s Is the CHF (Consumer Health Forum) representative of consumers? | I2P: Information to Pharmacists - Archive
Publication Date 01/11/2013         Volume. 5 No. 10   
Information to Pharmacists


From the desk of the editor

Welcome to the November 1 2013, Homepage Edition of i2P – Information to Pharmacists E-Magazine.
We are approaching the end of a calendar year, a year many of us would like to put behind us.
In this edition we report on the “dark forces” that are beginning to surround us while the profession and industry find themselves in a weakened position – far weaker than they were this time last year.
Quite a few opportunities exist and quite a few opportunities have been squandered by our leadership organisations and their executives.
What pharmacy seems to not have is a group of mentors capable of guiding the introduction of paid clinical services.
Because this activity requires a paradigm shift in attitude and culture, their introduction has to be driven by local leadership.

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Recent Comments

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News Flash

Newsflash Updates November 2013

Newsflash Updates

Regular updates from the global world of pharmacy.
Access and click on the title links that are illustrated.

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Feature Contribution

Is a Community Pharmacy an Incompatible Environment for Clinical Services?

Dr John Dunlop (PGDipPharm, MPharm, DPharm(Auck), FACPP, FNZCP, FPSNZ, MCAPA)

The recent article “observations on implementing a clinical service”,1 stimulated me to share my perceptions of this well meaning approach to providing a clinical service within a community pharmacy.
Firstly let me admit to being much older than the author of this article, and let me establish that I spent over 40 years in community pharmacy before embarking upon a clinical career.
The perception that a viable clinical pharmacy practice can be undertaken in a community pharmacy is contrary to the reality and numerous assessments described in the researched literature.
Having studied this problem for many years, I have come to the conclusion that a community pharmacy environment, which is predominantly a supply and distribution model, is incompatible with the provision of clinical roles.

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Stuff to Think About

Gerald Quigley

Editor's Note: Gerald recently attended a meeting hosted by Medicines Australia.
He picked up on the undercurrent related to the meeting's real agenda.
There are some sinister elements that sense that pharmacy may be in a weakened state with a large number of pharmacists being focused on survival-both employers and employees.
These elements are looking to exploit pharmacy and limit its independence as part of a wide-ranging agenda.
Your help is needed.

The words which literally grabbed me at this meeting included “caught”, “capture” and “tracking”.
No, we weren’t discussing wild animals or escapees from the penal colonies……we were discussing dedicated, hard-working, committed and patient-focused health professionals in Australia.
I attended the Medicines Australia Transparency Working Group meeting in Melbourne last month.
The discussions were centred on the medical profession, more especially on prescribed medicines from my understanding.
References though were continually made about pharmacists.

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Roadblocks in Clinical Services Provision

Neil Johnston

I have been reading with interest, Peter Sayers' journey into paid professional services and his cautious optimism.
Now, as a feature article in this current edition of i2P John Dunlop, a respected New Zealand pharmacist, expresses doubt that clinical pharmacists are going to make it in a community pharmacy setting.
Further, Professor Austin Zubin at a recent PAC2013 conference in Brisbane identified a problem amongst pharmacists he describes as ‘Paralysis in the face of ambiguity’ as he pondered why pharmacists were not taking up opportunities in primary health care.
“Despite abundant opportunity and patient demand, government recognition etc, across the world, a similar picture emerges of a profession that is its own worst enemy,” he said.
 “The standard response to new opportunities is, ‘I don’t have enough time, I’m not trained for this, I’m not getting paid enough, it’s too costly….”

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A Report on HPV Vaccine at the 3rd world congress on Cancer Science and Therapy in San Francisco October 2013

Judy Wilyman

The University of Wollongong recently provided funding for me to present my research on the HPV vaccine at the 3rd world congress on Cancer Science and Therapy in San Francisco.
On the 22nd October I presented my research that demonstrates that HPV vaccination has not been proven to be safe or effective against cervical cancer.
Japan and India have recently stopped recommending this vaccine due to deaths and disability after vaccination.

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Is the CHF (Consumer Health Forum) representative of consumers?

