“Big Pharma” fails to convince TGA of product efficacy

In April last year, pharmaceutical company Key-Sun Laboratories were unable to substantiate claims they had made in an advertisement for a cold & flu product to the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s Complains Resolution Panel, Australia’s consumer protection watchdog for therapeutic goods.

The product, “Oscilococinum” is a manufactured by Boiron – who themselves were the target of a million-dollar class-action lawsuit for the same product, which they settled for $5 million dollars.

The findings by the TGACRP outlined in this document noted that Key-Sun, the advertiser, presented two studies to the TGA in an attempt to demonstrate the product was effective in relieving “fever, chills, body aches, and pains” as part of a cold or flu.

The findings include:

The Panel was satisfied that this evidence was not of a type, range, or quality that could support representations made in advertisements directed to consumers. The Panel also noted that the advertiser had not provided evidence that the studies provided reflected the full balance of evidence available in relation to the advertised product.

Big Pharmaceutical companies such as KeySun need reassess just why they are in the market place; this a blatant financial exploitation of the ignorant and misinformed, and their actions only reinforce the false tenants of homeopathics to those who could very well die as a result.

Unsurprisingly, many cynical advocates of homeopathy don’t consider similar products to fall under the category of “conventional” medicine, but considered an alternative to medicine.

I’m inclined to agree – Homeopathy is not medicine.

The Circle: Adam Van Langenberg on his High School Sceptic Society

It’s been six months since Adam Van Langenberg appeared on Australia’s Morning Panel Show “The Circle” talking about how he went about setting up a High School Sceptics Society!

If you missed it, here’s Adam:


Work like this, IMO is the best way towards progress; teaching kids HOW to think, not WHAT to think.

Be sure to check out @ScepticSchool on Twitter for updates, and get in contact with him (@vanAdamme) if you’re a teacher or in the Education System and you’re interested doing something similar!


Mike Adams: Fighting Strawmen for $10,000

I had heard of Health Danger Mike Adams’ challenge a while back and thought nothing off it (just another Big Pharma conspiracy theorist). Mike is one of those people who gets celebrity status amongst some people – without them really knowing what he’s about. He promotes Health, which in itself is great – but they don’t notice where he gets all crazy and deluded – and that’s where the problems begin. Sort of like when the Shorty Awards (A twitter-based award) came about and as a result of losing, started blaming “Big Pharma” and the votes being rigged, despite an investigating finding that a large component of his votes were from Twitter User Accounts specifically set up to vote. – Orac covers this one awesomely.

Not the First Time

And yet, surprisingly (or not) while looking up information about this very post I stumbled upon Mike Adams’ “challenge” regarding vaccines. Yes, he’s a Vaccination Nut too. Thankfully, A Drunken Madman looks at Health Dangers’ challenge and explains why it’s a bullshit campaign to make it look like he’s a “ranger”.

The James Randi Educational Foundation

Now, the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) has a standing offer of $1,000,000 to anyone who can PROVE any of a number of paranormal claims. e.g. ghosts, physic abilities, homeopathy, etc.

The tests administered are there to prove an objective claims, and are agreed to by both parties. The rules are pretty simple. Prove the claim. That’s it.

Of the challenge, the JREF has this to say:

The Foundation is committed to providing reliable information about paranormal claims. It both supports and conducts original research into such claims.

At JREF, we offer a one-million-dollar prize to anyone who can show, under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event. The JREF does not involve itself in the testing procedure, other than helping to design the protocol and approving the conditions under which a test will take place. All tests are designed with the participation and approval of the applicant. In most cases, the applicant will be asked to perform a relatively simple preliminary test of the claim, which if successful, will be followed by the formal test. Preliminary tests are usually conducted by associates of the JREF at the site where the applicant lives. Upon success in the preliminary testing process, the “applicant” becomes a “claimant.”

Notice the language used; the formal, reasoned nature of the challenge. It doesn’t harp on. It’s succinct.

NaturalNews’ Mike Adams

And here we have Mike “Health Ranger” Adams and his obnoxious, self-righteous “challenge“. Either he is too stupid to understand medicines, willfully ignorant and refuses to learn, or he has specifically set out to create a false challenge to protect his money.

On behalf of the natural health community and all the free citizens of our world who have had their health freedoms stolen from them by a corrupt, dishonest and utterly criminal pharmaceutical industry, I hereby challenge the drug companies to produce a single medicated person who can beat me in a contest of strength, endurance, flexibility, coordination and adaptability.

I’m offering $10,000 to any drug company that can produce a single person taking eight “health enhancing” pharmaceuticals (see below) who can beat me in the competition described here. If they beat me, I write them a $10,000 check out of my own personal bank account. On the other hand, if I win, they have to donate $10,000 to the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center, where I will direct the funds to be spent on providing nutritional supplements for low-income expectant mothers.

The drug companies, you see, claim that the more drugs you take, the healthier you become! Cardiovascular drugs, they say, improve the health of your cardiovascular system. Antidepressant drugs improve the health of your brain, and blood thinning drugs improve the flow of blood through your veins, they insist. So shouldn’t a person taking five, six, or even eight drugs be healthier than a person who takes no such drugs?

According to the messages broadcast in Big Pharma’s television ads, I should be the least healthy person alive today because I take no drugs whatsoever: No prescription drugs, no over-the-counter drugs and no recreational drugs. If you believe Big Pharma’s position that drugs make you healthier, then it should be a very simple matter for Big Pharma to come up with somebody who has better cardiovascular health than myself, right?

Think about it: There are over 300 million people in America. More than half of them take prescription drugs. That’s over 150 million people from which Big Pharma can choose in order to beat one guy (me) in a contest of physical health.

