The pharmaceutical industry now controls NHS policy – hoorah.

I noticed the other day that the pharmaceutical industry have managed to achieve something they could surely once only have dreamed of. Creating policy documents. Here is the offending headline from the Guardian newspaper:

NHS hires drugmaker-funded lobbyist

As the secondary headlines say:

‘Conflict of interest concerns as Specialised Healthcare Alliance (SHCA), funded by pharmaceutical companies, advises NHS England.’

A lobbying organisation with links to some of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies and medical equipment firms has been asked by NHS bosses to write a report that could influence health policy, it has been reported.’

It seems lobbying is now ‘so five minutes ago.’ Who needs a lobbyist when this organisation, the Specialised Healthcare Alliance (SHCA), which is entirely bought and paid for by the pharmaceutical industry, has been commissioned to write a report on funding specialised services for the NHS.  Services worth £13,000,000,000.00p (£13Bn/$20Bn) per year.

The article does point out, though, that we are misguided to think that this could be in any way an issue. For John Murray, the director of the SHCA, a lobbyist, and author of the report, has made it clear that:

.…..there was no link between his lobbying business and the SHCA other than providing secretariat services and said the SHCA “never takes a position on particular products or treatments in any of its activities”.

John (Pinocchio) Murray’s nose is now in the Guinness Book of Records for being the longest nose ever recorded on a human being, at seven point three miles. He is a lobbyist, paid for by pharmaceutical companies, and his organisation never takes a position on particular products…..hahahahahahahahahaha. Well then, sack him immediately for being useless…. sack him for failing to do what he is handsomely paid to do.

The final part of this newspaper report, which I savoured, is the following:

‘James Palmer, clinical director of specialised services at NHS England, said he was aware of Murray’s role as a lobbyist but “there are no opportunities for lobbying in the process of forming clinical policy”.’

This, of course, is true. There are no opportunities for lobbying in this particular process of forming clinical policy. Once a lobbyist starts to write clinical policy, they have moved well past the annoying requirement to lobby anyone. For the lobbyist has now managed to become the very person that they should be paid to lobby.

Instead of trying to influence someone who may not listen to him, he can just talk to himself…. Imagine that this short section of imagined dialogue is like Smeagol talking to Gollum in Lord of the Rings (Smeagol and Gollum are, or course the same person):

John Murray: ‘We must put the following phrase into the report, my precious. A “clear commitment” to “disinvest in interventions that have lower impact for patients” in favour of “new services or innovations”.

John Murray: “But why would you like me to put this in the report, wont this harm the hobbits? Hobbits have been kind to me…yes they have.”

John Murray: ‘I needs it in the report you fool. I represent precious pharmaceutical companies that are bringing new products onto the market. We needs to ensure that there will plenty of money to pay for them. So they must stop paying for stupid old fashioned treatments…yes, they must, foolish Hobbits.’

John Murray: ‘But won’t the kind Hobbits be worried this will just look like lobbying.’

John Murray: ‘Don’t be so stupid. How can the nasty Hobbits accuse me of lobbying? I am their friend, and I am trying to help them…yes I am.. Yes John Murray likes the friendly Hobbits. John Murray want to help the Hobbits, yes he does.’

John Murray: ‘You are so clever Smeagol, our master will be pleased.’…….

Duchess: ‘You’re thinking about something, my dear, and that makes you forget to talk. I can’t tell you just now what the moral of that is, but I shall remember it in a bit.’

“Perhaps it hasn’t one,” Alice ventured to remark.

“Tut, tut, child!” said the Duchess. “Everything’s got a moral, if only you can find it.”

39 thoughts on “The pharmaceutical industry now controls NHS policy – hoorah.

  1. tess

    aw, they just know they can get away with this kind of shit in the UK because they disarmed you first. 😉

    honest, you have my sincere sympathy and vicarious RAGE! I can’t believe how f’ed up the world is, anymore.

    Reply
  2. Robert Park

    Who established the Codex Alimentarius legislation and for what purpose and which members were on the EU Committee? The illegal cartel of pharmaceutical companies part of the New World Order are moving closer to world government and all that we witness happening around us both in humanity and in global physical catastrophes are the machinations of this powerful elite. People today need to take an interest in global politics and if they fail to do so society is damned. An important branch of the NWO is the Committee on Foreign Relations of which Presidential Tony Blair is an Envoy. Society is facing an ominous future. Try to find the time to listen to this man, G Edward Griffin, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_33i0E1ftNE or on his many other global topics and discover where today’s power lies.

