Chemical imaging could be the future of cancer tissue analysis

A new method for analysing tumour samples has been revealed by scientists at Imperial College London.  Current methods are laborious, involving the manual testing and interpretation of tumour characteristics by a histologist.  In a new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers describe how they are trying to take cancer diagnosis into the digital age.

The technology is based on a widely used technique called mass spectrometry, which is used to work out what biological molecules are present in a sample, such as blood or urine.  Using a modified version called mass spectrometry imaging; the researchers are able to generate an image of a patient’s tissue sample, showing the location and density of different biological molecules.

The technique works by passing a laser beam over a tissue sample, such as a tumour, which reacts with the biological molecules to produce a signal that can be converted into a pixelated image.  Each pixel of the image reveals how much of a specific molecule is present in that region of the tissue – producing a map that can reveal specific characteristics of the diseased tissue.

A cancer patient’s tumour is currently characterised based on structural features that are detected by staining with expensive reagents that require expertise to interpret.  Mass spectrometry imaging characterises tumours based on their molecular features and could provide a more accurate assessment of an individual’s cancer.  This could help guide clinicians to make the best treatment decisions for each patient and support a move towards more personalised medicine.  The technique can also be automated, allowing a computer to rapidly analyse hundreds of different molecules in one go, reducing testing time from over a week to only a few hours.

Dr Kirill Veselkov, corresponding author of the study from the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial College London, said: “MSI is an extremely promising technology, but the analysis required to provide information that doctors or scientists can interpret easily is very complex. This work overcomes some of the obstacles to translating MSI’s potential into the clinic. It’s the first step towards creating the next generation of fully automated histological analysis.”





Reporting bias in breast cancer clinical trials

The systems that regulate how drugs come to market are failing the very people that they are supposed to be protecting.  Behaviour that has been challenged for decades without resolution has now been publicly exposed through the work of people like Ben Goldacre and the AllTrials campaign.  One important facet discussed by Goldacre in his book, Bad Pharma, is the reality of reporting bias and results spin perpetrating clinical trials.  Reporting bias, such as selectively revealing or supressing drug-patient interaction, can make a drug look more effective than it really is or disguises potentially harmful side-effects.  Essentially, report bias is under-reporting the undesirable results from a clinical trial so that the benefits are maximised and the desirable hypothesis is proven.  There is a fundamental problem with this in that it violates the standards set by the scientific method and thus, renders any information obtained from such trials as tainted.  A hypothesis should not be desirable but should be part of an idea to be proved or disproved.  Accepting that there would be a desirable outcome from testing the hypothesis automatically makes the experiment bias.

There’s so much to write about when it comes to skewed clinical trials and evidence reporting and I encourage you to read further.  However, what I really want to discuss is a new commentary released by NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence), the guidance body that makes recommendations to the NHS on which drugs they should buy.  It’s important to note that NICE can only make recommendations on a particular drug based on the evidence available to them.  Sometimes this can be very little and what is available is often bias.  The commentary was released through NICE’s ‘Eyes on Evidence’ bulletins which aims to provide access to significant new evidence as it emerges.  One section of the November bulletin caught my eye as it was titled ‘Bias in reporting of randomised controlled clinical trials in breast cancer’.  If you would like to know more about randomised controlled clinical trials (RCT’s) please click here.

I think the bulletin does a good job of reporting the evidence from the source publication (£) but lacks some of the important conclusive remarks made by the authors.  The study in question is a literature review, meaning that the authors went to the effort of finding the result of every RCT published between 1995 and 2011, and analysing them for bias reporting.  It sounds like a large job, and it is.  One way to tackle the review is to take all the RCT publications and compare the findings against what the trial aimed to achieve when it was publically registered.  When a trial is being designed the researchers will select a primary end-point – the final measure that determines the success of a trial.  For a cancer drug this may be something like ‘overall survival’ (OS), ‘disease free survival’ (DFS) or ‘progression free survival’ (PFS).  What’s important here is that the primary end-point is registered so that when the study data is released it will be clear whether or not the conclusions have been reached according to the registered end-point.  All clinical trials are supposed to be publically registered before they start in databases such as but practice is not enforced and many trials remain unregistered.  This is clear in the current review where it was noted that from the 164 trials selected only 30 (18%) were registered at prior to their start.  However, we should be very careful when interpreting this finding because only started in 2000 and at conception only included trials registered in the US, with EU trials being asked to register later on.  This means that any RCT in breast cancer from 1995-2000 is unlikely to be in the database.

