The “pharma shill” gambit

i-e7a12c3d2598161273c9ed31d61fe694-ClassicInsolence.jpgOver the last couple of days, I’ve been discussing How “They” See “Us,” which is basically that “they” see “us” as pure evil. Well, maybe not always sheer evil, but certainly not good, and even more certainly as having ulterior motives, the most common of which is filthy pharma lucre. So it seemed appropriate, as a grant deadline fast approaches and constrains my time, to revisit a topic that comes up here from time to time. Basically, every so often, my day job intrudes on my blogging hobby, preventing the creation of fresh Insolence, at least Insolence of the quality that you’ve come to expect. This is one of those times, thanks to a grant deadline. So enjoy this bit of Classic Insolence from way back near the beginning of this blog, when I first coined the term “pharma shill gambit” to describe a very common gambit used by quacks. At least, I think I was the first to coin this term. I haven’t been able to find a reference to the “pharma shill gambit” dating before I wrote the original version of this post way back in 2005. In any case, if there are any really “classic” posts on this blog (which, I’ll concede, is debatable, this is one, IMHO, and I haven’t reposted it here in over five years; so it’s time. If some of the verbiage seems a little dated, that’s because the original post is well over seven years old, and I’ve only touched it up.. Maybe I should do a more substantial revision and update it. When I have the time. You know what that means.

I’ve mentioned before on this blog at least once that I cut my skeptical teeth, so to speak, on Usenet, that vast untamed and largely unmoderated territory full of tens of thousands of discussion newsgroups which used to be a lot more active before the rise of the World Wide Web and then later blogs. These days, few ISPs even offer much in the way of Usenet access; it’s become pretty much irrelevant since Google archived Usenet in the form of Google Groups. My forays into skepticism started out with combatting Holocaust denial on a newsgroup known as alt.revisionism (as good an excuse as any to remind you that nearly all Holocaust “revisionism” isn’t historical revisionism but is actually denial) and then branched out into more general skepticism, particularly about the claims of creationists and, of course, promoters of “alternative” medicine, the latter of which ultimately led me to being the editor of this wild and woolly thing I call Respectful Insolence. After I began to participate in the debates in the main newsgroup where alternative medicine is discussed, misc.health.alternative, it didn’t take me long to encounter a favorite tactic of promoters of alt-med who were not happy with one who insists on evidence-based medicine and who therefore questions claims that are obviously not based in valid science: The “Pharma Shill” Gambit. This is a technique of ad hominem attack in which a defender of “alternative” medicine, offended by your questioning of, for instance, his/her favorite herb, colon or liver flush technique, zapper, or cancer “cure,” tries to “poison the well” by implying or outright stating you must be in the pay of a pharmaceutical company, hired for nefarious purposes.

Since I entered the blogosphere several years ago under another guise, I’ve only occasionally checked back at my old stomping ground, mainly because blogging is so much less constraining than posting to Usenet, where mostly I used to respond to the posts of others, rather than writing about what I wanted to write about. A while back, though, out of curiosity I checked back and found this interesting little tidbit from a poster calling himself PeterB that demonstrated such a perfect example of the “pharma shill” gambit that I thought it might serve as a perfect example of the sort of thing I’ve had to put up with ever since I started speaking out against quackery:

To : All participants and readers of misc.health.alternative + other health-related newsgroups

Please be aware that many comments and responses posted to this forum are not those of casual posters interested in an honest exchange. A number of individuals with ties to industry are engaging an effort to shape public sentiment about the risks of mainstream medicine while denigrating the benefits and validity of natural medicine. I refer to these individuals broadly as “Pharma Bloggers”(*). Pharma Bloggers on usenet don’t promote a specific company or product, as might be the case with standard “blogging” on a weblog. Most of these people are likely to have an association with a PR campaign whose “blogging” efforts are underwritten by the media and marketing groups of industry. They are not difficult to identify due to specific patterns of behaviour in posting.

Here are a few points to remember while participating in usenet newsgroups:

  1. Pharma Bloggers on usenet use intimidation, mockery, and insults to silence those who express belief or interest in natural medicine.
  2. Pharma Bloggers on usenet attack those who question the effectiveness of mainstream medicine and defend disease-management “healthcare” as the only viable form of medicine.
  3. Pharma Bloggers on usenet post the majority of their responses simply to bury the comments of others; they also strive obsessively to have the last word.
  4. Pharma Bloggers on usenet are much faster at posting than casual participants; they almost always respond first to a new thread, question, or observation.
  5. Pharma Bloggers on usenet use multiple “bloggers” in a swap-&-relay fashion to create an aura of the “consensus view” in an effort to isolate posters who question the value of mainstream medicine. You will see this tactic used more often than any other.

Tip: If you find yourself reading a response that is unusually dramatic in tone, or inexplicably vicious toward other posters, and if that response is a defense of mainstream medicine, you can be sure you have stumbled upon a “Pharma Blogger.” Unfortunately, there are more of these individuals posting to usenet on a daily basis than virtually anyone else, which is why I am posting this alert. If you find it odd that so few people on health-related usenet newsgroups are expressing an interest in natural medicine, it isn’t because they aren’t there, it’s because they have been intimidated into silence. The Pharma Bloggers have over-run the various newsgroups with their industrial brand of dogma, mockery, and ridicule. Many casual posters are simply frightened away. That’s one of the goals of Pharma Blogging.

(*) Pharma Blogger: An individual who uses the Internet to: 1) promote and defend maintstream medicine while denigrating natural medicine approaches; 2) attack others who express a preference for natural medicine, or who question the value of mainstream medicine; and 3) cite a variety of “junk medical science” funded by industry for the purpose of establishing markets for marginally effective, and often dangerous, medical products and devices.

PeterB

See what I had to deal with? First, let me just mention that I realize that astroturf campaigns do exist, but, quite frankly, die-hard defenders of alt-med on Usenet like PeterB tend to be interested in such Internet PR efforts only as a means of smearing those who criticize them for their claims or who have the temerity to ask them to provide scientific studies to back up their assertions. To them, everyone who questions them is probably part of an astroturf campaign. It goes with the conspiracy-mongering proclivities so common among cranks.

