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The impact of antivaccination lobbying

Here’s an excellent news report from Australia on the human costs of the anti-vaccine movement:

The video features Viera Scheibner, who has nothing good to say about vaccines and thinks that vaccines are dangerous and infectious diseases in childhood are good. It also features the stories of children who caught vaccine-preventable diseases. This is how it’s done.

Posted in: Science and the Media, Vaccines

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181 thoughts on “The impact of antivaccination lobbying

  1. thrin says:

    I was under the impression thiomersal was no longer being used as a preservative in vaccines for children; is that just for US vaccines? I didn’t see 60 minutes rush to contradict the mother’s claims of mercury, beyond the usual fish sandwich line. I was also disappointed not to see Scheibner’s qualifications explained until later on in the video. A person who’d just watched the first half would see a dead child, a woman referred to as doctor and a mother prattling on about the horrors of vaccination. Time constraints, I suppose, but it could have been put together a little better.

    On the other hand, Scheibner and her little sidekick were thoroughly humiliated by the show towards the end. Impressive work.

  2. Chris says:

    Viera Scheibner is a farce.

    You can read more about this clueless paleogeologist (one who studies teeny tiny fossils) here:
    http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/comment/scheibner.htm

  3. colm o k says:

    I write this with a heavy heart, but this is a great video. Thanks for sharing.

  4. ConspicuousCarl says:

    Holy crap. Her qualifications are fossils and a nursing course? What a bitch.

    I think the only way I will feel any relief is if someone makes a revenge-style action movie about it. You know the ones like Collateral Damage where some guy’s family is killed by a drug dealer or terrorist, and he goes nuts and kills all of the bastards behind the operation? We need some buff Hollywood actor who loses his baby to an antiquated disease to go on a covert trip to the home of one of those quack masterminds, blasting hench-hippies in organic cotton berets with a machine gun as they fall over second-floor balcony railings. Then at the end the villain and our fully-immunized hero are facing off on the roof, and the hero charges the quack and both go flying off of the roof in a bear hug and land in a pool which is infected with horrible bacteria because stupid naturopathic idiots are afraid of chlorinated pools. Then the picture goes black, and slowly fades in to one of those epilogue relief scenes in the hospital, except instead of just showing the hero recovering, it shows the moronic villain slowly dying from diphtheria.

  5. Paddy says:

    @ConspicuousCarl,

    That’s, um, imaginative, I suppose? I fear it might not change matters much, though. Stories like the ones in this documentary might change some minds. What might change some more minds would be an unvaccinated celeb getting sick or even dying with a vaccine-preventable disease… not that I’d wish that on even the worst of Hollywood’s denizens.

    Increasingly, I’m suspecting that we may have to resign ourselves to never quite persuading all the antivaxxers. Which will mean that intermittent outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases will continue to occur, as the unvaccinated and unexposed population builds up over time.

  6. Kylara says:

    Since (in the U.S.) everyone who gets vaccinated pays a small amount in the vaccine injury fund, I think the best way to deal with this is for everyone who chooses NOT to get vaccinated (chooses — for non-medical reasons) to have to pay into a non-vaccine injury fund. That is, the non-vaccinators-by-choice should have to bear the full costs of all outbreaks that implicate non-vaccinated individuals, including wrongful death settlements. They can then get a happy little card, like my cat gets for its rabies shots, that show they complied with the law in one way or another.

    At first these costs won’t be *too* high, with a comparatively large number of non-vaxxers and mostly hospitalizations, but as more children die, it’ll get very expensive, very fast, and a lot of non-vaxxers will decide they don’t actually think vaccines cause autism to the tune of $20,000 per non-vaccinated child. (Which, even so, is a better economic bet than having the parents of the deceased child who caught measles from your kid suing you directly.)

    If we can work out the Amish and Social Security, I’m confident we can work out any attendant religious exercise issues.

    Non-vaxxers shouldn’t be allowed to externalize their costs.

  7. Th1Th2 says:

    That’s a screaming iatrogenic death magnified 20X. When you are surrounded by a score of incompetent doctors they will really spoil the broth and turn you in acidotic state.

  8. ConspicuousCarl says:

    Paddy:

    It isn’t supposed to change anyone’s mind, it’s just supposed to make me feel better so I don’t strangle my computer monitor.

    I don’t know if an actual celebrity death would change anything. I am pretty sure we have already lost some of them to nonsense (though I can’t think of any names at the moment), and the nonsense is still here.

  9. BillyJoe says:

    I don’t often put people on my ignore list.

  10. Paddy says:

    @Th1Th2,

    That’s libel, plain and simple.

  11. Chris says:

    Ignore Th1Th2. She is not sane.

  12. icewings27 says:

    Absolutely heart-breaking.

    I know very little about how the immune system works. I do know it’s incredibly complex. These antivax people prattle about “there’s no proof vaccines work” and “Hep B vaccine suppresses the immune system and makes you vulnerable to whooping cough” and “diseases are the only way to get natural immunity” –

    Well let me just say, I know enough to recognize complete bullsh-t when I hear it.

    These people are so unwilling to educate themselves, it’s just mind-boggling. And speaking as someone who has lost a child (not to a vaccine-preventable disease), I find the antivaxxers heinous and detestable for their role in causing the deaths of numerous infants worldwide.

    I wish upon Viera Scheibner a severe case of shingles with every possible complication. A pox upon thee, lady!

  13. Calli Arcale says:

    Her friend with a background in IT even made a website for her . . . please please PLEASE, for the love of all that is holy, tell me her “background in IT” consists of running the cash registers at Best Buy or something like that. That is one massively hideous and amateurish website they show.

    Loved how they showed Scheibner brutally taking down her friend in order to forestall the awkward questioning. The woman’s arrogance is shocking.

    The look on the father’s face at the beginning as he watches the video of his son is heartbreaking.

    The lengths the McAffrey’s are having to go to in order to protect their new daughter is shocking. 1 in 5 in the dad’s school has tested positive for whooping cough? That’s shocking. I hope I misunderstood the comment; that’s a massive outbreak. How many more babies are going to die before people like Scheibner are shown the door by the community at large for satisfying their own egos, their own need to be the brave mavericks bucking the establishment, at the expense of so many children?

    Of course she says it’s the parents’ fault their children are dead. She cannot, will not accept her own part in it. She cannot bear to be proven wrong, so she dismisses the accusation, but it strikes very close to home so she terminates the interview. At some level, she must be aware of the massive stakes at play here, enough so that when evidence starts to show she may be wrong, she recoils. Most of the time, I think she tries to avoid thinking about the stakes. I mean, she thinks getting the diseases is the correct way to get immunity and avoid being killed by the diseases, which is of course ludicrous — get the disease to avoid getting the disease. If getting the disease were so trivial, why would immunity even matter? Obviously at some point she’s realized it does matter, and these can be very dangerous diseases. But it’s an uncomfortable thing to think about, so she doesn’t. It’s much more pleasant and emotionally satisfying to dwell instead on the villainous corporate executives and the doctors they pay to remain silent as they rake in the dough, even if that image is largely fictional. Not entirely fictional, and that is why it sticks so well — corporate executives are all about profit. They have to be; it’s their job. And faked science does happen. Wakefield isn’t an isolated case. It’s enough truth inside the lies to make the lies seem plausible.