What I think is more shocking is that from these 30 trials only 7 reported the same primary end-point than was registered.  This represents a serious failure to be transparent and makes post-trial evaluation by independent reviewers nearly impossible.  How does one review the effectiveness of a drug if the primary aim of the treatment is unclear?  In my opinion, changing the primary end-point looks like admission of spin and bias in the trial.

Reporting bias as a result of unclear end-points was evident amongst the 164 trials reviewed.  A total of 54 trials reported positive results based on non-primary end-points despite not finding a statistically significant difference in the primary end-point.  Essentially, if the aim of a new drug was to reduce deaths by breast cancer and the trial failed to show that, a positive conclusion can still be reached based on surrogate outcomes.  Interestingly, if you look at only the trials reporting no statistical significance for the primary end-point, you find that the percentage reporting positive results on surrogate outcomes increases dramatically.  This is a very sneaky way to spin the data to fit your preferred conclusion.  Currently, there is nothing legally wrong with this but it is irresponsible, misleading and means that the real-life risks and benefits of the drug are disguised from doctors and patients.

Another issue raised by the authors was the tendency to use DFS or PFS rather than OS as a primary end-point.  OS is a much better way to assess the effectiveness of a life-saving drug because it reports deaths by any cause and not just the condition being treated.  On merit, this takes into account deaths caused by drug side-effects, as well as deaths resulting from disease relapse.  On the other hand DFS and PFS only take into account the time before relapse or when the disease gets worse.  The review discussed here found that only 27 of the 164 trials (16.5%) reported OS as the primary end-point.  For women with breast cancer, neither DFS nor PFS have been shown to be adequate alternatives for OS, yet over 80% of the trials reviewed used them as end-points.

It was also noted that doctors will often only read the abstract of concluding remarks of a new clinical trial due to time constraints.  It is therefore essential that primary end-points are clearly described in these sections of a publication so that doctors can review the evidence accurately.  Primary end-points were rarely reported in the abstract or conclusions of the trials reporting positive results despite a non-significant primary end-point.

It would be nice to believe that this reporting bias is abnormal, but in fact the statistics presented in the article are consistent with reviews conducted elsewhere and on separate medical conditions.  This review simply adds more evidence to the fact that this fraudulent and misleading behaviour is rife amongst clinical trial reporting.  If there was ever a need for all trials to be published transparently, made fully accessible and regulated with enforcement, then it is now.

Please join the All Trials campaign and help put healthcare back in the hands of doctors and patients.

In reply to Michael Fitzpatrick

In a recent article on Spiked, the author Dr Michael Fitzpatrick took to ‘slamming the campaign to ban a wacky health mag from shops’.  Fitzpatrick takes considerable dislike to my blog posts in his article, and although attempts to fairly discredit my view, fails to fully understand the context of what I wrote.

First off, Spiked editorial have made the mistake of throwing a sub-heading on the story claiming we are trying to ‘ban’ WDDTY.  This is simply not the case – what we are asking is for supermarkets to take responsibility for the content they choose to sell.  Yes, you could argue that there are much worse things on sale when it comes to damaging public health, such as tobacco and alcohol, but that isn’t the point.  This campaign calls upon supermarkets to be more vigilant over false and misleading health claims.  It is not a call to ban the magazine.

Fitzpatrick says that I have ‘accused the alternative-health magazine What Doctors Don’t Tell You of misusing scientific evidence and language and of providing ill-informed advice about breast cancer in a feature about the film star Angelina Jolie, who recently underwent a double mastectomy’.  I don’t think I have accused them of this, I have proven, through analysing their references that the claims they make are incorrect, ill-informed and dangerously misleading.  Fitzpatrick points out that WDDTY is not a scientific journal and by accusing them of being ‘unscientific is like accusing the Beano of lacking literary merit’.  From this statement I can assume that Fitzpatrick has not recently followed the WDDTY press releases where they repeatedly claim that (1) they report on scientific evidence and (2) they have researchers that check for accuracy and validity of their claims.  If this is the case then they would be more scientific then journalists and editors from other media outlets and thus, believe that they have scientific credibility to back up their articles.  It has been shown on many occasions that this is not the case.  It is commonplace for WDDTY to use references that don’t back up what they are claiming and misinterpret or misuse statistics.  I have also shown how they have just made up quotes from researchers without their knowledge.  This makes WDDTY more dangerous than a sensationalist health piece in a newspaper because they are attempting to appear scientific and be a trusted source on what they report.

