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Letters to the Editor Issue 195

by Letters(more info)

listed in letters to the editor, originally published in issue 195 - June 2012

Censorship, Sports and the Power of One Word

Editorial by Howard Straus

At the World Snooker Championships, one of the finalists, Peter Ebdon, who had qualified for the Snooker Championship finals an amazing 21 times in a row, was asked to remove a logo from his tee shirt. [1]

Anyone who watches almost any sport at all is certainly familiar with the blizzard of brand name logos for everything from banks to watches, from lubricants to cigarettes, from pain relief medications and golf paraphernalia to the naming of stadia. The commercialization of virtually every sport in this fashion is virtually a ‘given’, no matter how harmful or carcinogenic a product may be, to the extent that it is a multi-billion-dollar a year industry in itself, with star sports figures earning millions of dollars in product endorsements.

But Peter Ebdon raised a firestorm by wearing a logo that said, "Gerson Therapy”. Interestingly, few of the photographs of Ebdon in any of the articles clearly showed the logo. [2] Ebdon was moved to wear the logo after his father's death from cancer. But the explosion from the cancer, pharmaceutical and medical industry was prompt. "World Snooker received several messages questioning whether he should be allowed to wear the Gerson Therapy logo," noted the Telegraph newspaper article.

"Obviously, I've upset somebody somewhere, but personally, I think it's too important for people not to know," said Ebdon, in a post-competition press conference. World Snooker officials clearly disagree, justifying their censorship by pointing to a rarely-enforced 1939 law prohibiting the advertising of any cancer therapy, or virtually any public speech about it. This law is never invoked when white-coated oncologists touting toxic chemotherapy or other possibly ineffective[3] but immensely profitable allopathic cancer treatments take to the airwaves. In a very personal endorsement of Gerson Therapy principles, Ebdon has become a vegan since his father's death.

It is impossible to avoid the parallels to another, similar case. In 2004, when HRH Prince Charles mentioned the word Gerson once in one speech at the Royal College of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, the medical and pharmaceutical industry in the UK pilloried him in the tabloid press for months. The Prince had said: "I know of one patient who turned to Gerson Therapy having been told she was suffering from terminal cancer and would not survive another course of chemotherapy. Happily, seven years later, she is alive and well. So it is vital that, rather than dismissing such experiences, we should further investigate the beneficial nature of these treatments." It is not exactly a wild-eyed statement.

Yet attacks on Prince Charles went so far as to imply that the Prince was crazy and lament that royals could no longer be beheaded. The tabloids picked up the story, and ran with it around the world. It was only when they realized that they were exposing the name Gerson to millions of people who would have otherwise never heard of it that they finally went silent.

Now, once again, the name Gerson, put forth publicly by one person, on one occasion, has given the medical/pharmaceutical industry apoplexy, and generated tens of thousands of words of calumny in the controlled press. Many people must be wondering what generated that kind of reaction. This ‘over-the-top’ response is the greatest acknowledgement that the word Gerson clearly generates such fear in the medicine-for-profit industry that its knee-jerk reaction is to spew abuse in all directions.

The pharmaceutical industry is the most profitable business on the face of the planet. Yet it is terrified of one word, whether spoken by a prince or worn by a snooker player. If they have to resort to silencing even the quietest whisper of dissent, they are exposing their lack of confidence in their own competitiveness as providers of methods and products that are supposed to enhance and restore good health.

Howard Straus is the grandson of Dr. Max Gerson and author of the doctor's biography, Dr Max Gerson: Healing the Hopeless.[4] He is also president of Cancer Research Wellness Institute.  www.cancer-research.net/

References:

1. www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/snooker/9224683/Peter-Ebdon-told-to-remove-cancer-treatment-logo.html  April 24, 2012.

2. For a photo of the offending logo, with negative opinion: www.quackometer.net/blog/2012/04/bbc-snooker-promoting-cancer-quackery.html

3. Chemotherapy contributes less than three percent to five year cancer survival in the USA. Morgan, Ward and Barton. Clinical Oncology. 16:549-560. 2004. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=Morgan%2C%20Ward%20and%20Barton.%20Clinical%20Oncology%2C%202004.%2016%3A549-560

4. Reviewed in the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine. 17:2, pages 122-124. 2002. Scroll down to the third book review posted at http://orthomolecular.org/library/jom/2002/pdf/2002-v17n02-p120.pdf 

Further Information

Andrew W Saul PhD - Editor and contact person. omns@orthomolecular.org

Nutritional Medicine is Orthomolecular Medicine

The peer-reviewed Orthomolecular Medicine News Service is a non-profit and non-commercial informational resource. Orthomolecular medicine uses safe, effective nutritional therapy to fight illness. For more information: www.orthomolecular.org  

http://orthomolecular.org/subscribe.html     http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/index.shtml   

Find a Doctor

To locate an orthomolecular physician near you: http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v06n09.shtml 

Editorial Review Board

Ian Brighthope MD (Australia)

Ralph K. Campbell MD (USA)

Carolyn Dean MD ND (Canada)

Damien Downing MD (United Kingdom)

Michael Ellis MD (Australia)

Martin P. Gallagher, MD, DC (USA)

Michael Gonzalez, DSc  PhD (Puerto Rico)

William B. Grant, PhD (USA)

Steve Hickey, PhD (United Kingdom)

James A. Jackson, PhD (USA)

Bo H. Jonsson, MD PhD (Sweden)

Thomas Levy, MD JD (USA)

 

Your Access to Homeopathic Medicines is Under Threat - Helios Asks for Help

A review of the Medicines Act 1968 is currently taking place. Section 10 of this Act concerns licensing exemptions for pharmacists, and covers our freedom to supply a large number of different homeopathic remedies. This section has not been updated despite a public consultation last January, to which the entire homeopathic community submitted their concerns and suggestions.

