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Posts Tagged ‘Tamiflu’

Pork pies

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

Meaning: Lies. Often shortened to ‘porkies’. Origin: Cockney rhyming slang.

Pork pies

You’ve got to laugh really. Swine flu?! Likely no other single species has spawned as many colloquial expressions associated with deceit, greed, dirty dealings and generally incredible and dubious happenings as the poor old pig.

Irony? Or truth hiding in plain sight?

I’ve realised I would never make it as a pharmaceutical industry strategist after all. Not ambitious enough by half. Tamiflu is just a sideshow. The big act in town is now wholesale (and in some US states mandatory) vaccination, a different and considerably more dangerous ballgame. In the last swine flu panic in 1976 we were told that thousands might die and to prevent that 40 million US citizens were vaccinated. Thousands developed permanent paralytic nervous problems (Guillain-Barré syndrome) and dozens died from the vaccine. Only one person actually died from the flu, and it never moved outside the Fort Dix area in New Jersey where it was first identified.

As ‘Deep Throat’ allegedly informed the Watergate investigators, “follow the money”. It’s a sure way to find out what’s really going on.

Orders for Bulk Supply of 2009 H1N1 Influenza Vaccine Antigen and Adjuvant, US Dept of Health and Human Services, May and July 2009

Manufacturer Bulk vaccine antigen Bulk virus concentrate/FFF Oil-in-water bulk adjuvant
Novartis $496 million   $483 million
GlaxoSmithKline $38 million   $215 million
Sanofi Pasteur $252 million    
CSL Biotherapies $180 million    
MedImmune $90 million $61 million  
TOTALS $1,057 million $61 million $698 million

That’s a total of $1.8 billion in the US alone milked from the taxpayer in order to attempt to prevent an illness that’s generally so mild it doesn’t even compete with “ordinary” flu in morbidity and mortality. That’s some testament to the power of fear-mongering!

Meanwhile in the UK, a helpline has now been set up for people to get advice and Tamiflu without seeing a doctor. Whey hey! What a great way to get a few days off work!! No surprise then that in the week the helpline was launched, there was a record rise in cases to 100,000 (164 cases per 100,000 — still well below the epidemic threshold). Apparently Tamiflu has been turning up at car boot sales

And it’s been revealed that the government adviser who was the first man to describe swine flu (erroneously) as a “pandemic”, Professor Sir Roy Anderson, is a paid director on the board of GlaxoSmithKline. Well there’s a surprise. Evidently he earned £116,000 at GSK last year, at least a quarter of which he received in shares. GSK’s share price has risen 10 per cent since May. He’s been talking up the possibility of a pandemic since at least mid-April. Didn’t he do well?

More (much more) on the swine flu vaccinations from these two sites:

Fast-tracked Swine Flu Vaccine under Fire
The Truth about Flu Shots

Unnatural practices

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Pigs aren’t really designed by nature for flying, are they? Yet some people seem implacably and resolutely determined that somehow they should.

According to an article in today’s Pulse magazine, top GPs are accusing the government and Department of Health of scaremongering over swine flu. Too right.

The article states:

“Dr Sam Everington, a GP in Tower Hamlets, who has acted as a leading adviser to Lord Darzi on primary care and was formerly deputy chair of the BMA, said scaremongering by the Department of Health had seen the nation gripped with fear, leading to ‘utter chaos’ for practices in areas with the most number of cases.

“He said: ‘All this is being ratcheted up by the CMO and the Government. They are actively scaremongering everybody.’

“‘We have no evidence that this is in any way worse than winter flu, yet the approach has been taking clinicians away from more serious problems with patients and causing great fear among the public.’

“Dr Everington, whose practice has been among those in the front line, with London one of the worst hit areas, added: ‘We as GPs are used to measuring risk but there’s nothing of that sort going on in the Department of Health.’

“Of Sir Liam Donaldson he said: ‘It’s almost like he’s been preparing for this pandemic flu for so long he wants it to be fulfilled.'”

Meanwhile, according to another article in the same publication

“Health Secretary Andy Burnham told the House of Commons yesterday that the UK had abandoned its previous attempts to contain the swine flu outbreak, and moved to a new ‘treatment phase’ in the face of a spiralling number of cases.

