The General Medical Council: nice bedside manner with quacks

I have for some time been critical of the GMC’s acquiescence over doctors who practise quackery, but I’m concerned now at how it seems to be getting into bed with them. I just came across an `oncologist and professor of Chinese medicine‘ and phoned the GMC for advice as to whether they would regulate such a person – who is not apparently registered to practise in the UK. It was an odd conversation, which I have followed up with this email to the GMC: Continue reading

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“Not my problem mate”

The old Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain laboured for years under a serious conflict of interest. It supported pharmacists in their role as high street shopkeepers (inter alia), and at the same time purported to regulate them as health care professionals.  So it split into two bodies, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) and the General Pharmaceutical Council (RPhC). A nice clean break surely? Well no, and here is why. Continue reading

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 The AllTrials campaign, while still guilty of the questionable claim that half of clinical trials are unpublished, is basically correct.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

Deliberately Misleading – naturally

I’ve been meaning to post this for far too long, and I have stung myself into it by revisiting a previous post about Dr Jessica Braid (neé Middleton). She operates as The Natural Doctor, from her family’s chiropractic business near Stockport. I can hear the alarm bells already. I suggest you read the first instalment before reading on here. Continue reading

I’m the Doctor – or am I?

Around the end of 2012 I was alerted  to the claims which Dr Jessica Middleton was making on her website, which she calls The Natural Doctor. A central issue was that Dr Middleton (now Dr Braid – see below) was clearly trading as a medical doctor, as evidenced by the name of her business, and the use of her medical degrees on the opening page of the site. However she does not practise anything which might be called conventional medicine, preferring to offer a wide range of diagnostics and `treatments’ which mostly lack robust evidence. I don’t intend to provide a detailed critique of what is on offer, as my purpose with this post is to explore how such a doctor is regulated. Meanwhile, I’m sure some of you will have your own views about an apparently intelligent young woman who was extensively educated in medicine, to a large extent at public expense, and now chooses not to utilise any of that training in service to the public.

Continue reading

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