Fitzpatrick has a point regarding the misuse of scientific evidence elsewhere and I agree wholeheartedly that more needs to be done across the board to change the way evidence is presented, disseminated and accessed.  But how does that mean that this campaign is worthless?  It’s not his business where I, or others, choose to focus our attention.  Some would say that the misuse of scientific evidence isn’t important at all but instead we should all focus our attention on world hunger and global warming.  Does that make standing up for evidence a waste of time?  I don’t think so.

His final remark is to say that I believe that ‘the general public and readers of supermarket magazines are mere passive dupes of propaganda who need the protection of an enlightened elite’.  This isn’t true at all.  The points I make always refer to the fact that WDDTY give their claims credibility by referencing scientific publications.  This is misleading to everyone because unless you take the time to check each reference you will assume that the author has been honest.  WDDTY are far from honest when it comes to references and so by me taking the time to present where the flaws are in their references means other don’t have to.  Anyone can do this (within limit due to paywalls etc.) and I have never suggested that questioning the evidence is beyond anyone.

I disagree with Fitzpatrick over the fact that asking supermarkets to stop stocking WDDTY is a bad idea.  Supermarkets are one of the most trusted retailers and as a result have a duty to protect their customers.  Selling magazines such as WDDTY actively promotes dangerous and misleading health advice and gives it undue credibility.  No one has asked WDDTY to stop selling their magazine.  If anything has been learned from this is that loyal followers of the magazine will always buy it and they would still be able to.

Belief in medicine with no evidence

The term ‘blind faith’ is usually attributed to someone who holds strong beliefs even when there is a significant body of evidence suggesting that they are wrong.  It is something I have struggled against when trying to engage alternative medicine supporters in the reliability of medical treatments that lack an evidence base.  Blind faith can make conversations extremely frustrating, when no matter how much evidence you present, you can’t even for a second bring that person to question their belief.  For a while I would stay engaged in conversation, mistaken that the other party would comment rationally on what I showed them, but it never happened.  However, I don’t consider these exchanges futile, because it has made me ponder on blind faith and why it’s rampant amongst the alt-med community.

I am not a psychologist and would not profess to know anything about the subject (therefore any comments on statements I make below would be appreciated for my own learning).  Luckily, the internet is vast and I found that The Tao of Reason blog provides a great introduction to the psychology of blind faith.  Essentially, any evidence that conflicts with your own beliefs, leads to discomfort (referred to as cognitive dissonance).  When these beliefs are strong, as with blind faith, the subject will dismiss this evidence by any means in order to justify their views.  This refusal to accept evidence or even rationalise in the face of it could explain the dismissive nature of the alt-med community.  The Tao of Reason goes on to suggest that when faced with compelling evidence, blind faith can cause people to not only discredit the evidence, but also strengthen their beliefs.  So perhaps these engagements are actually fuelling the belief that a certain alt-med is effective.  In a scenario where no matter how much evidence is presented will change someone’s way of thinking, is it worth debating?

This notion of defending ones belief by dismissing even the most compelling evidence is something I have seen a lot.  Someone may defend their view by making a sweeping positive statement.  You can show them that this statement is flawed and provide direct evidence to support it and in return you will usually get a second defending statement with no bearing on the first or any clear response to your rebuttal.  This is what can be frustrating and denies the conversation from ever reaching a rational debate.  In the case of homeopathy, there is compelling evidence that it is not biologically, physically or chemically plausible (Avogadro’s constant and beyond).  Yet the homeopathy industry continues to thrive on a culture of blind faith amongst supporters.  This is because elaborate dismissals of the evidence against homeopathy are constructed to defend the belief that it is plausible.  This is also not helped by the fact that misleading and bogus pseudo-evidence is allowed to accumulate in the academic press.

The fact that the belief system is so rigorously sustained in that person’s mind means that removing it would leave an incomprehensible void.  Perhaps it is this dissonant void that religious converts or people that lose faith in their religion experience.  If so, then at least we know that there is a possibility to alter a person’s belief about alt-med, no matter how steadfast they are.  What is important is that in the process of challenging medicine with no evidence we don’t lose sight of the rational and critical thinking that leads us to do so.  New evidence is presented all the time, and we must be willing to change our own views, if there is any hope of changing someone else’s.

