The whole truth on trials and Ed Balls

Fiona Godlee’s editorial in this week’s BMJ raises the question of why we are hearing nothing about anti-virals this winter e.g. Tamiflu, on which the last government squandered £500m? Could it be because they don’t work and because they can cause more problems than they solve? Lots of us were saying so at the time and questioning the waste of money. The gist of her piece is “that the raw data from trials must be made freely available” i.e.transparency from the pharma industry is essential to ensure we have the full facts both from trials and from reports in peer reviewed journals. Unfortunately for us, our tax money was wasted on a medication for which there was incomplete data and no evidence that it actually reduced complications from swine flu.

On a similar theme, if you haven’t read Brian Deer’s brilliant blog story on the MMR scandal and the outright fraud of Andrew Wakefield’s activities you should read it here ! Someone should be making it into a film to ensure the public  – and all those yummy mummies who denied their children their immunisations – hear of the truth and the damage Wakefield inflicted on public health. (And yes, I had a baby at the time and went ahead with his jabs!)

And another fascinating story from yesterday prompted by ‘The King’s Speech’ is of Michael Palin’s father and his stammer. That experience led to the Michael Palin Centre for Stammering Children being founded and which has received support from stammering luminaries such as Ed Balls!


About Julia Manning

Julia Manning is a social pioneer, writer, campaigner and commentator. Formerly a clinical optometrist specialising in diabetes and visual impairment, she is the founder and Director of 2020health, an independent, social enterprise Think Tank whose aim is to Make Health Personal and Social. 2020health has through research, events and campaigning influenced opinion and action in fields as diverse as bioethics, alcohol, emerging technologies, fraud, education, consumer technology and vaccination. In 2014, 2020health were founding partners of the Health Tech and You Awards with Axa PPP and the Design Museum. Since 2016, 2020health has increasingly focused on digital health and public health in the community. Julia is a Fellow of the RSA and now also a part-time PhD student at the UCL Interaction Centre, studying the use of digital technology for stress management in the workplace. Julia has shared 2020health's research widely in the media (BBC News, ITV, Channel 5 News, BBC 1′s The Big Questions & Victoria Derbyshire, BBC Radio 4 Today, PM and Woman's Hour, LBC) and has taken part in debates and contributed to BBC’s Newsnight, Panorama, You and Yours and ITV’s The Week.
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