By Marika Sboros
Are Big Food and Big Pharma really killing people for profit globally? Yes, say some of the biggest names in European medicine. They’re joining forces on a panel discussion at the European Parliament in Brussels on April 12
The doctors say they will “blow the cover” on the dark world of Big Food and Big Pharma lobbying to influence dietary and medical guidelines.
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They promise a “unified show of force” that will expose collusion between politicians, respected medical institutions, “charities” and medical journals. They will present new evidence of how food and drug industries have coerced doctors into prescribing unnecessary and potentially harmful treatments.
And they will show that major conflicts of interest at the highest levels have “hijacked evidence-based medicine”. The result, they say, has been an “epidemic of misinformation”.
Heading the panel is award-winning British cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra. With him are Dr Richard Thompson, personal physician to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth from 1984 to 2005 and past president of the Royal College of Physicians; endocrinologist Dr Carl Heneghan, Oxford University professor of evidence-based medicine; and Dutch diabetes professor at Leiden University Dr Hanno Pijl.
The panel is an idea whose time has come as worldwide, medical and dietetic establishments with close links to Big Food and Big Pharma dish up what many consider “dangerous dogma”.
Malhotra, the bête noir of both Big Food and Big Pharma, is leading the charge in exposing that dogma globally. He is a vocal campaigner for reduction of sugar consumption and the harms of “too much medicine”.
Malhotra is also spokesperson for the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges Obesity and Choosing Wisely Steering Groups. Choosing Wisely is a US-based group founded to initiate conversations between physicians and patients to counter unnecessary treatment.
The Pioppi Diet phenomenon
In 2015, Malhotra became the youngest member appointed to the board of trustees of health think tank, The King’s Fund. And in 2016, Debrett’s named him one of the most influential people in science in medicine in the UK.
Malhotra is also a growing multi-media influencer. He is co-author with Donal O’Neill (of Cereal Killers fame) of the recent international best-seller, The Pioppi Diet. Their documentary film, The Big Fat Fix, premiered in the British parliament.
Many leading doctors and journals internationally have vigorously endorsed The Pioppi Diet. Thomson has called it “revolutionary” and said everyone should read it. The British Journal of General Practice described it as “not just a diet book; it’s a healthcare manifesto”.
However, in an establishment pushback in December 2017, the British Dietetic Association (BDA) named The Pioppi Diet a “celebrity” fad diet to avoid in 2018. (I have asked BDA for scientific references on which it bases that opinion.)
In Brussels, Malhotra will argue that for years, public health advice across Europe has got it “dangerously wrong”. With global health systems forecast to collapse in the next few years, two things drive ever-increasing demand, he says.
The first is the escalating burden of chronic disease that entirely preventable lifestyle illnesses causes. And the second is over-treatment. This has led to millions taking drugs and undergoing surgeries that will provide “zero benefit” while costing national economies billions.
The panel will also focus on the unacceptably high cost of diabetes treatment in the UK. Diabetes medication alone currently costs the NHS over a billion pounds per year. Treatment costs over 14 billion pounds – in other words, a whopping £25,000 per minute.
Click here to watch the panel talk streamed live on Facebook
Statins in the spotlight again
Controversial cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins are likely to come under the spotlight at the Brussels event. Thomson has called for an independent inquiry into the blockbuster drugs after research found existing trial data was flawed.
However, conventional dietary guidelines and statin use are both based on the diet-heart hypothesis that saturated fat causes heart disease. That hypothesis is currently unproven and therefore, unscientific.
The Brussels panel members won’t just be talking about problems. They will offer solutions. That includes a call for UK diabetics (type 1 and 2) to ignore current low-fat diet government guidelines. In its place, they will show the benefit for diabetics of following guidelines that reflect robust, independent scientific evidence.
They will show that this would reduce dependency on diabetes drugs and insulin by over 50%. Thus, this would save the NHS hundreds of millions of pounds annually. In effect, the panellists will call for a complete dietary guidelines overhaul to remove Big Food and Big Pharma influence.
Click here to read: Sugar conspiracy a sour figment of the mind?
They will show how this would reverse obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease and save European Governments billions annually.
That follows an open letter that Nathan Gill MEP (Member of the European Parliament) for Wales wrote to British Prime Minister Theresa May in March. In it, Gill calls for an urgent overhaul of current dietary guidelines that promote low-fat foods and advise putting starchy carbohydrates at the base of diet.
A type 1 diabetic, he also describes how he has reduced his insulin requirements by 50% after reading The Pioppi Diet and cutting sugar and starchy carbohydrates from his diet. He urges May, also a type 1 diabetic, to do the same.
Drugs and deaths
The panellists will also call for an urgent Europe-wide campaign to reduce the amounts of medications people are taking. And they will discuss the need for a Chilcott-style inquiry into biased information emanating from Big Pharma on medicines that is harming millions of patients.
In the UK, more than half of all adults take at least one prescription medication. Fifty percent of those over 70 are on at least three. Estimates also are that prescribed medication is the third most common cause of death after heart disease and cancer.
Organisers say that interest in the Brussels event is high and pre-registration for the event is essential. Members of the media can register with firstname.lastname@example.org. The panellists will hold a press conference afterwards and be available for interviews.
And for those who can’t get there, Sweden’s “diet doctor”, Dr Andreas Eenfeldt, will live-stream the event on his Facebook page. Click here to see it: https://en-gb.facebook.com/TheDietDoctor/