Forbes Bias and Misinformation

by Steven Carney on August 11, 2015

This is post #123 on the site, debunking several biased science writers at Tara Haelle, David Kroll and Matthew Herper. The following information will expose the myopic and unscientific work these writers crank out often. I will provide a more accurate perspective on health, drugs and medicine, and expose the glaring weaknesses in their writing.

Feel free to browse the vast amount of information and resources here. For past articles on a range of breakthrough nutrition, health, prevention, aging and lifestyle topics, simply scroll down below this one. Also check the tabs above for more research, tips and other resources.

As indicated above, these writers at Forbes all claim to write about science, drugs and health. But in fact, very little of their writing is about health, or even about actual science. All of them tend to write on the narrow topics of drug and vaccine research, including some anti-supplement views and articles.

You will soon learn how myopic and unscientific their work really is! Hopefully, you don’t follow or believe their work, or your health and longevity will be at risk (Note: This is a detailed debunking article with more than 100 source links, so don’t try to read it all at once).

Single studies are not scientific

These writers tend to glorify drugs, vaccines and medicine, often based on single studies, with each presented as a breakthrough. These overblown stories and headlines are common in mass media. But the approach is fundamentally unscientific. Why?

Science is a process; it’s ongoing. It takes many studies, done by independent researchers over years of time before conclusions can be drawn (studies done by drug, vaccine and device companies are consistently biased and manipulated, see details below).

Single studies given all that breathless press coverage prove nothing because they can’t! Single studies can only show a possible indication, but can’t prove an outcome or benefit. Single studies are more like pilot studies: They can indicate a possible effect but need ongoing replication and verification.

Studies also need to be put in a broader context of all previous and related research, which they rarely are (for some areas, there are thousands of studies to consider, with many conflicting). Covering real science is complicated and time-consuming, which is why people need a solid background in the specific drug, vaccine or health area they are writing about.

When you see the typical media hype for a new drug promising a miracle “cure” just shrug your shoulders. The study is preliminary at best, and it doesn’t prove what the dramatic headlines claim. It will take years before independent studies can validate or disprove those claims.

Ghostwriting and corruption galore

Did you know? Many drug and medical studies are biased because they are ghostwritten by company employees or ghost writing (GW) contractors.

There are hundreds of these companies now, all under the direction of drug and device companies. They support the company’s agenda with a positive spin throughout research, development and journal publication (some estimates find that GW is used for at least 50% of all research). More prominent medical author names are then added to the study later, and paid for their “author” services.

Here is a telling 2010 quote from the study introduction in the first link below (see more on this topic in 5 Big Medical Lies and other articles below):

Pharmaceutical companies commonly employ ghostwriters, or uncredited authors, to write or draft manuscripts that subsequently appear in peer-reviewed medical journals under the name of one or more academic researchers. This practice, however, goes beyond simple drafting of a manuscript; it provides an academic façade for research that has been designed, conducted and analyzed by industry and for review articles that similarly obscure the contributions of industry. Such camouflaged authorship undermines scientific integrity and jeopardizes public health.

More links on the deceptive practice of ghost writing, including related practices:

Also, research is routinely manipulated and massaged to improve the appearance of outcomes, such as hiding negative studies and the pervasive use of Relative Risk (RR) to boost small, unimpressive findings (see details below).

That’s why independent studies need to be done, using large numbers of human subjects over years of time, designed and managed with the highest standards of honesty and integrity, and expressing outcomes only in Absolute Risk (AR) terms (see details below)! That’s how you create a credible study.

But that’s just the first step! Those independent studies must also be replicated multiple times (I usually say at least 3, large human studies are a minimum for drugs or procedures), following the same design parameters, subject types, dosages and methods. And the studies must arrive at similar outcomes. Guess what?

Failure and deception abound

Many of the hyped-up studies that sweep mass media and the Internet are never replicated again, disproving their headlines, methods and conclusions. Sadly, these failures are almost never covered by mass media, and they often occur long after the drugs or vaccines have been heavily marketed.

The result? Millions of unnecessary injuries and deaths, followed by dozens of drugs and devices being recalled or requiring new warnings after those injuries and deaths (see links below).

In fact, there have been many landmark (influential) cancer and heart disease studies that could not be replicated, including 47 of 53 key cancer studies (only 11% could be replicated, a pathetic number by any standard). But you probably never heard that information because most writers and publications ignore those failures and debunkings.

The most basic standards of research integrity are rarely met now, and they haven’t been for 10 years or more. Science is more of a marketing and career tool, corrupted by money, profits and career goals. This quote and link offers insights into the troubling levels of corruption in drug and medical research:

RESULTS: We located abundance of consistent evidence demonstrating that the industry has created means to intervene in all steps of the processes that determine healthcare research, strategy, expenditure, practice and education. As a result of these interferences, the benefits of drugs and other products are often exaggerated and their potential harms are downplayed, and clinical guidelines, medical practice, and healthcare expenditure decisions are biased.

And many anti-supplement studies are designed to fail (for a host of reasons I cover in other posts), and when they do, they are published with glee, including extensive marketing campaigns and press release distribution. Mass media writers can’t wait to bash supplements in another breathlessly-worded hit piece. It’s literally a sport now, filled with big, overblown claims that supplements are unproven and dangerous.

Junk studies like that are run often, testing nutrients in isolation like drugs (nutrients work synergistically and with food), the forms used often synthetic and unbalanced, creating a constant drumbeat of negativity and false claims of danger. And mass media is happy to follow the beat!

The reality of modern health research is that the process is intensely corrupt and highly political. Attacking supplements is good business for those researchers who are pro-drug or anti-supplement, and their bias is often obvious in the press release.

There is a consistent double standard: negative drug studies are tabled and not published; virtually all anti-supplement studies are published happily by so-called medical journals, especially when they show failure! But those studies are filled with bias and poor methodology. Many are designed to fail. Predictably, the media goes wild for it!

In fact, I can say that we are drowning in bad science, all reported with breathless excitement by mass media sources on an almost daily basis (both pro-drug and anti-supplement).

Remember all the wild claims and dramatics that fish oil caused prostate cancer in July, 2013? It was a retrospective/rehash of the biased, highly debunked SELECT trial, a trial riddled with poor methodology and faulty analysis (see the Dr. David Seres Debunked link below).

The SELECT rehash was an even more bogus version because it was an associative, non-causal study where no fish oil was ever given or tracked, yet covered breathlessly by local, national and online media with headlines proclaiming fish oil caused prostate cancer! That rehash study was also debunked within days by many credible experts, including the original authors in 2014.

But I bet you never read about the debunking studies and articles because again, they are given almost no coverage or publicity (the writers are working on new miracle drug or supplement-bashing stories and sheepishly avoid their blunders)!

And like so many in mass media, these writers at Forbes seem agenda-driven; their headlines and writing designed to drive traffic, comments and buzz. It’s about getting attention for the writer and the publication, and it’s also how their contributors get paid (more on this issue later)!

In truth, these writers should know about the pervasive corruption and fraud that permeates medicine, including the hundreds of millions spent on lobbying for legal exemptions, tax breaks and government favors (Pharma has the largest lobbying army in the world, with about 1,250 influence peddlers working day and night to get every favor possible).

And the American Medical Association (AMA) lobbyists and Pharma often join forces, to coordinate their access and influence (I cover this in other posts and some links below). Here is a link about the drug lobby:

As a result of their long-running fraud and corruption (lots of details below), drug companies cause human suffering and death at a staggering rate! No other industry I know of causes so much death, injury or addiction with such impunity.

Here are some links that explore company sales, numerous recalls, injuries and lawsuits: 

This link includes over 50 drug and device lawsuits based on injuries and deaths:

You will soon discover why these Forbes writers have so little credibility: Their self-proclaimed swag and taglines about science, health and “straight talk” are undercut by reality.

Writing about a junk study because its published in a medical journal is what gullible amateurs do. We’ve already seen examples of fraud and corruption in drug and medical research and that research has become a tool of marketing (more examples below).

If these writer’s understood the drug and medical industry they write about, they would know about the pervasive research manipulation and fraud that medical experts have exposed for a decade or more. They would know that most company-sponsored research will have favorable outcomes for a host of reasons, including all those negative studies that are hidden away, never submitted for publication.

These Forbes writers miss the obvious: That most medical research is focused on high-profit returns for drugs, procedures and surgeries, not lower-cost, lifestyle approaches that benefit the patient the most. Research dollars are expected to return big income! Making big money has always been the goal of the AMA, Pharma, etc.

Relative Risk: a mirage

These Forbes writers often ignore the long-running corruption and fraud in the medical industry, including the extensive use of Relative Risk (RR) in research, abstracts and press releases. RR is used to exaggerate small differences in Absolute Risk (AR) between the drug and placebo groups, achieving RR Reduction (RRR) values of 20% to 30% or more.

Because bigger numbers mean bigger media exposure, RR and RRR are used extensively to drive dramatic headlines, media coverage and sales (more details and links below). And it works! The media is drawn to those inflated RR or RRR numbers like a moth to a flame!

But is RR real? No, it’s a mirage. That’s because RR numbers are derived from an additional ratio of only those subjects who had an outcome or event during the study, which is usually a small fraction of the total participants.

Why Relative Risk is marketing

A simplified example is a 2-year study with older subjects who have early heart disease, using chest pain, heart attacks and deaths as events or outcome measures.

Based on overall statistics in the U.S., about 7-8 people per 1,000 will have chest pain or a heart attack annually, and 2-3 people per 1,000 will die of a heart attack in the U.S. each year (these numbers are in the ballpark but vary based on age, sex, race, health status, etc.).

So if the study includes 2,000 subjects (1,000 for the drug and 1,000 for placebo), you’ll only be comparing about 35-40 outcome subjects to get the RR or RRR number. That small number of subjects is now a Pilot study, used to test the feasibility of a larger study design with a small group, usually 100 people or less.

For those savvy about research, Pilot studies are considered too small to be credible or have enough statistical power by themselves.

Our example study might claim that 17 people on the drug had chest pains or a heart attack and 20 people had those outcomes on the placebo (if the findings are reversed, the study won’t be submitted). Again, only positive drug studies are submitted for publication.

So the Absolute Risk (AR) difference in our example will be the 20 subjects minus the 17, which is 3 (or 2% – 1.7%, a tiny difference of .3% in AR). And in reality, these small differences are often due to chance, or the effects of unknown confounders like nutrition, fitness, stress, sleep, mood, prescription drug use, undiagnosed disease or inflammation, etc., confounders that are often not tracked adequately in most research.

The RR Reduction (RRR) for this example study? It’s an impressive 15%! See how tiny differences (just a difference of 3 subjects and .3% in outcomes) balloon into much bigger numbers to help sell more drugs?

And all based on just 37 total subjects who had outcomes, not the 2,000 subjects in the study. Remember, many studies only use a few hundred or a few thousand subjects over a few years (some are weeks or months, like the Diclegis drug covered in the Kroll section), so this is a very common problem (small numbers with unimpressive findings get exaggerated with math manipulation and marketing deception).

And what happens over a longer term of 5-10 years? More people taking the drug might be injured or die from side-effects and complications, reversing the apparent benefits (it happens often because drugs disrupt normal metabolic processes, more details below).

