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 is a social pioneer, writer and campaigner. She studied visual science at City University and became a member of the College of Optometrists in 1991, later specialising in visual impairment and diabetes. During her career in optometry, she lectured at City University, was a visiting clinician at the Royal Free Hospital and worked with Primary Care Trusts. She ran a domiciliary practice across south London and was a Director of the UK Institute of Optometry. Julia formed 20/20Health in 2006. Becoming an expert in digital health solutions, she led on the NHS–USA Veterans’ Health Digital Health Exchange Programme and was co-founder of the Health Tech and You Awards with Axa PPP and the Design Museum. Her research interests are now in harnessing digital to improve personal health, and she is a PhD candidate in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) at UCL. She is also dedicated to creating a sustainable Whole School Wellbeing Community model for schools that builds relationships, discovers assets and develops life skills. She is a member of the Royal Society of Medicine’s Digital Health Council. 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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