This sort of obvious pre-emptive ad hominem attack (again, a.k.a. the logical fallacy of poisoning the well) would be utterly laughable if it were not so common. I sometimes get the impression that PeterB and his compatriots must think that there are hordes of “pharma shills” sitting behind banks of computers (remember the claim “more of these individuals posting to Usenet than anyone else”), waiting to pounce the instant anyone like PeterB starts posting critiques of big pharma or praising herbal “cures.” (Yes, that they seem to think they are worth that sort of effort implies PeterB and others like them do seem to have an inflated view of their own importance.) My usual first response to such gambits tends to be facetious and runs along the lines of asking, “Where do I sign up to become a pharma shill? How do I get me a piece of that action? After all, why should I waste my time seeing patients and working like a dog to do science, publish papers, and write grants and then only having a couple of hours in the evenings to blog, when I could make big bucks ruthlessly mocking online dissent against big pharma full time while sitting back in my pajamas and sipping a big hot mug of coffee? Count me in!” (Expect to see my words posted somewhere out of context to make it seem as though I was being serious about this.)

However, facetiousness usually just infuriates people like PeterB to new heights of “pharma shill” accusations. At that point, it’s time to try to be rational, hard as it may be in the face of such provocation, but I try. First, a lot of this smear tends to be a case of projection, of the pot calling the kettle black. For example, #1, #2, and #3 are more typical of supporters of alt-med than of anyone who questions alt-med claims. Indeed, the denizens of misc.health.alternative who are most pro-alternative medicine tend to react quite defensively to questioning of their assertions. They are often like a group of Cyber Sisters (except that they are comprised of both men and women) ruthlessly descending upon anyone who questions the dogma of their favorite alternative medicine, criticizes their behavior, or suggests that maybe, just maybe, conventional medicine might have value. (No, those on “our side” are not entirely innocent, but in my experience the certain promoters of alt-med tend to be quicker with the ad hominem.) One reason for this, I suspect, is that many of them are also active on moderated groups such as CureZone.com, where anyone questioning the alt-med treatment du jour too long or too vigorously will be banned from the discussion groups, thus providing a nice, safe, cuddly environment, where never is heard a discouraging word towards quackery. #4 and #5 are clearly designed to imply that the so-called “Pharma Bloggers” either don’t have a regular job (why else would they have so much time?) or that they are working for big pharma. Of course, they never provide any evidence to support their accusations. In fact, they almost never provide even any reasoning to support their accusations more substantive than variations on “he’s criticizing alternative medicine a lot so he must be a pharma shill.”

The “pharma shill” gambit, like other varieties of ad hominem or well-poisoning rhetoric, conveniently frees defenders of “alternative” medicine from having to argue for their favorite remedies on the science and clinical studies supporting them (which in most cases tend to be badly designed or nonexistent). It’s a technique that’s not just limited to them, either. Anti-vaccination cranks and mercury/autism conspiracy theorists like it too, and, indeed, I have been the subject of some particularly vicious attacks over the years at the hands of the anti-vaccine movement1,2, Generation Rescue and its founder J. B. Handley in particular3,4,5, all of whom appear to be trying very hard to poison my Google reputation. (Indeed, another such attack rolled in just today, courtesy of AoA hanger-on Harold Doherty.) Moreover, J.B. Handley, in particular, has also attacked our very own Steve Novella. More recently, the late Hulda Clark’s former attack Chihuahua Tim Bolen appears to have decided for some reason that I have been named the heir apparent to Dr. Stephen Barrett. While I’m flattered that he somehow seems to think this, I’ll have to be at this for many more years and become much more effective even to approach Barrett’s legacy. Be that as it may, you have to have a tough skin if you’re going to try to combat the infiltration of pseudoscience into medicine.

Skeptico pointed out, even if a newsgroup denizen were a pharma shill, that wouldn’t necessarily invalidate his argument. Yes, in the case of a true “shill” who does not reveal that he works for a pharmaceutical company and pretends to be “objective,” it would be entirely appropriate to “out” that person with extreme prejudice, so that his bias could be taken into account. That being said, I’ll take this opportunity to point out that I have never over the last decade observed such a person in action, which tells me that they are probably a lot less common than people like PeterB like to claim. Even in the case of a real shill, however, this sort of “outing” is not a refutation of that person’s arguments; it merely serves to increase appropriately the level of skepticism about what that person is saying. Such an “outing” still leaves the task of actually using evidence, logic, and sound arguments to refute what that person is saying, something boosters of alt-med rarely even attempt to do. It’s far easier to fling the accusation of “pharma shill” about and see if they can get it to stick, as PeterB and his ilk do.

No doubt, may of our readers here at SBM have heard of Godwin’s Law, which states:

As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.

Over the years, an assumed corollary to Godwin’s Law has become commonly accepted that in essence states that once such an “argumentum ad Nazium” is made, the discussion thread is over, and whoever brought up the Hitler or Nazi analogy first automatically loses the debate. Recently, this corollary was the basis of Scopie’s Law, which is more relevant to the topics covered on this blog and states:

In any discussion involving science or medicine, citing Whale.to as a credible source loses you the argument immediately …and gets you laughed out of the room.

Over time, I and others have suggested that, although Whale.to is clearly The One Quack Site To Rule Them All, there are at least a few other sites whose promotion of pseudoscience lead them to deserve to be included in Scopie’s Law, such as NaturalNews.com, Mercola.com, and the anti-vaccine crank blog Age of Autism. However, I think that there’s another law, a law similar to the original formulation of Godwin’s Law, that applies to virtually any online discussion of anything resembling alternative medicine. Perhaps we could dub it “Gorski’s Law,” and this is what I propose it to say:

As an online discussion of health, in particular vaccines or alternative medicine, grows longer, the probability of the invocation of the ‘pharma shill gambit’ approaches one.

If there’s an exception to this law, other than in moderated forums and (usually but not always) here at SBM, I haven’t found it yet.

Comments

  1. #1 Krebiozen
    March 17, 2013

    Sandrop,
    I suspect you are mistaking criticism of the pharmaceutical industry for wholesale condemnation of conventional medicine. As I wrote before, I don’t think anyone would deny that pharmaceutical companies can be unscrupulous and dishonest in their desire to make profits. I think it’s a mistake to link this with deaths due to adverse drug reactions. The study I linked to above found that:

    The most common drug classes associated with death were anticoagulants, opioids, and immunosuppressants.

    Anticoagulants save the lives of literally hundreds of thousands of patients with clotting disorders every year, but their therapeutic range is very close to the level that is dangerous so they require close monitoring, and unfortunately patients sometimes die because they have over or under-dosed. Far more would die if anticoagulants were unavailable. That’s why pharmaceutical companies have developed safer anticoagulants with a wider therapeutic range.

    Immunosuppressant drugs save the lives of countless thousands of people who have had transplant surgery, or who suffer from autoimmune disorders, but they can have similarly lethal side effects.

    Opioids are indispensable for the treatment of severe pain, but often contribute to the deaths of those treated with them, for example cancer patients at the end of their lives.

    NSAIDs are another class drug with a high rate of lethal adverse effects but they can transform the life of a patient with arthritis (even bête noire Vioxx is very effective), but they can also have serious adverse cardiovascular or gastrointestinal effects.

