measles is this huge killing machine that “spreads like wildfire” is clearly a myth.

Geographically speaking, the UK is tiny, so London is virtually next door to Wales, the North West and North West of England where other ‘large’ measles outbreaks have occurred recently. Thus, we would expect this monster virus to have travelled to London within days of the welsh outbreak¬† and set up camp in those parts of the capital where MMR uptake is lowest (around 50% in some cases). So where is this monster measles virus? Well in fact according to the Health Protection Agency there were 67 laboratory confirmed cases between January & March 2013 – just over 20 cases in a population of around 8 million people! Where are all the medical experts now? Are they too embarassed to come forward and admit this virus does not “spread like wildfire” as was spouted over and over again. Even the Health Protection Agency say (with respect to measles) “The geographical pattern does not suggest widespread circulation across the country.”

Furthermore, WDDTY found around a third of those people in Wales who contracted measles had already been vaccinated against the disease. They go on to say that similar surveys of vaccinated children in the US found 98% of them contracted measles. So measles where art thou?

After casting doubt on the measles component here and in previous posts, lets quickly move on to one of its bed-fellows – mumps. Now mumps doesn’t fare much better than measles.

In 2006, the United States had the largest mumps outbreak in two decades. A total of 6584 cases were reported, with an estimated incidence of 2.2 cases per 100,000 persons. In patients for whom vaccination status was known, 63% had received two doses of the mumps vaccine. The same mumps strain that caused a recent outbreak in the United Kingdom caused the 2006 outbreak.N Engl J Med 2008; 358:1580-1589

Why with doubts over the effectiveness of this combined MMR vaccine do governments, health authorities and doctors still persist in insisting this and other dubious vaccines are essential? Possibly something to do with the massive big pharma lobbyists that practically live with ministers? Gosh what a cynic I am…

Clinical trials going AWOL

This morning I heard an interesting discussion between Dr Ben Goldacre (an epidemiologist) and Stephen Whitehead, chief executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry on Radio 4 where Dr Goldacre asserts that big Pharma regularly with-hold negative clinical trial data and thereby mislead doctors and patients who subsequently take these medicines without knowing ALL of the potential risks. In addition, the regulatory bodies fail to force these companies to publish ALL of the data.

Here the discussion here (available only till 2nd October) around 2hrs 35mins into the programme. Also check out an informative (and funny) presentation by Dr Goldacre at TED below. The bit about big Pharma misleading doctors is at 7mins  40secs (but watch the whole thing)