Nov 042013
 

David Colquhoun’s damning indictment of the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) and certain other organisations:

Conclusions

The main conclusion from all of this is that the General Pharmaceutical Council is almost criminally negligent. It continues to allow pharmacists, Anthony Pinkus among them, to endanger lives. It fails to apply its own declared principles. The members of its Council are not doing their job.

Individual pharmacists vary a lot, from the superb to those who believe in quackery. Some, perhaps many, are embarrassed by the fact that their employer compels them to sell rubbish. It’s too much to expect that they’ll endanger their mortgage payments by speaking out about it, but the best ones will take you aside and explain that they can’t recommend it.

The GPhC itself is regulated by the Professional Standards Authority, the subject of my last post. We can’t expect anything sensible from them.

In the USA there is a shocking number of pharmacists who seem to believe in quackery. In the UK. nobody knows, though judging by their failure to vote against the daftest of all scams. homeopathy, there is no cause for complacency here.

It seems that there will have to be big improvements in pharmacy education before you can have much confidence in the quality of the advice that you get in a pharmacy.

It seems to me that society, in general, is not informed and that various businesses push their agenda to generate more revenue and increase profit. This has created a weak and flawed regulator.

Oct 152013
 

This article at SBM clearly explains the mistakes that some people make with regards to understanding what treatments work, and the delusions that seem to consume them.

It’s a long article but it is extremely important for those who care about truth and rationality.

Oct 062013
 

Oh my. Most cancers are preventable. From the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Cancer Progress Report 2012 at http://clincancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/18/21_Supplement/S1/F32.expansion.html

The majority of cancers diagnosed today are a result of preventable causes, including smoking, obesity, poor dietary habits and physical inactivity. Many of these cancers could be prevented by modifying personal behaviors, although continued research is necessary to identify better ways to help address these behaviors

F32.large

The chart is, of course, going to differ in various parts of the world. So it will be interesting to get a country comparison.

The 2013 report was recently published but I was not able to locate a graph with the same format as the one above. The closest is shown below. There are some differences, the most notable being that infectious agents as a cause of cancer is at number 3. Still, the message is clear. Stop smoking. Lose weight.

2013

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2013

Sep 102013
 

Over the years I’ve come across the work done by Eugenie C. Scott and the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), and I’ve posted some articles on her work. I remember quite clearly when she was awarded the Public Welfare Medal from the National Academy of Science in 2010. Earlier this year, Scott announced that she would retire by the end of the year.

NCSE’s executive director Eugenie C. Scott announced on May 6, 2013, that she was planning to retire by the end of the year, after more than twenty-six years at NCSE’s helm. “It’s a good time to retire, with our new climate change initiative off to a strong start and with the staff energized and excited by the new challenges ahead,” she commented. “The person who replaces me will find a strong staff, a strong set of programs, and a strong board of directors.”

During Scott’s time at NCSE, she was honored with no fewer than eight honorary degrees as well as the Public Welfare Medal from the National Academy of Science, the inaugural Stephen Jay Gould Prize from the Society for the Study of Evolution, the Public Service Award from the National Science Board, and the Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

“It’s not going to be easy to fill the shoes of someone who has done so much to make NCSE into the respected and admired organization it is,” remarked Brian Alters, the president of NCSE’s board of directors. “We look forward with working with Genie to find the best possible successor.” A job announcement is now available; members and friends of NCSE are encouraged to spread the word that what Scott once described as “the best job in the world” will soon be open.

Science Insider (May 6, 2013) reported on the announcement, quoting Kenneth R. Miller of Brown University as saying of Scott, “She’s incomparable, irreplaceable, and indispensable,” and Sean B. Carroll of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute as saying, “The entire scientific community, legions of teachers, and millions of students owe her a great debt for her dedication and passionate advocacy. She has established a remarkable legacy at NCSE.”

She’s done a good job at the NCSE, and I’d like to thank her for that work there and for her lectures.

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2013

Aug 152013
 

A great article from Scott Gavura on the growth of nonsense and the acquiesce of rationality all too evident with the scam medical treats promoted, consciously or not, by pharmacies, celebrities, the deluded, and other con artists. But Dr. Paul Offit stands as a candle in the dark, and should be applauded for his stance against the nonsense and the threats of violence directed at him.

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2013

Jul 302013
 

An article explaining the unhelpful interference and influence of Prince Charles and the potential harm this can cause.

quack!

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2013

Jul 032013
 

Following the ASA’s judgment on misleading advertising by homeopaths, Steven Novella provides his analysis on the judgment.

As Novella mentions, it’s probably a good idea to remind ourselves of Gorski’s article on why it is important that rigorous controls are maintained on all treatments and why we should not fall for a seemingly harmless “What’s the harm?” argument:

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2013

May 162013
 

DC highlights the curious case of David Tredinnick’s nonsense and ignorance of medical matters.

It seems clear to me that Tredinnick is a promoter of ignorance. A sane, rational and ethical person would not make the claims that he does. He is, after all, a corrupt politician and is regarded as a laughing-stock by many.

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2013

Dec 122012
 

It’s just so easy showing that homeopathy is junk, a pseudoscience, and nothing more than a placebo. But it bothers me that so many people think that homeopathy is real. The nonsense people believe! Anyway, Donald Prothero has recently posted a good article on homeopathy:

Worth a read, and quite funny.

Article by Kulvinder Singh Matharu – 2012