I decided to write a general piece today in response to some of the comments we received from the last newsletter about vaccination.
Firstly, to call some of the comments we received about vaccines spirited is an understatement. Two readers accused me of providing no evidence for my ‘outrageous claims’ about the efficacy of the flu vaccine. My answer to this is that they are not my claims, I merely report the findings of the Cochrane Group. There was no point me reprinting several pages of trial findings, so I put three links to the plain English Cochrane page discussing each scenario for the flu vaccine.
Another lady basically accused me of making people who have already had the flu shot feel bad, she stated that there was considerable evidence that if people believe in the jab, they may get protection – even if it does not actually work. I guess I can’t really argue with that, but to not say something about it, when it’s paid for by our taxes is simply against my philosophy. If health care money is wasted on a strategy that has no benefit, then something that could potentially work misses out on funding. It’s not like it’s a sugar pill obtained at virtually no cost, it costs up to $30 per vaccination, and 1.2 million New Zealanders get vaccinated every year. It’s a nice little earner for the manufacturers.
First things first – what is the Cochrane Group?
The Cochrane Group is a collaboration of 28,000 volunteer researchers from 100 countries (including New Zealand) who review drug company research, raw data from their trials and then provide systematic reviews of all of the studies to promote evidence based healthcare. The key premise is that the researchers must have no financial motive or conflicts of interest.
The financially independent aspect to this is absolutely essential. Ben Goldacre writes in his book ‘Bad Pharma’ that in 2010, 3 researchers from Harvard and Toronto examined 500 trials examined 5 major classes of drugs. They looked at whether the results were positive or negative, as well as who funded the study. In all, 85% of the drug company funded trials were positive, while only 50% of the government funded trials were.
Another example involved looking at the statin trials. Statins are a class of drug prescribed to lower cholesterol. The numbers are huge, a 2011 article on TV3 indicated that 1.5 million prescriptions were issued in New Zealand the previous year – equivalent to 300,000 kiwis being on this class of drugs. In 2007 researchers compared 192 trials that pitted one statin against another, or vs a different kind of treatment. The researchers found that the studies that were funded by drug companies were 20 times more likely to favour the drug being tested.
Those of you who have been reading for a while will have an idea of how corrupt pharmaceutical companies are. When I make statements along the lines of ‘you can’t trust any research that comes from drug companies’ this is what I am getting at. These studies are the sole reason the drugs are approved and put on the market, there is no government body that tests all the findings in their own human trials – just to make sure drug companies are not telling porkies. Drug companies only let the world see results that are favourable to their drugs, negative results are simply buried. We are led to believe by our authorities and various mouth pieces for the medical profession that we should simply trust what our doctors say and take the drugs, because it’s all ‘evidence based medicine’.
My friends, it’s just not. And no one is going to tell you this, because the whole system is designed to move drugs. We are (unfortunately) at the bottom of the food chain. We are indoctrinated to trust our medical experts – and to believe that there is a miracle pill that can cure anything. It’s our default life raft in an ocean of bad choices. The predators at the top are the pharmaceutical companies who call all the shots.
That’s the metaphorical world we all live in. There are successes in modern medicine (such as antibiotics, for instance), but all too many diseases that can’t be effectively treated or drugs that simply don’t work or are unsafe. It is really important that you do your own research when you are prescribed a drug. Often the doctors don’t know whether they really work or are safe – because the drug companies fool everyone.
This is why the Cochrane Group is important, it is an independent group of non-financially motivated researchers who get hold of the data behind the research (the first hurdle, because drug companies withhold it, edit it to delete embarrassing findings etc) then they analyse it to find the real results – without the spin.
The Cochrane Group is a large group of people, it is not perfect. With any large group of people you will likely get agendas as well. But when they say that a particular strategy has no demonstrably value (ie vaccinating populations of healthy people against the flu) we should listen. Some readers made statements such as ‘I get the flu shot every year – works for me’, I get that. Unfortunately it’s a case study of one. In our minds it’s a very big one – because it’s based on our personal experiences. It does not take into consideration other factors which may be offering protection, such as vitamin D levels. I appreciate the comments.
I am not against modern medicine. There are some extremely exciting areas of research. It’s a case of getting rid of the parts that don’t work, and these seem mostly to involve pharmaceutical companies and their products. I realise that some of the things I write about may offend people, maybe because it affects their worldview or their sense of security. I apologise if this is the case, my goal is not to offend – it is to provide information that the mainstream media largely ignores.
The goal of the Beacon is to help people make better health decisions. If there is a subject of particular interest to you, then please get in touch.