Dianthus Medical Blog Archive

Index of 2011

The Burzynski Clinic part 2

A few years ago, a man called Bernie Madoff was running an investment company. You've probably heard of him. He was offering wonderful rates of return on investments, far in excess of what any other investment companies were offering. Of course, the rates of return he was offering couldn't really be delivered. The whole thing was a scam. Eventually, the FBI came and arrested him and put a stop to his little schemes.

Continue reading→

Making NHS health records available to private companies

There has been a flurry of activity in the media in recent hours about a proposed plan to make anonymised NHS health records available to private companies.

I am completely and utterly baffled by this. It is being presented as if it is something new. It isn't. The General Practice Research Database (GPRD) already contains vast amounts of anonymised data from NHS patients, and can be made available to private companies who are prepared to pay the appropriate fee. This has been going on for many years. Indeed, I have analysed data from the GPRD on behalf of pharmaceutical companies myself on more than one occasion.

Continue reading→

The Burzynski Clinic

I have seen a number of very sad stories over the last few months that all have something in common. The most recent was printed in the Observer last Sunday. It is an utterly heart-rending story of a little girl who is dying of brain cancer. It is hard to imagine anything more terrible for any parents to have to face.

Continue reading→

Journal of Bioethical Inquiry and editorial accountability

I wrote back in June about my unpleasant experience of finding some false and defamatory allegations about Dianthus Medical printed in the Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, and how I was unable to persuade the journal to publish a correction, even though the authors of the article subsequently admitted that they had no evidence to support their allegations.

Continue reading→

What are medical journals doing to combat ghostwriting?

I have recently written a 2-part guest blogpost for Pharmaphorum about medical ghostwriting. You can read part 1 here and part 2 here. If you haven't read them, you might want to do so now. I'll go away and have a cup of tea while you do.

Continue reading→

Malaria vaccine

One of the most exciting papers I have seen for a long time was published in the New England Journal of Medicine yesterday. This describes a randomised controlled trial of a malaria vaccine in African children.

This is important. Malaria is a terrible disease, which kills almost a million people a year, most of them children, and almost all of them in developing countries. And over 200 million a year suffer non-fatal, but still thoroughly miserable malaria infection. Although various treatments for malaria exist, they are not always available to everyone who needs them in resource-poor countries, and drug-resistant strains of malaria represent a huge challenge for treatment. While mosquito control measures can have highly beneficial effects, they have not been anywhere near sufficient to provide adequate control of the disease in practice.

Continue reading→

DIA Clinical Forum 2011

We'll be exhibiting at the DIA Clinical Forum in Basel on 12-14 October. If you're going to be at the conference, please come and see us on stand 25.

If you're not going to be there, we'll do our best to keep you up to date with all the fun if you follow us on Twitter (@dianthusmed).

Continue reading→

Always read the full paper

My attention has just been drawn to a paper which reviews basic research in homeopathy. It's bollocks, of course, as is most research in homeopathy, but it does provide a useful little lesson in the importance of reading the full paper and not relying on the abstract.

Continue reading→

The medical ethics of an 80 mph speed limit

Can you put a price on a human life?

The instinctive answer of many people to that question is "no", but most health economists would say that not only can you put a price on a human life, you absolutely need to do so. Certainly when running a health service, the only rational way to decide whether interventions make economic sense is to do exactly that.

Continue reading→

Strategic MedComms Forum 2011 part 2: guidelines and transparency

This is the second in a 2-part blog post. If you missed part 1, you can read it here.

So, on to the 3rd session of the day, “Good Practice Guidelines. A Triumph of Hope over Experience?”, which was led by Charlie Buckwell from Complete Medical Group. There are many guidelines which define good practice in pharma industry publications (which for the most part are remarkably consistent with each other), and yet there is still a widespread perception that pharma industry publications are thoroughly evil. Charlie showed us a YouTube clip which gave a good idea of how some journalists, either because they are seriously uninformed or because they think conspiracy theories always sell, continue to tell untruths about how the pharma publishes its research.

Continue reading→
Older posts →