    Balancing risks against benefits is a large part of what medicine is all about. Are you suggesting that we would be better off without these drugs?

    I think it would be better to find safer ways of using these drugs and, where necessary, to develop new and safer drugs, and to introduce better regulation of drug companies. That is what is slowly happening thanks, partly, to the efforts of people like Healy and Goldacre.

  2. #2 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    March 17, 2013

    I am basing my opinion on Dr. David Healy’s comprehensive and damning book about what has happened to medicine. Also, on the published statistic that prescription medicines are among the highest contributors to death in America. May I turn the mirror on you? Pompous, passive-aggressive, patronising — I highly doubt that you are in a position of such transcending authority and expertise on the subject that you can refute me. As I said, read the book.

    Exactly, you read a damn book; that doesn’t make you an authority on the matter. The fact that you can come here with your faux “sympathy” for a physician whom you have no knowledge of and consider him a dupe of the industry is a stunning display of arrogant ignorance because you read a book.

    There are very dubious practices in the pharmaceutical industry and regulatory agencies are also not lily white. And as Krebiozen mentioned, the light of day is being shone on these dodgy dealings. That doesn’t mean that you have any authority nor expertise to criticise physicians you neither know nor have any requisite education yourself to understand the practise of medicine.

  3. #3 Sandrop
    March 17, 2013

    @Science Mom
    As a consumer of healthcare and a citizen of a country with free speech I absolutely have the authority to criticise physicians when they are potentially harming people. You, however, seem to be living in a totalitarian country of some sort where free speech in not permitted.

  4. #4 Sandrop
    March 17, 2013

    @Krebiozen

    I think it would be better to find safer ways of using these drugs and, where necessary, to develop new and safer drugs, and to introduce better regulation of drug companies. That is what is slowly happening thanks, partly, to the efforts of people like Healy and Goldacre.

    I am in absolute agreement with you on all these points.

  5. #5 Sandrop
    March 17, 2013

    @Krebiozen
    Healy doesn’t condemn the medical profession. He seems to imply that they have unwittingly become the victims of Big Pharma, bedazzled by studies that have no bearing on reality and targeted by such intense marketing from the very beginning of their medical education that it is very difficult for them to make truly informed decisions (esp. given that the information they are provided with to make those decisions is often flawed). The ones who see adverse effects and stand up for their patients do so at considerable risk to themselves — they can be fired and ostracized, or lose their medical privileges. If they try to publish an article about adverse events, the medical journals won’t publish them out of fear of legal reprisal from the pharmaceutical companies. And if they deviate from current pharmaceutical guidelines on prescription, they can be accused of not providing adequate care and slapped with a malpractice suit. Healy advocates greater power for physicians to use their eyes and ears, and to have more effective input into how drugs are used and developed, and I absolutely agree with him on that.

    The trick as always is not throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

  6. #6 LW
    March 17, 2013

    @Sandrop:

    As a consumer of healthcare and a citizen of a country with free speech I absolutely have the authority to criticise physicians when they are potentially harming people.

    You have the right to criticize, but not the authority which you can gain only by thorough study,  a point you seemed to recognize in addressing Science Mom but have since forgotten.

    The ones who see adverse effects and stand up for their patients do so at considerable risk to themselves — they can be fired and ostracized, or lose their medical privileges. If they try to publish an article about adverse events, the medical journals won’t publish them out of fear of legal reprisal from the pharmaceutical companies.

    Hmm, that’s funny. I wonder how it is that we know about all those adverse effects that you cited. I wonder where those long lists of adverse effects that accompany each prescription might have come from. I wonder where the anti-SBM bloggers get their examples. 

  7. #7 Sandrop
    March 17, 2013

    @LW
    I believe it’s called anecdotal evidence.

  8. #8 Sandrop
    March 17, 2013

    @LW
    An authority @Science Mom also seems to lack. So we are back to the free speech argument. I also believe that those who have been harmed or have seen others harmed do have the authority to speak up, otherwise we become little more than sheep in thrall to the greatness of a very fallible professional class. Repeat with me please, and @Science Mom is free to join in, baaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

  9. #9 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    March 17, 2013

    Sandrop,

    Unfortunately, anecdotes are subject to substantial error. Just as people use them to show that homeopathy works, they may also use them to invent dangers in various medicines.

    This is not to downplay the actual risks of medicines, nor to discount the fact that some drug studies have been spun in a way to make a drug appear safer or more effective than in reality. Anyone who’s read Ben Goldacre’s blog will know that not all drug test results get published, and this very likely skews the data in favor of the drug company. An answer is better tests and publishing all the data.

  10. #10 Chris
    March 17, 2013

    Sandrop:

    Orac prescribes far worse things than Paxil.

    You just made a statement that indicates you know his exact prescribing habits. Now you must prove with evidence that Orac prescribes worse things than Paxil.

    You might do yourself a favor and actually read some of Orac’s articles (you can start with the one that starts at the top of this page):

    The saga of Avastin and breast cancer

    New cancer drugs: Fitter, happier, more productive? Or not?

    Also next on your reading list should be The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee

  11. #11 Agashem
    Waiting on the king
    March 17, 2013

    Well, again, Sandrop, it would seem that perhaps you don’t work in the health care field. I do, and I can tell you that the vast majority of patients in hospital are over the age of 70. Many over 80. What does that mean to your argument? That they are overdosed and killed? Maybe, but most of them arrive in hospital with multiple comorbidities that make fine tuning medications extremely difficult but to undermedicate is equally dangerous. You tell me how to treat an 85 year old with heart failure, diabetes, kidney failure and perhaps a fractured hip. So many people forget that they are the worried well where medicine is dealing with the very ill and frail. Difficult, to say the absolute least.

  12. #12 LW
    March 17, 2013

    @Sandrop: “I believe it’s called anecdotal evidence.”

    Yeah, but it’s published. You said doctors didn’t dare try to report adverse effects and their reports wouldn’t be published if they tried. So how do such anecdotes come to be immortalized in the literature supplied with each filled prescription?

  13. #13 Politicalguineapig
    March 17, 2013

    Narad: I stand corrected. I’ve only had surgery to get my wisdom teeth removed, so I wasn’t aware that surgeons could prescribe medication.

  14. #14 Sandrop
    March 17, 2013

    @LW
    That is an excellent question. I will have to ask Dr. Healy.

  15. #15 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    March 17, 2013

    The ones who see adverse effects and stand up for their patients do so at considerable risk to themselves — they can be fired and ostracized, or lose their medical privileges. If they try to publish an article about adverse events, the medical journals won’t publish them out of fear of legal reprisal from the pharmaceutical companies. And if they deviate from current pharmaceutical guidelines on prescription, they can be accused of not providing adequate care and slapped with a malpractice suit.