Here are some links I used for my example:

A calculator you can use to test the example-study numbers:

Clearly, RR tends to exaggerate minor outcomes (you’ve cut the total subject numbers by 90% or more), and you take an additional ratio of those smaller groups (comparing drug, vaccine or supplement to a placebo) to get RR. The use of RR or RRR pushes study conclusions to the realm of speculation and exaggeration, not science. A fortune teller could do as well!

A RR reduction or increase is often presented in abstracts and headlines as though it was based on the larger study group, falsely indicating a predictive value it doesn’t have.

RR is not an actual measure of risk; it’s a guess about future risk by taking that additional ratio of small subgroups. So the RR (or RRR) number so breathlessly reported by journals and media is an unscientific concoction. It’s a mirage! Can you begin to see why the pervasive use of RR is manipulative and dishonest?

Here is a quote about Relative Risk and it’s tendency to exaggerate study outcomes from the study link below, using an example:

. . .Relative risk reduction can appear quite large when the absolute risk reduction is actually very small.” For example, if a disease kills two in every million people, a drug that reduces the death rate to one in a million would give a relative risk reduction of 50% which appears to be a major benefit. However, the absolute risk reduction would only be one in a million.

Based on the above quote, you could make a similar case when the Absolute Risk is 10/1,000 subjects or 1/100 subjects (each represents 1% of total participants), because AR and the differences are often quite small in research (think of AR as closer to “Actual Risk” for those small subgroups). And the closer the AR numbers are, the less effective the drug or intervention is (a common outcome).

That’s why drug research (and anti-supplement studies) use RR numbers so often: they exaggerate findings so drugs, vaccines or devices look more effective than they are! If a drug appears to lower heart attack by an unimpressive 1 or 2% in AR terms (like many statins do) the RRR numbers can balloon to 20 or 30%. That’s the number the researchers, the journal, the abstract and press release will all highlight. That’s the number you will hear.

Relative risk often exaggerates AR outcomes by 10-20 times or more, just like the statin example (links below compare several AR and RRR numbers for statin studies and you will see that they are not very effective at all).

Nevertheless, the ignorant press consistently reports the exaggerated RR and RRR numbers, misleading the public almost daily. And guess what? Your doctor is probably ignorant about these research details too, so he or she will also by caught up in those big-sounding results, all based on a mirage.

I’ve seen it and lived it (yes, I’ve been injured by drugs)! Doctors “believe” what’s in their favorite journal and they don’t really investigate, look for bias or seek more independent analysis. It’s part of their medical school education/indoctrination. They are taught to believe medical dogma and accept medical journal “peer reviewed” research (most peer review is cursory, not a detailed, thorough analysis).

Here are more links with information about the misleading use of Relative Risk (RR) in drug research or medicine and why it’s so dishonest:

Below is a serious debunking of 7 major statin trials (other health experts have done similar work), done by a former PhD drug researcher. He compares AR to RRR for each one, undercutting what doctors, writers and most adults believe about statins.

Notice how consistently small AR findings are deceptively juiced up by the persistent use of RRR, giving the impression of far greater effectiveness:

Here is a review by a group of patient-oriented doctors from July, 2015. It also shows no benefit from statins, and includes the harms they can cause (they gave statins a red light, which means no benefit):

And here several more assessments of statins using RR instead of AR and showing how ineffective they really are:

And this article shows that higher cholesterol is linked to better survival for older patients in a series of studies:

Remember when I stated that medical journals often publish junk science? Given the debunking links about statins above (there are many more), ponder this startling reality: The evidence for statins is weak or non-existent; many just equal placebo, or are within a few percent of placebo for AR, yet we waste about 20 billion on these nearly useless drugs annually (if you didn’t look at all of the above links, please check them now, so what I’m saying will open your eyes to stark reality and depth of medical corruption). Statins are a textbook example of the drug mirage!

It’s clear that these Forbes writers have major gaps in their savvy and understanding about medical research and drugs (see Primer below for more details). And these Forbes writers also seem to ignore the countless injuries and tens of billions in fines for illegal drug marketing and criminal violations from industry fraud, something that puts all of us and our families or friends in real danger.

Another revelation is that these writers rarely say anything meaningful about health, prevention or healthy aging. They approach drugs and medicine as the only answer, which is nonsense (your doctor will mostly rely on 3 limited treatments: drugs, procedures and surgeries)!

These Forbes writers appear to have little health education or prevention knowledge (I’m healthy and fit with the BP of a 25-year old. I use no prescription drugs, even though I’m at an age where my peers pop pills all day). And all the people I see popping pills don’t ever get better, they continue to decline (I address the scientific reasons for this “warehousing” effect below).

The glaring gaps between the Forbes articles I’ve seen and true health renders their work biased, myopic and misleading. This in turn misleads their readers and the public (you get a biased, incomplete picture from them), risking public health and well-being in significant ways.

All of these writers demonstrate a troubling degree of ignorance about prevention, holistic health and the incredibly complex biological systems that allow us to carry on our daily lives.

The final straw for me was when each writer failed to address many of the important points that I and others raised in comments about their articles, as this post will demonstrate.

Drug and medical myths: a Primer

Because each of these 3 writers claims to be scientific, I decided to include this Primer about drugs, research and medicine. In truth, these writers appear to have little understanding of what actual health is (it doesn’t come from drugs), and they convey very little about these important truths.

These writers tend to write pro-drug and pro-vaccine articles, with some anti-supplement content mixed in. How accurate is this position? With the exception of a hospital ER or ED, where trauma victims are saved by urgent care providers, neither drugs nor medicine can be called scientific or evidence-based any more. How can I say that? Isn’t all Western medicine evidence based?

The so-called evidence behind most drugs is minimal (as you can now begin to see, with the ghost writing, the use of RR and other research gimmicks), unless you accept aggressive marketing as a substitute for science or evidence.

Modern medicine and drugs are driven by marketing and profits, not health (credible, independent researchers like the BMJ have debunked the “evidence-based” claim for years, showing that only about 10-15% of the top 2,500 drugs and procedures have some credible evidence behind them). Many others have little evidence or cause harm. See links below for more details.

In fact, modern medicine is an industry based on life-long dependency on drugs and procedures; long-term health is not a priority (drug companies are legally required to put the interests of shareholders and investors first). And their patents mean no competition, keeping drugs and device prices as high as possible as they rake in billions in profits, exploiting vulnerable patients at every opportunity.

This recent article offers some startling information about hospital and medical errors, showing that over 700,000 patients will get hospital-caused infections every year, and that 1,000 people die every day from medical errors, with thousands more suffering serious complications (more death and injury medical stats below):

Drug ads and marketing are also based around the mirage of the magic bullet, a single pill for common lifestyle-driven, systemic imbalances (digestive, metabolic, hormonal, immune, CNS, etc.). But no single pill will ever restore biological homeostasis unless a patient improves their unhealthy lifestyle. So why not focus on that more effective (and safe) approach?

In fact, drug companies, researchers and practitioners all profit enormously from patients in declining health, selling them “magic beans.” Those beans will always have risks and side effects, and they are unable to cure or restore long-term health (there are always significant downsides to drugs and procedures; there is no free lunch)! To think you can buy health by taking a pill is a mirage. It’s naive and doomed to fail.

As mentioned earlier, research done by drug companies is commonly biased, manipulated (in dozens of ways, including ghost writing and RR), and focused on specific outcomes for marketing and advertising purposes. These companies plan this all out well in advance (with the details often kept secret).

Too often, studies minimize side effects (those are often presented in AR terms to minimize their size or importance), and ignore numerous confounding variables like nutrition, activity, stress levels, immune function, even thoughts and beliefs.

Yet those lifestyle behaviors all play significant roles in heath and daily gene activation or silencing (epigenetics). To dismiss these effects is grossly unscientific at its very core! And I predict that these writers at Forbes know little or nothing about daily habits and their effect on epigenetics.

Remember, most chronic health problems (including a declining immune system and its ability to fight mutations/cancer cells), are driven by unhealthy lifestyle choices made over decades of time, causing excess weight and chronic stress on digestion, microbiome, metabolism, hormones, muscles and joints, organ function, immune function, brain and mood, etc.

These unhealthy habits now cause about 80% of all chronic diseases and cost $3 of every $4 of healthcare expenses. These lifestyle origins are at the very core of disease development and the very areas medicine (and these writers) often ignore!

Even a doctor’s education ignores these critical lifestyle areas, so your doctor will offer little help or a deeper understanding. The entire medical system is designed as a closed monopoly: they create, name and define diseases, they develop diagnostic tests that support the existence of their diseases, and they design and control the research behind their “magical pills” and procedures designed in a lab to treat the symptoms of diseases they made up. All this is done for money and profit not your health!

Then they spend tens of billions to market their magic pills, vaccines and procedures, repeating myths about disease and aging daily. This system of relentless marketing permeates every corner of medicine (universities, research labs, hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, etc.), designed to increase profits and make you feel like you have no where else to turn, telling you to, “Ask your doctor.” Scientific? Evidence-based? Hardly (see many more details and dozens of links below for source material).

These companies push their risky pills and vaccines on everyone, from congress and government officials to universities, medical facilities, doctors and prospective patients. I bet you’ve heard that phrase, “Ask your doctor” in all those drug ads and elsewhere. It’s repeated constantly and virtually subliminal now. You’ve heard it on TV, radio, cable and online for years.

Aging myths abound

Most adults and children have heard that phrase, “Ask your doctor” countless thousands of times! It’s a form of programming and conditioned response, and it’s no accident. Repeat the phrase enough and it becomes an ingrained belief and unconscious behavior whether you agree with it or not. It’s getting you to follow their false dogma in spite of your needs and goals for health and longevity.

Here are some examples of aging myths we’ve all heard thousands of times. With age:

  • You gain weight
  • You loose energy
  • You get stiff and sore
  • Your muscles weaken
  • Your memory fades
  • Your aches and pains increase
  • Your health problems increase
  • You steadily decline

These oft-repeated myths put you in the role of a victim of aging, presenting aging like a disease, one that you can’t stop or fix. When you experience things from the above list, especially after age 35 or 40, you think it’s “normal” to have more problems because you’re older. Most people believe these myths, as do most doctors.

I’ve researched and written about these myths for years. They are false! Decline is not inevitable and I have none of the issues on that list! It’s how you live that counts, not your age!

At the same time, many people in medicine claim alternative approaches are ineffective, unproven or quackery (even without any real background or education to know the field, as I mentioned).

These derogatory terms and attacks have been used by allopaths to bash the competition for over 100 years! Medicine has always been about protecting their monopoly from competition, using federal and state governments to keep insiders in and outsiders out. And the history of modern allopathic doctors and the AMA supports this truth:

We have been little more than lab experiments to doctors for many decades. Remember deadly radium, lead and mercury treatments years ago? How about horrific lobotomies (an ice pick run into the brain through the eye sockets)? How about blood letting and cruel surgeries without anesthesia or infection control/sterilization? Just “Ask your doctor” for the newest magical remedy today!

In spite of killing millions over the decades, doctors have always assured us that they know best and these drugs or procedures are “proven.” Little has changed in over 100 years. For more eye-popping information, here are some reminders:

Drug realities

Drugs are patented, man-made chemicals (often petroleum based), that typically work by blocking or interfering with normal physiology, metabolism, organ and cellular functioning (hence the side effects).