The vast majority of the 3500 remedies available from homeopathic pharmacies are unlicensed. The 60 or so remedies which are licensed are those retailed in health stores and community pharmacies and include Helios’ licensed remedies. Section 10 (4a) states that a pharmacy can supply an unlicensed remedy to you directly but you have to be physically present in the pharmacy. For the last 44 years and beyond, the specialist pharmacies have provided homeopathic medicines, to all corners of the country, by phone, post, fax and more recently e-mail and internet. This is a safe and convenient service which has continued without complaint or risk to customers for decades and it is important that access to remedies continues.

The practical suggestion put forward was that homeopathic remedies above 6x be exempt from this face to face transaction.

Time is short but there is an opportunity now to highlight this issue and effect a change by writing to your MP.

Below is a letter created by the homeopathic organizations which is being circulated. It gives details of how you can help. We would be grateful if you could take the time to let your MP know the impact that the enforcement of this law would have on your choice of healthcare and lifestyle if access to your remedies were severely restricted. Don’t forget to include your home address and postcode on all correspondence.

Thank you very much.

This campaign also has a global petition at Avaaz: www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Your_Access_to_Homoeopathy_is_Under_Threat/?eNXFaab

Finally if you are a Facebook user, liking the ‘Homeopathy worked for me’ page will help to show the depth of homeopathic support. http://www.facebook.com/HoWFMe

With all good wishes.

John Morgan MRPharmS, RSHom

Why?

The Medicines Act is being simplified, which is a good thing because much duplication is being removed. However, as a result there are some key elements which could adversely affect your access to homeopathic medicines if the proposals go into force.

What will happen to my access to homeopathic medicines?

If the current proposals by the MHRA are endorsed by government the following would occur:

  • You would no longer be able to get homeopathic medicines by phone or online
    To get any unlicensed homeopathic medicine a face-to-face consultation would be required at a registered pharmacy.  Unlicensed medicines number in the thousands and make up the majority of homeopathic prescriptions, while there are only 50 licensed homeopathic medicines.  This will also mean you cannot legally buy unlicensed homeopathic medicines online or over the phone as you currently do.
  • Homeopaths would not be able to dispense or prescribe medicines to you
    Homeopathic practitioners would not be able to dispense unlicensed homeopathic medicines to their patients. This arises because homeopaths are not recognised by this law as being supplementary prescribers and it will be illegal for homeopathic pharmacies to supply them with the essential (unlicensed) medicines required for their patients.
  • You would have to get your homeopathic medicines personally at a handful of licensed homeopathic pharmacies in Britain

Hundreds of thousands of people who currently have prescriptions filled for unlicensed homeopathic medicines will be unable to obtain their urgent medicines.  The estimated 6 million users of homeopathy in Britain cannot be expected to be supplied medicines face-to-face by less than five licensed premises.

What You can Do to Stop this from Happening!

Write to your MP and tell him or her - especially if your MP sits on the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments or is involved with Health or Pharmacy.

We are not asking to move mountains. All that needs to be done is a small change to Section 10 of the proposed new Medicines Act to allow greater freedom to dispense remedies to practitioners and could also overcome the face-to-face issue which is unworkable.

Below you will find a few helpful bullets and links to assist you in contacting your MP on this issue.

It is anticipated that the new Medicines Act will be put before the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments for approval in late May/early June for implementation in July, so your swift action is critical!

Write to your MP: Medicines Act consolidation 2012

You can identify the name of your MP by using this website: http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/

You can find out who sits on what committees by going to this website:

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/joint-select/statutory-instruments/membership/

A few helpful points that could be used in your letter.

It is not necessary or recommended to include all the text suggested here.  It is critical that you personalise your letter with your own views and experiences. Overall, try to keep the letter short (a page or less), and emphasise any points that are relevant to the particular MP.

  • I’m deeply concerned a draft proposal set out by the MHRA as part of its consolidation and review of the Medicines Act 1968 could have a significant impact on my ability as a patient to access homeopathic medicines in the UK.
  • In its current form section 10 of the proposal would only allow unlicensed homeopathic medicines to be bought directly from a pharmacist face-to-face, in effect outlawing the purchase of these medicines over the telephone or via online ordering. This would mean I would be deprived of the medicines that I have found to be so beneficial to my health.
  • There are only five homeopathic pharmacies in the UK, so most homeopathic medicines are ordered from these specialist pharmacies either by phone or via the Internet. Therefore the enforcement of section 10 in its current form will have serious consequences for the six million people in the UK who choose to use this form of complementary medicine.
  • If not revised the proposal would also have serious consequences for more than 2,000 homeopathic practitioners, many of whom would find it impossible to treat patients like myself because they can no longer obtain the appropriate homeopathic medicine. 
  • I understand that a central plank of government health policy is to increase patient choice. Section 10 will eliminate choice for people like me who want to be treated with homeopathy.
  • I would like to call on your support in getting the Health Minister to revise slightly the proposed language of the revised Medicines Act to ensure that I have continued access to a full range of homeopathic medicines and my right to choose homeopathic treatment is maintained. 

Further Information

Source: pharmacy@helios.co.uk   www.helios.co.uk

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