“Under the new procedures, GPs should diagnose swine flu cases by phone, and patients will then arrange for a ‘flu friend’ to collect a voucher for Tamiflu from GP practices.”

Tamiflu vouchers, eh? Well, well, well. Now isn’t this all going exactly to plan? Just don’t, whatever you do, see through the smokescreen …

Pigs might fly

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Pigs might fly

“It is becoming ever more obvious that it is not famine, not earthquakes, not microbes, not cancer but man himself who is man’s greatest danger to man, for the simple reason that there is no adequate protection against psychic epidemics which are infinitely more devastating than the worst of natural catastrophes.”
Carl Gustav Jung

Haven’t we been here before?

And I’m not talking about 1918, but the avian flu scare that took flight at the end of 2005. About the only upshot worthy of note from that little global panic attack was the fat profits made by Roche Pharmaceuticals in the wake of their highly successful Tamiflu® marketing campaign that saw governments stockpiling the stuff with the idea of dosing every member of their populations. But since the goose that laid the golden egg has now well and truly flown the coop on that one, I guess it’s time for the viral marketing specialists to jump species and give it another go. After all, it’s a well tried and successful formula and we seem to fall for it every time.

A few journalists, like Simon Jenkins in The Guardian and Deborah Orr in The Independent, have tried injecting a strong dose of at least some reason into the general hysteria, but to little avail. This morning the postman dropped an NHS leaflet entitled “Important Information About Swine Flu” on my doorstep. (You can download a copy here if you don’t already have it.) This “public information” campaign is really scraping the trough when it comes to trying to spin a convincing yarn (as well as aiming itself at a reading and comprehension age somewhere around the 7-10 year-old mark). Take these extracts for instance

“Because it’s a new virus, no one will have immunity to it and everyone could be at risk of catching it.”

Err, well, um … That’s actually true of the vast majority of flu outbreaks. Viruses mutate. That’s part of their job desciption. This year’s flu isn’t the same as last year’s flu or the year before or the year before that, (which is one of the principle reasons why vaccinating people against last year’s flu with the aim of protecting them against this year’s is so nonsensical, at least if you’re coming from the perspective of disease prevention and prophylaxis).

“Pandemic flu is different from ordinary flu because it’s a new virus that appears in humans and spreads very quickly from person to person worldwide.”

That’s not actually the definition of a pandemic. The principal criterion for a pandemic is the number of people affected (the word comes from the Greek ‘pan’ = all and ‘demos’ = people). This is necessarily far in excess of an epidemic, which itself is a widespread and prevalent occurence of a particular disease that quickly and severely affects a large number of people. Swine flu isn’t even coming close to approaching an epidemic yet.

To put this in even clearer perspective, since January, around 13,000 people in the US alone will have died of complications from “ordinary” flu, It’s estimated that “ordinary” flu kills between 250,000 and 500,000 worldwide annually.

Modern medicine also seems to continually forget this, but the difference between “ordinary” flu and flu that becomes a pandemic is as much to do with the people it infects as it is anything to do with the virus itself. In 1918, the world had just been through 4 years of the first World War. War is an intense and devastating trauma that substantially lowers the immunity of entire populations affected by it. We’re not in that space right now. Though give the global recession a few more years and who knows …?

There were also doctors at the time who noticed correlations that made them suspect a decidedly more man-made aetiology.

In the last swine flu panic in 1976 we were told that thousands might die and to prevent that 40 million US citizens were vaccinated. Thousands developed permanent paralytic nervous problems and dozens died from the vaccine. Only one person actually died from the flu, and it never moved outside the Fort Dix area in New Jersey where it was first identified.

Of course the stockpile of Tamiflu® (oseltamivir) purchased back in 2005-06 will be coming to the end of its shelf life soon. If there were reason enough to get governments to distribute it all to their populations (though not before demand is stoked to fever pitch by empty pharmacies – pharmacies emptied by people who’ve paid $100 a prescription for a course of the drug), then the storehouses will be bare again and ripe for refilling. What’s more, if the flu isn’t actually that bad to begin with, then the “success” at preventing worldwide population devastation can all be attributed to the drug! Bingo! What better way of ensuring continuing healthy profits during a global recession? Or of boosting the reputation of a drug which, at best, seems to shorten the duration of the flu by a mere 24 hours, and at worst will have you vomiting, coming out in skin reactions, suffering cramping pains, headaches, deafness and insomnia, and even commiting suicide? (And let’s keep quiet about the fact that the CDC have detected widespread oseltamivir resistance in nearly all of the influenza A (H1N1) viruses tested so far during the 2008–09 season.) Jings, this is all so easy! We could all be pigs at the trough chowing down on fat salaries as pharmaceutical industry strategists!