    I’ll repeat what LW has asked and that is, how do we know about so many adverse events, dodgy studies and sleazy pharma tactics if not for those who are clearly able to publish studies and other forms of media to inform? How are Cochrane reviews and other systematic reviews and meta-analyses published that do not shed a positive light on pharmaceutical products get published? You’d do much better leaving the histrionics and conspiracy-theory posturing aside and stick to the known problems.

    An authority @Science Mom also seems to lack. So we are back to the free speech argument. I also believe that those who have been harmed or have seen others harmed do have the authority to speak up, otherwise we become little more than sheep in thrall to the greatness of a very fallible professional class. Repeat with me please, and @Science Mom is free to join in, baaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

    In addition to being clueless about what kind of physician the blog author is, you are also clueless about the difference between “free speech” and presenting oneself as an authority. You have the complete right to act like a moron and we have the complete right to call you one. You see, I haven’t deigned to present myself as an authority on pharma shenanigans because I’m not one and I daresay have probably read more on the subject than you ever will. Reading a book doesn’t make one an authority on a subject. It’s fine to be curious and discuss it; it’s certainly a subject which is of interest to this crowd and a problem that should be brought out into the light. But don’t be a pompous jerk about it and whine about your “free speech” rights if you want to be taken seriously.

  16. #16 Narad
    March 17, 2013

    As a consumer of healthcare and a citizen of a country with free speech I absolutely have the authority to criticise physicians when they are potentially harming people. You, however, seem to be living in a totalitarian country of some sort where free speech in not permitted.

    I do so love it when people invoke the First Amendment and promptly demonstrate a wholesale lack of understanding of it.

    If they try to publish an article about adverse events, the medical journals won’t publish them out of fear of legal reprisal from the pharmaceutical companies.

    I, for one, would certainly be interested in examples of journals being sued by pharmaceutical companies for publishing results on adverse effects of drugs. I trust that you have these to hand.

  17. #17 Militant Agnostic
    Where it is always better with cows around
    March 17, 2013

    Narad @214

    [tinfoil hat]The lack of examples only proves that the journals are so scared that they never take the risk [/tinfoil hat]

    There are however plenty of examples of quacks suing SBM advocates.

  18. #18 Sandrop
    March 17, 2013

    Read Dr. Healy’s book and take it up with him. He is the one who makes the allegation.

  19. #19 Narad
    March 17, 2013

    Read Dr. Healy’s book and take it up with him. He is the one who makes the allegation.

    No, you invoked it, so you get to defend it.

  20. #20 Krebiozen
    March 17, 2013

    Sandrop,

    The trick as always is not throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

    Precisely. It did look to me as if there were quite a number of babies in the bathwater you were enthusiastically emptying earlier. In the examples of drug companies’ dishonesty I am aware of, they have manipulated data to make their product look less dangerous, more effective, or indicated in more patients than a rival company’s product, when there is really little difference. That is very different to bringing dangerous, ineffective or unnecessary drugs to market and killing large numbers of people as a result, as you seem to be claiming.

  21. #21 lilady
    March 17, 2013

    @ Sandrop # 170…

    “Just curious, has anyone here read Pharmageddon?”

    No Sandrop, I’ve never read “Pharmageddon”…but I’ve read some reviews of the book, including this one, that appears on Dr. Healy’s website…

    http://davidhealy.org/books/pharmageddon-is-the-story-of-a-tragedy/

    Am I right, that Dr. Healy is using Thalidomide an OTC treatment for “morning sickness and then *touted* as a sedative, developed in Germany, and available/taken by pregnant women in Europe and in the U.K. is Dr. Healy’s *shtick*.?

    How many pregnant women in the United States were prescribed Thalidomide or were able to purchase the drug without prescription, in the United States?

    How did Sherri Finkbine obtain the drug?

    Was it prescribed by her obstetrician in Arizona?

    Was Thalidomide ever licensed by the FDA as an anti-emetic drug or as a sedative for anyone in the United States?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherri_Finkbine

  22. #22 Chemmomo
    Where the libraries are closed on Sundays
    March 17, 2013

    Sandrop, I’m kind of curious. What’s your purpose in posting here? Did you hope for some discussion of Healey’s book? If so, including a link or at least the author’s name in your first post ( http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2013/02/14/the-pharma-shill-gambit/#comment-244263 ) would have been helpful. Instead, you left other posters to do your heavy lifting (Krebiozen @174 and Denise Walter @177).

    Are you here hoping to use these blog comments as your own soapbox, to thump the idea that the pharmaceutical industry is evil? If so, others have done a better job of it than you are right now.

    Or are you promoting the book? In about 36 hours (if I’m counting correctly without time stamps), you’ve posted “read the book” or its equivalent four times (comments #182, #186, #193, and #218). Honestly, if you are, you’re doing a remarkably poor job (see my opening paragraph). And I was more interested in reading it before your attempt at explaining it devolved into your one-phrase refrain.

    I’ll also echo Chris’s suggestion that you read some more of this blog, as well as the comments sections. You might actually learn something, and I suspect our interactions with you might become more productive if you get a better idea of not only about the blog author’s ideas, but also kind of discussions that go on, and what types of people regularly comment here.

  23. #23 MI Dawn
    March 17, 2013

    Ah. Having looked at Dr Healy’s site, I now understand why sandrop has no understanding of Orac’s profession. After all, physicians and surgeons are 2 very different classes in the UK. But I’ll be honest…I don’t think a book by a psychiatrist with a possible bone to pick is something I’d read about pharmacological issues. I’d rather read one by a licensed pharmacist – some one who really understands how drugs act. (And maybe Dr Healy does. But from the little I read of his book, it is more Eurocentric with fewer controls than the US, and he doesn’t seem to understand how the FDA works, nor how prescribing patterns in the US occur and have changed over the years.)

  24. #24 Denice Walter
    March 17, 2013

    Whenever I hear criticisms of pharmaceutical products, a few alarm bells go off, if:
    – the first ( or only) products mentioned are either anti-depressants and/or chemotherapy
    – a list of side effects is presented without the prior mention of the relief that these products offer ( why would anyone take a product with side effects if it didn’t relieve symptoms?)
    – no one mentions that patients may demand products for disturbing/ uncomfortable/ painful conditions
    – no one mentions that physicians later ask patients how they’re doing with the product and may dis-continue it if there are problems,

    So this presentation looks biased from the start. Amongst the alt med providers I survey, SSRIs are the jewell in the crown of pharmaphobia; while these products are far from perfect, they do offer relief of serious symptoms of depression ( and sometimes other conditions) for many people. In fact, perhaps alt med scare mongering hurts people as well because they are then afraid to try meds that might help them-
    unfortunately, there are no warning labels that caution patients about alt med criticisms,
    “Paying attention to this information can be deleterious to your health and well being”.