Mark Coleman

i2P has often commented on the orchestration of various lobby groups and their suspect behaviours when orchestrating their seemingly unrelated activities.
They seem to have gotten their chorus to be sung in tune.
Gerald Quigley referred to these "dark forces" in his article in this month's edition.
Their activities are disruptive, damaging and distracting to say the least and some border on the illegal.
They also have a common thread in that members of the Skeptics Society are common within their membership allowing the various groups to work in concert.
i2P readers need to be aware of these activities because they may have to mobilise their resources to counter behaviours that affect pharmacy-directly and indirectly.

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Are On-Line Shoppers Only Concerned With Price?

Chris Foster

It’s easy to assume that the on line shopper is attracted to that medium solely by the cheaper prices that may be available.
And, if price was the only criteria, the majority of bricks and mortar stores (B&M) would well and truly be out of business by now.
Yes, as always, there are a number of consumers where price is the sole determinant in the decision to purchase. Traditionally, this has been around 10% to 15% of consumers.
However, what are the real facts?

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I’ve been texting, I mean thinking about texting, as well as dialing, handwriting, and face-to-face talking in our hurry-up worl

Mark Neuenschwander

These days we call the US Post Service [sic] snail mail. But in 1775, Ben Franklin’s innovation sped up letter travel between Philadelphia and San Francisco from forever to a few months.
In 1844, Samuel Morse accelerated message delivery exponentially. Transmitting words at the speed of light, the inventor’s telegraph made Abraham Lincoln our first online president, enabling the commander in chief to chat instantaneously with his generals on the front lines.
In 1862 the transcontinental railroad relegated the year-old Pony Express to mothballs by whisking letters from coast to coast at 30-some miles per hour in under ten days.

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Caring for you Caring for others – a report on the Health Professionals’ Health Conference 2013 3 October to 5 October 2013

Kay Dunkley - BPharm, Grad Dip Hosp Pharm, Grad Dip Health Admin, MPS, MSHPA

Evolving from the Doctors’ Health Conference the program of the Health Professionals’ Health Conference included much of relevance to all health professionals including pharmacists. Delegates came from all over Australia and New Zealand as well as several travelling from countries further away including England, Ireland, Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada and USA. Delegates included a range of health professionals and medical students. Notably only two pharmacists attended this conference which had approximately 160 delegates.

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Culture Bonds, Right?

Barry Urquhart

PAY ATTENTION: Applying “automatic cruise” is not a viable or appropriate option for management by business leaders today.
The pathway to success and to the future is littered with numerous, often unforeseen barriers, impediments and filters.
There is a clarion-clear message in this for all. It parallels the findings of a recent detailed study among motor vehicle drivers and into the causes of road accidents.
The consistent and most disturbing primary cause of motor vehicle accidents was not speed, alcohol, climatic conditions or unfamiliarity with the local road network (through these were significant, often independent contributors to the accident statistics).
The highest ranking causal factor was INATTENTION.
Being distracted from the primary focus can, and often does have dire consequences.
On the road these can include receiving and sending text messages, mobile telephone calls, loud and aggressive passengers, external eye-catching activities and simple tiredness, boredom and outright inattention.
The consequences can and do impact on many.

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Treating ADHD with Vitamin B-3 (Niacinamide)

Staff Writer

From Orthomolecular Medicine News Service- Editor: Andrew W Saul

ADHD is not caused by a drug deficiency.
But it may indeed be caused by profound nutrient deficiency, more accurately termed nutrient dependency. Although all nutrients are important, the one that an ADHD child is most likely in greatest need of is vitamin B-3, niacinamide.

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Celebrating youth service at We Day

Harvey Mackay

The atmosphere was beyond electric: 18,000 cheering teenagers, and it wasn’t for a rock star, a pro athlete or even canceling school.
This remarkable group of students gathered in St. Paul, Minn., for We Day in early October to be recognized for their stellar record of volunteering.
And this was only one of more than a dozen such gatherings across North America.
We Day is described as a celebration of the power of young Americans to create positive and lasting change, not only in their communities and around the world, but within themselves.

