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PreviousNextUpdates made to The Millenium Project in February 2021
Part 1

February 6, 2021

It's February already, and time to reflect on some good news (6/2/2021)
A post from a year ago that bears repeating.

It took too long, but … (1/2/2020)
… it was good when it happened.

It took twelve years for The Lancet to finally admit its mistake, a mistake that cost the lives of some children and which has allowed a whole mythology to grow up around this doctor. Without this article, Wakefield would not have become the hero he is today to anti-vaccination liars, the vile film Vaxxed might not have been made and the world would be a much better place. What makes me even more annoyed is that I identified the problems with the paper in 2000 using nothing more than what I had been taught at university about how to run an experiment and how to read a scientific paper.


Censorship!!! Cry me a river. (6/2/2021)
The latest newsletter from the Australian Vaccination-[bullshit and lies] Network contains a plea to watch a video that is being censored and banned everywhere. Watch it before it's too late. Oh, and don't forget to watch it in a manner which makes money for the AV-[b&l]N. Or you can watch the excrescence here and not have to pay anyone anything. It's free and cheap at half the price.

I really like the way that a lawyer (indicated by the "Esq" postnominal) is a "General Council". The rest of the world would probably say "General Counsel", but I have often pointed out that any publication from anti-vaccination liars must contain at least one inaccuracy just in case the number of lies doesn't get to the quota required.



See more from Tom Gauld here


Speaking of data … (6/2/2021)
I admit it might sound oxymoronic to talk about quacks having principles, but that is for just one meaning of the word. One of the fundamental principles, an axiom actually, is that real doctors (hereinafter referred to as "doctors") only treat symptoms and not the underlying causes of diseases. In the real world we know that doctors do address the underlying cause of medical conditions and only treat symptoms in the case of self-limiting complaints (antipyretics for the fever associated with colds and flu, …) or to reduce distress (painkillers, salves and creams for rashes, …). Treating the symptoms is just the first step before getting on with the real job of fixing the problem.

Quacks don't like being reminded of the first two paragraphs in Samuel Hahnemann's The Organon of Medical Arts. For those who came in late, Hahnemann invented homeopathy.

The physician's high and only mission is to restore the sick to health, to cure, as it is termed.

His mission is not, however, to construct so-called systems, by interweaving empty speculations and hypotheses concerning the internal essential nature of the vital processes and the mode in which diseases originate in the interior of the organism, (whereon so many physicians have hitherto ambitiously wasted their talents and their time); nor is it to attempt to give countless explanations regarding the phenomena in diseases and their proximate cause (which must ever remain concealed), wrapped in unintelligible words and an inflated abstract mode of expression, which should sound very learned in order to astonish the ignorant - whilst sick humanity sighs in vain for aid. Of such learned reveries (to which the name of theoretic medicine is given, and for which special professorships are instituted) we have had quite enough, and it is now high time that all who call themselves physicians should at length cease to deceive suffering mankind with mere talk, and begin now, instead, for once to act, that is, really to help and to cure.

So homeopaths are expressly forbidden from treating anything except symptoms. Allopaths (which again according to Hahnemann, the inventor of the word, means everyone except homeopaths, so includes chiropractors, acupuncturists, naturopaths, etc) can waste their time looking for causes, not just effects.

Let's look at the ten most prescribed medications in Australia in the twelve months from July 2019 to June 2020.

RankDrugConditionPrescriptionsCostGeneric
1RosuvastatinCholesterol7,800,628$94,490,269Yes
2AtorvastatinCholesterol7,540,302$68,410,099Yes
3PantoprazoleGastroesophageal reflux5,691,237$50,476,431Yes
4EsomeprazoleGastroesophageal reflux5,605,278$76,804,956Yes
5PerindoprilBlood pressure3,980,870$36,725,938Yes
6MetforminDiabetes3,299,533$35,159,985Yes
7PregabalinFibromyalgia, anxiety3,251,002$87,016,603Yes
8SalbutamolAsthma3,058,953$47,570,183Yes
9AmlodipineBlood pressure2,675,707$19,882,634Yes
10IrbesartanBlood pressure2,660,990$22,994,624Yes

Of the ten, only four (numbers 3,4,7 and 8) treat conditions which can have obvious symptoms. (Salbutamol in the form of Ventolin is actually available without prescription, but the pharmacist will ask questions.) The rest treat things which can only be detected by testing. Oh, and speaking of the dreadful side effects of Big Pharma drugs, I was prescribed one of the ten but suffered a side effect. It was annoying more than it was dangerous, the effect is well known and my doctor simply changed me to something else.

Another axiom is that doctors only prescribe medications to make pharmaceutical companies rich, but you will notice that all ten of the most prescribed drugs in the country are out of patent and can be made by anyone with the necessary quality control.

It's true that holding a current patent can allow a manufacturer to make a lot of money, so let's look at the drugs which cost the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme the most money over the period.