    A person can simultaneously recognise that pharmaceuticals can have both useful and worrisome effects: adults usually learn to weigh and measure risks and benefits. Whenever one side is presented first and accentuated, I am suspicious whether it comes from alt med critics or pharmaceutical companies.
    Black and white, it ain’t.

  25. #25 Chemmomo
    Blaming the sun in my eyes, not the Guiness I just started drinking
    March 17, 2013

    Apologies to Denice for misspelling your name again, and to everyone else for thenrandom grammatical errors in my last paragraph. Posting on teh patio facing the sun makes it even harder than normal to proofread.

  26. #26 Chemmomo
    Wishing for Preview
    March 17, 2013

    thenrandom

    teh

    D’oh!

  27. #27 Narad
    March 17, 2013

    Am I right, that Dr. Healy is using Thalidomide an OTC treatment for “morning sickness and then *touted* as a sedative, developed in Germany, and available/taken by pregnant women in Europe and in the U.K. is Dr. Healy’s *shtick*.?

    I don’t know about that, but the review that Krebiozen posted at #174 above seems to suggest that Healy is in favor of some sort of truly bizarre libertarian approach:

    Healy to recommend that patients would be better off if fewer drugs required prescriptions. Of course, ads would endlessly tell patients why they needed to take a certain drug, but then they do that already. However, patients might be more self-protective instead of uncritically trusting their physicians and basking in the benefits of the placebo effect.

  28. #28 Denice Walter
    March 17, 2013

    @ Chemmomo:

    Thanks.
    re the heavy lifting**:
    for a period of time, I travelled a great deal and thus, have learned how to pack and hoist my own carry on. It looks like a very, very large shoulder bag.

    **I know , it’s a metaphor. That too.

  29. #29 lilady
    March 17, 2013

    I’m wondering why Dr. Healy ever agreed to be interviewed by Dr. Joe Mercola…perhaps “Sandrop” will invite Dr. Healy to come and post here?

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/12/02/pharmaceutical-companies-hide-information.aspx

    Dr. Healy also *mentioned* that SSRIs and other psychotropic drugs are the the most *commonly prescribed medications during pregnancy”….which flies in the face of a recent report from the CDC NCBDDD (National Center for Birth Defects
    and Developmental Disabilities) and the ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists):

    http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/aboutus/birthdefects-bd-maternal.html

  30. #30 Denice Walter
    March 17, 2013

    In other Internecine War News:

    The battle rages on @ AoA, with a return of Barry and Jake..
    I have a feeling that settling personal dis-agreements and negotiating conflicting demands are not strong suits there.

  31. #31 MI Dawn
    March 17, 2013

    @lilady: wow. Just….wow. Perhaps as a psychiatrist, DR HEALY uses ‘SSRIs and other psychotropic drugs are the the most *commonly prescribed medications during pregnancy’” for the patients HE saw but here in the USA, most providers (doctors, nurse-midwives) caring for pregnant woman (or women who plan to become pregnant discuss the use and need for any medication VERY carefully, changing to less dangerous (for the fetus) drugs when possible if the woman really needs them for her health and wellbeing; preferably, when possible, weaning the woman off the medication.

    But then, I don’t know a lot of doctors who toss around antipsychotropic drugs on a whim. Most of the ones I know and hear of from friends are reluctant to give drugs unless it’s found that the patient really needs them. And then it’s at the lowest effective dose (starting very low dose and titrating upwards until the desired response is noted). And even then, the need for the drugs is re-evaluated often.

    I have to wonder about Dr Healy’s practice, to be honest. He doesn’t sound like a doctor who uses ALL the tools at hand when needed. He sounds like the kind of guy who told a college friend to “buck up, be happy. You have everything to live for” just a few weeks before my friend committed suicide (he never had a diagnosis, thanks to the doc…but I suspect some sort of schizophrenia/bipolor issues – meaning both, not one or the other).

  32. #32 Narad
    March 17, 2013

    This is not meant as an ad hominem, as I assume Healy raises some valid points, but this rambling entry suggesting pHARMa intervention in his landing a gig I find curious.

  33. #33 Narad
    March 17, 2013

    I see that Healy is now involved in an ersatz adverse-event reporting system, courtesy of his blog. That should represent some solid data.

    In other news from RxISK, doxycycline causes suicide.

  34. #34 Krebiozen
    March 17, 2013

    lilady,

    How many pregnant women in the United States were prescribed Thalidomide or were able to purchase the drug without prescription, in the United States?

    As an aside, my mother told me that she had Thalidomide on her bedside table throughout her pregnancy with me (in the UK), though thankfully she never took it; my sister-in-law is now taking it to treat her multiple myeloma.

  35. #35 flip
    March 17, 2013

    I do love it when people come here and insist that books are always necessary to be read. Despite the fact that there are many reasons why they’re not preferable to peer-reviewed papers in science journals. But no no, a single book will counteract thousands of papers, and at any rate, the book is written by a doctor.

    Is there a name for this kind of logical fallacy? Argumentum ex libro perhaps?

    @Sandrop

    And, BTW, the study subjects who became suicidal on Paxil were children, although the book doesn’t say how young.

    Ah, yet another mental illness denier. Fun…

  36. #36 Chris
    March 17, 2013

    lilady:

    How many pregnant women in the United States were prescribed Thalidomide or were able to purchase the drug without prescription, in the United States?

    I just did a search on Dr. Kelsey on the book at Amazon. Dr. Healy only mentions that she caused a “bureaucratic delay” in approval. Either he is being a sexist pig, or he really does not know what she did.

    (There is a more complete story in the book about the FDA I mentioned, it turns out she was insisting on specific animal testing for teratogenic effects, something she had discovered in her research before joining the FDA)

  37. #37 Narad
    March 17, 2013

    Is there a name for this kind of logical fallacy? Argumentum ex libro perhaps?

    Argumentum a pontonem, perhaps.

  38. #38 Chris
    March 18, 2013

    Narad, even with Google I do not get the joke.

    Sandrop, you have not responded with evidence to answer this: “You just made a statement that indicates you know his exact prescribing habits. Now you must prove with evidence that Orac prescribes worse things than Paxil.”

    Do it. Show with evidence that Orac prescribes without proper scientific evidence something worse than Paxil.

    I am now convinced you did not read the article on this page, or anything written by Orac in the past eight years.

  39. #39 Narad
    March 18, 2013

    Narad, even with Google I do not get the joke.

