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!