    Reply
  3. Annique

    ‘…..there was no link between his lobbying business and the SHCA other than providing secretariat services and said the SHCA “never takes a position on particular products or treatments in any of its activities”. ‘
    …..
    Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said: “one can’t believe impossible things.”
    “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
    The moral of the story : skip breakfast (yet another benefit of intermittent fasting?)

    Reply
  4. Pingback: The pharmaceutical industry now controls NHS policy – hoorah. Dr … | Liberty Care RX - News and Information about medicare, medical insurance and pharmaceuticals

  5. Tony Collingwood

    Since I reached the age of about 40, I believe I have been developing a condition which I call cynicsitis. It’s getting to the stage where I don’t believe anything I read in the newspapers or anything politicians or medics tell me.

    Should I be reading Dr K’s blog as it seems to make the condition even worse?

    Is there a cure for it? Statins perhaps?

    Reply
  6. Sue Richardson

    The Smeagol/Gollum/Hohn Murray interview is hilarious and scary and the same time! These people must think everyone is stupid and that no one will notice what’s they are doing. Even worse is the fact that those who do see what’s happening are helpless. John Murray must be laughing behind quite a lot of backs.

    Reply
  7. LIZANN BILES

    I was fuming when I heard that everyone must be on ”STATINS” asap, to stop heart disease etc, what are they doing, they know only too well that because they are–these grey men in suits that they MUST SURELY KNOW WHAT THEY’RE DOING ” FOR US”–joke indeed, but a nasty joke at that, they are trying to kill people off in the UK –why—because we are all getting too old for our funding usefulness, not to mention those of us who paid towards our given rights as pensioners, only to see the brutal force they have decided to treat us, the homes they can put us in—thank god for whistle-blowers I say on the dreadful way the elderly are being used and abused in these homes, paid for by the public funding and the very few who have saved a small amount all their lives for their own use as needs in their own homes—to have it stripped by unscrupulous owners of the said homes  until the government have to start paying for it—in other words—us—- from the taxes we still pay at 69 and 75 yrs old from our private pensions which still dont cover all of our needs. PLUS to be the awful bearer of bad news to tell us we must all go onto statins as soon as we get to 40/45/50 yrs old? or maybe even younger I suspect?   I have followed your writings Dr Kendrick since I 1st  heard of your trying to get people to read, listen and  learn from what  on earth is going wrong with our bodies to be bombarded by chemicals in order to stop our bodies having strokes and  heart attacks !!! SURELY THE most obvious way was healthier lifestyles TAUGHT US BY OUR MOTHERS AT HOME bringing us up to eat healthy and excercise   more OH YES I AM SO SORRY –OF COURSE it cant be done–where are mums at home–oh yes at work or with their mates drinking coffee and eating rubbish food.

    WHY because life today is so wrapped up in MOBILE PHONES/ TV shows all telling us the way we should live our lives, be it drama or reality, I feel sorry for thoise youngsters coming up to maturity –what have they got to live for –except stress  at work in humble jobs, or money grabbing in better off working conditions, never mind the poor sod who ha stheir own businesses, I congratulate them for trying to keep their heads above water, water—flooding—no I am not going to start on that now,  or the wretched HS2 waste of money!

    PLEASE KEEP SENDING ME YOUR INFO UP TO DATE ON STATINS ETC, I read all you say and also send it on to friends and family –whether they read them or not is their problem, I just wish they believed in all you say as I do.

    I KNOW FROM EXPERIENCE  what its like living with someone who takes statins, from a person who was great with memory , never stopped working or doing things at home or going out who has upset stomachs more than me, considering he never had any health problems  ever, sits an dozes in the morning noon and evening, sleeps all night and wakes up after 7/8 hrs of sleep! never does any excercise at all, has grumpy moments, irractic behaviour too, never mind he cant remember what he said 10 mins before never mind what anyone else says.

    I try to get him out everyday with me (disabled) but its mostly me the excuse –its too hot/cold/wet for me–huh—not true.

    ANYWAY –I APOLOGISE FOR GOING ON ABOUT THINGS BUT SOMETIMES WRITING IS MY ONLY CONVERSATION……………….#

    yours understandingly

        

    Liz Ann Biles

    Reply
    1. Mary Adair Richard

      Liz Ann, I am from the USA and I so hear your pain. Thank God you are there to get your husband motivated (as much as is possible). It appears (and I have never been hyper suspicious of people) conspiratorial. My husband of five years has been off statins after a two year stint. Yesterday, he was referred to a cardiologist for a stress test. He badgered him to start on statins saying he was “not reading the correct studies!” Where the hell are they?