    The etymology of the current sense of “punt” goes back to Latin ‘ponto’. There is of course the related pons asinorum, but the (admittedly weak) suggestion was one of “argument” that boils down to nothing but a ferry to the bookseller’s shop.

  40. #40 Militant Agnostic
    Where it is always better with cows around
    March 18, 2013

    @ Chris

    Narad, even with Google I do not get the joke.

    I think I am doing well if I get half of Narad’s references. Perhaps we should follow Herr Doktor Bimler’s advice and spend more time on the elliptic trainer.

    I followed Narad’s RxISK link and discovered the website has an Interaction Checker and 5 “zones”

    Hair Zone for side effects affecting hair
    Violence Zone for drugs causing violent behaviour
    Sex Zone for sex related side effects
    Suicide Zone for suicidal side effects
    Skin and Nail Zone for side effects involving skin and nails.

    This strikes me as an odd combination. Apparently side effects that eff up your heart, digestive system, muscles etc. are not a concern. Outside of psychological side effects involving self harm or harm to others, the most important concerns are that the men sport wood and the women look good.

  41. #41 Krebiozen
    March 18, 2013

    Militant Agnostic,

    Outside of psychological side effects involving self harm or harm to others, the most important concerns are that the men sport wood and the women look good.

    That’s psychiatrists for you 😉

    More seriously, it is odd how often people who make a valid point then pick it up and go running off over the horizon with it.

    We clearly do need better regulation of large companies (you only have to look at the environmental records of some of the big petrochemical companies to see that). That said, no drug company wants to be found guilty of skullduggery, it’s very bad for business, though not half as bad as having to yank a drug off the market and pay compensation for the damage it has caused. Also, the people who run drug companies have loved ones who get sick, and get sick themselves, so this idea of Big Pharma deliberately producing deadly and ineffective pharmaceuticals for invented medical conditions, and recruiting dumb doctors to market them doesn’t really work.

  42. #42 lilady
    March 18, 2013

    Here’s how monitoring of “Revlimid” (an analog of Thalidomide), for the treatment of multiple myeloma and other myelodysplastic diseases, is done. Revlimid is also undergoing clinical trials for the treatment of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, CLL and carcinoma of the pancreas:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lenalidomide

    I remember looking into Revlimid ~ 3 years ago when a close friend was prescribed the drug for treatment of multiple myeloma.

    You guys had all the fun last night, after I conked out from indulging in my St. Patrick’s Day corned beef and all the fixin’s. 🙂

  43. #43 Krebiozen
    March 18, 2013

    Ben Goldacre is on UK BBC1 right now, talking about publication bias!

  44. #44 Krebiozen
    March 18, 2013

    That ejaculation was simply an expression of my pleasure at seeing human funnel-plot Dr. Goldacre get some prime-time exposure.

  45. #45 Melissa G
    March 18, 2013

    Hee, Ben Goldacre is awesome!!! And still looks 12. And talks like an encyclopedic font of epidemiology with a sense of humor. How I would love for him and our esteemed host to get a Pub Night together!

    SSRIs do certainly draw the ire, don’t they. Personally, I love mine. As I’ve said before, about a jillion times. 😉 I’ve written a sonnet…

    But seriously, Krebiozen, yes to this– “Also, the people who run drug companies have loved ones who get sick, and get sick themselves, so this idea of Big Pharma deliberately producing deadly and ineffective pharmaceuticals for invented medical conditions, and recruiting dumb doctors to market them doesn’t really work.” Quoted for truth! It cannot be said enough. Funny how the humanity of doctors and even executives seems to escape the conspiracy-minded. No one lives in a vacuum! We all have loved ones.

  46. #46 Kebakeba
    nevernverland
    April 1, 2013

    There are two pro over at mothering.com Rrrrrachel & Prosciencemum and the BOTH meet all 5 area and the #6 that was also mentioned – if anyone wants to see what these are all about, everyday – all day, they work the vaccine threads! must be good money

  47. #47 matk
    northeast
    April 3, 2013

    I have seen two in action as the PP states. They must be getting paid, how do you post 24-7 and not be paid to post. They give new meaning to troll. The Rrrrachels is the meanest and only spouts pro vaccine no matter what.

  48. #48 JGC
    Hyperbole is not your friend
    April 3, 2013

    You’ve seen people posting 24-7, matk? You’d be talking about posting the equivalent of a couple of good-sized novels each week.

    On the other hand, it isn’t hard to find time to post multiple replies throughout a day without being paid to do so, particularl yif addressingto anti-vax claims, since they typically consist of the same falsehoods repeated over and over again (too many too soon; it’s the ‘mercury’, or it’s the aluminum, or it’s the formaldehyde or squalene, etc.; it’s dead fetuses; the Amish don’t vaccinate or the Amish don’t develop autism, etc.)

    You dosn’t have to spend any time crafting a response to these anymore: you can just cut and paste a boiler-plate response.

    BTW, the whole “people who post in support of vaccine’s proven safety and efficacy must be paid pharma shills”? that itself is one of those anti-vax falsehoods I mentioned above,but I’m giving you the courtesy of a novel response (and no, I’ve not been paid to do so).

  49. #49 Anna
    SP
    April 4, 2013

    Hi everyone, I just spent the last day reading this whole thread. I wanted to give my input because I’m an “altie”? that’s what I saw us called here. Acupuncture (TCM) and yoga instructor. I want to caution the world that alties ddo not know anything about vaccines. I am firmly pro vaccines, the childhood ones. Optional seasonal vaccines are, well, optional, and as we know less effective. I don’t know who in their right mind wants to bring back preventable diseases, but a sadist, who thinks it’s better to suffer. If any parent out there is worried about vaccinating their child, please ask the right person. Do not ask a homeopath, do not ask an acupuncturist, do not ask a dietitian. We do not learn about vaccines or immunology, other than very briefly. Do yourself a favor and learn how to ask the right person the right question. Vaccinate your children, it is very safe. History and research tells us that. Learn how to use pubmed, that is where you look for research, not youtube etc. Ciao !

  50. #50 flip
    April 4, 2013

    @Anna

    I may disagree with you on TCM and alt-med, but I just wanted to say a big thumbs up and thank you for encouraging vaccines! It’s a nice change from the rabid anti-vax attitude coming from alt-medders.

  51. #51 Melissa G
    April 4, 2013

    Anna, I would like to say how much your comment has made my day. I’ll join flip in a big thumbs-up! 🙂

  52. #52 snakeyear
    land of oz
    April 6, 2013

    Pharma trolls/shills are real, and like the PP stated, certain sites do have them, and yes they do post 24/7. If they aren’t being paid they should be, it all corporate line. I’ve been to the site mentioned (mothering) and saw the posters that were called out- either paid or these two have real problems that prevent them from having a life given the number and subject matter they post.

