Publication Bias Galore!

Recent studies reveal some of how drug company money has compromised the objectivity of drug research. Psychological Medicine in November 2006 reported that drug studies funded by pharmaceutical companies show positive results for psychiatric drugs 78 percent of the time, while drug studies without pharmaceutical company funding show favorable results only 48 percent of the time. This was discovered after examining 301 articles that were published between 1992 and 2002 in the American Journal of Psychiatry, Archives of General Psychiatry, Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, and Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology.

Also reported by Psychological Medicine was that the percentage of studies sponsored by drug companies increased from 25% in 1992 to 57% in 2002. Currently, it is increasingly rare for a drug study not to be funded by the drug’s manufacturer.

Why are so many doctors unaware of just how poorly antidepressants have actually fared in studies? The New England Journal of Medicine (January 17, 2008) reviewed both published and unpublished antidepressant studies registered with the FDA between 1987 and 2004 on twelve antidepressants, and it reported that most studies with negative results were never published in journals. While 94 percent of antidepressant studies published in journals show antidepressants to be more effective than placebos, only 51 percent of all registered studies were determined by the FDA to show antidepressants superior to placebos.

Follow the money-

  • Dr. Frederick Goodwin $1.3 million from drug companies between 2000 and 2007
  • Dr. Joseph Biederman & Dr. Timothy E. Wilens $1.6 million in consulting fees from drug makers from 2000 to 2007
  • Dr. Charles Nemeroff of Emory University $2.8 million from drug companies between 2000 to 2007
  • President-elect of the APA [American Psychiatric Association], Alan Schatzberg of Stanford University, had $4.8 million stock holdings in a drug development company and that the APA itself was heavily dependent on drug-company financing

PCS On New Labour’s Attack on Welfare

“The government needs to pay heed to the growing chorus of opposition to its plans for welfare reform. The plans are regressive and will lead to the removal of the state safety net and the introduction of the free market, where the only motive is profit for the few and not help for the many. As recession bites these are the wrong proposals at the wrong time.”

Mark Serwotka

The Public and Commercial Service union say-

The welfare state is one of the UK’s greatest achievements and supports us all especially vulnerable and unemployed people and their families.

In July the government published the green paper ‘No one written off: reforming welfare to reward responsibility’ announcing plans to change the current provision of support.

Many of the plans were unacceptable when they were first published and the worsening economic situation should lead to a fundamental rethink. However the government is pressing ahead despite the current global economic downturn which is leading to increasing levels of unemployment. As a result we have come together.

The government’s proposals remove entitlements and fail to value the important work of parents and carers. Parents with young children, carers, sick, disabled, people with mental health problems and other vulnerable groups face tougher tests to qualify for benefits. If they fail they could be cut off with no support.

We are opposed to the abolition of Income Support which ends the principle that those in need deserve help. We are opposed to compulsory work for benefits. People should be paid the rate for the job or at the very least be paid the national minimum wage.

Jobseekers Allowance is shockingly low at less than £10 a day, if it had increased in line with earnings over the past 30 years the rate for a single person over the age of 25 would be more than £100 a week.

The government wants more of the welfare state to be handed over to the private sector. It is wrong to profit from the sick and unemployed. There is also the intention to share information with the police which raises real concerns about civil liberties.

We want voluntary skills training and life long learning opportunities for unemployed people. The government should focus on ensuring that there is more support to access jobs that have fair pay and decent conditions with a guarantee that when people cannot seek work they will not face poverty.

The government should introduce positive measures to challenge discriminatory attitudes held by employers, encourage flexible working practices and expand the provision of affordable childcare.

We want the government to rethink its plans. Support our campaign to help create a better welfare state and society.

Yours sincerely,
Mark Serwotka – general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS)
Paul Kenny – general secretary of the GMB union
Sally Hunt – general secretary of the University and College Union (UCU)
Jeremy Dear – general secretary of National Union of Journalists (NUJ)
John Corey – general secretary of the Northern Ireland Public Services Alliance
Katie Curtis – national women’s officer, National Union of Students (NUS)
Ama Uzowuru – vice president welfare, National Union of Students (NUS)
Colin Hampton – national unemployed centres combine
Eileen Devaney – national co-ordinator of the UK Coalition Against Poverty
Iman Achara – director of British Black Anti-Poverty Network
Peter Kelly – director of The Poverty Alliance Scotland
Frances Dowds – director of the Northern Ireland Anti-Poverty Network
Miranda Evans – policy and public affairs manager at Disability Wales
Dr Chris Ford MB ChB MRCP FRC GP – GP in north west London and the clinical director of substance misuse management in General Practice.
Tony Rhodes and Paula Hanson – co-founders of The National Carers Forum
Cheryl Dobbinson, Frances Kelly, Iain MacNeil, Rosemary O’Neill, Paul Tubby and Philippa Wood – Carer Watch
Chris Steel, Jean Milne and Tony Dennis – Carers Voices
Kelly Smith – secretary of the National Association of Welfare Rights Advisers
Claudia Rubin – head of policy and communications at Release
Stephen Fisher – chairman of trustees, Repetitive Strain Injury Action
Kim Sparrow – Single Mothers’ Self Defence
Claire Glasman – WinVisible (Women with Visible and Invisible Disabilities)
Niall Cooper – Church Action on Poverty and Get Fair Coalition
Adrian Sinfield – professor emeritus in Social Policy, School of Social and Political Studies, University of Edinburgh
Professor Ruth Lister CBE – professor of Social Policy at Loughborough University
Mark Donne – director of the Fair Pay Network
Steve Donnison and Holiday Whitehead – co-directors of Benefits and Work
Neal Lawson – chair of Compass
Andrew Fisher – co-ordinator of the Left Economics Advisory Panel
(ht2 HarpyMarx)