    What a piece of work she is.

  14. Scott says:

    I’d love to know how, if the only reason babies die of these diseases now is because they got HepB vaccines at birth, why they died in such huge numbers before we had any vaccines at all?

  15. windriven says:

    Proof positive that stupidity can be fatal.

  16. Venna says:

    I think at this point the only thing that will curtail the anti-vax movement in the US is for a child to die from vaccine preventable disease due to being too young to be vaccinated, and the parents of the child file suit and win against the anti-vaccine warriors that have spoken out the loudest against vaccines.

    After all, the anti-vaccine movement isn’t about truth, it’s about them being right and wanting the ‘establishment’ to admit that it’s intentionally hurting their children.

    I wonder if wrongful death could be upheld in a court for a newborn too young to vaccinate dying because the anti-vaxers have convinced enough people to not vaccinate that herd immunity has been compromised to protect the most vulnerable among us?

  17. Venna says:

    On another note, how many of the anti-vaccine activists are fully vaccinated themselves? If they are, that takes any danger off them and puts it on the people/children they are forcing non-vaccination on. When they live through an epidemic, but their children die, what will they say then?

  18. nory says:

    Hello,
    Does anyone know if it would be legal to upload this video on my own channel on Youtube with an added subtitling?
    Thanks

  19. Venna says:

    Nory,

    I suspect you’d need to get permission from 60 Minutes and approval for the subtitle. Ask YouTube since they state everything uploaded to their server belongs to them.

  20. Scott says:

    I think at this point the only thing that will curtail the anti-vax movement in the US is for a child to die from vaccine preventable disease due to being too young to be vaccinated, and the parents of the child file suit and win against the anti-vaccine warriors that have spoken out the loudest against vaccines.

    IANAL, but as I understand it such a suit would be highly unlikely to succeed. It’s quite difficult to prevail against the specific individual whose decision not to vaccinate caused the victim to become infected. Drawing a strong enough link to any particular antivax campaigner to establish liability seems pretty near impossible.

  21. Kenneth says:

    I especially liked how they called them “self-appointed experts” in the intro, except while they are self-appointed, they are hardly experts on vaccination. More like avid purveyors of misinformation.

    Scheibner is part of the Vaccination Information Service in Australia, which produced a documentary on vaccines and vaccine safety called “Vaccination: The Hidden Truth”. It is chock full of so much misinformation my head was spinning trying to digest it all. A couple years ago I considered making a series of videos and/or blog articles and such countering that video as well, but I was having some difficulty with the research trying to locate their original sources since their citations (the few they provide) are so poor. One citation, for example, says simply “Lancet 1978″. That’s it… and it’s a citation on one graph, though I forget what at the moment.

    Scheibner is quoted in that documentary as saying “Vaccines are killing babies”, in mentioning a link between vaccines and SIDS. One thing I found rather striking: the documentary was produced in 1998, if I recall correctly, and only a couple years later, Australia experienced a major outbreak of pertussis. I think they have produced additional documentaries as well.

    Vaccination Information Service has two website domains:
    - http://www.vaccination.inoz.com/
    - http://www.vaccinationandvaccineinfo.org/

  22. Chris says:

    Kenneth:

    Scheibner is quoted in that documentary as saying “Vaccines are killing babies”, in mentioning a link between vaccines and SIDS.

    If you look at the link I provided in the first comment, you will see that at least a decade ago she was explaining away shaken baby syndrome as “vaccine damage.” I have recently seen some of her writings brought to try to exonerate people who shake babies to death.

    She is vile, despicable and a true farce.

  23. Chris says:

    Oh, wait… it was the first comment when I made it, now it is second. The first one must have been held up in moderation (I think the moderation software uses a random number generator to put some comments in moderation, as I see no reason for that one go end up there!).

  24. Imadgeine says:

    I have been pondering on how to best proceed re the lies and self-delusion of the antivaccers. My conclusion is that best route is via forums used by new parents. Anxious new parents who want to do what is best for their babies. Many go to parents forums for information and reassurance. There are antivac people pushing their messages and confused thinking in these arenas. While I think there is zero chance of changing their “minds” I do think it is important to put up sensible posts that clearly and succinctly put the opposing view. I am learning to resist the red herrings (but so tempting at times to swim after them) and keep coming back to the salient points.

  25. libby says:

    According to Dr. Teresa Forcades, a practicing Spanish doctor, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (A Novel Influenza A (H1N1) Vaccine in Various Age Groups (21/10/2009), authors: FC Zhy, H Wang, HH Fang et al. demonstrates that the marketed H1N1 vaccine has no effect, i.e. creates no immune response, because the antigen level is too low, below the necessary level of 15mcg, to create antibodies in the host. At 7.5mcg it appears no response occurs and the formulations distributed among the populations bear only 3.75mcg of the antigen, well below necessary.

    In the study the adjuvant alum rendered the vaccine less effective. From the text:

    “Vaccine without adjuvant was associated with fewer local reactions and greater immune responses than was vaccine with adjuvant” (pg 1).

    “Vaccine formulations without adjuvant were more immunogenic than formulations with adjuvant” (pg 7).

    However no tests were done using the adjuvant squalene.

    I am including a 2 part video of her lecture in Barcelona but unfortunately it is in Spanish and I was unable to access it with English subtitles.

    http://vimeo.com/7951734

    http://vimeo.com/7996944

  26. Harriet Hall says:

    libby,

    It took me a while to track down the NEJM article. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa0908535#t=article It would have been easier if you had gotten your facts straight.
    The first author was Zhu, not Zhy.
    The publication date was Dec 17, 2009, not 10/29/2009.
    The study did not show that the marketed vaccine had no effect. It found that the most effective dose was 15 mcg, and that is exactly what was in the marketed vaccines. You can read the package insert for yourself at http://www.fda.gov/downloads/biologicsbloodvaccines/vaccines/approvedproducts/ucm182404.pdf

    The study did not show that the 7.5 mcg dose was ineffective; it showed that it was less effective.
    There is an English subtitled video of Forcades talk at
    http://www.vimeo.com/7298827 She makes serious mistakes in the video that are corrected in the subtitles.
    I speak fluent Spanish and listened to as much of her talk as I had time for. Forcades apparently believes there was a massive conspiracy of Big Pharma and various government agencies to deliberately kill people with flu vaccines.

  27. libby says:

    “Forcades apparently believes there was a massive conspiracy of Big Pharma and various government agencies to deliberately kill people with flu vaccines.”

    That is a serious fabrication of the facts. She never said this.

  28. Harriet Hall says:

    @ libby,
    “That is a serious fabrication of the facts. She never said this.”

    And your false statements about the NEJM article and the vaccines are not serious fabrications of the facts?

    And Forcades’ false statements about the number of flu deaths (that had to be corrected in the subtitles) were not serious fabrications of the facts?

    I said “apparently” because I didn’t have time to watch the entire video, and what I heard her say was that people who believe the conspiracy theory wonder what it is all about and she has solid information that backs the accusations. If she said she didn’t believe in the conspiracy later in the video I will retract my words.