They are patented to eliminate competition and maximize profits for shareholders, executives and employees. The focus on drugs and medicine as a way to make money goes back many decades, to the early 1900s, when Rockefeller, Carnegie and other capitalists started getting involved (see videos above). Indeed, oil and chemical capitalists saw the potential of drugs to expand their markets and profits.

Because many drugs cause noticeable side effects (your normal metabolic processes are not being restored, they are being disrupted or blocked), patients often get additional prescriptions to help dampen those effects, and so on. Hence people end up taking more drugs over time, adding even more profits for the drug industry.

At its core, their true slogan is “When you take more, we make more.” Some drugs, especially pain medications, can increase tolerance and serious addiction, destroying millions of lives and families in the process. The entire system is focused on short-term profits, not long-term health for patients.

Here are some troubling quotes from 2013 (see second link below. NOTE: I broke second paragraph into 2 for easier reading):

Prescription drugs are one of America’s leading causes of disease and death. The problem with prescription drugs is very simple…they do nothing to cure disease. All they do is suppress the symptoms of disease by disrupting normal cellular functions. Abnormal cell function is the very definition of disease, and since prescription drugs cause our cells to malfunction, then…

Yes, drugs cause disease, but we obscure this fact by calling these diseases “side effects.” Ironically, the “side effects” are often more dangerous than the disease being treated in the first place. A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that in one year, over two million hospitalized patients suffered serious drug reactions, resulting in 106,000 deaths. Some side effects!

But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Too many adverse reactions cause public concern and scrutiny, so just imagine a hospital’s incentive to understate them. Another article in JAMA estimated that only 1 in 20 reactions are reported. In truth, tens of millions are injured and an estimated 400,000 are killed every year by these dangerous poisons. This makes it clear why data published in JAMA place medical doctors as the third leading cause of death. Anyone taking a prescription drug will be harmed to some degree by these drug-caused diseases.

By design, drugs don’t nourish the body or restore biological homeostasis or health. They don’t repair or restore balance to the systemic imbalances that drive the vast majority of chronic conditions, such as heart disease, high BP, type-2 diabetes, excess weight/obesity, chronic back or neck pain, joint pain, arthritis, systemic inflammation, autoimmune problems, dementia, Alzheimer’s, depression and mood disorders, cancer, libido, etc. (do you realize that you are fighting mutations and cancer cells with your immune system every day?).

Drugs for those types of conditions only treat symptoms or improve screening tests. By design, most drugs cure nothing (if they did, you would stop taking them, bringing ruin to the drug industry).

Most patients need to change the lifestyle habits that got them to where they are. If those bad habits and origins remain (including habits like smoking, alcohol use, drug use, chemical exposure, etc.), drugs are simply a small, expensive bandage on a gaping wound.

Because most drugs only decrease symptoms or the perception of symptoms (you feel better for a while) but leave the underlying metabolic, hormonal or other systemic imbalances unchanged, are you really better?

Of course not! And remember, your nervous system provides symptoms as a form of feedback; they help alert you to a problem, like a smoke alarm warning.

Those symptoms are telling you that something needs attention, such as pain or discomfort. It’s a reminder to address a problem inside you, not visit the pharmacy for a pill!

There is simply no quick fix or magic pill for lifestyle-driven health conditions! These links cover some of the detrimental effects of drugs, including some information about drug-industry fraud and corruption:

A shocking link about how drugs and costs are inflated by 10:

Let’s turn off the alarm

Indeed, the approach behind most drugs is to turn off the smoke alarm by cutting the wires. It’s a totally irrational, dangerous system, yet it’s the very foundation of Western medicine! Using drugs for chronic health problems caused by lifestyle is fatally flawed because it can’t work; the approach is unscientific no matter how many studies claim to offer proof!

So the philosophy of the drug and medical industry, concocted by corporate marketing and sales departments, is to help you turn off your smoke alarm and make as much money off you as possible while your house burns!

It is a business that profits from the bad health you developed because you listened to all the processed and fast-food ads, trading convenience for long-term health and longevity. Your energy dropped and you sat around, watching TV. You gained weight, slept poorly, etc. You changed your epigenetic function and your health declined.

Then drug ads are there to constantly promise a pill for every ill, even making up diseases every year. Happy times for all with their tens of billions in profits!

There are no drug deficiencies

But consider this truth: No one suffers from a deficiency of prescription drugs! There is no such thing, although there are some rare genetic defects that these treatments might help to mitigate (but still not cure).

For most people who don’t have serious genetic defects, the whole system is all made up! The use of drugs for most conditions is designed to drive maximum profits but never heal you, keeping you dependent like a street addict (it’s actually the perfect financial and criminal scheme if you think about it).

The $50 billion spent on marketing returns great income and profits (much of that 50 billion is handled behind the scenes as gifts to hospitals, universities, clinics and for doctor or congressional “education”) to push more drugs and make friends in high places. The drug industry has done this for decades (see lots of links below for more details).

Again, most drugs never repair the underlying digestive, metabolic, hormonal, immune, muscle, organ, brain or other systemic imbalances, they turn off the warning system by cutting the wires or removing the batteries! And again, most of those systemic imbalances are driven by daily lifestyle choices over decades of time. Chronic disease is rarely due to inherited genes, age or fate.

So are any of these medical approaches or drug treatments rational? Does it make sense to sell you a small bottle of water for a house fire, or turn off your feedback system so you don’t feel pain as your muscles and joints deteriorate from neglect or meaningful care?

Should we all continue to enable and support these symptom-treating drugs or our broken medical system as it consumes money and resources like some giant creature (about $1 trillion dollars every year), even as people become sicker and sicker? Of course not (the fact that doctors embrace this ineffective and insane system is a condemnation of their independence and ability to reason)!

And again, this shows how little thought or understanding these writers put into their work. Why glorify treatments that are so fundamentally unscientific at their core? This is how the Forbes writers make their living? Are you getting this yet? Do you see the predation?

Here are a few links that dig deeper into these issues (many more links below):

Drugs kill and injure millions annually

These myopic, pro-drug (and vaccine) writers at Forbes seem willfully ignorant about the staggering levels of deaths, injuries, addiction and medical errors that plague the medical industry.

The thousands of drugs prescribed for common lifestyle-driven conditions (that cause about 80% of all chronic conditions and diseases), are designed to never cure but keep you buying, month in and month out, forever!

It’s a model based on dependency, driven by profits. Scientific? Clearly not! With about 50 billion spent on marketing annually (far more than is spent on drug R&D), it’s clearly a business model, not a healthcare model. Declining health is simply a market to be exploited for money and profit.

How often do you read about the millions of unnecessary deaths and injuries caused by medical practices at Forbes (or other mass media source)? Most medical writers and publications don’t cover the carnage medicine causes (they get lots of drug ads and they don’t want to undermine that awesome cash flow).

I haven’t seen any of these writers at Forbes get real and include these grim statistics in their articles, an inexcusable omission.

The reality is shocking: injuries and deaths for drugs, vaccines and medicine are in the millions annually. Real lives and families are destroyed or forever changed for the worse. Here are a few of those startling stats (see links below):

  • The FDA now gets reports of 115,000-120,000 deaths from prescription drugs every year (more than 300,000 if you include Europe), when drugs are taken as directed. Some numbers for deaths are far higher as not all are reported
  • An additional 4 million U.S. patients get treatment in ERs or doctors offices for drug side effects annually
  • The FDA gets adverse events for drugs that exceed 1.75 million annually and rising, with other groups providing higher numbers
  • Total deaths from prescription drugs are about 1 million per decade in the U.S. (far higher if you add other countries)
  • Adverse events for vaccines are about 30,000 annually, as reported to the VAERS system, with about 4,500 serious events requiring hospitalization, causing disability, etc. Again, these are real lives and families forever changed
  • Hospital-based infections now exceed 700,000 annually, with more than 400,000 patients dying from preventable hospital mistakes every year, an ongoing disaster
  • Another 1,000 people die every day due to medical errors, which is about 350,000/year)
  • Seniors in poor health are especially vulnerable to over-prescribing, medical errors and mistakes. What medicine has created is a legalized form of institutional genocide for those over 60!

Given this terrible destruction of lives, we should pitch even more drugs and vaccines to the public? We should read and believe the articles from these pseudo-science writers at Forbes so we can buy more drugs and ignore all the fallout? It’s absurd.

And don’t forget the tens of millions of patients and family members who become addicted to prescription drugs, especially pain killers (see additional links below).

Indeed, no industry I know of kills, injures and addicts so many millions year after year without accountability or significant intervention. This horror under our noses is real human pain and suffering, consistently ignored in the shill-like articles at Forbes and elsewhere!

How about some jail time for your doctor when they gave you or a family member a prescription that killed them because they didn’t analyze the fraudulent, ghost-written studies with manipulated data they used to prescribe the drug?

Your doctor should be taking care of you, not buying into deceptive marketing, looking for money for a new luxury car or second home. The same should apply to writers who minimize the risks and side effects from medical treatments!

I’ve challenged doctors and writers with this information for many years. They respond with name calling, denial or don’t response at all! Most act like petulant children. They are loathe to admit these grim stats from their own industry, preferring to turn away from this terrible reality.

Too many in medicine (and those who write about it) are in denial of the small benefits and high costs in dollars and disrupted lives from drugs and procedures (researchers and writers should be required to only publish Absolute Risk (AR) differences, which is often just a few percent difference between drug and placebo groups).

Here are many credible links that explore these life-and-death issues in more shocking detail:

At this point, think about where we are. Is the premise behind prescription drugs and procedures scientific? Is treating symptoms and ignoring prevention rational because it doesn’t make the millions everyone feels entitled to? Is writing about biased, ghost-written, dishonest research scientific?

Is the flawed concept of magic pills for lifestyle-driven problems defensible? Are the millions of injuries, deaths and addicts an acceptable price to treat some made-up ailments?

Keep in mind that doctors get no substantial education or training in nutrition, fitness, stress management, lifestyle modification, disease prevention or health optimization. These Forbes’ writers show the same blindness and ignorance in their work. The lack of rational thinking, understanding and science in medicine is indefensible! It’s not science, it’s insanity! But let’s write all about the newest drug or vaccine and call ourselves scientific?

A disease a day

But there’s more! Drug companies go well beyond their usual drug variations and gimmicks (like new pill colors or time-release versions to extend patents) to treat ailments that may be annoying but not life threatening (and often treatable with safe, lifestyle improvement).

Always greedy, the drug industry leverages their lobbying, insider connections and marketing billions to create new diseases out of thin air (referred to as “disease mongering”). Every year, they work to expand markets for their drugs through disease creation. It’s nothing less than well-planned fraud. Scientific? I bet you already know the answer.

These drug companies concoct the marketing plans, based on hand-selected, well-paid medical insiders (called “thought leaders” or “key opinion leaders”), who are willing to sit on boards or attach their names to self-serving studies (for nice fees, of course), helping to market screening tests and sponsor “educational” training and seminars, all designed to proclaim another new disease that needs their drugs! I’m not kidding!

Some recent examples are Osteopenia, OAB, Restless Leg Syndrome, Low T, ED, and many more (see links below). None of these ailments or annoyances is a real disease (they are symptoms that reflect the same system imbalances I mentioned earlier).

