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!

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About Julia Manning

Julia Manning is a social entrepreneur, writer, campaigner and commentator. She is based in London and is the founder and Chief Executive of 2020health, an independent, social enterprise Think Tank whose aim is to Make Health Personal. Through networking, technology, research, relationships and campaigning 2020health has influenced opinion and action in fields as diverse as bioethics, alcohol, emerging technologies, fraud, education, consumer technology and vaccination. Julia studied visual science at City University and became a member of the College of Optometrists in 1991. Her career has included being a visiting lecturer at City University, a visiting clinician at the Royal Free Hospital, working with south London Primary Care Trusts and as a Director of the UK Institute of Optometry. She specialised in diabetes (University of Warwick Certificate in Diabetic Care) and founded Julia Manning Eyecare in 2004, a home and prison visiting practice for people with mental and physical disabilities using the latest digital technology, which she sold to Healthcall (now part of Specsavers) in 2009. Experiences of working in the NHS, contributing to policy development, raising two children in the inner-city and standing in the General Election in Bristol in 2005 led to Julia forming 2020health at the end of 2006. Julia is a regular guest on TV and radio shows such as BBC News, ITV’s Daybreak/ GMB, Channel 5 News, BBC 1′s The Big Questions, BBC Radio, LBC and has taken part in debates and contributed to BBC’s Newsnight, Panorama, You and Yours and ITV’s The Week. She is mum to a rugby-mad son, a daughter passionate about Shakespeare, and wife of a comprehensive school assistant head-teacher. She loves gardening, ballet, Zimbabwe, her Westies Skye and Angus, is an honorary research associate at UCL and a Fellow of the RSA.
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