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HERO'S WELCOME: Cardiologist Aseem Malhotra reveals medical industry crisis; calls for urgent reform to save lives
Wrong guidelines, corrupt corporations, faulty research, captured regulators: system failure is killing millions. UK heart specialist Aseem Malhotra is on a national tour to show us the way out
It took serial killer Harold Shipman three decades to kill 250 people, many of whom were his own elderly patients. The UK doctor was on the front page of every newspaper when he was caught and he was jailed for life.
It wasn’t deliberate. It was a bad medical guideline based on dirty research that doctors followed blindly.
Doctors who get it wrong can kill a few people, but when the guidelines are wrong thousands die.
UK Cardiologist Aseem Malhotra was treated to a hero’s welcome in Sydney on Saturday after his talk revealed the deadly cost of globally entrenched medical fraud.
The estimated 800,000 people died across Europe after disgraced Dutch professor Don Poldermans - who helped set medical guidelines - pushed faulty science. He had promoted beta-blocker drugs “to protect the heart” in patients having non-cardiac surgery, Dr Malhotra said.
This revelation shocked even dedicated fans who had travelled all the way out to Vineyard Church in a semi-rural district 50km west of Sydney’s CBD to hear Dr Malhotra speak.
Poldermans had been the chair of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) committee and co-wrote guidelines on the use of beta-blockers before he was sacked from his job as the head of perioperative cardiac care at the Erasmus Medical Center for medical misconduct in 2011.
“The 800,000 deaths are comparable in size to the worst cases of genocide and mass murder in recent history,” wrote veteran cardiology reporter Larry Husten in Forbes.
A team of UK researchers removed Polderman’s discredited DECREASE trials from the pool of studies for meta-analysis revealing a 27 percent increase in the risk of death when the beta-blockers were used.
The researchers estimated the guidelines had killed a further 10,000 patients per year in the UK.
Damningly, the ESC was slow to amend its guidelines and the journals that published the faulty trials were tardy at retracting the publication, Dr Malhotra said.
Killing for profits that are bigger than fines
Dr Malhotra went on to detail the psychopathic behaviour of pharmaceutical corporations whose legal requirement is to make profit for shareholders, not to provide the best treatment for patients.
Merck killed up to 60,000 Americans with its anti-inflammatory drug Vioxx before it was taken off the market in 2004. The US Food and Drug Administration’s David Graham told US Senate hearings that Vioxx gave heart attacks and strokes to an estimated 88,000 to 139,000 Americans of whom between 38,000 and 60,000 died.
Merck was criminally convicted for misbranding Vioxx for arthritis without FDA approval and had to pay the US Justice Department US$950 million in 2011.
It then paid out $4.85 billion in fines to settle the US civil cases brought by victims.
But the corporation did not care. Nobody went to jail and the killer drug made more in sales than the fines they paid. Vioxx sales brought in US$10 billion during the 5 years it was on the US market alone. Worldwide in 2003 alone it made $2.5 billion.
In Australia, Merck made a hit-list to “neutralise” or “discredit” doctors and researchers who didn’t like Vioxx.
“We may need to seek them out and destroy them where they live,” a Merck employee wrote in one email produced in court.
Pfizer was fined US$2.3 billion for criminal fraud in 2009 over a similar drug to Vioxx called Bextra.
Dr Malhotra told the audience that between 2003 and 2016, most of the top 10 drug companies had committed crimes and paid fines of about $33 billion.
Convictions included the illegal marketing of drugs, hiding data on harms and the manipulation of research results.
“Nothing changed. Nobody got fired, nobody lost their jobs and they make more money from the profits than the fines, so crime pays and you commit more crime,” Dr Malhotra said.
Peter Gøtzsche, co-founder of the Cochrane Collaboration, the gold-standard of medical research, found that as of 2012 all top 10 drug companies had routinely broken the law.
“As the crimes were widespread and repetitive, they are probably committed deliberately— because crime pays,” he wrote in the BMJ.
After being caught, the companies would enter into corporate integrity agreements with the US Department of Health and Human Services - but these meant nothing.
“Pfizer had previously entered into three such agreements in the past decade,” he wrote.
The mechanisms of systemic medical corruption
Corrupted medical science has killed more than a million people across Australia, the UK, US and Europe over the last 50 years but almost nobody knows it’s happening.
Prescription drugs are the third leading cause of death in Europe and the US, and about half those who die have taken their medicine correctly, Peter Gøtzsche wrote in 2014.
“Major reasons for the many drug deaths are impotent drug regulation, widespread crime that includes corruption of the scientific evidence about drugs and bribery of doctors, and lies in drug marketing, which is as harmful as tobacco marketing and, therefore, should be banned,” he wrote in the Polish Archives of Internal Medicine.
Dr Malhotra outlined the mechanisms by which corporate and political interests hijacked the covid pandemic, resulting in the spectacular and deadly failure of the coerced genetic vaccines.
“Doctors, academic institutions and medical journals that have a responsibility to patients collude with industry for financial gain,” Dr Malhotra said.