RankDrugConditionPrescriptionsCostGeneric
1AfliberceptMacular degeneration,
colorectal cancer
299,955$372,844,440No
2NivolumabVarious cancers50,323$333,970,002No
3PembrolizumabCancer37,568$331,481,924No
4AdalimumabArthritis and some other conditions255,529$318,747,705No
5DenosumabOsteoporosis857,062$236,822,977No
6Sofosbuvir+VelpatasvirHepatitis C7,7161 $223,269,539???
7UstekinumabPsoriasis29,392$209,733,381No
8RanibizumabMacular degeneration,
Diabetic retinopathy
178,604$204,683,547No
9ApixabanAnticoagulant, stroke prevention2,480,138$201,261,551No
10Glecaprevir+PibrentasvirHepatitis C9,945$186,524,509No
As far as I can tell, all these drugs are still covered by patents. The one marked "???"
probably is but the records are the sort which keep attorneys rich.

Surely if doctors were trying to maximise Big Pharma income they would be prescribing these drugs, but even the most often prescribed one in this list, Apixaban, isn't in the top ten by numbers (its also the least expensive per dose). And remember how doctors don't have a clue about treating cancer - a look at the top three suggests that a lot of money is being spent in the pursuit of making life easier for patients with various forms of cancer. Also, with the exceptions of psoriasis and arthritis, most of the conditions have to be quite well advanced before any symptoms become evident. I have a check for macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy every year but it requires an optometrist to use special equipment to detect any early signs, and I know someone whose osteoporosis was only detected when looking for the cause of something else (and that something else was detected by x-ray when looking for something else again - no symptoms at all).

The full report from the PBS can be found here.



See more from SMBC here

February 13, 2021

Plus les choses changent, plus elles ne devraient pas (13/2/2021)
In a slight modification of Ambrose Karr's famous saying, the French above means "The more things change the more they should not". When I did this month's regular check for broken and changed links on this site I discovered that two places to which I had lots of links have simply disappeared.

I've made good use of the Therapeutic Goods Administration's Complaints Resolution Panel to illustrate action taken against quacks and other people who make outrageous medical claims. The TGA have completely closed the CRP web site - no archive of articles, nothing except

I assume that the relevant information has been subsumed into the main TGA site, but I will have to do an individual search for each link to see if the information still exists. Or I could dive around in the Internet Archive.

Of course there is always the possibility that someone at the TGA forgot to pay a renewal fee for something. Remember Hanlon's Razor: "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity." Or, put more crudely, is it a conspiracy or a cockup?

The other site causing grief is Yahoo!. I have lots of links to messages posted to the enormous number of mailing lists at Yahoo! Groups. Yahoo! have decided to get out of the mailing list business and now all links to any of the groups or their contents are redirected to the main Yahoo! front page. No archive, no "We are mothballing Groups and no more messages will be accepted". Nothing.

So for all of next week I'll be tracking down where the links used to go to to try to salvage something. I might be retired but I have better things to do with my time.

Not all the news from the link check was bad, however. I was alerted to a change in the site belonging to Australia's outpost of the Qanon insanity movement. The site now just says that they have closed down in Australia and won't be coming back. Apparently they became extremely offended at recognition of Islam as a religion and now think that the country is a lost cause in the fight against everything because antifa has won over bigotry. As the saying goes: "Door! Arse! Way out!". [Update: When I did my monthly link check in March 2021 it showed that the Q web site had vanished completely. The good news continues.]


It's that time of the year again (13/2/2021)
It's time for the annual Gates Letter from Bill and Melinda Gates. This year the topic is "The year global health went local" and as usual it's a well written, well thought out piece of work. Highly recommended, even if only to annoy the lunatics who blame Bill for everything that goes wrong in the world.


Click here to read the letter

Brush With Fame Time: I once stood next to Bill at a computer show. He was only a little more famous and rich than I was at the time. He is now a little bit more famous and a little bit richer. But I don't mind.



See more Bizarro comics here


Grumble, grumble, where the time goes. (13/2/2021)
When this site came back from its sabbatical in March 2019 I started using Patreon to gather donations. Since then I have received several emails from Patreon advising me of visitors who have committed to monthly donations. I have received exactly $0.00 (zero dollars and zero cents) from Patreon in the two years. I don't know where any of this money went but I know where it didn't go, and I apologise to anyone who has been trying to send me money. I didn't get any of it.

I recently saw someone talking about what a good thing Patreon is so I mentioned the memory hole absorbing money supposedly coming my way and she told me that I was doing things wrong. Apparently I have to have a web site under Patreon's domain name and not just have my own site with links. (She referred to her site as "my Patreon".) When I sold stuff from my business web site I didn't have to have a page at PayPal to get paid; Amazon are happy (well, not too happy) to pay me for book sales from this site without making me operate under an Amazon domain name; I've had other affiliate programs in the past which worked the same way.

As of today, all Patreon links have been removed from all the pages in this site. I see no reason to promote their service in any way if it doesn't do what I need doing.

And that's another time waster this week and why there's not much else here. Hopefully normal transmission can be resumed shortly.

 

 

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