Sick as a dog – another worthless advert in WDDTY

So I was just casually scanning over the most recent (November) issue of WDDTY – yes that issue with the atrocious homeopathy and cancer article – when my eyes glanced over an advert for:

‘Apocaps –The world’s first all-natural apoptogen formula’

Now I have to admit, when I see the prefix ‘apop’, I automatically think of apoptosis, the process of programmed cell death that plays such a vital role in many aspects of an organism’s development.  On closer inspection it’s clear that the product in question is selling something about apoptosis – something that got my interest having previously spent time in the lab researching that very mechanism.  So let’s see what kind of bullshit the team at ‘Functional Nutriments’ have concocted for this ‘world’s first’.

The product itself appears to be a pill made up of ‘natural’ chemicals for kick-starting apoptosis in dogs.  Now I don’t know about dogs, but as a human I would not be convinced by someone wanting to kick off apoptosis in my cells by feeding me a pill.  Sounds like a quick way to end up in the hospital.

The special ‘apoptosis formula’ (I have to keep putting these things in quotations because I just don’t understand what they mean) is a powerful nutraceutical supplement designed by Dr Demian Dressler.  A quick Google search on Dressler reveals that he once thought of himself as a conventional veterinarian but know considers himself a full spectrum veterinarian, combining the best of conventional medicine with nutraceuticals, supplements, diet and body-mind medicine.  He is co-founder of Functional Nutriments and the inventor of Apopcaps.

But what are Apopcaps? The advert doesn’t really give you any information as to what the product is or does – a common theme amongst adverts of quackery.  I had to log on to their wonderful website to find out more information.  I always find the ‘About’ section of these websites the best for finding bullshit.  Here’s what they have to say about Apopcaps:

‘Apocaps was created as dog lovers began asking for a simpler, easier way to give apoptogens to their dogs.’

Really?! What the fuck are apoptogens? I’ve never used the word before and a quick Google search reveals that apoptogen is only ever used in conjunction with Apocaps.  So without knowing what they are how does one know that they need a simpler and easier way to give them to their dogs?

‘The challenge was to find a combination of the most important – luteolin, apigenin, silymarin and curcumin and other key ingredients – in a formula that is absorbed by the body.’ here are four alleged apoptogens.  Two flavonoids (luteolin and apigenin), milk thistle extract (silymarin) and a curcuminoid (curcumin).  I know from experience that luteolin and apigenin have been shown to induce apoptosis in the lab.  But so have many other things.  So how much evidence is there that these chemicals could induce apoptosis in dogs?  I’ll answer that in due course, for now let’s continue with the spiel.

‘Because luteolin, apigenin, curcumin and silymarin are all natural substances, the body’s digestive and elimination systems could potentially use up or eliminate these apoptogens before they reach the bloodstream. We didn’t want that to happen.’

This statement hints at a complete misunderstanding of mammalian physiology.  I eat a lot of natural substances every day, if I spent all that energy digesting food only to shit and piss the best bits out, I’d be very unhappy.  Nutrient absorption in the gut is very effective.  It’s evolved that way over thousands of years so we can spend energy doing other things like riding bikes or blogging about stupid pseudoscience.

‘The patent-pending proprietary “Trojan Horse” formula used to create Apocaps “tricks” the body into circulating the apoptogens throughout the bloodstream.’

This sounds exciting but my sceptic radar detects bullshit.  I couldn’t find a shred of evidence for their ‘Trojan Horse’ formula or how it would work.

After looking at the entire website for Apocaps, I still could not find one statement that actually said what the product was for or for what conditions it should be given.  I mean do you go into Dr Dressler’s clinic with your dog and he says:

“Yes, it looks like your dog has low levels of natural apoptosis; let’s boost this back up with Apocaps.  Don’t worry the active ingredients easily get into your dog’s circulation where they can have an effect on the whole body”.

Even if Apocaps worked, how would increasing apoptosis across your dog’s body help with anything?! It sounds like the least targeted form of chemotherapy ever made.  So back to my earlier question – is there any evidence that the four key ingredients have any effect on apoptosis in dogs?

The answer is no.

PubMed search for ‘Luteolin’ AND ‘dog’ – 8 papers, none on apoptosis

PubMed search for ‘Apigenin’ AND ‘dog’ – 11 papers, none on apoptosis

PubMed search for ‘silymarin’ AND ‘dog’ – 39 papers, none on apoptosis

PubMed search for ‘curcumin’ and ‘dog’ – 23 papers, none on apoptosis




Trolled by WDDTY?!

