Serious HPV vaccine concerns need addressing

As the US CDC appear to be going all out to increase the number of both boys and girls receiving the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine, questions around its safety continue to be aired in the media. It’s clear that people need to make a fully informed choice about this controversial vaccine.

Scotland’s Sunday Post has shared recent input from the Association of HPV Vaccine Injured Daughters. Freda Birrell told the Post “All we are asking for is to get all of the interested parties around the table and work through this again. We don’t have all the answers but these girls need help. If it is not an issue with the vaccine then it is something else and we need to get to the bottom of this... I am speaking to two or three families a week and it is heart-breaking what they are going through”. MSPs on Holyrood’s petitions committee “agreed to ask SNP (Scottish National Party) ministers for their view on campaigners’ calls to hold a roundtable discussion on the safety of the vaccine, involving medical and scientific experts from both sides of the debate”.

Campaigners have called for a moratorium on the vaccine, and this is backed by SNP MSP Chic Brodie. We agree.

Meanwhile the Netherlands Pharmacovigilance Centre Lareb has just published a report entitled “Long-lasting adverse events following immunisation with Cervarix”. Of the 1271 reports of adverse events, 231 were long-lasting, and these were intensively followed up. It is simply not possible to claim that HPV is safe.

Obesity group binned after Coca-Cola bias fiasco

Food Navigator has today reported that the Global Energy Balance Network (GEBN) “formed to combat obesity”, and aiming to be the ‘obesity go to’ group for the media, has been ‘binned’. It's been forced to return its funding to Coca-Colaamid allegations of industry-biased science”. Known primarily for “promoting the idea that lack of exercise, not bad diet, was primarily responsible for the obesity epidemic”, and “downplaying the role of junk food in obesity”, the group was not transparent about its link with the soft drinks giant, and failed to disclose a $1 million donation. Michael Jacobson, president of the Centre for Science in the Public Interest accused the group of peddling “scientific nonsense”, while highlighting a recent US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee report, which provides “‘compelling evidence’ for the causal link between sugary drinks and disease, as well as for the need for exercise”.

Major crowd-funding underway for Monsanto Tribunal in the Hague

The biggest international crowd-funding campaign ever carried out” is now underway for an International Monsanto Tribunal. Its website states, “For an increasing number of people from around the world, Monsanto today is the symbol of industrial agriculture. This chemical-intensive form of production pollutes the environment, accelerates biodiversity loss, and massively contributes to global warming”. The initiators are “are appealing to civil society and to all citizens of the world to participate in financing this unique operation” which has been set up to “assess these allegations made against Monsanto, and to evaluate the damages caused by this transnational company. The Tribunal will rely on the “Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights” adopted at the UN in 2011. It will also assess potential criminal liability on the basis of the Rome Statute that created the International Criminal Court in The Hague in 2002”. Vandana Shiva, Corinne Lepage, Marie-Monique Robin, Olivier de Schutter, Gilles-Eric Séralini and Hans Herren are some of the members of the steering committee. The tribunal will be held in The Hague from 12th to 16th October next year.

UK Schoolgirl’s electro-hypersensitivity led to suicide

A report in the media last week revealed that an intolerance to the wifi at Jenny Fry’s Oxfordshire school is believed by her parents to have led to her depression and suicide. Her parents are now “campaigning to remove the technology from classrooms”. Concerns about the effects of electro magnetic radiation on children, young people and adults is something that ANH-Intl have actively campaigned on and educated about for nearly a decade. Jenny’s parents reportedly claim “she suffered from electro-hypersensitivity (EHS), which caused her to suffer tiredness, headaches and bladder problems”. At the recent inquest, they told the Oxfordshire Coroners' Court "Jenny was badly affected by the wireless internet connections at Chipping Norton School in Oxfordshire, where she was a pupil". The Mail reports “After becoming increasingly distressed by her symptoms - which were never investigated by a doctor - the schoolgirl was found hanged in Brooke Woods, near her home in Chadlington, in June 11 this year”.

Farmers urged to cut antibiotics — GPs more popular for prescribing them!

The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance has published its report on antimicrobials in environment and agriculture and has urged farmers to cut their antibiotic usage. Over half of antibiotics used worldwide are destined for animal use, with a new threat highlighted in China this month. The heavy use of antibiotics has lead to some infections being almost impossible to treat due to resistance to most major antibiotic groups developing. This comes in the same week that it was revealed that GPs who prescribe patients with antibiotics are more popular. Patient satisfaction levels determine how much a GP is paid, so it seems in doctor’s interest to prescribe drugs that may be inappropriate. Tim Ballard, vice chair of the Royal College of GPs said, “public perception needs to change - our patients need to understand that when diseases become resistant to antibiotics, it means that antibiotics will cease to work and as it stands, we don't have an alternative”.

Australian Defence Force admits members have suffered from anti-malarials

After years of allegedly not taking claims seriously, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) has acknowledged that a number of current and past members have suffered permanent psychological damage, anxiety, nightmares, suicidal thoughts and hallucinations after taking the anti-malarial Larian (or melfloquine). Major Stuart McCarthy experienced serious side effects, including suicidal depression, but said “anybody like me who has dared to stand up and ask for proper help has just been threatened”. Up to 1,250 current and past members of the ADF are estimated to have long-term effects from the medication. Lariam is the third line agent for the ADF, meaning it is only prescribed if the other 2 approved anti-malarials do not work. The ADF states that less than 1% of current deployed members are taking Lariam. An ADF spokesman said, “While in the majority of cases the side-effects associated with mefloquine disappear after ceasing the medication, Defence accepts that some people do continue to experience ongoing issues”. This comes just a month after a safety inquiry into British soldiers taking Lariam began.

UK cost of cancer drugs one of the lowest in Europe

Compared to other high-income countries, the UK pays less for cancer drugs, according to a report in the Lancet journal. Germany, Sweden and Switzerland pay the most for the same drugs. The price of cancer drugs has risen sharply in recent years — accounting for over £10 billion of EU healthcare spending in 2013 – but David Watson, director of pricing and reimbursement at the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry said the UK is “getting a fair deal with regards to medicines pricing”. The authors of the study say transparency is needed as some countries risk overpaying for drugs; in the higher paying countries the price was sometimes twice as high.

Putin’s Russia to be the world’s largest supplier of organic food

Putin aims for Russia’s extensive land and water resources to be used to produce “environmentally-friendly, high-quality food” both for home use and export. This nationwide approach will help meet increasing demands for locally produced Russian food. Earlier in 2015 Russia made it an offence to mis-label GM food, with fines for unclear or misleading labels; so any growth in agricultural productivity in Russia will come without the use of GMOs. However, it is important that this agricultural expansion does not impact the fragile Russian ecosystem.