    The reporter Forcades trusts as the source for some of her facts IS, however, a conspiracy theorist. In a document entitled Bioterrorism Evidence, Bürgermeister points to an international corporate criminal syndicate and extensively details its plan to carry out mass genocide against the American people by unleashing a deadly flu virus and instituting a forced vaccination program.
    “There is proof many organizations — World Health Organization, UN as well as vaccine companies such as Baxter and Novartis — are part of a single system under the control of a core criminal group, who give the strategic leadership, and who have also funded the development, manufacturing and release of artificial viruses in order to justify mass vaccinations with a bioweapon substance in order to eliminate the people of the USA, and so gain control of the assets, resources etc of North America.” http://www.infowars.com/journalist-fired-over-flu-pandemic-lawsuit/ There is more, about Bilderburg and the Illuminati.

  29. libby says:

    Forcades is probably just bitter she didn’t make it onto the Pharma Gift List.

  30. Harriet Hall says:

    I watched the rest of the Forcades video at http://www.vimeo.com/7298827 and part of the combined video. It was a painful experience because she repeats a lot of the accusations of the swine flu vaccine fearmongerers that I wrote about in September 2009. http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/swine-flu-vaccine-fearmongering/
    and she says things that are demonstrably not true. She uses the same tactics as the 911 truthers: looking for any anything that can be used to create doubts and suspicion and not considering how other investigators have already explained those things. She does not come across as an actual believer in conspiracy theories: she says she “doesn’t know” but she definitely admits the possibility, and even the probability, that some nefarious group is in control behind the scenes.

    To clarify the low-dose claim: GlaxoSmithKline did market a vaccine with 3.75 mcg, but it boosted the effect with squalene and did appropriate studies to show that it was effective. Libby’s statement that “no studies were done with squalene” is incorrect. The NEJM study did not test squalene, but other studies did. Vaccines in the US did not contain any adjuvants and contained the recommended 15 mcg of antigen. Squalene has been long used in Europe and has been proven to safely boost the immunogenic effect, allowing production of vaccines with less antigen.

  31. Harriet Hall says:

    libby,
    “Forcades is probably just bitter she didn’t make it onto the Pharma Gift List.”
    There is no such list, and such insinuations are not helpful. It would be more helpful to admit that you made false statements and that Forcades distorted the truth.

  32. Chris says:

    I don’t believe libby watched the video. Or she does not know the difference between influenza and pertussis.

    Really, how could she posted that stuff about H1N1 after seeing those parents in that video? Can she really be that cold hearted?

  33. libby says:

    Harriet Hall:

    I would find your misrepresentations amusing if they weren’t so transparently dishonest.

    You quote me as saying “no STUDIES were done with squalene” when in fact I said “no TESTS were done with squalene”. Clearly I was talking about the cited study in NEJM and not to the absurd idea that no “studies” had ever been done with squalene.

    You had to alter my quote to accommodate your vacuous attack.

    The cited study used alum as an adjuvant and not the preferred squalene, and I was pointing this fact out although it weakened my point.

    I’m sure your minions will come to the rescue.

  34. libby says:

    Harriet Hall:

    I stated, “Forcades is probably just bitter she didn’t make it onto the Pharma Gift List.”
    You stated, “There is no such list, and such insinuations are not helpful.”

    Au contraire. I have already cited a JAMA study that concluded that pharma gifting affects how a doctor prescribes. They refer to it as “non-rational prescribing”.

    You must know that because you were on that thread.

  35. Harriet Hall says:

    libby,

    1. I realize now that you were talking about the lack of squalene tests in the NEJM article, but my substitution of the word “studies” for your word “tests” can hardly be considered a transparently dishonest misrepresentation. At worst, it was a simple misunderstanding. Your own description of the NEJM study is a misrepresentation. I don’t presume to know whether it represents transparent dishonesty or merely faulty understanding on your part.
    2. I pointed out several errors of fact in your comments: how was that a “vacuous attack”?
    3. I don’t have minions. I don’t need people to defend me. Fact and reason are defense enough.
    4. I know that pharmaceutical companies have given gifts to physicians. That doesn’t mean that a “Pharma Gift List” exists. Forcades is a physician who is just as likely to have been offered gifts by Pharma as any other physician. What could you possibly mean about her “not making it onto the list”? And why bring up possible motivations rather than addressing the content of what she said?

    Your version of the facts doesn’t withstand scrutiny, and you have not responded to my corrections.

    In the first place, none of this is relevant to the 60 Minutes video that is the subject of this post. Instead of responding to that, you took the opportunity to get back up on your previous soapbox about pharmaceutical companies. As if that kind of gratuitous highjacking weren’t bad enough, you failed to support your accusations with any credible evidence.

    From all the comments you have posted, I can only conclude that you are not interested in finding out the truth, but only in venting your anger.

  36. libby says:

    Harriet Hall:

    1. Wrong. There would be no need to substitute any word of a quote and then put it in quotation marks pretending it was the exact wording. That’s the FUNCTION of quotation marks, to indicate that every word is as it appears in the original, even with the original mistakes. I’ve never seen any scholarly work that varied from this protocol.

    Your purposeful substitution allowed you then to misrepresent my reference to squalene. That’s dishonest.

    2. The vacuous attack, minus your spin, dealt directly with this misrepresentation, not with you pointing out “several errors of fact in (my) comments”. You really have problems with the simplest concepts.

    3. Well I suppose you can’t be held responsible for the comments of others so I’ll give you this point.

    4. Possible motivations?? Are you kidding. You even have a JAMA study that indicates that gifting IS a motivation.

    How many pharma gifts would come your way if you questioned their conduct of secreting away safety information through the courts, or their fight against transparency i.e. lobbying against the Sunshine in Litigation Act?

    From all your distortions of my posts, I can only conclude you have some kind of not-so-hidden agendum that has little to do with a truth quest.

  37. libby says:

    Harriet Hall:

    Re your comments on the video (it takes a while to get to this because of all your distortions but now that I’ve dealt with them I can turn to the video),

    You state, “The first author was Zhu, not Zhy.”

    The is mindless gainsaying and further comment is unnecessary.

    You state, “The publication date was Dec 17, 2009, not 10/29/2009.”

    My source stated the incorrect date but of course that’s my fault. I at least gave you the reference and it took me all of 10 seconds to find the article on the internet. Hardly a painstaking task for anyone with a working knowledge of computers.

    “She uses the same tactics as the 911 truthers: looking for any anything that can be used to create doubts and suspicion and not considering how other investigators have already explained those things.”

    A bit unfair here. It is common for any critique to bear the other side of the story, since the original supporting views have already been presented.

    “She does not come across as an actual believer in conspiracy theories: she says she “doesn’t know” but she definitely admits the possibility, and even the probability, that some nefarious group is in control behind the scenes.”

    Not true at all. There is always a possibility of conspiracies taking place but she was emphatic later in the video that she was not promoting this idea.

    “GlaxoSmithKline did market a vaccine with 3.75 mcg, but it boosted the effect with squalene and did appropriate studies to show that it was effective.”

    Now why do you do this? You mention studies with no references, something you vilify me for.

    In any case I do question the conflict of interest of a company testing its own products.

