The MHRA – another weak regulator

A great deal of flak has been fired at the pharmaceutical industry in recent years, much of it justified in my view. The AllTrials campaign, while still guilty of the questionable claim that half of clinical trials are unpublished, is basically correct. But I have always said that any business will do whatever it can get away with, so the buck really stops with the regulator. Society is best served by a balance between freedom to innovate and to trade, and limits set by regulation. Continue reading

Clinical Trials – better outside the European Union?

Angus Dalgleish, Professor of Oncology at St George’s, University of London, claims in the Daily Telegraph that “Brexit means we can revive clinical trials killed by the EU”. Departing slightly from my usual theme of pseudoscience, I would like to point out where Professor Dalgleish might be mistaken. Continue reading

The General Pharmaceutical Council – as useless as ever

Do we have any health care regulators who do their job properly? Months ago I came across a pharmacist called Christine  Glover, who runs Glovers Integrated Healthcare. Any use of the word `integrated’ usually means quackery of some kind, and this is one of those. But I really wonder how Mrs Glover copes with cognitive dissonance. She says she was “a former President of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society”. How did a respected professional body elect a quack as president? She regards ” illness as a set of physical symptoms”. Wrong, wrong, wrong, illness has causes of which homeopaths have not the slightest understanding. She sits on the advisory board of the Academy of Pharmaceutical Science. Science? How on earth does that align with homeopathy? NHS Choices says “There is no good-quality evidence that homeopathy is effective as a treatment for any health condition”. Continue reading

Yet more on the Charity Commission

Are you bored with this? I am. Because with the Charity Commission it’s just the same old same old. Some of you might have seen a piece in The Sunday Times in March, which was quite hard-hitting. For example a professor of clinical epidemiology castigated a charity called The Vaccine Awareness Network, which just recycles all the anti-vaccination tropes. Continue reading

Making up Law on the Fly

I was going to apologise for yet another post about the Charity Commission, but on reflection why should I? This is a serious matter and whatever I do the Commission seems more determined to look silly. You’ll recall that they have accepted that their internal guidance on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) contains major errors of fact and logic, but that they refuse to update it. They did say however that my own review of the guidance would be circulated internally, as case officers also have to take into account updated information as well as approved guidance when making decisions. So I decided to see whether that had had any effect. Continue reading

The Charity Commission – so near and yet so far

Some things take time, and it’s rewarding to get even a tiny bit of progress. My effort to get the Charity Commission to introduce an evidence-based policy has at last reached the stage of a reasonably sensible dialogue, but not yet any meaningful action. To recap, there are several charities that make misleading health claims, homeopathy of course being a prime example. I have been asking the Commission why they granted charity status to these organisations, when they clearly fail the public benefit test. For the full back story read my posts here, here, here and here – in reverse order. Continue reading

Yet More Weasel Words from the Charity Commission

At last the Commission has provided what they describe as their “conclusion of stage one complaint process”. If you are new to this saga you’ll need to read my previous posts on the subject here, here and here. If you have done that, you will not be surprised to learn that the Commission still refuses to accept logical arguments about homeopathy charities. Continue reading

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