All have origins and contributions from unhealthy lifestyle choices, meaning all can be improved with safe and appropriate changes to improved nutrition (including micro-nutrients), exercise/toning, stretching, stress management, better sleep, etc.

In spite of those lifestyle contributions and origins, all of those ailments have been turned into diseases your doctor can diagnose (and therefore get paid) to treat even more symptoms but continue to cure nothing. Then he or she will prescribe a pill, a special pill for you! Ain’t it just great? Just pop a pill and you’ll think you’re all better (but you’re not).

Here are more links that explores disease mongering in detail, showing how those diseases are carefully planned and fabricated to drive more sales, profits and investor returns: 

This link covers the development of the several fake diseases, including the non-disease called, Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD). They show how the market was created to improve the market for the female libido drug Addyi through CME classes. The FDA approved the drug in August, 2015: 

Billions in fines go unnoticed

These Forbes’ writers also seem woefully ignorant about the tens of billions in fines drug companies have paid for their pervasive illegal activities: from off-label marketing, to kickbacks, fraud and criminal behavior over several decades (around $30 billion paid and counting). These problems have gone for more than 10 years, so there is no excuse for anyone who claims to write about science, drugs or health to be ignorant of it!

Once again, these companies are quite willing to put patient lives at risk in the name of more sales and greater profits. And guess what? Their prime targets are often kids, seniors and people in third-world countries! (Note: off-label marketing is when drug sales people recommend doctors write prescriptions for symptom treatments the drug was never approved for).

How many U.S. industries have had 30 billion in fines while causing millions of injuries and deaths every year? The drug industry is the top violator!

In the links below, you will probably recognize many of the companies and drug names included below, as many have been advertised heavily.

Here are some telling links about drug-company fines, both civil and criminal (some of the corruption and sleaze in these links will leave you breathless):

The bottom line

None of these Forbes’ writers seem to grasp or show any concern about the stunning corruption, deception, fraud, deaths and injuries, or the pseudo-science and marketing behind the drug, vaccine or medical research they write about.

Nor do they write about the fundamental mirage of drugs (treating symptoms without restoring homeostasis, and disrupting it with drugs), including the pervasive risks and potential for long-term health damage or death.

I don’t see them covering all the disease mongering or all the fines for illegal activity. They seem oblivious to the deception and marketing dressed up as “science” when they present their largely pro-drug and pro-vaccine articles.

None of them seems to understand the inescapable truth that most of the drugs they publicize are designed to profit from a patient’s health challenges through a model of treating symptoms and creating long-term dependency.

That includes all the drugs that are often prescribed for decades-long, lifestyle-driven conditions like heart disease, high BP, arrhythmias, type-2 diabetes, chronic back or neck pain, excess weight/obesity, joint stiffness and pain, arthritis, low-grade inflammation, autoimmune problems, dementia, Alzheimer’s, cancer, depression and mood disorders, libido, etc.

What I tell people is this: If a prescription needs to be taken for more than 30 days, it’s time to explore lifestyle approaches and non-drug alternatives. The drug is not a cure, it’s a system of dependency and exploitation for shareholder profits and executive pay.

My approach allows for some short-term pain or other symptom relief while the client starts on their journey of lifestyle change and true healing, but doesn’t support the prolonged warehousing of a human being for personal gain.

Sadly, none of these writers seem to understand that it’s the daily choices we make, including nutrition, activity/fitness, stress response, sleep quality, thoughts, etc., and the epigenetic responses to those choices, either through gene activation or silencing, that play critical roles in maintaining good health or increasing chronic conditions and disease (including weakened immune function and increased genetic mutations). I’ve written many posts on these lifestyle issues, some included in links below.

What’s more is that these complex systems don’t work in isolation (the nature of biological homeostasis); digestive, metabolic, hormonal, circulatory, nervous, musculo-skeletal, and other organs and systems interact as a seamless whole, more complex than any computer or smart phone. That’s the reality of a human being! You can’t cure these problems with a pill or by treating a localized body part. It can’t work, yet medicine does it daily!

A easy example is this: Each meal triggers thousands of genes for digestion, metabolism, hormones and feedback, tissue rebuilding, waste elimination, brain and nervous system function, etc. Yet, these very gene activities and integration are ignored in most drug research. Most researchers seem to know little about these epigenetic complexities and fail to address them.

Confounders from these areas are routinely ignored as research has become an exercise, even an obsession, in reductionism, distilling the data down to arrive at the most favorable outcome for a new, magic pill or procedure, while ignoring biological reality on fundamental levels.

In addition, these writers seem not to know or understand that most doctors never treat the underlying lifestyle behaviors or systemic imbalances that now cause about 80% of all chronic disease and 75% of all healthcare costs. That’s absurd! You can’t claim to write about health or science and be that ignorant and incompetent!

Each of these writers (remember, they all claim to be scientific) write about drugs and vaccines as though each new drug or vaccine is a miracle treatment with no alternatives, such as safe, effective lifestyle modifications that support healthy epigenetic responses and optimum health. They tend to exaggerate the upside and minimize the risks.

In other words, these writers have all taken positions that are a scientific impossibility; their work is clearly irresponsible, even reckless as they put lives at risk.

As explored earlier, most drugs fail to restore homeostasis while they disrupt normal metabolic, physiologic and cellular functions, especially those involving proteins and enzymes. And none of these writers seems to address the reality of individual physiology, seeing human beings as mere numbers on a page, as data to be manipulated and tossed around, devoid of their humanity like nameless lab rats!

If you’re really scientific, you would understand how highly individualistic humans are: There are endless variations and combinations of age, gender, health status, health history, prescription and OTC drug use, national origin/ethnicity, cultural practices and beliefs, plus all the complex biological interactions of nutrition, exercise, stress levels, sleep, hydration, beliefs and emotions, and endless genetic variations and epigenetic changes that vary hourly in complex rhythms.

As many of these critical areas are ignored by so-called health and medical writers, the serious gaps of knowledge and understanding add to an already unacceptable level of scientific ignorance, as they consistently leave out much of the background and context I’ve included above. I have challenged them with similar comments in their articles, but none of them have responded or met my challenges in a credible way.

Here are a few, well-researched articles that debunk many of the foundations of prescription drugs and modern medicine, claimed to be evidence based.

What’s really amazing? You won’t see this kind of information or broader perspective from any of the Forbes writers I debunk individually below. This batch of links runs hundreds of pages and includes many hundreds of source links.

This first link coves a wide range of medical and research fraud, including many ways research is planned and manipulated to support findings and generate sales. The post includes over 100 expert quotes and 200 source links:

A Dean Ornish video that shows the power of lifestyle for disease prevention and healing, including attitude and stress on health:

Breakthrough Doctor Li videos about cancer prevention and treatment with lifestyle, including other lifestyle-driven diseases, all connected by angiogenesis:

Dr. Li’s list of anti-angiogenic foods:

A video by Dr. Ellen Hughes  from 2010, as she discusses aging, including a comprehensive view about lifestyle and its affects on aging, disease, health, genes and health restoration:

A frat party?

I’ve seen several of these contributors offer congrats and verbal “fist bumps” for articles they write, sometimes offering support when another writer’s work is being challenged. It’s a practice that needs to be stopped! It undercuts whatever scraps of professionalism remain at Forbes. That’s also partly why I chose to debunk these writers and articles. It’s time to grow up!

Tara Haelle (Forbes Contributor)

Her tagline is, I offer straight talk on science, medicine, health and vaccines.

Yes, that is the tagline listed after her name on In recent months, I’ve looked into her work and challenged her on many points with comments and source links (as have many others).

Having seen her work, it’s easy to say that her tagline and her claim to be a journalist are both far flung and inaccurate. See where you come down after I include more details, comments and debunking links for her work below.

If you ever read her work, you won’t get much balance from her. When she covers vaccines, she glosses over the downside risks of injury or harm, and provides little or no independent analysis. She seems to mostly shill for vaccines, while she tends to dismiss any comments that challenge her position, even those which include good source material (see comment details below).

Her recent Gardasil article called, Gardasil HPV Vaccine Safety Assessed In Most Comprehensive Study To Date seems to be written from a press release. It reads like advertisement for Gardasil! It has a shallow, superficial quality, without reasonable balance, opposing views, lacking important study details (like AR numbers), context, etc.

Haelle writes like an undercover drug-industry spokesperson/shill, who is willing to support their marketing, not a journalist who writes with objectivity, balance, perspective or healthy skepticism.

I predict that this is her typical approach, paraphrasing an embargoed press release, giving her a few days to write her article and becoming part of their PR campaign.

I also predict that she doesn’t read or analyze entire studies (often 20 pages of material), checking all charts, graphs, subject data and selection (age, gender, health status, etc.), plus confounders (or a lack of them as I mentioned above), footnotes, compliance levels and dropouts (both of which can skew the results with larger numbers than the number of patients with outcomes), limitations, weaknesses or the conditional language that good studies often include.

Did you know that many studies will include acknowledgments of uncertainty and doubt about their findings, and reference studies with conflicting results? She never seems to provide those critical details and limitations (most studies include some caveats about their findings), preferring to skim over the research in a work of superficial writing. Talk about shallow! Her work is more costume than character.

If my prediction is true (and I believe it is), her work is largely a fraud, because it’s such a long way from her own professed tagline! You can’t offer “straight talk” if you work off an industry-supplied press release with no significant independent analysis. It’s false advertising.

I predict that she doesn’t attempt to independently research or debunk the information sent her way, but simply restates the overblown headlines and press-release claims largely intact. For example, her claim that Gardasil prevents 90% of cancers is based on. . .yes indeed, Relative Risk Reduction (I knew it when I saw that number, which is way too high)! The actual number appears to be closer to 15% or less (see links and details below).

Although this is how most reporters operate, most don’t proclaim to be scientific or offer “straight talk” on science and medicine. Haelle provides distorted, biased and unbalanced positions to her readers, showcasing exaggerated benefits with little or no downside.

Haelle apparently believes in that “free lunch” concept I covered earlier (all gain with little or no downside, scientifically impossible for all the reasons I included earlier).

In short, her work is irresponsible as she misinforms the public with her biased work (I predict that she buys the mirage of RR and RRR). The result could cost people their health or their life. I’ve said it for years: Never get your health or medical information from anyone in mass media. It won’t be accurate or objective.

I also have to say that Haelle is the most manipulative of the 3 writers at Forbes in her handling of comments. She tends to call out (highlight) and respond only to those comments that support her. If you offer opposing points of view, she tends to leave the comment collapsed, so it remains invisible (not even a name or a few short sentences show up in a collapsed comment). You have to click on “expand comment (s)” to see any of it. She uses that ability to minimize dissent (Forbes should stop allowing that practice).

In her recent Gardasil article claiming it was safe and effective, she called out 5 supportive comments (including 2 that superficially praised her choice of picture), leaving the remaining 30-plus comments collapsed. Talk about intolerant and unprofessional! I’ve seen her do it in other articles as well.

I was so upset with Haelle’s marketing-type writing, I wrote to Forbes, asking for her editor or supervisor and if they knew how biased her writing was. They never responded. So apparently Forbes doesn’t care either. A shoulder shrug is how they roll. See how consistent this all is? The whole approach seems to flood the system with superficial articles, and use headlines to attract clicks. See links below for more details.