    I have shown that drug companies carry influence with doctors (gifting), health officials (firings), and I will add politicians (protective legislation), all of whom are only indirectly connected to them, so how much influence do these same companies have on their OWN employees, scientists or not, people directly dependent on them for their livelihood?

  38. Harriet Hall says:

    libby,

    This is degenerating into a useless “I said, you said” ad hominem contest. It is time to stop.

    You said things that are demonstrably not true: that the 7.5mcg dose was ineffective in the NEJM study and that the marketed vaccines were ineffective. None of this is relevant to the 60 Minutes video that is the subject of this post.

    Questions were raised about the H1N1 vaccines in 2009 and were adequately answered. I see no point in revisiting that controversy.

  39. Harriet Hall says:

    “How many pharma gifts would come your way if you questioned their conduct of secreting away safety information through the courts…”

    The same number of pharma gifts that come my way now: exactly zero.

    Thanks for the laugh!

    For the record, I fully support transparency.

  40. weing says:

    I’m still waiting for my mansion in the Hampton’s and a $million/yr from big pharma to prescribe their meds.

  41. libby says:

    Harriet Hall:

    “The same number of pharma gifts that come my way now: exactly zero.”

    weing:

    “I’m still waiting for my mansion in the Hampton’s and a $million/yr from big pharma to prescribe their meds.”

    The cited study in JAMA is preferable to these testimonials. Apparently lavish gifts are not necessary for non-rational prescribing.

    Harriet: I don’t think you are aware of the verjuice that eminates from your fingers. Your first paragraph in response to my entry was “….if you had gotten your facts straight”, meaning a typo error and an incorrect date.

    This set the tone for this thread.

    In any case I will bow out and wish you all a happy July 4th.

  42. weing says:

    So, if I prescribe a few drops of water and tell the patient to see if it works, that would be rational prescribing? If the collaborators on that JAMA paper came out saying that the Canadian government is short-changing its citizens by not having the newest, expensive drugs, they would definitely keep their positions and continue as consultants. Boy, you are naive to believe that they have no biases, or just willing to accept their conclusions because it confirms your own conspiracy theories, just like that of the Spanish shill for conspiracy theorists that you mentioned.

  43. libby says:

    weing:

    If the JAMA study has been falsified by other better studies, then feel free to post them.

    Re conspiracy theories: I agree with you. A structural analysis would not reveal a conspiracy. That is not how it works.

  44. Harriet Hall says:

    @libby,

    “….if you had gotten your facts straight”, meaning a typo error and an incorrect date.”

    But also meaning your false statements about the findings of the NEJM paper and the ineffectiveness of marketed vaccines. Why continue to ignore that part of my comments? Instead of selectively quoting me, why do you not acknowledge your errors?

  45. Chris says:

    libby, trying to get back on topic: what is your plan to prevent infant deaths from pertussis?

  46. weing says:

    “If the JAMA study has been falsified by other better studies, then feel free to post them.”
    It’s not about falsification. As I recall, it was a meta-analysis. It’s about conflicts of interests of the authors. I trust no one.

  47. libby says:

    weing:

    “….it was a meta-analysis. It’s about conflicts of interests of the authors. I trust no one.”

    Then why would you trust any study?

  48. libby says:

    Harriet Hall:

    “…..why do you not acknowledge your errors?”

    Because they are not my errors. I was presenting the contents of a lecture by Forcades for all to view and critique, referencing the NEJM article for comparison.

    Just a question. Why are you all not out celebrating the 4th of July?

  49. weing says:

    I take them all with at least a grain of salt. I always look for the biases and conflicts of interests of the authors. We are all biased. So you can say I trust them to be biased. I check the methodology of the studies. The data is generally good, but I reflexively suspect it is incomplete. No study is ever the final word. Medical knowledge is not set in stone, it’s ready to change as more info comes in.

  50. Harriet Hall says:

    @libby,

    “they are not my errors. I was presenting the contents of a lecture by Forcades for all to view and critique,”

    Hah! You presented it for us to critique? Why did you present that particular video for critique? The video referenced a NEJM article: did you bother to look at that article? Do you exercise any judgment of your own before you present something? I pointed out what was wrong with it: you could have thanked me and acknowledged that it contained errors.

    Now, to get back on track, what do you have to say about the Viera Scheibner video? Do you reject pertussis vaccine because it was manufactured by a company you don’t trust, like you rejected the dilating eye drops?

  51. Chris says:

    libby:

    Just a question. Why are you all not out celebrating the 4th of July?

    Are you telling us that we need to leave our homes to celebrate Independence Day? At the present I have just finished making a corn salad with fresh herbs from my garden to be served with lettuce that I also grew. The ribs have been on the barbecue, and the chicken that has been marinating with herbs from the garden just got put on. My laptop is in the kitchen, which makes it convenient.

    So, really, what is your plan on how to prevent infant deaths from pertussis?

  52. JPZ says:

    @weing

    “I take them all with at least a grain of salt. I always look for the biases and conflicts of interests of the authors. We are all biased. So you can say I trust them to be biased. I check the methodology of the studies. The data is generally good, but I reflexively suspect it is incomplete. No study is ever the final word.”

    *standing ovation* Damn good insight! :)

  53. GLaDOS says:

    What is it about H1N1 and squalene, and Internet trolls?

    I’m having Desiree Jennings flashbacks.

  54. libby says:

    Harriet Hall:

    You state: “The study did not show that the 7.5 mcg dose was ineffective; it showed that it was less effective.”

    Could you point out where is says this in the NEJM study ?

    You state: “She (Forcades) makes serious mistakes in the video that are corrected in the subtitles.”

    Could you point out where these subtitled corrections of serious mistakes take place in the video?

    You state: “GlaxoSmithKline did market a vaccine with 3.75 mcg, but it boosted the effect with squalene and did appropriate studies to show that it was effective.”

    Please reference these studies you speak of.

    Concerns: drug companies have already demonstrated a propensity for secreting safety issues, esp on products they have already sunk millions of investors’ dollars into. In 2010 GSK was required to pay $150m in criminal fines and $600m in civil penalties regarding the adulteration of several products at their Cidra plant. Cheryl Eckard, a former quality assurance manager, was fired for reporting these problems to her superiors.

  55. Chris says:

    So, libby, what is your plan on how to prevent infant deaths from pertussis? Be sure to show all documentation of it efficacy.

  56. Harriet Hall says:

    @libby,

    “You state: “The study did not show that the 7.5 mcg dose was ineffective; it showed that it was less effective.”
    Could you point out where is says this in the NEJM study ?”

    Do I have to do your reading for you? Figure 2 and the supplementary appendix show the seroconversion and antibody levels for each dose studied. All are well above zero.

    Why are you so fixated on Forcades’ accusations and insinuations?I’m not going to subject myself to the Forcades video again for your benefit. The English subtitled version clearly shows several corrections in the subtitles. There are a number of other errors and fallacious arguments but I don’t see any point in explaining them. I don’t care to waste time re-hashing these old H1N1 vaccine questions. The questions were raised in 2009 and have all been adequately answered. It’s history. Been there, done that. Boring. Those vaccines are no longer in use.

    If your point is to show that pharmaceutical companies have made mistakes and covered them up, no one is denying that, but that says nothing about whether a given drug or vaccine is safe and effective. There is no evidence of malfeasance related to the H1N1 vaccine.