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Pointless and perilous pathologies

Loretta Marron OAM BSc

Off sex, always tired or feeling low? Why not see a natural therapist to find out what's wrong. They offer a variety of tests to nail your problems - but do they work? Hang on, the experts say "No"!
"Commercially driven, unvalidated, pseudo-medical tests are endangering the well-being of Australians by giving wrong diagnoses and incorrect reassurances of their health",
so say the Friends of Science in Medicine (FSM) Pathology Advisory Group. Consisting of distinguished pathologists and allergists from both Australia and New Zealand, their warning comes with the support of The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA).

Comments: 1

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Multi-Professional Prescribing- The AMA Lost Out

Neil Johnston

You have to scratch your head sometimes, particularly when you see news reports quoting Steve Hambledon (AMA President) stating that autonomous prescribing by “non medical health professionals” (which, of course, includes pharmacists), is “dangerous”.
This statement is just about as ridiculous as an earlier statement indicating vaccines provided through pharmacy were dangerous because pharmacy lacks suitable refrigerators.
This followed the decision by COAG to approve the draft Health Professionals Prescribing Pathway, now only requiring legislative approval and Board Guidelines to become a significant factor in the pharmacy profession moving forward.

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Niacin Beats Statins Supplements and Diet are Safer, More Effective

Staff Writer

OHMS Newsletter
by Andrew W. Saul, Editor

 Statins for everyone?
If media are to be believed, and if the drug industry has its way, the answer is "you bet."
The American Academy of Pediatrics has stated that kids as young as eight years of age might take statin drugs.
Specifically: "As a group, statins have been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol in children and adolescents with marked LDL cholesterol elevation . . . when used from 8 weeks to 2 years for children aged 8 to 18 years." http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/128/Supplement_5/S213.full
Strangely enough, American Academy of Pediatrics projects receive cash from Merck & Co., Pfizer and Sanofi-Aventis, as well as from Procter and Gamble, Nestlé and other large corporations. http://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/corporate-relationships/Pages/Friends-of-Children-Fund-President%27s-Circle.aspx

Comments: 1

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Chiropractors and GP’s told to team up after published research

Mark Coleman

Recently, the Chiropractors Association of Australia partially funded a study undertaken by researchers at the University of Melbourne, which has provided the best picture yet of the most common conditions treated by chiropractors.
It suggests most chiropractic treatments and consultations undertaken in Australia are evidence based.

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Fart With Confidence

Peter Jackson

Technology derived during the development of protective clothing for use in chemical warfare has now been adapted for everyday consumers to assist them in daily living. The discovery that carbon fibre can absorb and filter flatulence odours and incontinence odours has now been put to practical use in a commercial product called "Shreddies".

Comments: 1

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What Replaced Kodak?

Neil Johnston

At the turn of the 20th Century Kodak  reigned supreme.
Box Brownies were the camera for every occasion and the developing and printing of film was big business for pharmacy.
Kodak liked the alliance with pharmacy because pharmacists understood the science behind the various types of film, the processing chemicals and the nuances of the various printing papers.
Yes, Kodak liked the pharmacy retail environment so much that any pharmacists could order a repaint of their front of shop awning at any time – free of charge, provided the name Kodak dominated in the Kodak colours of red, yellow and black.

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A Catalyst for Change

Gerald Quigley

Editor's Note: Australia, it seems, has had the highest global rate of prescribing for statins.
That seems to suggest that Australian doctors may have been prescribing unnecessarily, and behind that fact, allowing drug companies to influence them to a greater extent than necessary.
Those $10 meals certainly provided a return on investment for drug companies to the extent that the party may now be over as approximately 40 percent of doctors are reviewing their prescribing practices surrounding statin usage in their patients. Gerald Quigley relates one patient experience.

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Pushing the envelope

Harvey Mackay

“Pushing the envelope” is a phrase that originated with American test pilots like Chuck Yaeger and John Glenn in the 1940s.
It described max stress situations for the metal skin (“envelope”) of a jet aircraft.  In other words, the plane was designed to fly safely up to a certain speed for a certain distance at a certain altitude. 
The job of test pilots was to “push the envelope” by making the plane go faster, farther and higher.  The term “pushing the envelope” came into popular parlance in the blockbuster book and movie (1983) “The Right Stuff.”
Naturally, this phrase is near and dear to me.  On my business card, my title is “Envelope Salesman.”  So literally, I am pushing the envelope every day! 