Psychological barriers to understanding the facts
The facts about the deadly gene-vaccines are clear once people listen, Dr Malhotra said. The barriers are mostly psychological: fear and wilful blindness.
Fear: Media and governments unleashed fear on the public during the covid pandemic.
Fear inhibits critical thinking and makes a person vulnerable to control, Dr Malhotra said.
People thought covid was far more severe than it actually was.
In December 2020, 35 percent of Americans surveyed thought their risk of covid hospitalisation was 50 percent when in reality it was as low as 1 percent, according to the Brookings Institute. Stanford epidemiologist John Ioannidis found the risk of death from the original severe strains, before vaccines, was only 0.07 percent for the under-70s.
This mispricing of risk made doctors and patients vulnerable to exploitation by political and commercial interests.
Wilful blindness: people turned a blind eye to the covid lies in order to feel safe, to reduce anxiety, to avoid conflict - and to protect status, prestige and ego.
The only way to overcome it is with kindness and compassionate conversation, Dr Malhotra said.
The failure of medical science
Evidence-based medicine has been hijacked by powerful commercial interests, Dr Malhotra said, but doctors still have the illusion it is sound, so they make decisions based on biased and corrupted information.
Both doctors and patients are misinformed due to:
Biased funding of research: studies are funded only when they are likely to be profitable
Biased reporting in medical journals and the media: Journal publishers are deeply dependent on the drug industry for revenue. Papers that criticise industry do not generate revenue.
Media is paid both directly in advertising and indirectly through donations to charity offshoots, such as the BBC’s international charity, BBC Media Action.
BBC Media Action, which says on its website that it counters “misinformation”, reports the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as one of its top 10 donors in 2019-20 alongside the UN, the US and the EU.
Corporate funding of universities: turns academics into promoters of Big Pharma products for funding and career rewards.
Most published research is wrong
Most doctors are unaware of just how much research is of poor quality. Dr Malhotra said most will treat anything published in the Lancet, BMJ or Jama as gospel, when that can be far from the truth.
Stanford epidemiology professor John Ioannidis, regarded as the Stephen Hawking of medicine, wrote in 2017 that much published medical research is not reliable and offers no benefit to patients.
Worse, doctors lack the critical thinking skills to evaluate the reliability and usefulness of medical evidence.
In one study, more than 70 percent of healthcare professionals failed a simple three-question test, including a question designed to show if they could recognise the absence of a control group, Ioannidis found.
Because of this, between 20 and 50 percent of all healthcare services delivered in the US is inappropriate, wasteful or actually harms patients, Ioannidis wrote.
“Doctors aren’t even aware as they trust their regulators and don’t know how biased, corrupted and unreliable the research is,” Dr Malhotra said.
Profound ignorance of this problem reaches even to the highest levels of academic leadership, he said.
Scandal: regulatory capture
Public safety is best served by an adversarial regulator that is not afraid to push a powerful corporation around.
The corporation is not a “stakeholder” or a “partner”, and the regulator must not act like a “facilitator”.
In reality, medical regulators fail to prevent misconduct by industry, and are now funded by the very companies they are supposed to police.
In Australia, the regulator is the Therapeutic Goods Administration. About 96 percent of its funding is paid as fees for service by pharmaceutical corporations, investigative journalist Maryanne Demasi wrote in the BMJ.
“Of the six regulators, Australia had the highest proportion of budget from industry fees (96%) and in 2020-2021 approved more than nine of every 10 drug company applications,” she wrote.
The TGA says this does not conflict its decision-making, but their ability to regulate was dealt a devastating blow in 2018 with a law change to allow a new category of authorisation: “provisional registration”.
Provisional authorisation is not the same as full authorisation.
Provisional authorisation allows drug companies to sell products that have not completed all the safety testing required for full authorisation.
They are allowed to provide safety test results on a “rolling basis” meaning while you are already injecting the product.
If there’s any problem, this system relies on you and your doctor to report it, and carries a reminder in the form of a black triangle on the insert.
Most Australians have no idea how to report an adverse event or even that they can, so nobody does, which keeps the figures looking good for the new product.
None of the covid gene-vaccines were fully authorised, they were all provisionally authorised.
Dr Malhotra spoke for more than an hour and outlined solutions as well as problems - so there’s still more to come.
This event was rich in research and featured excellent speakers including Dr Paul Oosterhuis, Dr Phillip Altman, Coverse director Nick Shulhin and AMPS president Chris Neil. To do it justice I need more time.
Dr Aseem Malhotra: national tour organised by AMPS
Canberra - May 30
Victoria - May 31 (sold out), June 1, 2
Gold Coast - June 6
Brisbane - June 5 (tickets still available), June 7 (sold out)
South Australia - June 4 (sold out)
Western Australia - June 10 (including Naomi Wolf and Ed Dowd)
Edits: 30/05/23 - renosed, added sections on the mechanisms of medical corruption and below. More still to come.