    I’ll ask once more: what do you have to say about the Viera Scheibner video? Do you reject pertussis vaccine because it was manufactured by a company you don’t trust, like you rejected the dilating eye drops?

  57. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    According to Dr. Teresa Forcades, a practicing Spanish doctor, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (A Novel Influenza A (H1N1) Vaccine in Various Age Groups (21/10/2009), authors: FC Zhy, H Wang, HH Fang et al. demonstrates that the marketed H1N1 vaccine has no effect, i.e. creates no immune response, because the antigen level is too low, below the necessary level of 15mcg, to create antibodies in the host. At 7.5mcg it appears no response occurs and the formulations distributed among the populations bear only 3.75mcg of the antigen, well below necessary.

    Well, even if this statement were factually correct, what does that prove except that you need to up the antigen level within the vaccine? Or more accurately, you face a choice between increasing the antigen level or using an effective adjuvant? Do you understand how science works? Do you know why adjuvants are necessary? They allow more vaccine to be produced with a given amount of antigen. This was particularly important for the H1N1 vaccine since it was difficult to cultivate using the traditional “egg” method. In addition, using an adjuvant allows you to use a smaller amount of the antigen for each dose. Adjuvants work mainly by thickening the vaccine dose so it lingers at the injection site, and by ‘irritating’ the tissues to provoke an inflammatory (and thus immune) response. The overall point of this study was it demonstrated the influenza A H1N1 vaccine was effective at producing a protective antibody response. Slam-dunk for science, and the world rejoices!

    You’re also missing the fact that there are very few “magic bullet” studies that prove or disprove a hypothesis. Even if this experiment failed, and was replicated, that’s one wrinkle in the extensive body of knowledge about vaccines that indicates they are safe, effective and associated with significantly reduced morbidity and mortality on individual and population levels – to the point that we have managed to eliminate smallpox as a communicable disease. I’m not even sure what this set of posts was supposed to prove, that one doctor managed to find one study and misunderstand the implications of it, and that you like to pick pointless fights while avoiding genuine discussion? If so, good job because you argue like a criminal defence attorney trying for a technicality. Fortunately science is based on attempting to discover more about the world rather than win arguments irrespective the truth.

    Just a question. Why are you all not out celebrating the 4th of July?

    I’m Canadian, ye wee little narcissist, and if that’s supposed to be a criticism then I will add to that “hypocrite” based on the date stamp on your comments. There are other countries in the world with internet access. I spent my Canada Day cooking chicken burgers and coleslaw. It was delicious, thanks for asking.

    As a final point – prescribing patterns being influenced by gifts from pharmaceutical reps isn’t the same thing as a massive conspiracy to cover up the ineffectiveness of vaccination. It’s good business, bad medicine and not really related to science at all. Anyone who can’t tell the difference is a moron, as is anyone who thinks one can be related to the other.

  58. libby says:

    WilliamLawrenceUtridge:

    Sorry but I don’t have the foggiest clue what you are talking about.

    What does narcissism have to do with anything here????

    It’s difficult to discuss this stuff when people are cogent but your posts twist around so many red herrings and distortions it’s just not worth the trouble.

    By the way it was Health Canada that fired their inspectors for trying to protect the public. Canada is really a lost cause when it comes to drug safety.

    At least in the US their are attempts to bring about transparency in legislation, although they did bring in legal protections in 1980 for vaccine manufacturers against lawsuits for any damage they cause. Truly unbelievable.

  59. Harriet Hall says:

    @ libby

    I repeat: “what do you have to say about the Viera Scheibner video? Do you reject pertussis vaccine because it was manufactured by a company you don’t trust, like you rejected the dilating eye drops?”

  60. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    What does the 4th of July have to do with anything? I’m curious, you’re the one who brought it up, so feel free to justify it.

    Yeah, I really hate it when people fill up a comments page with red herrings, like pharma conspiracies and nutjob comments by practicing doctors who apparently don’t understand vaccination.

    I assume you’re talking about the vaccine injury court, the one they had to set up because so many people were suing manufacturers that it was becoming unprofitable to produce the very vaccines that eliminated smallpox and almost eliminated polio. The standard of proof required by the vaccine court is quite low, deliberately so. It exists to ensure there is a viable source of vaccines (thus protecting industry from having to constantly defend themselves from scientifically unjustified law suits), while ensuring that this incredibly important public health measure is monitored for safety.

    Oh, and as a resident of Canada, we like our drug safety measures just fine. In fact, sometimes I think they over-reach and block the release of medications that have an acceptable safety profile.

  61. libby says:

    HH:

    You state: I repeat: “what do you have to say about the Viera Scheibner video? Do you reject pertussis vaccine because it was manufactured by a company you don’t trust, like you rejected the dilating eye drops?”

    This is a Fox News style question, attempting to elicit a “yes” or a “no” on a complicated topic.

    Normal people don’t commit illegal acts. Corporations are legal persons. Unlike individuals, corporations commonly commit transgressions. We wouldn’t think of asking an individual who commits transgressions of the law to baby-sit our kids, but we are quite compliant in handing over our health to corporations, these legal persons, who commonly commit illegal acts.

    So given the system as it stands, I would have to be convinced by the medical system that all precautions have been taken by the company, the government, and the doctors, so that all matters are transparent and that nothing shady is going on. If satisfied, I might then make the decision to get immunized against whooping cough using conventional medicine.

    But to me the system is faulty. A health system in my opinion should have no involvement with private enterprise.

  62. libby says:

    WilliamLawrenceUtridge:

    Sorry. I’m just not as compliant as you are.

    I hope pharma drugs give you the comfort that you’re looking for.

  63. Harriet Hall says:

    @libby,

    Would you accept a homeopathic vaccine?

    When you accepted a homeopathic remedy for your allergies, did you first “have to be convinced by the homeopathic system that all precautions have been taken by the company, the government, and the doctors, so that all matters are transparent and that nothing shady is going on.”?

  64. libby says:

    GLaDOS:

    “What is it about H1N1 and squalene, and Internet trolls?”

    You must have stumbled onto the wrong thread. There’s been little said about squalene except in passing.

  65. libby says:

    HH:

    “I’m not going to subject myself to the Forcades video again for your benefit. The English subtitled version clearly shows several corrections in the subtitles. There are a number of other errors and fallacious arguments but I don’t see any point in explaining them. I don’t care to waste time re-hashing these old H1N1 vaccine questions.”

    Nice try, but I’m not buying it. I saw no mis-translations.

  66. Harriet Hall says:

    @ libby,

    “I saw no mis-translations.”
    No one said anything about mis-translations. In the subtitled version I linked to, the subtitles include corrections to errors she made in speaking: for instance the number she gave for worldwide deaths from H1N1 was many times too low. I spotted a number of uncorrected errors, for instance she said there was live virus in the injectable vaccine. And there were a number of logical fallacies and misrepresentations. They were all old hat, were answered back in 2009, and there is no reason to re-hash them now. Besides which, as WLU pointed out, even if the video were accurate, it wouldn’t prove anything. It is irrelevant to the question of whether vaccines in current use are safe and effective. It doesn’t even show that the vaccine companies did anything wrong; it only shows unverified claims that they and the government acted inappropriately, claims that were subsequently shown to be unfounded.