On October 31st – WDDTY released the November issue of their magazine.  As expected, it was a ‘cancer special’, carrying the front page head line ‘New Light on Cancer’.  The apparent ‘new light’ may refer to an article about homeopathy titled ‘Like Water for Chemo’.  This article was written by Bryan Hubbard, the co-editor of WDDTY who refused to answer my emails when I questioned him about the accuracy and truthfulness in his writings.  The way Bryan writes in this article is actually quite amusing.  It reads like he knows it’s a load of bullshit but is desperate to draw out any minute piece of evidence he can find to make it all sound plausible.

Let’s begin.

“Doctors call it “nonsense on stilts”, and professors of medicine have been bullying government and health authorities to stop offering it on the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), while scientists say it is implausible, if not impossible, as it breaks every law of science they know.”

Why do these people always say that as soon as anything negative is said about their profession it’s ‘bullying’?  Accept criticism, learn from it and improve.  I will probably never understand why this is but the number of people banned from fair and open discussion on WDDTY Facebook page speaks volumes.  Anyway, yes, it is nonsense on stilts, it is implausible, it is impossible and it does break every law of science we know.  Spot on.

“Homeopathy is everyone’s favourite whipping boy, and if it does clear up a snuffly cold or minor headache, it’s all due to the placebo effect: it’s just mind over matter, and people merely think it’s making them better. Any active ingredient in a homeopathic remedy is diluted sometimes thousands of times, so any effect must be entirely in someone’s imagination.”

Thanks Bryan – I could not have worded it better myself.

“That makes perfect sense, assuming our understanding of physics and human biology is complete. But judging by how it is used in India—where doctors routinely use it even for life-threatening diseases like cancer—we perhaps have a little way to go yet.”

We still have a lot to learn about physics and human biology, but not so much that it would reverse our entire understanding of everything we’ve ever known about the universe.

“The Indian doctors have found an unlikely ally in the US government’s National Cancer Institute, which has been so impressed by the way cancer patients have responded to homeopathic remedies that they want to see more research carried out.”

Were they though? Are they? I have heard WDDTY spill this so many times, yet never read anything that suggests the NCI are interested.  Search for ‘Homeopathy’ on the NCI website and it’ll link you to the NCCAM page where the first thing it says is “There is little evidence to support homeopathy as an effective treatment for any specific condition.”

“Everyday miracles are carried out at several homeopathic clinics in Kolkata (Calcutta) in India, and it was there that American researchers went to see the work for themselves. One member of the research team, Dr Moshe Frenkel, who was at the time working at the MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC) in Houston, was astounded by what he witnessed. “I saw things there that I couldn’t explain. Tumours shrank with nothing else other than homeopathic remedies. X-rays had shown there had been a lesion on the lung and a year after taking the remedy it had shrunk or disappeared.” Still sceptical, or perhaps fearing he was the victim of a medical variant on the Indian rope trick, Dr Frenkel went back to his laboratory at MDACC and decided to test the homeopathic remedies on a culture of breast cancer cells. The protocols were as rigorous as they are for when Frenkel and his researchers test a new chemotherapy drug.”

Dr Frenkel is well known to be an avid supporter of not only homeopathy but many other quack alternative treatments through his group Interactive Oncology Consultants.  So you have to accept that his quoted opinions are bias.  The study WDDTY is referring to has been covered before in March 2012 and I spoke a little about it here.

“Eight scientists from MDACC tested four remedies—Carcinosin 30C, Conium maculatum 3C, Phytolacca decandra 200C and Thuja occidentalis 30C—on two human breast-cancer cell lines. Around 5,000 cells were exposed to the remedies and to a placebo—the solvent without the active ingredients of the remedies—for periods of between one and four days. The experiment was repeated three times. Two of the remedies—Carcinosin and Phytolacca—achieved as much as an 80 per cent response, indicating they had caused apoptosis, or programmed cell death. By comparison, the placebo solvent achieved only a 30 per cent reduction, suggesting that the homeopathic effect was more than twice that of a placebo.”

The methodology and results from this study have been heavily criticised before by others.  Essentially, the study is not well carried out.  There has been no statistical analysis of the data carried out.  Therefore ANY conclusions drawn in the paper cannot be backed up with data.  It is complete lunacy that the paper made it through peer-review.  Then there is the problem I raised before regarding the controls.  Your control should not be killing 30% of your cell.  If that’s the case you have a major problem.

