Pandemic: or the art of the Spin-Scientist.


Some time back, British Health officials were warning of the approaching ‘Flu’ Pandemic as though it was a guaranteed certainty that a repeat of the 1918 Spanish Flu outbreak, which itself was a true pandemic, was about to hit Great Britain, and decimate the population. I wrote a couple of posts myself, one perhaps a touch more sarcastic than the other, as I, along with about 99.999% of the British population, was convinced that these officials knew even less than anyone else about the risks from the various strains of Bird flu, or Swine flu, or any other variation; but were talking up the advantages of being inoculated with their ever-so expensive Tamiflu drugs which they had chosen without very many trials, or viewed research, or proven statistically-correct and published trials, to back up their doom-laden words.

So it is not too surprising that the Cochrane Collaboration, a group of independent scientists backed, by the British Medical Journal, have, after years of fighting to gain access to ALL the trial data managed and generated by GlaxoSmithKline and Roche, the pharmaceutical giants, finally published their findings after scrutinising the data files. They have discovered that Tamiflu shortened a bout of Flu by about half-a-day from seven days to 6.3 days, which is, when the cost of the stored Tamiflu, noted to be some £424 millions, bought in a panic by the British Government  when the advisors went shrieking around that the ‘sky was indeed about to fall’, was interpreted by those Cochrane scientists as a sheer waste of money.

But will any government scientist, or indeed politician, accept responsibility for this financial debacle?  You must think I am joking! The graveyards themselves will open up before any of that bunch will even admit that the sun rises in the east, never mind accepting responsibility for the sheer waste of spending half-a-billion pounds on gear which not only didn’t work, the side-effects were down-right dangerous!

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