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Medical Debate Censorship Attempt by NSW Government

Staff Writer

Editor's Note: Until today, I had never heard of the organisation Avaaz.
Avaaz—meaning "voice" in several European, Middle Eastern and Asian languages—launched in 2007 with a simple democratic mission: organize citizens of all nations to close the gap between the world we have and the world most people everywhere want.
Avaaz empowers millions of people from all walks of life to take action on pressing global, regional and national issues, from corruption and poverty to conflict and climate change.
The Avaaz model of internet organising allows thousands of individual efforts, however small, to be rapidly combined into a powerful collective force. (Read about results on the Highlights page.)
The Avaaz community campaigns in 15 languages, served by a core team on 6 continents and thousands of volunteers.
Avaaz takes action -- signing petitions, funding media campaigns and direct actions, emailing, calling and lobbying governments, and organizing "offline" protests and events -- to ensure that the views and values of the world's people inform the decisions that affect us all.

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Inquiry into the Promotion of False or Misleading Health-Related Information or Practices

Judy Wilyman

I'd like to draw your attention to an inquiry that is taking place in the NSW parliament. It is titled ˜Inquiry into the Promotion of False or Misleading Health-Related Information or Practices".
This inquiry is being held by the Committee on the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC).
This is the consumer watchdog that investigates consumer complaints or concerns.
The aim of the inquiry is to report on possible measures to address the promotion of unscientific health-related information or practices that may be detrimental to individual or public health.

Comments: 8

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New sensor passes litmus test

Staff Researcher

Edith Cowan University researchers have drawn on their expertise in nanotechnology to update the humble pH sensor, replacing traditional glass electrode devices that have been in use since the 1930s with a new sensor thinner than a human hair.
Electron Science Research Institute Director Professor Kamal Alameh said the sensor could have exciting new applications in the oil and gas and medical industries.

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Structure Sensor 3D Scanner Works with New iPad Air and iPad Mini

Staff Writer

Editor's Note: At i2P we're convinced that 3D printing is going to invade just about every aspect of pharmacy - from tablet and vaccine manufacture, drug testing on a patient's own tissue outside of the body. to design detail for any item of pharmacy furniture.
We are therefore stepping up reportage for this exciting and disruptive technology.

if you were one of the almost 3,000 backers of the Structure Sensor on Kickstarter and were hoping to attach the 3D scanning device to your new iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina Display, you might be a little worried about compatibility. 
Well, fret not. Occipital, the startup behind the Structure Sensor, has adapted its product to Apple’s latest release.

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New nanoparticle delivers, tracks cancer drugs

Staff Researcher

Chemical engineers and clinicians from UNSW and Monash University have synthesised a new iron oxide nanoparticle that delivers cancer drugs to cells while simultaneously monitoring the drug release in real time.
The result, published online in the journal ACS Nano, represents an important development for the emerging field of theranostics – a term that refers to nanoparticles that can treat and diagnose disease.

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How fat could help solve part of the diabetes problem

Staff Researcher

The pancreas is a large organ that wraps around our gut, and produces the exact amount of insulin our bodies need when we eat – except when we start to develop diabetes, and insulin production slows down. Sydney scientists describe how a fat recycling system within pancreatic ‘beta cells’ determines the amount of insulin they secrete, and so may provide a target for future diabetes therapies.

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Receipt of licence application (DIR 126) from PaxVax Australia Pty Ltd for a clinical trial of a GM cholera vaccine

Judy Wilyman

I'd just like to make you aware of this government action to release a genetically modified live bacterial cholera vaccine into the population. Here is the link to this experiment on the government website http://www.ogtr.gov.au/internet/ogtr/publishing.nsf/Content/dir126
Cholera has not been a problem in Australia for many decades.
I have not seen this mentioned in the media so I hope people will take an interest to find out why this experiment is necessary in the Australian population.

Comments: 2

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Australia’s future healthcare system must be consumer-centric (ASMI 2013 Conference)

Marie Kelly-Davies

The importance of industry, policymakers and regulators putting the consumer front and centre of discussions on Australia’s future health system was a key theme of the 2013 Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) Conference in Sydney recently.

