November 29th 2007, 09:52
For that small handful of you who remain convinced that the pharmaceutical industry is there solely for the benefit of mankind, please read on (and if you already know it's not, please read on as well, otherwise I'll lose my entire audience in the first paragraph).
The money-making ways of the drugs industry are well known to many doctors, researchers, academics, and politicians (some of whom have shamelessly taken bribes, donations and gifts from a drug company or three) - now they're known to the well-meaning delegates of the World Health Organization (WHO).
November 23rd 2007, 12:45
Just how dangerous are the vitamin supplements we buy at the health shop?
To give you a clue, they're not as dangerous as perfume, which kills two Americans every year, and they're certainly nowhere near as fatal as dishwasher detergent, which wipes three Americans off the face of the globe annually.
November 16th 2007, 13:24
Homeopathy comes in for yet another pasting this week. It's the turn of Ben Goldacre, that scourge of all things alternative, who writes in The Lancet and The Guardian about the un-science of homeopathy.
His attack is three-pronged, and while we've all heard the arguments before, they are worth pondering anew.
November 9th 2007, 11:07
What's the difference between alternative medicine and conventional or allopathic medicine?
For the allopathic advocate, it's the difference between the scientific method of discovery and what he would describe as wishful thinking.
But as Charles T Vivian, a consultant occupational physician at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, explains in a recent British Medical Journal, conventional medicine is based on the biomedical model, which is reductionist and dualist.
November 2nd 2007, 11:50
It's been said that medicine is the new religion. Drugs and surgery have replaced God in our drive for certainty and control in a world that appears random. For his part, the doctor often dons a white coat as a player in the brave new priesthood, while dispensing prescription sheets to the laity, or patient.
As a priest-like figure, the doctor has enormous power. I'm sure there is a placebo effect even in prescription drugs, especially if the patient is convinced they will work.