  67. Chris says:

    So, libby, what is your plan on how to prevent infant deaths from pertussis? Be sure to show all documentation of its efficacy.

  68. daedalus2u says:

    “But to me the system is faulty. A health system in my opinion should have no involvement with private enterprise.”

    Yes, we see where you are coming from, the most important thing about a health care system is its political purity, not whether it saves lives or helps people have good health.

    So why are homeopathic treatments acceptable? Aren’t they made by for-profit companies?

  69. libby says:

    HH:

    “When you accepted a homeopathic remedy for your allergies, did you first “have to be convinced by the homeopathic system that all precautions have been taken by the company, the government, and the doctors, so that all matters are transparent and that nothing shady is going on.”?”

    Do you know of anyone who has died from homeopathy?

  70. libby says:

    daedalus2u:

    “Yes, we see where you are coming from, the most important thing about a health care system is its political purity, not whether it saves lives or helps people have good health.”

    You’re very confused.

  71. libby says:

    Chris:

    “So, libby, what is your plan on how to prevent infant deaths from pertussis? Be sure to show all documentation of its efficacy.”

    Vaccination is a good idea. Putting it in the hands of those with questionable ethics, not so good.

  72. libby says:

    HH

    “Do I have to do your reading for you?”

    Here’s a good rule to follow.

    What you wouldn’t dare say to a person’s face, you probably shouldn’t say sitting safely behind a computer monitor at some undisclosed location.

  73. libby says:

    daedalus2u:

    “So why are homeopathic treatments acceptable? Aren’t they made by for-profit companies?”

    Look, I can’t change the system. There are no places to get anything to do with health that doesn’t go through private hands. I didn’t create the present system, and I wouldn’t have created it.

    Homeopathic remedies are acceptable (now here’s the important part) TO ME because they have worked and there are no side effects. Conventional medicine has provided me with only limited success, and occasionally some unpleasant side effects.

    Not quite sure why we’re talking about homeopathy.

  74. Chris says:

    libby:

    Vaccination is a good idea. Putting it in the hands of those with questionable ethics, not so good.

    Okay. That is a start. Should we all move to Denmark when our children are young? Because their vaccine company is owned by the government.

    I think you have mistaken this blog as something it is not. It is called ScienceBasedMedicine, not EconomicSystemMedicine. If you wish to discuss naturalization of medicine and pharmaceutical companies, please find another forum.

    Now if you have issues with the DTaP or Tdap vaccine of the USA, UK, Denmark, Japan, Canada, Venezuela, Australia (which is where the above video is from), Spain, Russia, Korea, India and elsewhere provide specifics that pertain to those two vaccines. Nothing else.

    In the USA you would need to explain exactly how the ethics of the CDC, the FDA, and every single county and state health department fails to meet your ethical criteria. Or for the case of where the video above was made, please be specific how the health departments in each jurisdiction in Australia is culpable.

    What about the ethics of Viera Scheibner? Is she ethical? Should she come under your microscope of criticism?

  75. Chris says:

    In the USA you would need to explain exactly how the ethics of the CDC, the FDA, and every single county and state health department fails to meet your ethical criteria. Or for the case of where the video above was made, please be specific how the health departments in each jurisdiction in Australia is culpable.

    Let me clarify: This why you do not discuss the economic system of each country. Stick with the science. The science is common to all of the countries, states and counties. The economic and political systems are not. To discuss those, to somewhere else.

    And really, if you are going to whine about “ethics” and then regard homeopathy as some kind of ideal, you have shattered several fictional irony meters. Again you need to see this site:
    http://www.howdoeshomeopathywork.com/

  76. Harriet Hall says:

    @libby,

    “Do you know of anyone who has died from homeopathy?”

    I know of cases where someone died because they rejected effective treatment and used homeopathy instead. I know of many cases where people died from vaccine-preventable diseases. I know that deaths from vaccines are rare and that vaccines are safer than not vaccinating.

    “What you wouldn’t dare say to a person’s face, you probably shouldn’t say sitting safely behind a computer monitor at some undisclosed location.”

    Thank you for the etiquette lesson. Proper etiquette also involves answering the question you have been asked. If I had been face to face with you, I not only would have dared, but I probably would have said something far harsher than “Do I have to do your reading for you?” The distance of a computer allows time to think and to respond more judiciously.

    I’ll ask once more: what do you have to say about the Viera Scheibner video? Do you reject pertussis vaccine? This is not a difficult question. If you had a 2 month old baby, would you allow the pediatrician to give him the shots per the recommended schedule? By the way, when was your last tetanus shot?

  77. windriven says:

    @Libby

    “Look, I can’t change the [economic] system. There are no places to get anything to do with health that doesn’t go through private hands. I didn’t create the present system, and I wouldn’t have created it. ”

    And without that economic system that you so despise do you think there would be Apple computers or A330 jets? The last pure command economies are Cuba, economically dependent on Venezuela, and North Korea, economically dependent on China. There are, of course, blended economic systems – is there one that you find particularly attractive?

    I wonder how you came to believe that government hands are so much cleaner than private hands? Perhaps you should travel more – and not just to eat lamb in Morocco or fois gras in the Alsace. Spend some time with the people who live and work in these places.

  78. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Libby:

    I take no prescription medication. I take only a vitamin D supplement occasionally due to my latitude and occupation. I consume large, some would say massive, amounts of fruits and vegetables. I exercise 6-7 days per week. My father, who is over 70, also takes no medication, exercises regularly and eats a diet mainly comprised of home-cooked meals. My grandmothers are nearly 100 on one side and over 80 on the other. I am in excellent health, and given my genes and lifestyle I expect to remain so for a long, long time. The influence of drug companies on me is nigh-zero and I spend much of my time yelling at the commercials on TV that advertise direct to consumers, both in for drugs and for those moronic orthomolecular clinics.

    You seem to think that merely because I disagree with you and believe science should play a more significant role in decisions about health that somehow I am a pawn for the drug companies. You are wrong, and apparently incapable of honestly parsing the evidence or unwilling to change your mind. What you are experiencing is cognitive dissonance – you are attempting to maintain your belief that you are smart, smarter than everyone who disagrees with you. In order to do so, you must find some way of dismissing, rather than dealing with, their arguments. This allows you to maintain your belief in your own “smartness” and never have to face the fact that you are pretty clearly wrong. This comes at the expense of reality.

    I admit I am wrong all the time, when confronted with evidence. I think drug companies do bad science all the time – note for instance my comment on Steve Novella’s post today. But I also think that properly supervised, they are capable of manufacturing high-quality products that enhance quality and quantity of life. The alternative would be a government-based system of research and manufacturing, which would come with its own costs and benefits. Reality is complicated and made up of compromises, best-fit solutions and cost-benefit analyses. Slogans, while simple, are often wrong.

    If you can come up with a third way, kudos and I hope the world benefits. Just claiming the current system is irredeemably flawed and we should burn them all to the ground is not a solution. I’m sure it makes you feel better and quite self-righteous, but that doesn’t help anyone else.

    “Big pharma” and the pharma-shill gambit are not arguments, they are not critical thinking, they are lazy tricks people use to avoid thinking hard and changing their minds.