  53. #53 flip
    April 7, 2013

    @Snakeyear

    Pharma trolls/shills are real

    Feel free to post the evidence to back that up. You know, like pay slips, cheque stubs, documents or memos discussing hiring shills, contracts with shills, etc.

  54. #54 Narad
    April 7, 2013

    I have seen two in action as the PP states. They must be getting paid, how do you post 24-7 and not be paid to post.

    First of all, you can drop the “PP” lingo, as you’re not at MDC. Second, it’s rather trivial to check the posting frequency of the two commenters there that you are claiming to be posting “24-7” and being paid for it:

    Prosciencemum is here.

    Rrrrachel is here.

    Neither is posting “24-7.” Moreover, I would note that it’s quite easy to take a non-antivax stance at MDC so long as one minds the general standards of etiquette that prevail. Indeed, I wonder why you lot have felt the need to start bitching about MDC commenters here, of all places, unless it’s because you know you couldn’t get away with this sort of crap over there.

  55. #55 Anna
    April 7, 2013

    So I’m reading more internet stuff about vaccines..who knew that I’d be doing that. I came across this study, and I was hoping that I can get help interpreting it’s findings here. I’ll paste a link, and if anyone wants to read it and let me know what they think, that would be awesome.
    http://www.ane.pl/pdf/7020.pdf

  56. #56 Chris
    April 7, 2013

    Anna, if you go to the search box on the upper right of this page and put in the primary author of that paper you will get more information, here is the more pertinent discussion:
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2010/07/16/too-much-vaccineautism-monkey-business-f/

    Also, if you look up the paper on PubMed you will see there is a comment on it by an “S. Novella”, who is Dr. Steven Novella. He also wrote about the paper on his blog:
    http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/terrible-anti-vaccine-study-terrible-reporting/

    The main take-away is that it a tiny study, and it is not normal for infants to have their amygdala shrink, which is what happened to the unvaccinated monkeys (or human infants).

  57. #57 Chris
    April 7, 2013

    I forgot to add, Dr. Novella is a neurologist. He knows quite a bit about brain development. He concludes:

    This current study, as well as the entire macaque research program by Hewitson, is a good example of terrible research. The subject numbers are far too small for any meaningful statistics, and the outcomes being followed are numerous and tricky with a random scatter of results not even consistent between different publications of the same research.

  58. #58 Anna
    April 7, 2013

    Thanks Chris, I’ll take a look at that. I appreciate it!

  59. #59 herr doktor bimler
    April 7, 2013

    The main take-away is that it a tiny study

    With nine test monkeys and two controls.
    TWO controls.
    I am surprised there were controls at all, since the purpose of the experiment was to obtain interesting scary anecdotes rather than evidence. Some of the test monkeys showed larger amygdalas in their brains, therefore vaccine injury; others showed smaller amygdalas, therefore vaccine injury.

  60. #60 herr doktor bimler
    April 7, 2013

    Steven Novella […] also wrote about the paper on his blog:
    http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/terrible-anti-vaccine-study-terrible-reporting/

    Daedalus2u pointed out in that thread that *all* Hewittson’s monkey infants — controls and experimental — were traumatised by removal from the mothers during the attachment period, so all would show abnormal brain development.

  61. #61 Chris
    April 7, 2013

    herr doktor bimler, I stand corrected. I guess the thing that stood out to me was the shrinking of the brain bit. It was, after all, over two years ago. Also that it was an awful waste of animal research studies.

    Why is it coming up again? Has someone written about as “proof” again?

  62. #62 Anna
    April 7, 2013

    It’s only coming up again because I’ve been reading everything I can find on the anti-vax pages. I found this as a link from one of the Swedish anti-vax pages, and it was the only link to an actual study so I read it, or some of it. Instead of researching on my own, I asked you guys.

  63. #63 Chris
    April 7, 2013

    Thank you, Anna. It may be my imagination that I had seen it brought up elsewhere recently.

    You might want to also check out http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/

  64. #64 Chris
    April 7, 2013

    Oh, no! How could I forget this: A little Swedish interlude?

  65. #65 Anna
    April 7, 2013

    Chris, Well I have know idea, you might have seen it somewhere else, there’s an abundance of crap out there so quite possibly you have. Thanks for helping though, I’m a little worried about all this crazy information.

  66. #66 Anna
    April 7, 2013

    No not that page, this one here: http://user.tninet.se/csz433c/homepages/evah/html/vacciner.htm but it’s in Swedish, so good luck with that… 🙂

  67. #67 Chris
    April 7, 2013

    I was recently on another website, shotofprevention, where a few anti-vax folks kept throwing random sites and studies at us, and that might have been one of them. One of them likes to push his website that often has more than a hundred links on them.

    My daughter is taking Swedish in college right now. I’d point it out to her but she is studying for her sociolinguistics class at the moment (it is late evening here).

  68. #68 Khani
    April 7, 2013

    #252 Not everyone has the same definition of “life.” Not everyone is an extrovert. Not everyone has children. Not everyone has a spouse and not everyone has exactly the same hobbies.

    People are very diverse in their interests. Isn’t that nice?

  69. #69 Anna
    April 7, 2013

    Yeah that about sums it up. 0 links to scientific studies, I was recently in an argument with a homeopath who pushes homeopathic “vaccinations”, whatever that is. She had absolutely no information to give me as to how that works, but she did emphasize that she didn’t have to prove anything..? Hmmm.

    Maybe your daughter can help you translate that page, but really it isn’t worth the trouble, it’s just a copy of a bunch of brittish and american rubbish.

  70. #70 Chris
    April 8, 2013

    Anna:

    copy of a bunch of brittish and american rubbish.

    Yep. That pretty much sums it up. Though occasionally you’ll find a German homeopath in the mix, there is also one guy from New Zealand (formally from Germany), and one loony in Australia (formally from the USA). Sorry, about that.

    Though in our “defense” the British Empire got around, and the USA has the third largest population on this planet. I thought it was weird when I looked it up. It is right after India, which is right after China. Though it is almost the same as all of Europe.

    One link I gave does lead you to the Swedish skeptic group. And there is apparently a skeptic meeting there this summer which will include Hans Rosling (I love his videos).

    What is awesome is that you found our little corner of “teh internets.” Welcome, I hope you stick around.

  71. #71 Anna
    April 8, 2013

    Thanks, I will definitely stick around, I found you after way too much searching after validity of bizarre claims, I think it was shaken baby syndrome, but at this point I can’t remember. (vaccine injured my memory)

    All populations on the planet have their special way of believing woo woo stuff, and there is generally no harm in that, except when there is harm in that.

