About

Purpose of this blog: We intend pointing out, without fear or favour, unsubstantiated, erroneous or otherwise misleading claims being made for medicines and related products available in the South African market. We intend using sound scientific principles and logical arguments in order to provide some tools and evidence for readers to make up their own minds whether the claims made for a product are justified or not. Although we are trained in the use of conventional (prescription) medicines, we do not take a stance either for or against complementary medicines,  we simply expect the following for all medicines:

  • That consumers can be sure that what is on the label is what is contained in the product
  • That their safety has been investigated and established
  • That their bioavailability has been established where this is possible
  • That the correct dose is being used and verified using an evidence-based approach
  • That the claims are true and established by sound evidence*.

*Sound evidence:  Good scientific or sound assessment has been used. Examples of invalid basis for claims being made: Cherry picking of published results – claiming that a benefit was seen when the author’s own conclusion is that “more studies are required to verify the results”, or that “the evidence does not support using the product for x condition”.

We have the same approach to Big Pharma. But as the field is so large, we let others focus on Big Pharma while we focus on CAMS.

“Science gives you a standard to work against – Science, after all, is simply a logical, rational and careful examination of the facts that nature presents to us.” The Amazing Randi

Our opinions are without malice, not extreme, unjust, unbalanced, exaggerated nor prejudiced but based on supporting evidence for our assertions – alternatively, demonstrating a lack of evidence for claims being made.  The facts and/or rationale for our assertions accompany our postings. Although these opinions may appear harsh, they are indeed true. Could these comments appear to be defamatory?

The defense against an action of defamation would be that the statement is true and for the public benefit, or that it is fair comment on a matter of public interest.

We elaborate on ‘fair comment’ and defamation here.

 

This blog is a personal platform for publishing views on a number of issues involving medicines and complementary medicines. Contributors own their contributions and are responsible for them. All comments are moderated, and although we welcome any comments, those that are not measured or in poor taste, will be rejected. E-mail address and other personal information submitted during commenting will not be disclosed to any other parties or for commercial interests.

 

We subscribe to the practice of evidence-based medicine:
The most quoted definition of evidence-based medicine is that of David Sackett (BMJ 1996): “the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of the individual patient. It means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research.
See http://www.bmj.com/content/312 /7023/71.full

 

We believe that the Regulation of (all) medicines in South Africa is no longer based solely on the quality, safety and therapeutic efficacy as mandated by the Medicines Act. The present Chairperson of the Medicines Control Council (MCC) was a non-executive director of Clicks until he resigned from that role in 2009. It is believed that although he declared his interest, he did not recuse himself from those meetings where products being sold by Clicks were discussed. This may have led to a serious precedent where other members of the MCC, who are also said to have various vested interests in the health products industry (including pharmaceutical products, natural products, laboratories, so-called complementary medicines, and consultants) do not recuse themselves from meetings.

 

“I’m not here to convince people that we are right, although it would be nice if it turned out that way. I’m here to tell the truth and let readers decide for themselves.“
— Kimball Atwood, Science Based Medicine, Bravewell Bimbo Eruptions

 

Authors:
Dr Harris Steinman,
medical doctor, consumer activist and author of a number of evidence-based allergen reference books
Various guest authors and collaborators from time to time