  79. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Libby:

    Do you know of anyone who has died from homeopathy?

    Yes:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/sep/28/homeopathy-baby-death-couple-jailed

    http://whatstheharm.net/homeopathy.html

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/newsnight/5178122.stm

    The risks of homeopathy aren’t that it is dangerous in and of itself (bar to diabetics since it’s basically wet sugar), it is in the dangers of avoiding real medicine, real treatment, real interventions. It is in quacks who recommend avoiding evidence-based treatment in favour of a fairy tale in which perfect health is available if people just believe hard enough. It’s in people who believe in slogans and ritual purity over prevention with vaccination and treatment with real medicine. It’s in people making money off of a prescientific bit of unjustified wishfull thinking. Yes, homeopaths make money off of their practice, which is a far more direct conflict of interest in my mind than any faced by a primary practitioner. They are directly and strongly motivated, by both a commitment to an ideology and through direct financial incentives, to actively ignore evidence that contradicts the party line they have toed.

    Homeopaths drank the kool-aid and are now selling it to you and your family. Don’t forget that in this metaphor, kool-aid kills. And don’t give me any crap about medicine killing; medicines have risks, but they also have benefits beyond helping people feel good about being misled.

  80. libby says:

    HH:

    “I know of cases where someone died because they rejected effective treatment and used homeopathy instead. I know of many cases where people died from vaccine-preventable diseases. I know that deaths from vaccines are rare and that vaccines are safer than not vaccinating.”

    I call this the celery/carrot argument. A person chooses to eat celery instead of carrots resulting in a deficiency in Vitamin A. Therefore the celery is to blame.

    It’s a fallacious argument used a lot by conventional medicine adherents and wouldn’t hold up on the first day of a first year logic class.

    1. Harriet Hall says:

      libby,

      I do not object to homeopathy on the basis of any lack of safety, but on the basis of its ineffectiveness. An effective drug has risks that must be put into a risk/benefit assessment. People must be informed of risks and then decide if they think the benefit is worth taking the risk. People taking homeopathy should be told that there is little or no risk but that any perceived effect is due to a placebo response or other factors (natural course of illness, etc.), and then they can decide whether the absence of risk justifies using a remedy that does nothing objective but may elicit a nonspecific response.
      Your celery/carrot argument is not a helpful analogy. The celery is not to blame: it is the decision to forgo carrots that results in a vitamin deficiency. If someone uses homeopathy instead of a vaccine and develops the disease, homeopathy is not to blame. The choice not to get the vaccine is to blame.

  81. libby says:

    Chris:

    “…….Should we all move to Denmark when our children are young? Because their vaccine company is owned by the government.”

    I have no plans to do so. You can if you like.

    “……please find another forum.”

    Nope. I like this one just fine.

    “Now if you have issues with the DTaP or Tdap vaccine of the USA, UK, Denmark, Japan, Canada, Venezuela, Australia (which is where the above video is from), Spain, Russia, Korea, India and elsewhere provide specifics that pertain to those two vaccines. Nothing else.”

    Sorry. I don’t answer vague rambling questions.

    “In the USA you would need to explain exactly how the ethics of the CDC, the FDA, and every single county and state health department fails to meet your ethical criteria. Or for the case of where the video above was made, please be specific how the health departments in each jurisdiction in Australia is culpable.”

    Wrong. Those who tell me their products are safe have to actually be telling me the truth. I took Hismanal for hayfever because it was ‘safe’ and AFTERWARDS it was withdrawn because of a risk of death, cardiovascular adverse events, anaphylaxis, and serious drug interactions. You already know my story on Zomax.

    I tend not to give anyone too many opportunities to kill me.

  82. libby says:

    WLU:

    “The risks of homeopathy aren’t that it is dangerous in and of itself (bar to diabetics since it’s basically wet sugar), it is in the dangers of avoiding real medicine, real treatment, real interventions.”

    Real medicines. Like Hismanal and Zomax. Perfectly safe, except when they’re not.

  83. libby says:

    Let me tell you how I deal with chemicals I might need.

    If I need a drug, I don’t buy it from drug companies. I find out the active ingredient. I find out what plant it comes from. Then I go to my herbalist and he gives me the plant, or herb, containing the chemical.

    It costs on average $3 to $8 for a significant bag of the stuff that seems to last forever. I have to experiment a little with the dosage but I quickly find the right amount and carry on taking it for pennies a day.

    99.9% of the people, including those on this board, dutifully get their prescription from the doctor and head to the drug store spending $40 or $60 or maybe a lot more for a 2 week supply of some chemical the drug company has extracted from a plant and refined into a capsule or pill.

    People do this because they can’t imagine resisting orders from their ‘superiors’. They do this because they’ve lost their ability to think, to be creative, to resist. They’ve been told to be obedient, to be compliant, to follow the rules, which really means, do not think for themselves but leave it to the experts: the doctors, the specialists, the scientists, the researchers, the drug company executives, the politicians, those who really know what’s good for the rest of us and can relieve us from the task of thinking for ourselves.

  84. Chris says:

    libby:

    Wrong. Those who tell me their products are safe have to actually be telling me the truth.

    And yet you blindly take homeopathy, even though it is nothing but magical thinking about the “memory of water.” Well, why can the water remember the salt for “Nat Mur” but forget all the sewage that was in it?

    You really have no idea what you are talking about. You blather on about pharmaceutical companies and “ethics”, yet you quite blithely are resigned to accept the blatant lie that is homeopathy.

    Really, that is quite silly.

    You said “Vaccination is a good idea. Putting it in the hands of those with questionable ethics, not so good.”

    That does not make sense. At the present time there are three companies that make the DTaP vaccine in the USA. They are regulated by the FDA, studied by the CDC and the IOM, and each and every public health agency in this country works to provide the vaccines to their population. They are administered both in the offices of private medical providers and public clinics.

    Whose ethics are in question? Who in the three companies? Who specifically working for the federal government? Which particular county health department? Who in the public clinics? Who in the private medical practices?

    And yet you are willing to be lied to by someone giving you homeopathy. Why are you not questioning the ethics of Viera Scheibner?

    At least the regulatory bodies in the USA removed Zomax from the market almost thirty years ago. Who regulates the homeopaths and their fake medications? Do you think the homeopath who told Penelope Dingle how to cure her cancer was ethical? (very big file)

    There is a word for someone who whinges about real pharmaceuticals that are actively regulated, but is blithely taken in by the fallacy that is homeopathy is anything but placebo: hypocrite.

  85. Harriet Hall says:

    libby,

    “If I need a drug, I don’t buy it from drug companies. I find out the active ingredient. I find out what plant it comes from. Then I go to my herbalist and he gives me the plant, or herb, containing the chemical.”

    While that may work for some chemicals, it won’t work for many drugs you might need. Your herbalist can’t give you penicillin in a plant version, or vaccines, or insulin. He can give you digitalis leaf instead of Digoxin, but this is dangerous since the therapeutic dose is so close to the toxic dose and since plant products are so variable. Why would you choose the plant when you could get a precise dose in pure form in a pill, with a test available to check blood levels and an antibody available to reverse levels that are too high? Herbal remedies vary in content and have been found to be mis-labelled and contaminated with everything from heavy metals to prescription drugs.