      I am getting very leary of everything that comes from the mouths of doctors, insurance companies and government officials.

      However, on a positive note, it is what it is. And, I happen to believe I live in the greatest place in the entire world. I fear not because it is part of life and we must endure. But, having a forum to express your concerns, help others to understand complicated governmental and medical policy is a great outlet. I have learned a lot from Dr. Kendrick among others. And, he makes me laugh.

      All things considered, I am blessed in ways beyond most people’s imaginations. I must stay positive for that is yet another way to live life to the fullest.

      Reply
  8. gilbert78

    Not a total surprise–but shocking never the less.
    I have written to my MP recommending the Government first set up an INDEPENDENT research body to determine the veracity of statins – with no interference from Big Pharma’ – before they go any further. Asking him ‘would his government like to be found responsible for supporting BP when it is finally realised just how much damage statins do; particularly when cholesterol is not even the enemy’
    There are a lot of followers to these blogs and everyone should be encouraged to write to their MP ; first outlining briefly the story as we understand it — together with the pressure applied to the GP — then recommending Independent investigation.
    So much has gone wrong over the last five years with mis-selling that one or two of them may just react and get things moving……………….All it needs is Volume

    Reply
    1. Mary Adair Richard

      Brilliant gibert78. There is strength in numbers. You must band together and relay to your officials the truth, the facts, the lies and use your heads (all intelligent in each his own way), all the talents you bring to bear and fight. You know the damage…spread the good word!!

      Thank God, there are those willing to move, to take action. What brave souls you are!!! All of you are! Now do it and don’t stop. Be resolute, not unkind but assertive. Show the facts as they are. You will service humanity in a way few others have ever done. Move toward your goal, never flinch…you have nothing to be fear. Don’t lie, stick with your friends…count the votes!!!

      gilbert, what a brave soul you are! You got a response. Don’t stop. Encourage your fellow countrymen. Keep at it. Wow!!

      God Bless,
      Mary

      Reply
  9. vjadams2014

    Blackwhite is defined as follows:

    “…this word has two mutually contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it means the habit of impudently claiming that black is white, in contradiction of the plain facts. Applied to a Party member, it means a loyal willingness to say that black is white when Party discipline demands this. But it means also the ability to believe that black is white, and more, to know that black is white, and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary. This demands a continuous alteration of the past, made possible by the system of thought which really embraces all the rest, and which is known in Newspeak as doublethink.” —Orwell, 1984

    Reply
    1. Nick

      “Man then goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed at the next zebra crossing.” From Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy.

      Reply
  10. gilbert78

    Just received a reply:-
    Thanks for getting back in touch and for sending me your views. I will ensure they reach the Secretary of State for his information, and for clarity on whether an independent assessment will be carried out before any such proposals are implemented. I will share his response with you.
    Very best wishes,
    Zac Goldsmith

    If you do write ensure you request that your MP forwards it to the Secretary of State.

    Reply
  11. Stacie

    Here are some facts: Mortality from heart disease has been declining steadily since 1970. Obesity and diabetes rates are on the rise. Our diet has consistently gotten worse over the past 40+ years. So, three things which supposedly cause/increase risk for a disease are increasing while the mortality is decreasing. Now, I am all for an excellent diet and eating real food, but me thinks Dr. Kendrick is on to something about stress being a major player.

    Reply
    1. Stephen Rhodes

      You are not wrong about the length of time over which our diet has gotten worse.

      Is rather informative, educational, and entertaining.

      Reply
      1. thespecialone

        Just seen this is full. I have heard of low carb high fat (LCHF) but have only paid scant attention to it up until a few months ago. We now have butter when required, have cut down on even wholemeal bread/rice/pasta. I still need a quick dose of carbs because of the cardio I do is very intense but my wife swims regularly and have suddenly lost about a stone in weight without even trying.

  12. Sue Richardson

    Anyone seen Thursday’s article in the Daily Mail ‘The Great Statins Divide’? Dr Aseem Malhotra, leading cardiologist (agin statins) in one corner and Professor Colin Baigent, co-author of a pro-statins study, in the other? I suppose they both got a shot in the debate, but it wasn’t really a fair one because the professor forgot to mention that he works (or did the last time I heard his name mentioned) for an organisation that receives millions in pharma funding. It strikes me that it’s the people in the media we have to convince about the cholesterol/low fat diet/statin issue. Ordinary people watch TV and read newspapers, they don’t read medical journals and articles and blogs about it unless they’ve already been alerted and begin to realise they are being conned – then they start looking it up. Big pharma is bias, but unless I am being naïve, there shouldn’t be any reason to think the newspapers have a vested interest is there?