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ASMI welcomes community pharmacy support for S3 information-based advertising

Marie Kelly-Davies

The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) is encouraged by strong signals of support from community pharmacy to expand the range of Pharmacist Only (S3) medicines as well as its widespread support of an information-based communications approach to consumers for S3 medicines, as demonstrated by the UTS Pharmacy Barometer released this week.1
Prescription to non-prescription reclassification (‘Rx to OTC switch’) and lifting the current advertising restrictions on S3 communication are key issues that remain high on ASMI’s agenda.

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Dark Forces Emerging - Including Colesworth

Neil Johnston

Editor’s Comment:
The media extract this month comes from a Pharmacy News report that Woolworths is on the move once more with pharmacy in its sights.
We would assume that Coles is also in the mix.
There are many “dark forces” aligned against pharmacy interests. In all my years as a member of the pharmacy profession I don’t think I have seen so many diverse groups waiting in line to “knee-cap” pharmacy activity.
Because many of these “dark forces” overlap and help each other along, I have asked Mark Coleman to clarify these “dark forces” from his perspective, because he has been researching some of these organisations and has written an article about some of them in this edition.
In no way can I see a Liberal Government, the representatives of big business, move to restrain Colesworth, except for minor marginal activities.

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Is the CHF (Consumer Health Forum) representative of consumers?

Mark Coleman

articles by this author...

Mark is a semi-retired pharmacist.

i2P has often commented on the orchestration of various lobby groups and their suspect behaviours when orchestrating their seemingly unrelated activities.
They seem to have gotten their chorus to be sung in tune.
Gerald Quigley referred to these "dark forces" in his article in this month's edition.
Their activities are disruptive, damaging and distracting to say the least and some border on the illegal.
They also have a common thread in that members of the Skeptics Society are common within their membership allowing the various groups to work in concert.
i2P readers need to be aware of these activities because they may have to mobilise their resources to counter behaviours that affect pharmacy-directly and indirectly.

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Is the CHF (Consumer Health Forum) representative of consumers?
This is a question we have recently asked after discovering the curious mix of voting members and non-voting members of the CHF.
One pharmacist made a comment at the foot of the first article on CHF

“Interesting article re the diverse membership of CHF and could be difficult for consensus on some issues, will have to look further into voting and whether decisions are representative of general consumers or may favour particular member organisations.”

And that is a possibility when coupled with the following written by Judy Wilyman, a student undertaking a PhD at Wollongong University, and a writer for i2P.

Judy states:

 "When I wrote to the Australian Consumers Health Forum (CHF) to inform them of the untruthful information on many Skeptic blogs/websites about vaccination, the letter which I sent only to the CEO, Carol Bennett, was not answered, but was posted on Rachael Dunlop's (vice-president of the Skeptics) Skeptic blog two days later.
Why would the CHF not be investigating the public's concerns about vaccination?
This consumer organisation did not answer the public's concerns about vaccination.
 The Consumer Health Forum (CHF) is composed of members from large associations and industry whose interest would not necessarily represent the interests of consumers on vaccination.
Members include Medicines Australia, Merck, Sharp and Dohme (the distributor of HPV vaccine in Australia), Novartis, and other organisations and self-help illness groups.
These members can be viewed on the link provided.
Carol Bennett passed my letter (asking her to investigate consumer concerns about vaccination), to the vice president of the Australian Skeptics - Rachael Dunlop - to publish on her blog: this is not demonstrating that the CHF is a representative forum for consumer’s rights on health issues."

The influence of Skeptics is pervasive.
One has to assume that Carol Bennett is also tainted by this organisation given her behaviour in dealing with correspondence that ought to have been private and for her personal use only.
But it does illuminate why the CHF has cooperated with two other organisations highly critical of a pharmacy leading organisation, the Pharmacy Guild.

Also i2P has long asked an organisation headed by top echelon Skeptics why they haven’t investigated the medical fraud that surround so-called evidence to back the sale of most medicines.
This organisation, the Friends of Science in Medicine, has studiously avoided this question presumably because most of the academics that are members would be standing in line for funding and grants from the very Pharma companies that are committing fraud.