    In your effort to avoid prescription drugs that might be unsafe, you may be subjecting yourself to remedies that are even less safe.

  86. Chris says:

    Dr. Hall:

    While that may work for some chemicals, it won’t work for many drugs you might need.

    It would also not work as protection from pertussis. I don’t think there is any way to isolate the pertussis toxoids from a plant.

  87. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Libby, your carrot/celery analogy is flawed because in this case the celery (which would contain a homeopathic amount of nutrition, ahahaha) is actively telling you the carrot will make your vitamin A deficiency worse. You appear to have misunderstood the harm of homeopathy; homeopaths, that is people and not vegetables, actively discourage seeking needed treatment for chronic and acute illnesses that are deadly. They actively discourage vaccination.

    Regarding your personal herbalism practice, I’m curious what you would do for the following conditions:

    Malaria
    Type I diabetes
    Stroke caused by blood clot
    Addison’s disease
    Cancer (you pick the type)
    Acute heavy metal toxicity
    Hypervitaminosis A, D and E
    HIV/AIDS
    Influenza causing pneumonia
    Hemophilia
    Huntington’s disease
    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
    Poisoning due to acute dosing of rattlesnake venom

    And if they hadn’t been essentially eliminated through vaccination:

    Polio
    Smallpox

    Also, for minor pains I assume you use willow bark? How do you control for the affect of salicylic acid on the stomach, which is far worse than that of Aspirin?

    Most people of reasonable income in the first world are in reality fairly healthy due to vaccination, water treatment and a ready supply of food. More so if their income affords them the means to exercise regularly, take days off, purchase and prepare fresh meals and post on message boards justifying their choices in life. In other words, you’re damned lucky to live in a land where a massive public health efforts have improved the lives of nearly all citizens and have sufficient income to be able to avoid most chronic diseases. You’re also probably lucky enough to have avoided any congenital diseases that killed people in the past and require medications to prevent, treat or slow down the progression of. Just because most people can be fairly certain they won’t die of infectious diseases doesn’t mean we can dispense with the medical system because we know a small number will get sick irrespective our best precautions.

    Your current approach is essentially dosing yourself with an unknown quantity of an active agent of uncertain freshness with an unregulated amount of potentially toxic herbicides and/or pesticides. Unless you’re providing titers for the active ingredient, you’re not controlling the dose you get. Do you account for things like the conditions of growth? The amount of protective molecules most plants produce – the active ingredient used in medication – varies according to pest levels, sunlight, water, soil conditions and probably a whole lot more I know nothing about. Do you use fresh or dried? Do you account for the amount of time spent in storage? How do you know how long it has been? Does your herbalist inform you of the symptoms of acute toxicity and the appropriate steps to take? Nature doesn’t care about your assumptions, it’ll kill you no matter how nice you think it is.

    I applaud your libertarian approach to health care, mostly because of it’s Darwinian implications. Over the course of several generations the results should be self-evident.

  88. Scott says:

    In your effort to avoid prescription drugs that might be unsafe, you may be subjecting yourself to remedies that are even less safe.

    I think you can state this more firmly. Libby IS subjecting herself to remedies that are even less safe. No “may” about it.

  89. daedalus2u says:

    Chris, I must presume that Libby is a strong proponent of genetically modifying plants so that they do produce things like pertussis antigen and insulin so that people with an aversion to non-plant sources of medicines can get them from plants. ;)

  90. Chris says:

    daedalus2u: :-)

    Though, should we tell her about research trying to grow influenza vaccines from plants?

  91. libby says:

    HH:

    “The celery is not to blame”

    Ergo, homeopathy is not to blame.

  92. libby says:

    HH:

    “I do not object to homeopathy on the basis of any lack of safety, but on the basis of its ineffectiveness.”

    There are things science cannot explain that are factual. For instance, physicists cannot explain why atomic clocks will show a different time, although only very slightly, on 2 different satellites traveling one revolution around the earth at the same speed but in OPPOSITE directions.

    If homeopathy were ineffective, I would be sneezing, dripping from the nose, have aching sinuses and itchy eyes for 6 to 7 weeks every summer.

    You or anyone or any group of professional medical experts is welcome to spend a few weeks with me any summer and watch what happens when I head into my hayfever season and then watch as I take the remedy. You can then observe what happens when I go off it and the symptoms return, then again what occurs when I go back on the remedy. You can observe me 24/7 to ensure I’m not cheating by taking drugs.

    Forget the conventional medicine studies on homeopathy. They’re riddled with holes, the worst examples of the application of the scientific method I’ve ever seen.

  93. Chris says:

    Only those who claim homeopathy works are to blame, because by definition homeopathy is the equivalent to watching a fire engulf a house and whispering “help help” instead of dialing “911″ to call the fire department.

    Really, do you not yet understand that homeopathy is just a completely useless placebo? Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to you. If you place any value on “ethics” this should make you actually attempt to open your mind to how ridiculous it is to believe in homeopathy.

    So where to you place the ethics of Viera Scheibner?

  94. libby says:

    Chris:

    “At least the regulatory bodies in the USA removed Zomax from the market almost thirty years ago.”

    Funny, I didn’t get my money back from McNeil Pharmaceuticals for putting my life at risk over a goddamn pain killer. Not even a “we’re sorry” card. They just pocketed the money and ran.

  95. Chris says:

    There are things science cannot explain that are factual. For instance, physicists cannot explain why atomic clocks will show a different time, although only very slightly, on 2 different satellites traveling one revolution around the earth at the same speed but in OPPOSITE directions.

    Actually they can. When and what was the last physics class you took? Because it was explained to me quite clearly in my last college physics class.

    I also have hayfever, and even without medication it waxes and wanes. Using homeopathy is the same as taking nothing (it also depends on what airborne allergens are circulating). Which is why you were challenged to show that it works for a non-self-limiting condition.

    It is also completely worthless for any real bacterial infection like pertussis.

  96. libby says:

    HH:

    “Why would you choose the plant when you could get a precise dose in pure form in a pill”

    You mean such precision like – take 2 to 4 pills, 2 to 3 times a day?

    You mean that kind of precision?

  97. Chris says:

    Funny, I didn’t get my money back from McNeil Pharmaceuticals for putting my life at risk over a goddamn pain killer. Not even a “we’re sorry” card. They just pocketed the money and ran.

    Logic fail.

  98. libby says:

    HH:

    “While that (matching the active ingredient of drugs via an herb) may work for some chemicals, it won’t work for many drugs you might need.”

    Correct.

    “Why would you choose the plant when you could get a precise dose in pure form in a pill…”

    I have my own methods. I don’t like to rely on others to tell me what dosage I should take. I was told Zomax and Hismanal were safe at specified dosages and we all know how that turned out.

    “Herbal remedies vary in content and have been found to be mis-labelled and contaminated with everything from heavy metals to prescription drugs.”

    I agree. You have to be vigilant no matter what you ingest. Our food is contaminated, our water is contaminated. All unnecessary in my opinion.

    “In your effort to avoid prescription drugs that might be unsafe, you may be subjecting yourself to remedies that are even less safe.”

    Perhaps. However it is a cheaper method of killing oneself

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