And please WDDTY – stop saying that the control is a placebo.  THEY ARE CELLS IN A DISH.  It’s a VEHICLE CONTROL not a PLACEBO.  AHHHGGGHH.

“Not believing the results, his colleagues insisted on an immediate second trial and in a different laboratory—and the same results came back”

Where are these results? Where is the paper?

“If you come to a different conclusion, why not publish a paper saying it doesn’t work.” That was several years ago and still no paper has appeared.”

This is because no research lab wants to waste tax payers’ money on it and a similar study was conducted earlier in 2006 and showed the complete opposite.

As I read on, I came to realise that this article IS the article from March 2012!  Nearly word for word.  I am confused.  I thought there was going to be some revealing new evidence into the efficacy of homeopathy that was going to wake up the sceptics.  Just another lie from the charming people at WDDTY I suppose.  You can read more of my de-bunk from the March 2012 article here so I don’t have to write it all again.

Did I just get trolled by Lynne McTaggart?

WDDTY – Tesco choose profit over people

As always if you need to know more about WDDTY click here.

If you have been following the WDDTY saga over the last couple of months you will be aware that calls have been made for supermarkets to stop selling the magazine.  This is not an attempt to ban WDDTY, or infringe on freedom of speech, but rather to ask large chain supermarkets to act responsibly with the products they choose to sell to their customers.  We have witnessed supermarkets making effort to remove offensive lads mags and insulting Halloween costumes from sale – so why not dangerous health advice?

So far Waitrose have been the only supermarket to step up – announcing in early October that they would not be selling WDDTY due to public concerns.  Admitted, a lot of attention had been focused on Tesco to make the first move, something driven by both the fact that they are the largest supermarket stockists and that they had a rather appalling way of dealing with customer complaints.

The initial call for people to complain generated a lot of activity but common sense couldn’t seem to find its way past the ‘copy and paste’ wall erected by Tesco customer service.  I decided the next step was to try and bypass customer service and contact Philip Clarke (Tesco CEO) directly.  So I sent him an email titled ‘concerns over public health’ – outlining the extent of the campaign, why it was happening, why it is important that Tesco listen to concerns and asking for a meeting to be able to discuss the issues.  Within 24 hours I received a reply from CEO offices confirming “I am currently looking into your concerns and will contact you again shortly”.

I proceeded to send further emails in the coming weeks updating my CEO office contact on events such as WDDTY being found actively promoted in a Tesco in Hull and when Waitrose announced they would no longer stock the magazine.  Each email got me a response apologising that it was taking so long but that they were looking into my concerns.  I was optimistic that Tesco were indeed taking matters seriously.  Then I received this:

“Thanks for your patience whilst we have been reviewing the details of your complaint.

I am sorry to say that our position on this matter has not changed. Whilst we have given the matter our full consideration, there are no plans to stop the sale of the What Doctor’s Don’t Tell You in our stores.

Although we cannot be held responsible for the editorial content, we do stock this publication as there is demand for it and by not stocking the magazine, we would be removing the choice of a legally produced product.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to share your views with us and I am sorry for the disappointment my response will cause you.”

And here is the important bit – “we do stock this publication as there is demand for it”

Tesco choose profit over public health.  The fact that they are not willing to discuss concerns formally is insulting and only further highlights their motivation.  Even high-lighting how hypocritical and contradictory they are behaving towards their corporate values is not enough to make them turn their back on what I can only assume is a small profit driven by WDDTY.  Tesco are currently running a campaign with Unicef and Pampers called 1 pack = 3 vaccineson one hand helping to secure tetanus vaccinations in the developing world and on the other selling lies from an aggressively anti-vaccine magazine.

This is unacceptable behaviour from a company that lists one of its three big ambitions in society is to ‘Improve health’ by ‘Helping and encouraging our colleagues and customers to live healthier lives’.  I don’t see how selling medical treatments that have no evidence and actively promoting them above conventional medicine fits into this ambition.  The deeper into their policy you go the more contradictory it gets:

“We can create a store environment that encourages and promotes healthier choices”


“By working with leading health research organisations we will see how we can support vital medical    research”


“We’re profiling our products against clear health criteria”


Essentially, Tesco have made a big mistake.  They have opted for profit over public health and by doing so have damaged their reputation.

Please re-blog, tweet and spread the word to raise awareness.