Thursday, June 29, 2006

Big Altie Pharma

AusPharm Consumer Health Watch is a website with the stated aim of

AusPharm Consumer Health Watch looks critically at the claims made by non-prescription health related products in the pharmacy marketplace, assesses the therapeutic claims they make against the existing research, looks at product safety and value for money, engages in dialogue with the product sponsor and then publishes its findings. Its primary aim is to help consumers make informed choices about these products.

Strangely, though, the Reviews page is devoid of any reviews, carrying only this message:
Some unresolved procedural issues prevented us from publishing our first review on May 18 as planned. We will publish updates on this website as they become available.

Things are made a little clearer by an article in 23rd June 2006 issue of Medical Observer Weekly:

Court Bid to Stop Drug Criticism
A long-time critic of pharmaceutical marketing practices is facing legal action from an alternative medicines company. Schwabe Pharma is trying to block publication of a report on one of its medecines it believes is unfavourable. Dr Ken Harvey, a public health researcher at Melbourne's La Trobe University, and a team of pharmacists set up a website - - to examine claims made about non-prescription medicines. Its plans to publish a critique of tinnitus treatment Tebonin (gingko extract) led Schwabe Pharma to seek a Federal Courth injunction, arguing the publication would constitute misleading or deceptive conduct. Dr Harvey said the injunction would be opposed.

Schwabe Pharma ("Mit der Natur. Für die Menschen." - With Nature - For People) describes itself as

Das Unternehmen ist der weltweit führende Hersteller hochwertiger pflanzlicher Arzneimittel [This enterprise is the leading worldwide manufacturer of high quality herbal pharmaceuticals]

So how do the alties cope when their beloved herbal producers try to suppress any information that is not complimentary to their chosen products? Did anyone really believe that the alties were proud paragons of virtue and truthfulness (apart from the alties themselves, of course)?

Strangely enough, science works by proof, and testing of that proof. Disputation is part of that procedure. Suppressing that disputation demonstrates a rejection of the scientific process in favour of a bludgeoning with the legal process. Which probably won't disturb any alties on jot.

1 comment:

  1. Let the courts decide on the efficacy of drugs too. Do away with clinical trials. Then the lawyers can play again when the patients come to grief.


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