Of the 3 Forbes writers I’m debunking here, Haelle seems the least tolerant of opposing points of view, while her obvious bias, lack of health education and lack of fairness in her writing discredits her as a journalist. She apparently forgot that part of being scientific is also being skeptical!

Comments and rebuttals

As several comments pointed out, her article reads like a sales pitch, like a sponsored ad made to look like a news release. I agree! For example, I said this in an early comment (I left off the last link and paragraph to shorten):

You appear to be saying that the vaccine has no problems or side-effects out of the injection site! This is clear misinformation! Ever research this issue independently? Ever look into the backgrounds and financial connections to the researchers? I’m betting you haven’t! Even the site lists the following side-effects:

“Headache, fever, nausea, and dizziness; and local injection site reactions (pain, swelling, erythema, pruritus, and bruising) occurred after administration with Gardasil.

Syncope, sometimes associated with tonic-clonic movements and other seizure-like activity, has been reported following vaccination with Gardasil and may result in falling with injury; observation for 15 minutes after administration is recommended. Anaphylaxis has been reported following vaccination with Gardasil.

What’s more, these articles and sites all raise significant issues with Gardasil, including some warnings from one of the researchers who helped research and develop it, Dr. Harper (the site is first):







Then I added this comment, after checking into the backgrounds of the listed authors (and just because they are listed doesn’t mean they actually wrote the article, remember the ghost-writing info above). Many drug studies are now ghost-written by company employees, not the listed authors. I also shortened the comment a bit:

As it’s obvious that this article is about as shallow as any I’ve ever seen, I took the time to check the names of the fist 10 authors for this so-called study.

This so-called study is nothing more than a PR stunt by Merck and your article a shill piece for Gardasil and Merck. The people you quoted also have ties to Merck. Was your article from a press release? I’m betting it was, and you mostly paraphrased Merck’s paid employees and spokes people!

Of the first 10 authors, ALL of them (100%) have direct ties to Merck, have done Gardasil research before, or worked for Merck previously. The lead author is a Chief Medical Officer at Merck and other’s hold similar positions or have ongoing research ties, including previous research for Gardasil (all positive, findings, of course). I find no independence whatsoever!
On a 1-10 scale of credibility, the study and your article have ZERO credibility.

Another comment from someone named ALS added this (he is on point):

Don’t hold your breath for any transparency here Steven.

A comment from Elizabeth H. made this relevant point (also shortened slightly plus I added some paragraphing for easier reading):

This article is relevant: “Undue industry influences that distort healthcare research, strategy, expenditure and practice: a review”.

These quotes from the abstract sum it up: “Expenditure on industry products (mostly drugs and devices) has spiralled over the last 15 years and accounts for substantial part of healthcare expenditure. The enormous financial interests involved in the development and marketing of drugs and devices may have given excessive power to these industries to influence medical research, policy and practice…We located abundance of consistent evidence demonstrating that the industry has created means to intervene in all steps of the processes that determine healthcare research, strategy, expenditure, practice and education.

As a result of these interferences, the benefits of drugs and other products are often exaggerated and their potential harms are downplayed, and clinical guidelines, medical practice, and healthcare expenditure decisions are biased…To serve its interests, the industry masterfully influences evidence production, evidence synthesis, understanding of harms issues, cost-effectiveness evaluations, clinical practice guidelines and healthcare professional education and also exerts direct influences on professional decisions and health consumers.

There is an urgent need for regulation and other action towards redefining the mission of medicine towards a more objective and patient-, population- and society-benefit direction that is free from conflict of interest.”

Elizabeth H. added lots of good comments with links to outside source material, and she seems well-read about vaccines and their actual risks (there are always risks, just like there are with drugs or procedures). I might make PDF files for all the comments and be able to send off. Or just go to the article I provide at the end. But I think Elizabeth shows more savvy than Haelle, by far. All of Elizabeth’s comments are better sourced and more articulate!

Then came a comment from someone named Carolyn. She also supports the HPV vaccine but seems to have little knowledge or understanding about HPV or cancer connection. She is part of an organization that backs vaccines (I removed her contact info and website, not wanting to advertise her organization):

Each year, HPV causes approximately 26,800 new cancer diagnoses in the U.S., including cervical, vaginal, vulvar, anal, throat, mouth and penile. These statistics represent thousands of families that will feel the devastating impact of cancer for years to come, because they aren’t aware of the links between HPV and these diseases.

I implore parents who have not had their girls AND boys (age 11-12) immunized against HPV to review the latest research available, which shows the safety and effectiveness of the HPV vaccine. This is yet another way in which you can help ensure that your children live long and healthy lives. Make an appointment today to talk to your child’s doctor about the HPV vaccine.

I thought her comment was overly promotional (and emotional), and it showed little understanding of the risks and adverse events for Gardasil. I was also suspicious of her claims as they seemed a bit exaggerated, so here is my response to her comment:

Steven Carney

Your comment seems to imply that there is only 100% benefit to getting vaccinated, with no fallout or adverse effects for anyone. This is a falsehood, as many thousands of adverse event reports have been logged.

Do you realize that one of the creators of the vaccine, Dr. Harper, has said the following about how many patients overcome the HPV virus with their own immune system (from a link I posted above)?

“Dr. Harper explained that the risk for cervical cancer — the main reason Gardasil is being promoted — is already quite low. So low, in fact, that the vaccine has little effect on the statistics. According to Dr. Harper:

• About half of all sexual partners carry the HPV. It is impossible to determine which partner infected a patient who has had more than one sexual partner. The virus is very common.

• About 8 out of 10 women who are sexually active will contract the HPV in their lifetime. But in studies, 70% of the patients will resolve the virus with their own immune defenses within a year. The rate goes up to 90% over 2 years.

• About 98% of all cases of HPV clear themselves eventually with no symptoms or lasting effects.”

I’m also guessing that you make a living doing what you are doing, and that your perspective lacks balance and a broader understanding of the fraud and corruption behind most medical research.

Do you have some independent verification or research to back your claims (NOT done by Merck researchers)? If so, please provide some recent research study links (since 2010).

As I suspected, Carolyn offered nothing in the way of studies, independent (non-Merck) research or other expert information. She didn’t respond to my request. After that a few supportive comments came up (no links or support included), so I added this:

For those people who think there have been no serious adverse events from Gardasil, see this link which outlines the almost $6 million paid to patients who were injured:

Here is another insightful quote I added. It’s from 2014, including more background and comments from Dr. Harper (see link below):

“Diane Harper, a professor in the department of family and geriatric medicine at the University of Louisville, specializes in many fields, including gynecology, and was the leading research expert for the second and third phases of the vaccine. According to Harper, a vigorous marketing campaign was pursued to “incite the greatest fear possible” in parents of these children to promote the vaccine. Many parents, upon hearing it prevented STIs, opted to include their children in the series without considering facts which may not have been fully explained.

“Gardasil is associated with serious adverse events, including death,” Harper said. In fact, to date, 44 girls have died of the effects of the vaccine. Harper continued, “If Gardasil is given to 11-year-olds and the vaccine does not last at least 15 years, then there is no benefit – and only risk – for the young girl.”

Over 15,000 girls have reported side effects from Gardasil including paralysis which can last years or even be permanent, as well as lupus, seizures, blood clots and brain inflammation. If the HPV vaccine does not prove to be effective for more than 15 years, it will mark the failure of the most costly public health experiment in cancer control. Additionally, the vaccine has only been proven to have efficacy for five years. After this time, an additional vaccination may be necessary for protection.”


How is it that so many comments here ignore the pain and suffering of these patients? They are NOT just numbers on a page, they are lives!

Mapstoapps (another commentor)

This isn’t straight talk. This is a BS propaganda piece. Go onto YouTube and search “not a coincidence” and learn about the lives Gardasil and Merck have actually destroyed. I hope this comment doesn’t get deleted. The writer of this article was probably emailed the piece by Merck.

As this is getting long, I will include more links but stop at the remaining comments here. Most of those making comments challenged Haelle, hence, she left all our sincere and well-thought comments collapsed.

Is Gardasil safe?

For some broader perspective (the kind Haelle doesn’t offer), Gardasil is like other vaccines: it’s controversial with significant risks. Many people have reported serious side effects shortly after getting vaccinated. In fact, There are many thousands of adverse events from vaccines and everyone, including the VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System) website clearly states that:

Underreporting is one of the main limitations of passive surveillance systems, including VAERS. The term, underreporting refers to the fact that VAERS receives reports for only a small fraction of actual adverse events.

So far, Gardasil has accumulated more than 35,000 adverse event reports through 2013 (see link below, scroll down on that site), with about 5,000 of those serious, and almost $6 million in compensation has been paid to Gardasil patients from a government fund that covers vaccine injuries and deaths (see Refusers link below) by 2013.

VAERS homepage with disclaimer and general info (each year is tracked separately):

This 2011 summary and article linked below shows that Gardasil is maybe 17% effective (as measured in small changes that aren’t actual cancer), not 90+% as so many claim. Remember that RR vs. AR issue I covered earlier? The 90% or higher number is a best-case, RR number (see the full analysis below summary).

And even the 17% figure looks like it might be a RR number, the Absolute Risk looks only fractionally different, showing a reduction of just .2 (2 tenths) for cervical changes (not cancer) over 100 person-years (a convention in statistics, such as 100 people followed for 1 year or 200 people followed for 6 months = 100 person years). The outcome difference in AR reduction was 1.5 for unvaccinated patients and 1.3 for the vaccine), a minuscule difference for mere cervical changes, not actual cancer!

Remember all of my earlier info about research and data manipulation? This is a textbook example of that practice, turning a meaningless change between a vaccine that claims to prevent cancer (where actual cancer was not even detected) and placebo into a grossly exaggerated benefit claim.

Obviously, touting anything close to 90% effectiveness is grossly misleading and unscientific. Yet Haelle uses it regularly. The article also includes almost 100 deaths reported to the FDA from Gardasil in 2011:

One of the significant concerns about Gardasil regards the various adjuvants (immune stimulants) and additives, including mercury and aluminum. These are at significantly higher levels for this vaccine compared to others (remember, they recommend 3 dosages over several months). Gardasil contains the following ingredients (see links below for full ingredients, including their potential adverse affects):

  • Amino Acids (unspecified)
  • Amorphous Aluminum Hydroxyphosphate Sulfate
  • Carbohydrates (unspecified)
  • L-histidine (an amino acid)
  • Mineral Salts
  • Polysorbate 80 (a preservative and stabilizer)
  • Sodium Borate
  • Vitamins (unspecified)

And remember, this is not a pill that is ingested, it’s injected directly into the body, usually 3 times over 6 months. These chemicals get into the blood stream and circulate, and can even enter the brain! It happens very quickly and you can’t slow it down!

My conclusion is that this vaccine’s effectiveness is highly debatable. Like all drugs and vaccines, the HPV vaccine poses significant risks and serious problems in some recipients (not a surprise given all of the ingredient information above).

Some individuals are bound to be more sensitive or have unexpected immune responses to the vaccine ingredients (this vaccine is particularly designed to turbo-charge a patient’s immune response, which is NOT always a good thing)! In fact, it’s playing God (how like medicine to do that)!

Given that Dr. Harper, one of the developers of the vaccine, said that about 98% of cases of HPV resolve on their own in a few years (see my earlier comment from the post), this vaccine does seem to be of limited use (although more sexually active people increase their potential for exposure to HPV).

