|Editorial Issue 166|
Just as we are finalizing this Jan 2010 issue of PH Online, comes the incredible circulated news of the alleged kidnap of Alpha Omega Laboratory owner Greg Caton from Ecuador to the USA. Alpha Omega Lab manufactures and sells herbal products including Cancema.
I have been shocked by Side Effects: A Prosecutor, a Whistleblower, and a Bestselling Antidepressant on Trial by Alison Bass, a riveting thriller about how the New York State Attorney General's office, successfully brought a lawsuit against GaxoSmithKline for consumer fraud for concealing, distorting and misrepresenting research clinical trial data about the antidepressant drug Paxil.
Buried within corporate research files was data demonstrating that Paxil and other drugs including Prozac and Zoloft increased incidence of suicides among adolescents widely prescribed these drugs. The narrative regarding how whistleblowers discovered the money trail, the research deception, and the political shenanigans between the pharmaceutical giant and government departments was complex and highly person-centred upon several characters who played major roles in exposing the scandal.
As a former laboratory scientist myself, I found the description of how results which showed increased suicides could be transformed into either positive or neutral effects almost unbelievable. Recruited patients who exhibited suicidal thoughts or behaviour were dropped from the study, the reasons attributed to side effects or terms such as 'emotional lability'. The amounts of money being paid to clinical researchers, sometimes in the region of $20,000 per recruit to a clinical trial or half a million dollars to their research laboratory were astronomical; I have obviously been incredibly naïve regarding such sums.
Main characters include Rose Firestein, assistant attorney general, diminutive, nearly-blind and workaholic who walked with a cane, and Donna Howard assistant administrator at Brown University's department of Psychiatry who proved that Dr Martin Keller, Chief of psychiatry at Brown had been receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health for research that wasn't being done. Obtaining documented proof was literally like getting blood from a stone; however this case was pivotal in instituting new standard for pharmaceutical companies publishing on a database results from clinical trials and medical journals' reporting on drug research.
Several of the features published in this Jan 2010 Issue 166, including Coping Successfully with Vestibular (Inner-Ear Trauma) and Treating Pregnant Clients: Complementary Therapists' Appreciation of Risk may come to be regarded as pivotal in that they represent somewhat of a convergence between what are euphemistically referred to as Conventional and Complementary Medicine.
Inner ear conditions including tinnitus, Menière's Disease and other balance problems cause untold misery to many people and are exceedingly nasty with their far-reaching symptoms of nausea, dizziness and worse. Dr Ann Filmore has done a great service in compiling this feature which may provide help to sufferers.
Denise Tiran's highly authoritative exposé which takes us on a bit of a journey around the somewhat complicated issues regarding treating pregnant clients is a wake-up call to many Complementary practitioners, who, by definition have been trained and schooled in Complementary rather than Conventional Medicine.
Legally, the only professionals who may take sole responsibility for the care of pregnant and childbearing women, except in an emergency, are midwives, who are responsible for caring for women with normal pregnancies and births, or doctors, who specialize in dealing with obstetric complications. This rule originates from the 1951 Midwives' Act and is designed to protect mothers and babies from inadequate care. By inference, therefore, all therapies must be complementary, not alternative, to conventional maternity care, and therapists should consider ways of developing communication links with local midwives and obstetricians. There is also a requirement, under the Civil Liabilities Act for those providing maternity care to retain all case records for 25 years, since any claims for negligence resulting in birth-related injuries can be brought to court by the affected person during this time. Although this is not a legal requirement which applies to those who are not midwives or doctors, therapists would be wise to retain for the full 25 year period the records of pregnant women whom they have treated.Complementary practitioners don't necessarily regard every female client as potentially pregnant, and may also not keep clinical notes for 25 years, which is what is required in the NHS, a somewhat huger organizational bureaucracy with the means to so do. Denise Tiran's article highlights several of clinical practice measures required by law for medical personnel including doctors, nurses and midwives, but have which have not necessarily been observed by practitioners performing Reflexology, Massage or Acupuncture.
The accumulated archive which is PH Online and which has been built up over the past 15 years, is comprised of many thousands of published article features, published research studies, book reviews and online links to the entire universe relating to natural health approaches. This body of knowledge is a contribution to our quest for personal optimum health and choice in this pursuit. As we enter the 2nd decade of the 21st century, I wish all PH Online readers the best of health and happiness.