Prescription drugs: ineffective and possibly dangerous

Apologies for the hysterical headline but it’s just the kind of irresponsible, ill-informed screamer that regularly heads stories about some new study that “proves” that vitamins are ineffective generators of expensive urine and may well be dangerous.  If you want to know why such studies are all too often based on poor science and frequently […]

Silver Bullet Award for dangerous drug promotion

When I saw recently that Simon Singh,  energetic “quack buster “ and scourge of  homoeopaths, chiropractors and their ilk, had established an award called the Golden Duck to be presented to the person who had “supported or practised pseudoscience in the most dangerous or irresponsible manner” , my first thought was: How unfair!     What […]

Alzheimer’s pill put profit before patients

Here’s a particularly shocking example of the kind of irresponsible and evidence-free, so-called health journalism found in sensational tabloids like the Daily Mail. It’s a story claiming that coconut oil can cure Alzheimer’s. This is the worst sort of quack claim giving false hope to vulnerable people.  Oh whoops I am the journalist who wrote […]

Ben Goldacre’s new book. Too late, too little

Drug companies exaggerate their successes, hide their failures and generally fail to abide by the rules of evidence based medicine. This ongoing fraud is the subject of the latest book from Guardian columnist Ben Goldacre, better known as merciless scourge of “woo” merchants cynically flogging worthless complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments. An extract from […]

Statins: why you should think twice

If you’re over 45 there’s a good chance that you are taking or have at least been offered a statin drug to lower your cholesterol and so cut your risk of heart disease but is it good idea? Your doctor obviously thinks it is, but there is another side to the statin story. The link […]

Drugs: just say no. The hidden dangers

Blowing you own trumpet is briefly satisfying, like another solitary activity, but not very cool. However I’ve decided to succumb to the urge as its now six months since “10 Secrets of Health Ageing” was published and in a couple of weeks (Sunday 16th of November I’m going to be talking about it at the […]

You can’t even trust Lucozade and that matters

Did you register the huge 3 billion dollar fine recently slapped on GlaxoSmithKline, Britain’s biggest drug company and manufacturer of Lucozade ? And if so, did you briefly wonder whether it was enough? After all, hiding data that your product can kill people and making unsupported claims about safety would normally be enough to put […]

Why I feel sorry for Bob Diamond

Bob Diamond’s air of injured innocence when his bank was found with, not just both hands in the till but feet, nose and a giant hoover as well, has been greeted with a mix of incredulity and fury. But it seems to me that he certainly has the right to be feeling “it’s not fair”. […]

Do anecdotes of side-effects count as evidence?

I can sympathise with the frustration felt by Professor Edzard Ernst, dedicated promoter of the  principles of evidence based medicine, when faced with under-reporting of side-effects. But I’m surprised at his readiness to abandon them when going into print. His latest attack on Chiropractic just doesn’t follow the rules of evidence based medicine, at least […]

Doctors need not fear credibility gap

Clinical trials paid for by drug companies are widely seen as being untrustworthy because of the hiding of data, spinning of results and all the other dark arts described in books such as Pharmageddon. So much so, that there is now something of a PR offensive underway to reassure everyone that all is well. But […]

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