But as I pointed out in the earlier article sections, a company like Merck will market this vaccine relentlessly, and use their biased studies submitted to multiple journals to push their agenda. And true-to-form, they will dismiss concerns about safety (as many of the links point out). That’s how these drug companies roll, continuing on their long, rich history of corruption and fraud.

In fact, here are more links with opposing points of view and important concerns about Gardasil:

If you went through all, or most of this material, it should be obvious why Haelle’s article(s) seem horribly biased, one-sided and unscientific. They are!

She often presents articles based on a studies done by Merck, the manufacturer of Gardasil (or other vaccine companies), including authors who all have ties to Merck (even if they didn’t write and perform the study). Her article is focused only on benefits; any risks were given minimal coverage (she has done it before). Plus, dissenters were dissed in the article and in the comments!

Haelle failed to investigate or cover the authors for potential conflicts of interest (all 14 authors had financial and research ties to Merck and Gardasil). Nor did she mention any important study details, limitations or weaknesses (usually included near the end of the study). Haelle failed to offer balance or perspective with other points of view (including many of those I have included here), and she failed to respond to the 30 or so comments that challenged her article and her bias.

Overall, she failed any test of journalism or writing integrity, offering biased, slanted coverage and straying far her proclaimed “straight talk” about science, medicine, health and vaccines. She appears to have a strong, pro-vaccine agenda dismissing the tens of thousands of injuries, suffering and millions of dollars in pay-outs for damages.

It’s clear that their humanity is lost on Haelle. They are raining on her special parade! And I predict that she is an industry insider of sorts, engaged with pro-vaccine researchers, groups, drug companies, etc. She probably attends some “educational” conferences put on by drug companies and their marketers.

And Haelle clearly failed to incorporate any of the rest of the information I included in my initial Primer on drug and medicine corruption and fraud, and probably knows very little about lifestyle, prevention, aging or epigenetics, all keys to fighting infections, immune health, health and longevity.

I find her work to be superficial, unprofessional and irresponsible. If you believe what she says about vaccines, your health or the health of your children may be at risk! Please don’t rely on Tara Haelle’s articles for any of your health information!

Here is the article link to Haelle’s Merck-run study (a cached copy):

Here is my suggested tagline for Haelle, which I think is a more accurate portrayal of her work:

I support medicine’s views on vaccines, research and health.

My grade for her Gardisil article is an F! Haelle needs to go back to school for a few years. She doesn’t seem to know much about science, medicine or journalism!

BTW, this site did more research into Haelle’s work and found 35-plus stories on vaccines, all with a positive spin:

David Kroll (A Forbes Conributor)

His tagline is, I cover drugs, education, and the science affecting our daily lives.

Like Haelle, Kroll claims a journalism and science background, but he also demonstrates bias and huge gaps in his knowledge and understanding about drugs, supplements, medicine and health.

I included many of the stats above in comments for an anti-supplement article (actually a case study), including the number of injuries and deaths from drugs (drugs are about 400 times more likely to cause an adverse event or injury than supplements), meaning supplements are far safer, in spite of many mass-media articles you’ve read. He mostly ignored my points and didn’t respond to them.

This started with his biased article about a single, case study from Sweden for a product sold there but not here. His headline was, Here’s Why FDA Is Ordering BMPEA Supplements Off The Market, which is an unfounded claim based on a single case study. In fact, one of the questions I asked (but he never answered) is how many drugs are approved or withdrawn based on a single case study. The answer is none, zero, 0!

There have been some ongoing testing disputes about BMPEA (a type of mild stimulant) and if it is found in a type of acacia shrub as a natural source. The FDA said they didn’t find it but a supplement company has some studies showing that it is found naturally.

Either way, a single case study where you can’t even test for levels of BMPEA in a patient is not considered proof by anyone but biased people who already think supplements are inherently dangerous and poorly regulated.

Case studies like the one he cited are not used to approve drugs, develop supplements or to withdraw drugs or supplements. I told him his headline was misleading and unscientific. He never responded to my comment or changed the misleading headline.

In a typical fashion, Kroll’s anti-supplement bias shines as bright and hot as the July sun, using a single case study from Sweden and claiming this is why a supplements sold in the U.S. with BMPEA (at much lower levels) was removed. His article is simply conjecture and possibilities, claimed to be proof! Again, that’s not a scientific approach, nor is it evidence.

The article also quoted some medical people, with known biases against supplements. I pointed that out as well but he didn’t respond. At some point it said the article was updated but I couldn’t see where (writers often do that but do it poorly so you can’t find what they changed).

For the comments below, I’ve again selected a few to show the gist of what was said (there are 44 total, which is almost 20 pages). Kristina was one of the first to respond to his article, making very valid points in her comments (she lost her daughter to a prescription drug):

Kristina k.

Have you written any articles on the faulty FDA so-called drug approval process? If so, I’d be interested in reading them. My 19 year-old daughter died a prescription-drug induced death, courtesy of her doctor and the pharmaceutical company who pushed, marketed and sold a product their own internal studies showed would cause death. Until the FDA faulty drug approval process and corrupt collusion between Big Pharma and the FDA is addressed, it might be best to focus more articles and research on dangerous, ineffective drugs that are already being pushed on unsuspecting consumers who fatally trusted the FDA….

Kristina k.

Your comment “I can’t imagine that any drug company would want to make a product that contains BMPEA” makes me laugh. Well, almost laugh. Given that my barely 19-year-old daughter died from prescription-drug induced death, courtesy of her doctor and the pharmaceutical company that created, marketed and sold a product that by its own clinical trials proved to be ineffective and deadly, well, your comment is naive at best. Ditto for your premise that the FDA regulatory and drug approval process is a valuable process that protects health consumers. It does not. Revolving door employment agencies between Big Pharma and the FDA do not protect the public interest. Why don’t you write an article about the recent FDA proposal in which the FDA actually wants to grant the pharmaceutical companies permission to directly contradict the FDA’s own drug warnings? Writing such an article would be in the publics’ best interest….

Steven Carney (to Kristina)

Sorry to hear that your daughter died from a prescription drug. I support your comments 100%, and indeed, you show some better insights than the author of this article!

Drugs do kill and injure millions annually. Many drugs are approved based on research fraud, hiding negative studies, ghost writing, manipulation, and other deceptive practices. If it helps, the drug industry has been fined about 10 billion over the years. They do get caught sometimes.

Steven Carney (to David Kroll)

There are so many questions about your article it’s hard to get them all down. Part of what seems to be missing is the fact that this specific supplement is made by a Swedish company and I’m not sure if it’s sold in the US or not. You don’t address that information or clarify the issue.

There is no doubt that this is, at best, a case of guesswork and assumptions handled by someone who has a known bias against supplements, yet I again point out that your title makes it sound like a single case study is proof. As a claimed scientist, you should know that case studies, even single RCT are not enough to establish proof.

It takes replication by independent researchers with properly conducted trials using the right subjects to begin to see consistent effects. I’ve seen other reports on this case study and they are more balanced and less hyped-up. This link is to such an article:

You should know that age is a risk factor for stroke, as is birth control and many other lifestyle factors. I’ve also read for years that people over 45 often have mini-strokes that are subtle and not always obvious.

A comment I again made to David:

Your own bias carries all through your article and comments. When did you get the initial press release? Was it embargoed?

And how many articles have you written about the millions of annual deaths and injuries from prescription drugs. The FDA’s own reports showed over 115,000 deaths (when drugs are taken as directed) and over 1.7 MILLION adverse drug reports in 2013. Adverse reports for supplements are 2,000-3,000 annually. Drug adverse event reports run about 375:1 compared to supplements.

I could go on and on about the sweeping corruption in medicine, drugs and research studies and I’ve written extensively on these issues (hundreds of pages).

Feel free to include all the links to stories you’ve written on injuries and deaths from drugs, medical errors, misdiagnosis, and corruption in research, and I’ll send you my own collection of article and links on deaths and injuries from modern medicine.

As a quick note, he didn’t respond to any of these comments, either about the links I provided for the BMPEA supplement or the deaths and injuries from drugs, and how supplements come out far safer. That’s what bias does! You become blind, stubborn and deny actual facts when you “believe” in drugs as he does. Amazing to see, isn’t it?

craig (also to David)

I agree with Steven – first it is ONE case report. You can find more than one case report or lawsuit on soy protein causing hemmorragic stroke. Not saying it is the same, but there is inherent risk with any food, supplement or drug. But here – look at the product. Swedish product, not made under our rules or regulations, containing 290mg of BMPEA (which is several times what products contain here) PLUS other stimulants. If it was a contributing factor to the stroke, I would not be surprised. But again – it is ONE case study. I don’t believe that BMPEA should be on the market, but the FDA right now CANNOT build a case that it is unsafe. Only that the ingredient or assuming it is natural the extract is not a legal ingredient. Just the same happy it is gone!

Steven Carney

This article exposes more weaknesses and incompetence in medical research peer-review. It adds to the growing number of publishing scandals, fraud and bogus claims of science, especially in medicine:

The BMJ has been a leader in reviewing the top 2,500 most common drugs and procedures, and their findings are dismal! They have found that only about 10-15% of most drugs and procedures are supported by even a single study, the rest are degrees of probability to unproven to outright harm to patients. Other governments and organizations have found similar results. This means that most drugs and procedures are not evidence based at all. They are money and agenda-driven, which also explains why so many are injured or killed annually.

kristina k. (I broke into 2 paragraphs for easier reading)

Craig (and Steven) – I appreciate the points you make regarding drug warnings, the substandard clinical trials, fraud, BMJ etc. The issues surrounding consumer health care and prescription drugs are vast and complicated. That is why it’s imperative that consumers have access to all information and receive informed consent prior to prescribing. In my nineteen-year-old daughter’s case, she was prescribed a Black Box drug with out ever receiving any information of risk vs. benefits from her doctor, nor did my teen sign or receive informed consent. She had no idea the drug she was prescribed–and which was increased by the doctor over the phone without ever seeing my daughter, the patient–increased her probability of death. The FDA Black Box warning are useless so long as doctors and pharmacists are not required to share them with unsuspecting health care consumers.

Currently, the FDA policy on Black Box drugs are simply “prescribing guidelines.” Doctors are under no legal obligation to provide informed consent, at least not here in Virginia (nor in most states). The BMJ has been harshly criticized for publishing dangerous “studies” that are then picked up by main stream “news” outlets via press release. The disinformation then spreads like wild fire. Further, I might add that the main purpose of some of these “studies” is actually to obtain this press coverage to mislead the public. See: and: and:

Steven Carney (to David again)

Here is an article which refutes much of the so-called testing done by the FDA and Dr. Cohen on the origins of BMPEA. It also shows some of the apparent bias I mentioned and mistakes made for various claims against the supplement.

Although I don’t recommend these types of weight loss or workout supplements, it has the kind of information a competent reporter should be aware of:

I added later comments about cancer drugs and a fraudulent doctor, anti-depressant drugs and birth defects, and how placebos have been designed by drug companies to have the same side effects as the drugs used in research (they do initial studies to find out about side effects, then custom-design placebos to match them). The industry claims it’s done so it’s harder to tell who’s taking the placebo, which is PR nonsense.