  72. #72 W. Kevin Vicklund
    April 8, 2013

    One of the things that really stood out on that study (or at least one of the papers from the same experiment), Anna, was that the MRI of one of the control monkeys showed significant abnormalities in brain development. It looked (to the untrained eye) like the skull had been bashed in and parts of the brain in that hemisphere were underdeveloped or simply missing. It was pretty stark.

  73. #73 Chris,
    April 8, 2013

    Anna:

    I think it was shaken baby syndrome, but at this point I can’t remember. (vaccine injured my memory)

    Heh! Now I know I like you.

    Beware of the micropaleontologist!

  74. #74 Chris,
    April 8, 2013

    What!

  75. #75 herr doktor bimler
    April 8, 2013

    the MRI of one of the control monkeys showed significant abnormalities in brain development

    IIRC they started out with 4 control monkeys… obviously the researchers were not interested in what the normal range of variation might be. One of those was excluded because “experimental protocol was not followed” — perhaps they gave it the wrong injection. Another just disappeared off the scene (abducted by aliens or something), and at that point the researchers realised that they could not afford to lose any more monkeys, because a N=1 control group is going to raise even the least skeptical eyebrow. So one of them fell off a building or had its skull smashed in a fight with its cage-mate? No matter!

  76. #76 Grant
    April 8, 2013

    Chris,

    You wrote: “one guy from New Zealand (formally from Germany)”

    Not Erwin Alber by chance? (Can’t see a page you’re referring to, to check it out myself – have tried a couple of links here, but no NZers in them AFAICS.)

  77. #77 Chris,
    April 8, 2013

    Yes, Erwin Alber. He was in fine form last week on ShotOfPrevention, including advocating that Jenner, Pasteur, Salk and Sabin should have been lined and shot. I found this site described him well:
    http://sci-vax.blogspot.com/2012/11/vine-background-you-need-to-know.html

  78. #78 Denice Walter
    April 8, 2013

    @ Anna:

    Welcome!
    re shaken baby syndrome:
    a few of the idiots… I mean, alt med proselytisers I survey go along with the myth that SBS is a “vaccine injury”- I’ve run into that at Natural News and it is prominently featured in one of Gary Null’s so-called documentaries “Vaccine Nation” where a well-known culprit is lionised.

  79. #79 Anna
    April 8, 2013

    @Denise, I am disgusted and ashamed of those in in alt med who go along with this, just know that it is a small fraction of alt med who are complete idiots. There are many who support vaccines and proper health care, mostly we understand that the alternative part is meant in “addition too”, and not “in exclusion of”. Unfortunately the complete idiots appear to be the loudest…I apologize on behalf of alternative medicine.

  80. #80 Lawrence
    April 8, 2013

    @anna – congrats on being grounded…..and you’re always welcome.

  81. #81 Grant
    http://sciblogs.co.nz/code-for-life/
    April 8, 2013

    @Chris – I know (of) Erwin… he has occasionally written on our blogs at sciblogs.co.nz. I rarely visit VINE – too much of the same inanities repeatedly endlessly. I’ve seen him write worse than what he said about Jenner and company, though. Most memorable would be last year him writing in comments on a Pakistani newspaper website. Their article mentioned in passing that the polio vaccine workers would be wearing hi-visibility vest. Erwin wrote in to say that was good as it’d enable to more easily be shot.

  82. #82 Chris,
    April 8, 2013

    Grant, Erwin sounds like a real “winner” (in the Charlie Sheen version of the word).

  83. #84 Grant
    April 8, 2013

    Narad, yes – just didn’t particular want to draw attention to page. The other quote follows familiar lines (for him).

    Nitpick: “simultaneously” and “shortly therefore” 😀 (I’m guessing like me you write on-the-fly!)

  84. #85 Grant
    April 8, 2013

    Speaking of which, that should be to the page. Sigh.

  85. #86 donna castlegrant
    northeast
    April 10, 2013

    can’t comment on your attack of Burzynski in the article, I’m sure you are paid big for the bs article you wrote. I personally know people who have lived because of this fine doctor. Big Pharma hates him because they want to continue to fry people with radiation and chemo, it’s the humane way to kill them, and cull the masses. You Suck!! you and the Shills that speak bad about people saving lives, lives that they don’t want saved. Big Pharma represents the real ‘useless’ eaters.

  86. #87 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    April 10, 2013

    @donna castlegrant

    You are not making any sense. Why would Big Pharma want to “cull the masses”? Wouldn’t that reduce their profit base?

    Do you have any substantive argument to make, or are you simply going to fling insults around?

  87. #88 AdamG
    April 10, 2013

    Donna, does Burzynski use chemotherapy?

    I think you may need to do some more research before commenting.

    This may be a good place to start: http://theotherburzynskipatientgroup.wordpress.com/

  88. #89 herr doktor bimler
    April 10, 2013

    Big Pharma … want to continue to fry people with radiation and chemo, it’s the humane way to kill them, and cull the masses

    Donna, if the goal was to kill people and cull the masses, I assure you that there are more humane ways. Faster, too, without the individualised treatment.
    But I have said too much already…

  89. #90 Edith Prickly
    April 10, 2013

    @#286 — have a look at this blog: http://theotherburzynskipatientgroup.wordpress.com

    then come back and tell us again what a great human being Scammislaw Burzynski is. BTW, I think you’ve got your posts mixed up – there are multiple posts about that despicable con man who masquerades as a doctor on this blog, but this isn’t one of them.

    OTOH, you did provide a textbook example of the subject of this post, namely the Pharma Shill gambit. I think you can do better though – more New World Order, Illuminati and lizard people next time, please.

  90. #91 novalox
    April 10, 2013

    @donna

    Thank you for representing the typical mindset of the burzynski fan.

    I assure you, your craziness and outright idiocy will be a good example of why one should avoid treatment from him.

    Also, your rant is rather quite funny. Please keep posting, goodness knows we need more entertainment from the likes of you.

  91. #92 Chris,
    April 10, 2013

    donna castlegrant:

    can’t comment on your attack of Burzynski in the article, I’m sure you are paid big for the bs article you wrote.

    The most obvious reason is that Orac did not even mention Burzynski in this article. So it looks like you did not even read it.

  92. #93 flip
    April 11, 2013

    Donna says

    can’t comment on your attack of Burzynski in the article, I’m sure you are paid big for the bs article you wrote.

    Translated:

    “I don’t understand anything about the criticisms made here, but that doesn’t matter because I just *know* you’re wrong”.

    Perfect example not just of the pharma shill gambit, but also of being close-minded and hypocritical.

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