    Reply
    1. Suzanne Looms

      Sue I saw one bit of it via Dr Briffa’s blog, complaining about Baigent’s stance. What gave me hope was reading the sceptical comments by readers at the bottom of the article.

      Reply
    2. Judy B

      Many newspapers depend on advertising revenue from the pharma companies. So I don’t think we are going to see the media report anything that might disrupt that income stream….

      Reply
      1. Stephen Rhodes

        Not sure this is true, I suspect their influence is more malign and happens via NICE and the university training system.

    3. Christopher Palmer

      It is bold of Aseem Mahorta to stand as the sacrificial lamb, despite he is a breath of fresh air, he isn’t nearly so well informed as to be able to hold up the sceptic argument so well as he might.

      Reply
  13. celia

    With so many policymakers already being paid/influenced by the drug companies the latest idiotic move doesn’t surprise me. However, it does horrify me…

    Reply
  14. M. J. Hope Cawdery

    The problem arises because Govt. employs Big Pharma KOLs (key opinion leaders) as expert advisors. The results are as reported. Statin profits are down because many are off patent; problem resolved by increasing the user base.

    Reply
  15. David Bailey

    I think a lot of the problem here is that developing a new drug is a bit like gambling. When a company selects compound X, it really can’t know if some unpredictable side effect will emerge in humans that will render all its effort worthless! I can’t see how anyone could possibly expect the pharmaceutical companies to play fair while under that pressure.

    A new drug is quite unlike most other products – such as a new computer chip. With a chip modifications can be inserted late in the day – even after some large scale trials. The same is obviously true for software products, but a drug is a specific molecule, which has to be usable or it is worthless.

    Wouldn’t it be better if companies were paid to perform specific research projects – e.g. to create and screen a number of compounds for activity against TB, then other companies would be paid to perform the trials to assess any likely new drugs, and finally (hopefully) yet more companies would be paid to deliver the result as tablets.

    Done that way, each company would be motivated to do its best, we wouldn’t end up with 10 drugs for one condition and none for something else, and there would be no motivation for anyone to cheat on the trials.

    Reply
  16. NickM (@bokkiedog)

    David Bailey: “Wouldn’t it be better if companies were paid to perform specific research projects”. In fact, most such basic research is conducted by universities and non-profit organisations, and largely funded for by the taxpayer. Then, when a drugs company sees something interesting, it swoops down, patents it and creams off any resulting cash. And charges the taxpayer for the privilege in the form of selling back to the NHS. Nice work if you can get it. This explains why Big Pharma is so unassailably profitable.

    The problem is that their parasitism comes at a huge cost with regard to distorting what research is taken forward, how trials are distorted and how we’re then held to ransom for patented-years afterwards.

    Although I believe in the Free Market in most industries, I am coming to the conclusion that the drugs companies do not offer anything of value that full-scale nationalisation would destroy.

    Reply
    1. David Bailey

      Well in a sense, I suppose the fault lies in the system that lets companies operate in the way you describe. My point was that separating the various phases of the task would remove the incentives to cheat, and also that it would help to reduce the huge risk involved in introducing a new drug – which isn’t really helpful.

      Clearly (I think) companies do develop some drugs ‘from scratch’ – even if they are me too drugs for common conditions, or drugs obtained by separating out one isomer from an existing successful drug (whose patent is about to run out) that is a racaemic mixture. If the medical profession gradually tried to only prescribe new drugs if they were the result of sponsored research or research in university laboratories, then I’d guess there would be a chance that future drugs would end up more targeted to actual need – e.g. TB.

      Large corporations simply can’t behave responsibly if they are given a chance to do otherwise. Imagine you were a senior manager in Coca-Cola, and you met a contingent of doctors urging you to avoid promoting Coca-Cola in schools because kids already consume excessive sugar. You might make the right noises, but your share holders would ensure you couldn’t possibly reduce Coca-Cola sales, otherwise you would be replaced by someone else!

      I tend to agree that the free market is useless in this area (and I suspect many others), but nothing short of a total (very visible) disaster will persuade politicians to change.

      Reply
      1. David Bailey

        Perhaps I should just add that I am not trying to excuse the pharmaceutical companies (far from it!), just to point out that if society gives them an easy way to exploit us all, they will do just that!

  17. Ulfric Douglas

    Can’t we just sack everyone who commisions reports?
    “…has been asked by NHS bosses to write a report ”
    Who ssks for new reports? What is their job title? Who gives them that job? How can we make the disappear?

    Reply
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