Drug companies use those active, side-effect riddled placebos (not inactive ones like people assume) so they can claim less side effects for the drugs compared to placebo. It’s the same for vaccines! You can tell by their ads, when they often claim that the side effects were similar to placebo. It’s more deception, pure and simple!

As I thought, David had little to say about all those deceptive marketing practices and drug injuries. Too busy to do any stories about those issues! In general, he misses 90% of the content I included about the drug industry (remember Ghost Writing, RR and the ineffectiveness of drugs designed to treat symptoms, plus disease mongering, fines, etc.)?

How about all the lifestyle habits that can help create a long-healthy life for most people? Like the other writers, he fails significantly to provide a balanced, informed view, tending to bash supplements, support drugs and ignore actual health.

In short, he covers little science that affects daily lives. That’s the biggest part he is missing! I predict that he knows little about epigenetics, how the body actually works, and how health and longevity can be achieved without drugs.

Here is a link to that Kroll article on BMPEA if you ant to see all 40-plus comments (a cached copy):’s%20Why%20FDA%20Is%20Ordering%20BMPEA%20Supplements%20Off%20The%20Market&oe=utf-8&channel=suggest&gws_rd=ssl&hl=en&ct=clnk

Kardashian antics

After I started writing this article, I happened to see a cheesy, fawning article Kroll wrote about Kim Kardashian and that morning sickness pill, Diclegis. She is promoting that drug through her social media connections as a paid spokesperson. I decided to add some info about it here.

It really shows how far Kroll has gone in promoting drugs and almost gushing about Kim Kardashian, including her millions of social media connections, tweets, pictures, pop-culture influence, etc., treating a drug like a new candy! The first 2 pages were largely about Kim Kardashian and her endorsement: The Kim Kardashian-Endorsed Morning Sickness Drug Is The Real Deal

He even pointed out how she was “elegantly” holding the bottle of pills, which I found to be totally creepy! I literally cringed as I read those initial pages. But I hope there is a silver lining of sorts: People who see that article will forever know how low his work has sunk, and hopefully, fewer readers will see him as any kind of expert or credible source (because he is not)!

Kroll doesn’t get into any study details until page #3 of his article, and he seems convinced by a study with only about 250 people (divided into drug and placebo groups) and a study that only lasted 14 days! Are you kidding me?

Remember what I said earlier about subject size in the RR section? The groups were small and the outcomes were again, quite close. The difference was less than a 1 point improvement on the PUQE questionnaire, a result Kroll was impressed by! Time for cartwheels!

Specifically, the AR comparisons were 4.2 for the drug and 4.9 for the placebo, an improvement of just .7 (slightly over a ½ point reduction in symptoms), hardly impressive. This drug is basically a sedative (from the antihistamine), so of course it can calm and relax your stomach, it’s making you drowsy! Lots of other non-drug alternatives exist to minimize morning sickness (see list and many links below).

The study is ridiculously weak and unimpressive (too-small numbers, very short term, results based on a subjective questionnaire, not quantitative screening tests, etc.). And not yet replicated several times by independent researchers.

It’s way to short a time frame to really understand the potential adverse effects of this drug combo. It should have been at least 6 months. I wonder what they found that they don’t want us to know? Short studies are often done to avoid those pesky longer-term or damaging side effects.

And like all drugs, there are side effects, which some women have said caused them to stop taking the drug (they were too sedated and couldn’t function). In typical style, Kroll doesn’t touch on those issues until page 3.

Here are some side effects and warnings for Diclegis taken from

Diclegis may cause serious side effects, including drowsiness.

• Do not drive, operate heavy machinery, or other activities that need your full attention unless your healthcare provider says that you may do so.

• Do not drink alcohol, or take other central nervous system depressants such as cough and cold medicines, certain pain medicines, and medicines that help you sleep while you take Diclegis. Severe drowsiness can happen or become worse causing falls or accidents.

These are not all the possible side effects of Diclegis.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

I found a few damning articles about Kim’s sales work for this morning sickness pill:

New Kardashian update 8/11/15:

A few hours after I published this article, the FDA apparently issued a warning letter to the drug maker of Diclegis to remove Kardashian’s Instagram post for violating FDA guidelines for drug promotion! Here is a link to the story:–finance.html

I knew the fawning promotion and article by Kroll was tacky, desperate, and irresponsible, which is why I asked Kroll if he had really sunk that low. Indeed, he has! It shows a terrible lack of judgment and maturity, yet he went for it anyway!

It turns out that there are many helpful ways to lessen the effects of morning sickness, but as usual, Kroll seems to give them a passing mention at the very end of his article.

Some pseudo-science types (like Haelle and Kroll) will say, we need clinical trials to “prove” the effectiveness of these alternative treatments. This is nonsense for short-term ailments like morning sickness. Lifestyle changes or natural treatments are not as toxic as drugs (although the ignorant press would have you believe otherwise).

These things help lots of women with morning sickness and are certainly worth trying before taking a drug that can make you drowsy, tired or give you other side effects (see links below):

  • Eating smaller, more frequent meals (grazing, which I often recommend anyway)
  • Ginger or peppermint tea to sooth digestion
  • Lemon water
  • Fennel seeds (also for digestion)
  • Bland carbohydrates, broths
  • Taking vitamins and minerals, especially B-complex
  • Acupressure or acupuncture
  • A nice walk outside
  • Relaxation
  • Many more options can be found online

These are all alternatives with trying, perhaps in various combinations. Does Kim Kardashian need more money or publicity? Of course not! No need to play into that drug company’s tacky promotional campaign! Be a leader, not a follower (that says a lot about Kroll jumping in)!

Here is my suggested tagline for Kroll:

I am pro-drug, anti-supplement with a dose of pop culture.

Contributors paid from clicks

Before we move on to Matthew Herper, I’d like to include a quick overview of how Forbes is structured and how these so-called science authors, especially contributors, are paid. This post about Forbes covers its operations and includes information about how their writers and Contributors are paid. Apparently, Contributors are paid based on clicks, with a focus on volume over quality and hype over careful writing and accuracy. Here is the link that explores these issues:

Matther Herper

His tagline is, I cover science and medicine, and believe this is biology’s century.

Herper is a little different than Haelle or Kroll. He sometimes writes about medical or drug mergers or other business developments (which I actually think is okay for Forbes as a business publication).

When he writes about drug research, he does seem a bit more thoughtful and often includes more study details, even some skepticism. It’s refreshing. But he also writes his share of pro-drug articles, including those for Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cholesterol, cancer, etc.

In that sense, his take on “biology’s century” is misguided; he seems to focus on drugs as his biological solution which we know is wrong for most people. We know drugs don’t repair or fix the systemic imbalances that drive most disease. Drugs don’t return biological homeostasis.

True biology lies in the body’s ability to heal and repair itself, and to prevent most disease through a good understanding of epigenetics. It’s daily habits and hourly choices that are the keys to biological homeostasis, not drugs!

Treating symptoms, the body’s warning system, also goes against our biology and our design because it leaves the origins of disease untouched. Again, where’s the science or biology in the approach? MIA, that’s where! Once again, we have a Forbes writer who buys into drug industry marketing, pushing the illusion of drugs and the mirage of health through drug use.

For someone who claims to cover science and biology, he has no discernible focus on biological homeostasis or the activities that support it: optimal nutrition, exercise, movement or fitness, stress and stress management, quality sleep, emotions and beliefs, etc.

For whatever reason, his articles seem to have less comments so I’ll include 2 recent articles he has written. One on some Alzheimer’s drugs and one on a diabetes drug. Once again, he was not very responsive to the issues I raised.

His Alzheimer’s article is called, Promising Alzheimer’s Drugs Disappoint With Incremental Data and he actually approached the drugs with some skepticism. I appreciated that.

Here are the 7 comments for his article (many are rightfully critical or challenge him):

Knight Owl

From what’s showing up in other sources, this article may be factually inaccurate and it’s writing very irresponsible. This is NOT what CNBC reported this morning on these test results.

Matthew Herper, Forbes Staff

Where do you see factual inaccuracies?

Kelvin S.

Why do I get the feeling that these data are a false signal in the noise – a mirage in the desert that people see only because they are thirsty?

Marc B.

Your title is a bit misleading. Both programs are still alive (in a sea of failures), and we are talking about a phase II trial for one asset, and a successful extension study albeit from pooled failed trials. If you consider that the Biogen asset will be moved to phase III, and that Solanezumab’s phase III trial is still ongoing (and now with further data to suggest that signal is still there), I would say that yesterday’s results were encouraging developments.

Steven Carney (I added a correction to my wording here and later on)

The entire approach of using drugs to treat mostly lifestyle-driven disease conditions and symptoms is grossly [un]scientific at its very core. Except for trauma patients where lives are saved after accidents, the vast majority of drugs prescribed are designed to treat symptoms or lower surrogate markers but never cure the underlying problem and systemic imbalances. Those include hormonal, digestive, metabolic, excess weight and resulting inflammation, high stress levels, and other lifestyle behaviors that drive 80% of all chronic disease.

At the same time, drugs inevitably disrupt normal metabolic and cellular biochemistry and function, hence the side effects. These incessant articles at Forbes are so 1970s, as they often buy into the fraud and deception of modern medicine.

Independent reviews and investigations have consistently shown that most drugs and medical procedures are unproven, that research studies are manipulated in dozens of ways, from ghostwriting (around 40-50% of all research), subject selection, failure to track important confounders, publication bias, data manipulation, changing endpoints, using non-placebos that carry similar side effects to minimize the differences, the extensive use of relative risk (RR), which has the intended effect of boosting outcome differences of a few percent to 20, 30, even 50% are just a few of the ploys used by the drug industry.

Most medical and drug research is little more than marketing, designed to get attention and buzz, all to drive sales. Any writer who is blind to these decades-long realities has no business writing about drugs.

Steven Carney

Oops, I obviously meant to say grossly “unscientific” in my first sentence (not scientific). Seems like the site undergoes some kind of updating often. The formatting and comments are a totally different layout and the text boxes jump around.

I’d also add that the numbers found in these studies are all so small, the effects very unimpressive. Did these companies disclose the ingredients in their placebo? It’s common to use a placebo that matches the side effects of drugs now, thereby minimizing the appearance of side effects that patients will actually experience if the drug gets marketed. Hence, all of the black-box warnings, market withdrawals, and fines for illegal marketing at around 13 billion after so many of these drugs are foisted on the public under false pretenses.

David G. Contributor

A well-balanced assessment.

The key point, though, is this: the new data makes it more likely the treated patients had slower cognitive decline than the placebo groups. But it doesn’t increase the likelihood that any such difference was due to the drugs.
Here’s the arguments why that’s the case in more detail: 

Skepticism remains the order of the day.

I like David G’s observation the drugs might not be the source of any difference that seemed to show up and the we should be skeptical. He’s right (remember all those lifestyle confounders I covered earlier)!

Also notice that, with all the comments I’ve made and posted here, Haelle, Kroll and Herper never responded to the accurate points I raised about drugs and medicine (the corruption, the lack of credible research for science for drugs to treat lifestyle problems, treating symptoms but not curing, disease mongering, illegal activities and fines, ghostwriting, the use of RR, etc.).