And I wonder how much of the Skeptic activity, that proliferates in all forms of media that publishes misinformation, supporting uninhibited and multi-use of vaccines, finds its way directly or indirectly from Big Pharma or its front organisations to these “lobbyists”.

Mainstream media has been an obvious target for some time.
Thank heavens the ABC’s Catalyst Program stood up to all the negative flack it was subjected to over its expose’ of statins.
It seems now that Catalyst Show ABCTV is taking firm aim at 'evidence based' medical care in the form of an expose’ about statin drugs which lower cholesterol.

To watch:

Part 1 - http://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/tv/catalyst/catalyst_s14_ep24_heart.mp4

 Part 2 - http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/3881441.htm

Even more disturbing... The attempts to stop this show from airing - http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2013/s3881383.htm

Curiously, when the patent rights for Lipitor ran out some months ago for Pfizer, all the negative media and research pushed through rapidly into mainstream media.  
Which begs the question: what kind of machine can suppress and attenuate 'the truth' from reaching you?

Recently, Judy Wilyman addressed a global conference in San Francisco and presented her research on the problems found with HPV vaccine.
She received a great reception and was well-funded by her university to present this evidence-based information (and there is very little of it surrounding the issues of vaccination).
On her return to Australia, Judy prepared a number of press releases for mainstream media.
Keep in mind, this is evidence of a high quality developed here in Australia.
Note the attitude in some of the responses:

Judy Wilyman writes:

Hi All,
Here is the reply that I have sent to a journalist who has chosen not to report the scientific evidence that I presented at the Cancer Science and Therapy Congress in the US last week. Australians should be concerned that journalists are now deciding which 'science' they will allow the public to see and debate. Here is my reply:

Jane Hansen
Journalist Sunday and Daily Telegraph

Dear Ms.Hansen,
I am intrigued by the reply that you gave to a community member who requested that you report on the information that I recently presented on the HPV vaccine at the Cancer Science and Therapy Congress in San Francisco. It has come to my attention that you gave the following reply to this request:

Jane Hansen's comment:
"Yes, I've read this. I'm going to go with the scientists and medicos who have studied this long and hard before I go with an 'academic' with no medical background who is a known anti-vaccine advocate. My guess is you have no background in science or medicine either, so please don't bore me again with your conspiracy agendas."

It is interesting that a journalist is putting her 'faith' in the qualifications that individuals have and not the scientific-evidence that the individual is presenting. This is not debating the science and I hope that you do not call yourself an 'investigative journalist'. Your comment represents incompetent reporting and amounts to the reporting of 'opinions' and even propaganda. This type of reporting is putting the health of Australians at risk. Your job as a journalist is to report all the arguments that are presented and allow objective discussion of the arguments - not select the science you present.

It seems that you are also misinformed about the implementation of public health policy. Public health policy is for the benefit of 'the public' hence all public members are entitled to present arguments for and against these policies. In fact, public discussion and consent is required before public health policy is implemented. In addition, infectious diseases are an environmental health issue and the policy did not involve the medical profession until deaths and illness to infectious diseases had declined in 1950. If you had investigated this topic you would have found that Professor Fiona Stanley wrote those words in 2001. Hence a medical degree is unnecessary to speak on this topic even if it was not in the context of a public health policy.

My qualifications are a Master of Science (Population Health) and I am currently studying the medical politics of health issues in a PhD at Wollongong University. If you were an investigative journalist you would also have discovered this information instead of accepting the misinformation that you have heard from lobby groups with vested interests.

It is disappointing for Australians to see the standard of reporting that is occurring on health issues in the media. You have joined Janet Albrechtsen (News Ltd), Sarrah Le Maurquand (News Ltd), Caroline Marcus (News Ltd), and Jonathon Holmes (ABC) who have all presented their opinion that 'there is no other side to this debate'.  Dismissing the arguments that myself and many other professionals are presenting as 'a conspiracy' theory is spin and preventing the public from addressing the bias in the science that is being used in government policies. The health of Australians is at risk because journalists are presenting propaganda by selecting the arguments they will present to the public.

