The crushing power of the pharmaceutical industry – a sorry taleWed 10:38 am Europe/London, 27 Jul 2022
Here is a sorry tale about the power of the pharmaceutical industry to crush all dissent … dead. The key player is Dr. Aseem Malhotra, who some of you may know. He is a consultant cardiologist. Very bright, sparky, willing to take on the establishment when required. I get on well with him, we communicate on many different issues. He has his detractors – I am not one of them.
First, some background, to put this tale into some kind of context. It is part of an e-mail that I was sent, by Aseem. I I have modified it slightly. Basically, I changed it from first person and got rid of some typos. I have also checked with other independent witnesses, to ensure the accuracy of events:
‘Dr Aseem Malhotra was invited to deliver a keynote lecture/speech at the International Medical Graduates dinner by its organiser, Consultant Psychiatrist and Chair of the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) Dr JS Bamrah CBE. The event took place on Monday 27th June as a fringe event of the British Medical Association (BMA) Annual Representative Meeting (ARM).
Other chief guests included the Chair of the BMA (Dr Chaand Nagpaul) and the President of the BMA (Professor Nina Modi). The title of his talk was “Advocating for REAL evidence-based medicine”.
The talk was well received with excellent personal feedback including the Chair of BAPIO, Dr JS Bamrah. The event also commemorated Aseem’s late father Dr Kailash Chand Malhotra who died suddenly last year. He was honorary vice president of the BMA and on the BMA council.
The organiser of BMA education events Beryl De Souza also personally told Aseem it was a brilliant talk, and the next day sent him a text message asking him to present the same talk as an educational webinar to BMA members.
Aseem had also given a talk to over one hundred BMA members earlier in the year about heart disease, statins and cholesterol with excellent feedback. The Chairman of the British Egyptian Medical Association who was very complimentary about the talk also met Aseem the following day and asked if he would give the same talk to his members.’
It all sounded rather splendid, and mainstream, and suchlike.
But, gentle reader, beware. For there is a malignant ghost hovering over this feast. The ghost of ‘anti-vaxxer present’. Now it doesn’t take much to be accused of being an anti-vaxxer. The phrase ‘I have some concerns about mRNA vaccines’ is usually enough to be mercilessly attacked by the dementors, controlled by Facebook, Twitter and suchlike.
In this case, during his talk, Aseem presented data from a study called ‘Serious Adverse Events of Special Interest Following mRNA Vaccination in Randomized Trials.’
It is a pre-print paper, at this point, and has not yet been peer-reviewed. It is due to be published in the Elsevier journal SSRN. You can see the full paper here 1.
The authors, from such places as Stanford, UCLA and Maryland, are of high academic standing. What they did was to look at serious adverse events associated with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The Discussion section of the paper states the following:
‘The excess risk of serious adverse events found in our study points to the need for formal harm-benefit analyses, particularly those that are stratified according to risk of serious COVID-19 outcomes such as hospitalization or death.’
The ‘abstract’ further states, in the results section:
‘Pfizer and Moderna mRNA COVID-19 vaccines were associated with an increased risk of serious adverse events of special interest, with an absolute risk increase of 10.1 and 15.1 per 10,000 vaccinated over placebo baselines of 17.6 and 42.2 (95% CI -0.4 to 20.6 and -3.6 to 33.8) respectively.
Combined, the mRNA vaccines were associated with an absolute risk increase of serious adverse events of special interest of 12.5 per 10,000 (95% CI 2.1 to 22.9). The excess risk of serious adverse events of special interest surpassed the risk reduction for COVID-19 hospitalization relative to the placebo group in both Pfizer and Moderna trials (2.3 and 6.4 per 10,000 participants, respectively).’
Now, in English. According to this paper, the risk of a serious adverse event (caused by the vaccine) was greater than the reduction in hospitalisation from COVID-19 (prevented by the vaccine). Therefore, on this metric, the vaccine(s) may be doing more harm than good. [Please don’t hit me, I said ‘may’.]
Thus, Aseem committed the greatest sin imaginable today. He dared to mention a scientific study that asked questions about mRNA vaccines. And, of course, oops, I have now mentioned it too. Which clearly makes me an anti-vaxxer. Yes, quoting scientific papers is now, virtually, a crime. So, I have to strongly advise you … don’t look at the paper. Else you will become contaminated with impure thoughts and may have to be stomped on.
Oh, what a world we now live in.
Anyway. Back to Aseem’s story. Here he was, basking in glory. To top it all, he was then presented with an award. To quote … with some slight edits:
‘The next day Dr JS Bamrah informed Aseem that he was going to receive an award, to be presented by the BMA Chair, Dr Nagpaul. The award was “Champion of Preventative Medicine”. He had spoken to Dr Nagpaul on the phone who agreed.
The award was given in a break at the BMA conference. Dr Nagpaul was asked where he wants the photo to be taken of him presenting Aseem with the award. He suggested the main podium at the BMA conference hall, but the picture quality is poor, so they go elsewhere, and Dr Nagpaul was more than happy for Aseem to receive the award in front of a board in the main lobby with the BMA logo in the background. This was NOT Aseem’s suggestion.