Also, they didn’t respond to the stats about injuries, deaths, or marketing corruption. They all seem biased toward more drug use, like drugs are really a cure for most people or conditions when they are not! They seem not to understand basic reality or truth, which is why I wrote this article to begin with.

I don’t think any of them understand the drug or medical industry: how little they really offer and how destructive they are. I think denial is their instinctive response.

And because Herper seems not to know about the safer, non-drug alternatives for Alzheimer’s prevention and treatment, here are some thought-provoking links. They are all based on that lifestyle approach I kept mentioning earlier:

If I took more time, I could add dozens more articles and research. Indeed, many of the links have source links which are worth looking at.

Link to Herper’s Alzheimer’s article:’s+drugs&oe=utf-8&channel=suggest&gws_rd=ssl&hl=en&&ct=clnk

Here are a few links form other people that challenge Herper’s work:

Herper also wrote a recent article about a study for Januvia, a drug by Merck that claims to lower blood glucose for diabetics. The article does use RRR and also, the study was flawed because many patients were also taking other drugs! More confounders!

Reading the article had me cringing again! It’s like another ad for Januvia and Merck! All the quotes are positive and it’s just more marketing and PR. Herper expresses little skepticism or doubt, and doesn’t ask the right questions or offer much detail.

I predict that the “placebo” used in this trial was made in a lab to mimic the same side effects of Januiva, thereby minimizing those issues. Herper seems like a kid in a candy store, almost gleeful over these results! Again, biased, child-like and certainly not scientific!

The comments were also telling! Here is one that dismantled Herper’s writing in detail:

Renaldo Phlegm

Let me get this straight: The story you are presenting is that the Januvia decreases glucose by only 0.2%, increases the risk of pancreatitis, and has no long-term benefit in preventing the primary complications arising from diabetes? And it only costs $190 a month vs. the $4 generic it’s supposed to replace?

In the last post I commented on, PD-1 inhibitors had been found to be completely useless against the majority of colorectal cancer cases, when colorectal cancer is one of the few cancers that these inhibitors are targeted against. The people doing the study spun it not as the drug is ineffective against one of the major disease targets, but that the fact one had to perform a secondary genetic screen to identify the few patients who would respond somehow made it a BETTER treatment than one that would be broadly applicable. And you copied that spin verbatim. Someone else said the drug was like a machine gun and that no cancer cells escape and become drug resistant. And you quoted that guy verbatim, too, despite then proceeding to cite study after study showing EVERYONE’S tumor became drug resistant and all the cancers escaped.

Now, because DPP-1 inhibitors have been shown to have no long-term benefit over the current generic drugs, the companies are spinning it as the drug’s lack of adverse side effects is why you should take one? And you’re right up there on the bandwagon once again? LOL!!!!

Normal A1c is under 6.0%, uncontrolled diabetes is considered to be above 7.0%, and controlled diabetes is between 6.0 and 7.0%. So, for anyone thinking about investing, this drug doesn’t really do much of anything by lowering A1c by 0.2%, and it’s hard to come up with a reason for paying $190 a month for a drug that has such a minimal effect on blood sugar.

Below is a link to an article in which the reviewer actually examined published clinical results with Januvia in detail, examined the statistics, as well as issues with mismatches in the study and control group (i.e. the stuff Matt should be doing instead of just flying to meetings and talking to people being paid by drug companies to hype drugs and data that he and they don’t understand). The conclusion is that Januvia has no clear benefit and that its use results in an almost identical response to treatment with the generic glipizide.

And, if Matt wasn’t so busy schmoozing drug reps, maybe he could at least read wiki. If he did, he’d see that DPP-4 has a very broad and incomplete list of protein targets, is involved in immune function, and is believed to be a tumor suppressor. So while inhibiting DPP-4 prevents the degradation of incretins, which in turn has a tiny effect on blood sugar while increasing the risk of pancreatitis, inhibiting DPP-4 also prevents the degradation of lots of other molecules, some of which may cause cancer and other ill health effects. But I’m sure a 7 years study looking for cardiovascular disease would have picked that up, and the 0.2% change in blood sugar is worth $190 a month plus the unknown risk….

Then we have the usual self-serving supporting comments by politically connected, untrained MDs. “Sanjay Kaul, a cardiologist at Cedars Sinai Medical Center, says that he believes that the “most likely explanation for the heart failure signal with Onglyza is the play of chance.” I think he/Matt meant Januvia and not Onglyza, as Onglyza is said to result in a 27% increase in hospitalizations for heart failure (yeah, details don’t matter when it’s sell, sell, SELL ;). But why would I care that some MD who is hyping this drug wants to ignore the statistics? Because someone else hired him at Cedars Sinai, and THAT makes his opinions meaningful? “Some other drug that targets the same pathway didn’t have an increased heart failure risk, so the increased risk we saw in this trial had to be a statistical aberration” – sorry, Matt, but that’s a bunch of biased, illogical, unscientific crap.

Statins have different side effects even though they all target the same pathway. But obviously a big shot cardiologist wouldn’t know about statins or be smart enough to draw the analogy, and should just make an argument up instead. One example that comes to mind is that a drug which is more potent in inhibiting a pathway will be more likely to produce a strong side-effect as well. But if one drug has no apparent side-effect a different drug targeting the same pathway won’t either? Brilliant! Give that guy who can’t add 2+ 2, or who lies to sell a drug, a raise and another BS award/title….

And then we get to the ultra obvious spin, “Anything more positive would be a miracle in this high risk population,” says Martin Haluzik, of the 1st Faculty of Medicine in Prague, Czech Republic.” Clearly more great science by the unbiased MDs being handsomely paid to participate in the study. To paraphrase, “It would be CRAZY to expect this new and expensive drug to actually improve clinical outcomes in patients with diabetes. So as long as the drug isn’t worse than what’s already out there we’ll spin it and say the drug that doesn’t do anything in terms of clinical outcome is somehow a big breakthrough.”

Yeah, no improvement in outcome is a “good” result, in the same way that finding the average colorectal cancer patient doesn’t respond at all to PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors was spun as a positive result by the drug companies, and swallowed hook, line and sinker by Matt. But perhaps the best comment is by “Ethan J. Weiss, a cardiologist at UCSF”. Ethan says that a 0.2% increase in pancreatitis “…is so low that it is not hugely interesting”… well, unless you’re the 1 in 500 patients who gets life-threatening pancreatitis while trying to lower your blood sugar. But it’s not like those billion dollar sales figures in the last paragraph indicate they plan on selling this drug to hundreds of thousands of patients with diabetes, or that no real improvement in blood sugar and no improvement at all in the frequency of adverse events isn’t worth an additional $200 per month and the risk of a little pancreatitis and who knows what else… sign me up! 😉

And, Matt, you really do live in the dark ages. The reason I pick on you for displaying your MIT degree so proudly is that you are all about the American caste system. This MD is the head of the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation, so let’s focus on his title (which he got by going to Ivy League schools and being politically connected), and ignore the fact that he doesn’t have any scientific training whatsoever and makes stupid, outrageous claims as a paid spokesman for a drug company. This other MD is the head of GEORGETOWN’s Cancer Center, so if he has no scientific training and says the drug is like “a machine gun” after being paid by the drug companies to say so, let’s publish it in Forbes, as if it means something, when an average Joe with just a little scientific training can tell you it’s a bunch of BS that means nothing at all.

And then we have the richest MD, the most famous this and that… In the “dark” ages, people were uneducated and lazy. So they based their scientific opinions on what the king’s scientists said. The men of MIT and Georgetown are our betters and can always be believed, as they are always looking out for us common folk and not focused on their own pocketbooks. The Renaissance was supposed to be the time when fact and science became more important than advantageous birth. But, clearly, that never really happened, and that’s why Matt publishes lazy, uncritical articles, and why corporate shysters have his phone number.

Put together a preposterous scientific theory, which there is no support for or which the data contradicts, hire some MD from Hopkins, the AHA, the MDA etc. to sell the story to Matt, as nobody is as honest as a big name paid lobbyist, and watch the stock climb (ok, in all honesty, not that many people read Matt ;). And yet, for some reason, medical progress doesn’t seem that great…

Ronald did such a great job of dismantling Herper’s shallow writing I praised his comment and insights (no need to copy it all here, you can see my comments if you visit the link below.

Ronald clearly knows his research and details about diabetes and drug effects, and also includes lots of the political and research gimmicks and study manipulation I raised early on. His comments validate just about 100% of the basis for doing this post, and exposing the corruption and shill-like writing that Matt, Tara and David all do at Forbes!

Here is a link to Herper’s Januvia study with the remaining comments (cached copy):

Herper also seems to be captive to the myth that cholesterol is a cause of heart disease and that of statins save lots of lives, which I already included earlier as a classic example of how fraud and medical dogma permeates medicine. It’s nonsense and I’ve debunked the history of cholesterol and heart disease in many previous posts (some already linked above).

Here is my suggested tagline for Herper:

I heart big Pharma and I think drugs will bring a future of awesomeness!

Final word for all 3 writers

In spite of their claims about being scientific or writing about health, Tara Haelle, David Kroll and Matthew Herper have some unfortunate qualities in common (regardless of how much science swag they each put on).

Their embrace of pseudo-scientific reductionism as science, accepting all of the lobbying, and ghost-written studies that rely on RR and RRR, accepting all of the research manipulation, corruption, fraud, and disease mongering, even as they ignore all of the injuries and deaths of real people, and embrace the mirage of drugs for treating symptoms as scientific is beyond absurd!

Their work is not an indication of science at all. They are all more political and believers in the most fraudulent system ever created.

After many weeks of reading their work and comment interaction, I find that their work is:

  • Unacceptably biased
  • Shallow and myopic
  • Self-serving
  • Unscientific
  • Deceptive
  • Irresponsible
  • Reckless misinformation

Tara Haelle, David Kroll and Matthew Herper you have been debunked! 

And congratulations! You are the newest members of my Hall of Shame!

If I have any relevant updates, I’ll post them here:


© 2015 by Steven Carney/End Sickness Now


Kerry August 14, 2015 at 1:31 AM

We like the details you’ve included in your own article. They’re comprehensive and will surely perform. Your blogposts are very easy to follow and we appreciate the content. I assume you work with elimination diets too?

Steven Carney August 14, 2015 at 2:16 PM

I definitely try to help clients move away form all refined carbs and sugars. Sometimes they also have other intolerances like gluten, lactose. There are solutions for more allergies and digestive issues. No doubt, people need to tune their nutrition to they unique physiological needs.

Billy Keay August 14, 2015 at 7:47 AM

I like your blog. It is perfect for me to read. Have you done much on diabetes?

Steven Carney August 14, 2015 at 6:39 PM

I have done several posts on diabetes and I mention it often in posts about nutrition and lifestyle. I have a whole category for diabetes below the video in that category list. If you click on that, diabetes will come up in many posts.

Rose August 14, 2015 at 8:17 AM

WOW just what I was searching for. I came here by searching for health and sleep information.

libby August 14, 2015 at 7:00 PM

It’s the ending of mine day, but before finish I am reading
this amazing blog.

sanghosse August 14, 2015 at 11:41 PM

Wow, superb blog and layout! How long have you been blogging for?
The overall look of your site is nice, as well as the content!

Steven Carney August 15, 2015 at 8:16 AM

I’ve been blogging for several years. This blog was an offshoot of a previous one.

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