Kind regards,
Judy Wilyman MSc (Population Health)
PhD Candidate

The other “hobby-horse” of the FSM and the Australian Medical Association (AMA) is the chiropractor’s right to practice their profession. Chiropractors are accredited through a scientific university course almost identical to that of medical practitioners.
They are grudgingly acknowledged by medical professionals to be of “some good” for back problems.
I am wondering whether the FSM and the AMA have deep pockets, because there is already a ruling in favour of the chiropractors that will create a platform for legal action.
The following was published in Dynamic Chiropractic in 1999.

Australian Medical Association Taken to Task

Australian Government Moves to End AMA Efforts to "Exclude Chiropractors"

By Editorial Staff

Dynamic Chiropractic 1999;17(3)

The efforts of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) to restrict chiropractic in Australia was reviewed in the ACCC Journal,1 the official publication of the Australia Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC), the Australian counterpart of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. The article, "The AMA and chiropractic: a trade practices viewpoint," chronicles the struggle of medicine and chiropractic to co-exist, both down under and in the United States. Until the passage of the State and Territory Competitive Policy Reform Acts of 1995, the Australian Medical Association was free to set whatever policies it wished against their members associating with doctors of chiropractic. For example, in 1977, the federal assembly of the Australian Medical Association passed this resolution:

"The Australian Medical Association does not recognize any exclusive dogma such as homeopathy, osteopathy, chiropractic and naturopathy. It is unethical for doctors to associate professionally with practitioners of such dogmas."

In 1981, the resolution was updated with the "s" word:

"The Australian Medical Association does not recognize any exclusive dogma such as homeopathy, osteopathy, chiropractic and naturopathy or any other practices which are not based on sound scientific principles.

Gone was the admonition that it was "unethical" to associate with the chiropractic profession on a professional level. Still, the AMA had not designed to recognize chiropractic et al. The professions of "exclusive dogma" were still the black sheep and herded far out to pasture. And AMA members weren't about to venture that far afield.

What the Australian Medical Association did was to affect a secondary boycott. A secondary boycott is where one party in concert with a second party takes action to restrict the supply of goods or services by a third party to a fourth party. In this case, the AMA worked in concert to restrict the ability of chiropractors to serve the people of Australia.

In September 1992, the AMA felt compelled to publish the little booklet Chiropractic in Australia. They reiterated their policy statement:

"The AMA maintains that a medical practitioner should at all time practice methods of treatment based on sound scientific principle, and accordingly does not recognize any exclusive dogma such as ... chiropractic..."

Today, the ACCC still receives many complaints about the "boycott" of chiropractors by the AMA. These complaints allege that the AMA policy still discourages MDs who are members of the AMA from:

  • referring patients to chiropractors;
  • sharing premises or practices with chiropractors;
  • working alongside chiropractors in hospitals or other institutions where work places are shared by varied medical disciplines; and
  • engaging in research work with chiropractors.

The ACCC has contacted the federal, state and territory branches of the AMA about these complaints and any policies or practices that would affect the way medical doctors and chiropractors interact. All branches of the AMA advised the ACCC that they had no policy prohibiting or discouraging members from dealing with chiropractors. The ACCC was told that individual members are free to decide whether or not they wish to form a professional association or alliance with chiropractors. This was in sharp contrast to a recent quote in the media by Dr. Gerald Segal, president of the Victoria Board of the AMA. He stated that it is unethical for AMA members to refer patients to chiropractors.2

The ACCC has already let it be known that AMA members are free to associate with chiropractors. The AMA will be required to publish an ACCC-produced statement to that effect in their journal to better inform their members. Should the AMA refuse, they will most likely be taken to court, not by the Australian chiropractors, but by the Australia Competition & Consumer Commission.


  1. The AMA and chiropractic: a trade practices viewpoint. ACCC Journal, October 1998. p 7-11.
  2. Experts back care battle. Sunday Herald Sun, October 19, 1997, p. 24.

One chiropractor commented when sending this material to i2P: “This vituperation still exists, and most medicos do not know of this ruling. Secondary and tertiary boycotts still exist and are seemingly encouraged, though surreptitiously.”

I think we are all feeling a bit fed up with the behaviour of Skeptics, the FSM and the AMA – all seemingly in bed together.
Legal action may not be far away.

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