DeMenezes Inquest- Judge Opens The Whitewash, Family Walk Out

The jury at the inquest into the death of Jean Charles de Menezes will not be permitted to consider returning a verdict of unlawful killing, the coroner conducting the hearing said today.

The coroner, former high court judge Sir Michael Wright, began summing up seven weeks of evidence by telling jurors they would be allowed to return only a verdict of lawful killing or an open verdict.

With all the evidence considered, a verdict of unlawful killing could not be supported, he said.

After consideration and submissions, he told the 11-strong jury, “I so direct you that the evidence in this case, taken at its highest, would not justify my leaving verdicts of unlawful killing to you.”

Wright explained: “I’m not saying that nothing went wrong in a police operation which resulted in the killing of an innocent man.

“All interested persons agree that a verdict of unlawful killing could only be left to you if you could be sure that a specific officer had committed a very serious crime: murder or manslaughter,” Reuters reported him as saying.

The firearms officer testified that after the warning had been shouted, De Menezes’s actions had made him fear the electrician was carrying a bomb. Several passengers on the same carriage contradicted this account, saying they had heard no warnings, and that De Menezes gave no significant reaction to the police’s arrival.

However, Wright added, even if the jury found the officers had lied, they would not be able to blame them for the death. “Many people tell lies for a variety of reasons … [including] to mitigate the impact of what might be a … tragic mistake,” he said.

One law for us and another for them, how clear do you want it? Via HarpyMarx– The family are appealing to the High Court against the unlawful killing verdict being disallowed by the coroner. He has taken away the jury’s freedom to judge and return a verdict of their choice.

And the Justice4Jean campaign say: Lawyers for the Menezes family are going to the High Court today to apply for a judicial review of the Coroner’s decision on the verdict options being left for the jury. Earlier today, members of the Menezes family and their supporters walked out of court at the beginning of the Coroner’s summing up to express their dissatisfaction with the turn of events at the inquest.

As Harpy says show support and solidarity to the Justice4jean campaign.


Pug Faced Teddy Boy 70’s Throwback Declares Class War


Not content with voting for Trident, student fees, further NHS privatisation, ID cards, the Iraq war, covering up the lies of the Iraq war and 42 day & indefinite detention -take a breath- Pug Faced Teddy Boy 70’s Throwback James ‘Photoshop‘ Purnell (you just know he masturbates to Sweeney box sets) declares class war on those most evilist of scum…mothers of toddlers. Part of his wider New Labour brief of privatising social security and reducing entitlement- “Some people say we should be slowing down because of the economic downturn. I passionately believe we should be doing the opposite.

Wanker, I guess he takes The Shock Doctrine as an instruction manual.

The government will announce further stringent welfare reforms today which would force lone parents with children aged one or more to prepare themselves for work or face benefit sanctions.

The proposals, likely to provoke a confrontation in tomorrow’s Queen’s speech, represent a further extension of the government’s responsibilities agenda. Ministers already faced a backlash over aspects of the planned welfare reform bill as lobbyists argued plans to tighten sanctions and give private contractors a bigger role in job placement, should be shelved in view of the recession.

But James Purnell, the work and pensions secretary, will defy critics when he publishes a review prepared by the academic Paul Gregg that will propose all lone parents with children as young as one should be required to make themselves ready for work.

The government proposed in a green paper in July to make it a requirement for lone parents with children aged seven or more to seek work, proposals that had already led to a backlash. It is estimated there are 600,000 lone parents with children aged under seven.

Gregg is to propose a new category of benefit claimants – the progression to work group – who he says should face clearer state requirements to make themselves ready for work.

The Department for Work and Pensions said this group would include lone parents with children as young as one, partners of people on benefits with children under seven and incapacity benefit claimants deemed to be capable of work.

This group, before they are actually ready to actively seek work, would be expected to address debt, confidence or health problems, as well as taking on work and skills training. Young mothers might also be required to make inquiries about access to childcare in their locality.

“Sanctions would only apply to those who refuse to take steps to be job-ready that have been jointly agreed with their personal advisers in Job Centres”, said a DWP official.

From 2010 many of these advisers would be employed by the private sector or charities.

World Aids Day

Oops, I am reminded it is/was World’s Aids Day. Religious fools still insist on abstinence programs and even fund false information against condom use as being effective. And as the bailouts show money for research into treatment could easily be found if the political will could be formed (if you like- a disease that affected elite wealth got immediate action one that kills people…nah, no biggie). So a ways to go yet, there is always struggle, so be good to one another, have fun & stay safe peeps.