Later that afternoon (Tuesday 28th) Aseem received the photo via text and put a tweet out (see below) in the evening with the three photos of Aseem receiving the award including with a larger group of people including the BMA president which read:
“Truly honoured to receive the “Champion of Preventive Medicine award from the Chair of the BMA @Cnagpaul. In my talk I said the science alone isn’t enough; opposition from vested interests needs to be overcome to save the #NHS. It’s time for REAL evidence-based medicine (fist bump emoji).’
But the all-seeing eye of Sauron had been ‘observing’ this unfortunate series of events. Grima Wormtongue was dispatched to whisper in the ears of those in power. ‘Yes, my precious (to mix my characters, stories, and metaphors, horribly), nasty hobbitses won’t be seen to criticise vaccines will they.’
Behind the scenes … all hell broke loose. Someone had dared to mention a study mildly critical of vaccines, and the BMA chairman GAVE HIM AN AWARD. Off with his head. ‘Whose head, please?’
‘Everyone involved in this treachery.’
‘Yes boss, sure boss, right away boss….’
The tale continues:
‘The next morning, Aseem noticed a missed call and message from Dr Bamrah. “Please call Aseem. Need your tweet modified. Delete the bit about BMA council. Just say Chaand Nagpaul. Happy to explain.”
Aseem did as requested and sent another tweet specifically clarifying that it was an IMG forum award and was given to me by Chaand Nagpaul, without mentioning the BMA at all. Aseem also messaged Dr Bamrah in reference to Chaand which he also shared with him “He needs to stand his ground and not capitulate. We’ve compromised by deleting the tweet. My dad would say always stand up to bullies and cowards – that’s what he taught me.”
Chaand (CN) replies to me “Aseem the issue is who the award originated from. They’re questioning my governance – it was not an award “from me”. I know it’s semantics but real uproar”
AM: “Ok. I will delete the tweet altogether”
CN: “Much wider than this individual – within BMA too sadly – everything attributed to me has to be cleared with BMA comms while BMA chair”
AM: “Tweet deleted”
CN: “I’m going to get some sleep! It’s been incessant”
BMA releases a statement from the Chair that is read out at the conference essentially stating that the BMA does not endorse the views of Dr Aseem Malhotra and that Chaand had not actually given me the award but had “handed it over” due to politeness.
Why such a storm? Why the behind-the-scenes desperate machinations to ensure that the BMA could not, and would not be associated in any way with Aseem? Why the personal humiliations and climbdowns? Why the control over Chaand Nagpaul – who was stepping down as BMA chairman anyway? The incessant tweeting and criticism.
Was it because Aseem has always been critical of vaccines? I refer you to the fact that in early 2021 Aseem was asked to help promote the COVID-19 vaccine to the, so called, BAME (Black Asian Minority Ethnic) community. Yes, he promoted the vaccine to a particular vaccine hesitant community 2.
However, he has also, like me, been alert to the possibility of potential harm that the vaccines may cause. He is also, like me, well aware of the way that data from clinical studies can be, and is, manipulated and biased.
We both cast a highly sceptical eye over any ‘evidence’ that emerges from commercial organisations. Neither of us happily chants ‘two vaccines good, four vaccines better.’ We are both in the ‘but that man is wearing no clothes’ section of the audience. A rather smaller section, it must be said. Usually containing only two people. Him, and me.
Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to find out who, exactly, started the ‘bring me the head of Aseem Malhotra’ movement within the BMA. Could it be, I wondered, that they had a commercial conflict of interest? By which I mean, had they worked with a pharmaceutical company that made mRNA COVID19 vaccines.
Well, I have spoken to people within the BMA, at a high level, to find out exactly what went on. They confirm the details of Aseem’s story. But wish to remain nameless. It seems that a certain individual, who led the attack on Aseem, has close connections with Moderna. Surprise, surprise. As you can tell, I am treading on potentially libellous ground here, so I am not naming names. I am currently involved in a monstrously long, and complex libel suit, and I don’t want another one at present, thank you very much.
This all comes hot on the heels of an article in the British Medical Journal by Maryanne Demasi. A medical journalist whose career was destroyed when she produced and presented programmes in Australia that were critical of the cholesterol hypothesis and the, potential, over-prescribing of statins. They even tried to get her PhD removed, to further destroy her reputation.
The BMJ article was called ‘From FDA to MHRA: are drug regulators for hire?’
‘Patients and doctors expect drug regulators to provide an unbiased, rigorous assessment of investigational medicines before they hit the market. But do they have sufficient independence from the companies they are meant to regulate?’3
The short answer is no. Drug regulators have been bought and paid for by the companies that they are supposed to regulate. But the commercial influence spreads far wider than the regulators. Key opinion leaders (KOLs) who carry out the big clinical trials, who speak at conferences, and who appear at the top of influential medical organisations and write the guidelines – are often bought and paid for too.
There is virtually no area of the medical world that has not been lobbied, infiltrated and – in many cases – paid for and controlled by the pharmaceutical industry. We have a major crisis on our hands, that no-one is doing anything about.
Aseem’s tale is just one more example of the fact that anyone who dares to stand up to the relentless marketing of more and more drugs, and vaccines, will be attacked and crushed. In this case, under the banner of the British Medical Association. An organisation that I am increasingly unproud to be a member of. If the BMA can no longer support freedom of speech, then no-one can. The future looks bleak.
To quote George Orwell. ‘If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face, forever.’