Cynical? Moi?

HEALTH WARNING: If you intend taking Tamiflu, and especially if you’re considering giving it to your children, PLEASE read this site first.

Avian hooey?

Saturday, November 5th, 2005

Avian flu

“Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness.”
James Thurber

Someone wrote and asked a question about homeopathic prophylaxis. Not that they mentioned the avian flu scare, but it got me thinking about it, particularly in view of last weekend’s timely seminar.

David Nabarro, the newly appointed Senior UN System Coordinator for Avian and Human Influenza, announced to the world at the end of September that an outbreak of avian influenza could kill between 5 and 150 million people. Despite the WHO’s spokesman on influenza immediately responding “There is obvious confusion, and I think that has to be straightened out. I don’t think you will hear Dr Nabarro say the same sort of thing again,” Nabarro’s statement pressed the collective panic button to an extent well surpassing any of the previous Asian/avian flu scares which seem to erupt reliably every year at around the same time, just as the annual flu vaccination programmes get underway.

The US Senate immediately appropriated $4 billion to plough into vaccine research and most western nations, under pressure of public anxiety and demands that something be done to prepare, have been stockpiling antiviral drugs and last years’ flu vaccines ever since.

All of this on the basis that a bird virus might jump species and mightcombine with a human flu virus to make it apparently capable of infecting large numbers of people. So far there is very little concrete or conclusive evidence to suggest either that it can or that it will (see BBC Q&A). This global pandemic exists purely in the realms of the collective imagination, up there along with asteroid strikes and other suitably large potential demonstrations of the power of the universe to make human beings feel uncomfortably powerless and out of control.

Since there is no manifest disease to treat (apart from perhaps the fear of epidemic disease), any attempt at ‘prophylactic’ treatment is really just feeding the need to do something … anything! … no matter how inappropriate, irrational or specious (like vaccinating people against a different virus altogether), to restore some semblance of feeling in control. The pharmaceutical industry must be laughing like drains all the way to the bank. It’s certainly not ‘avian flu’ that needs to be treated here. And neither is it homeopathic remedies that are exploiting the placebo effect …

(On the subject of vaccination, see Eleanor McBean’s 1977 account of the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic which she witnessed. Far from attributing the pandemic to ‘avian flu’ as scientists have so recently and conveniently done, Ms McBean, a naturopathic doctor, comments that as far as she could see it was the massive vaccination program in the wake of WW1 that seemed largely responsible. It appeared that only those who had been vaccinated fell ill, and the symptoms of the ‘flu’ manifested as a combination of all the diseases that the population had been vaccinated against.)

While the greatest present danger from ‘avian flu’ is likely to be the drain on bank balances as people accumulate lifetime’s supplies of Tamiflu, a very real problem is that such large numbers of people visualising and panicking about a potential pandemic and speaking and writing about it as if it’s already a fait accompli has much the same effect as the power of prayer. I would be concerned about that far more than the potential of a virus, left to its own devices, to mutate by chance into something appropriately virulent. Quantum physics teaches us that the fundamental substrate of our reality is the interconnectedness of everything with everything else, which is exactly what the esoteric traditions of the major religions teach too (see the essay Holed in One). Could it be that the worldwide panic may just be giving the virus the impetus to do the very thing that all the panic’s about?

“Reason itself is a matter of faith. It is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality.”
G K Chesterton

Thanks to the current insanity revolving around homeopathy in this country, in both media and blogosphere, it's become necessary to insult your intelligence by explicitly drawing your attention to the obvious fact that any views or advice in this weblog/website are, unless stated otherwise, the opinions of the author alone and should not be taken as a substitute for medical advice or treatment. If you choose to take anything from here that might be construed as advice, you do so entirely under your own recognisance and responsibility.

smeddum.net - Blog: Confessions of a Serial Prover. Weblog on homeopathy, health and related subjects by homeopathic practitioner Wendy Howard