And yet, as you’re about to find out, there is no person on these medications who exhibits excellent physical health. They simply don’t exist. And why? Because drugs make you sicker, not healthier, and the more pharmaceuticals you take, the sicker you get! http://www.naturalnews.com/023476_health_drug_drugs.html

Before he has even got to the details of his “Challenge”, it is clear he is making a convoluted series of Straw Man arguments. However, it’s in the “Rules”, that we see the most irresponsible, and ignorant thing that he demands from its participants – that the challengers be multiple given drugs, regardless of whether they are appropriate or not for them – and not just for a short period, but at least a year.

My challenge is extended to any pharmaceutical company with more than $250 million in annual sales. Subjects selected for the competition must be taking the following pharmaceuticals (and must have been taking them for one full year in order for the “health effects” to fully kick in):

• COX-2 inhibitor (anti-inflammatory)
• Blood thinner drug (like Coumadin)
• Blood pressure drug (like Toprol)
• Statin drug (anti-cholesterol)
• SSRI drug (antidepressant)
• Sleep drug (like Ambien)
• Hypertension drug (like Norvasc)
• Antibiotic (like Amoxicillin)

Furthermore, subjects cannot be taking any nutritional supplements or eating superfoods, since these are precisely the things that conventional medicine insists have no health benefits whatsoever in the human body. So I’ll be taking all the nutritional supplements, and the drug company participant will be taking all the medications.

Participants will have to sign a full disclosure relieving me of any responsibility for their own death, since the level of physical exertion in this competition may very well be enough to cause a medicated person to die of a heart attack or stroke. (After all, these drugs kill 100,000 people a year, and most of those people aren’t even exerting themselves…)

Furthermore, given the overwhelming advantage of allowing the drug companies to select any person from among 150 million drug-taking American consumers, I’m giving myself the relatively minor advantage of choosing the five events of the competition, which will be revealed when the challenge begins.

To prove they are serious in this challenge, any participating pharmaceutical company must deposit $10,000 with the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center, which will keep their deposit if they lose the competition. If they win, the Consumer Wellness Center will return their deposit, and I will personally write them a check for an additional $10,000.

Challenge participants can be of any age over 18. Yes, at the age of 38, I will gladly compete with challengers half my age, as long as they are on the required medications.

If any participants have the gumption to show up, this event will be filmed and broadcast on NaturalNews.com, YouTube, Google Video and other online video outlets. Further details of the participation requirements and legal contract are available by contacting NaturalNews through our feedback form: http://www.naturalnews.com/feedback…

There are quite a few other details to this, such as travel arrangements, who pays for the blood tests, video broadcast rights, and so on, so if any drug company seriously wants to step up to this challenge, contact us for full legal details. – http://www.naturalnews.com/023476_health_drug_drugs.html

Do you like the part where he slips in that wants his challengers to be taking a Sleeping Drug? Or where rather than escrow, he opts to have the money deposited in to the coffers of the “Consumer Wellness Center”, of which he is the Executive Officer and founder?

And aside from the obvious Naturalistic Fallacy, It’s is blatantly clear to those with an informed, basic knowledge of medicine that he has no good understanding of what medicines are, or how they should be used.

The only thing to do is to ensure others’ have the capacity to see through bullshit like Adams’ through reason and logic.

An arduous task.

Scam School shows how EKEN sells their PowerBand

Award-winning magician Brian Brushwood over at ScamSchool shows how the scam works, and uses a “Placebo Band” to demonstrate this exact scam:


So, I’m still disappointed in the current outcome of the EKEN Complaint made earlier to the TGA, and subsequently to the ACCC. I am hoping for a situation where EKEN are forced to acknowledge their bullshit marketing techniques.

ACCC Responds to EKEN Complaint

I’m planning on calling the ACCC on Monday morning to bring the focus towards EKEN’s use of “Applied Kinesiology” to sell their goods.

After receiving the letter I took a look at EKEN’s website, which was recently updated to promote Billy Slaters’ addition to their “Hall of Shame”.

EKEN words their Technology page to make it appear as if they are talking about the properties of the product itself; it’s a poor excuse for what they ARE selling, compared to what they mislead people to believe they are purchasing. The website contains an image with little context and can lead people to the believe that this is how to “test” the effects of the PowerBand.

It explicitly depicts that the EKEN Powerband can, and will affect a persons’ balance through a comparison.

"Balance" with and without the EKEN Powerband

In the second image, the person performing the test will push directly down towards the ground, resulting in the centre of gravity being shifted away from the body, making it harder to withstand pressure applied to the arm.

In the third image, the person performing the test pushes down, but towards the lifted foot. This slight change results in the centre of gravity being shifted TOWARDS the body, thus making it EASIER to withstand pressured applied to the arm.

To me, it seems as though if you’re the tester, you HAVE to be actively scamming the subject. Why does it have to be a conscious act of deception? Because the outcome of the “test” is determined by a deliberate act by the tester; I find it hard to believe anyone could not do this test and “accidentally” come out with negative results without the PowerBand and positive results with the PowerBand every time.

Again, the short of it is that Applied Kinesiology (another pseudo-science) is being re-appropriated for the testing of a person’s balance once wearing the product.

EKEN have videos of this scam being pulled on Athletes, who lap up this “technology” and are astounded by it. EKEN outright exploits these as “testimonials” to their PowerBand’s efficacy.

Homeopathy & The 1023 Campaign Against It

Brauer’s Homeopathic Product

Last year, on Sunday February 6th, 2011, skeptically-minded Sydney-siders participatinged in the 10:23 Challenge.

The lead up to the event was a massive success, far surpassing the intended reach of 1,023 protesters in 10 countries with 23 cities participating. Sydney was one of the 68 cities, from the 28 countries that participated.

That’s every continent on Earth, including Antarctica – where protesters will effectively ‘overdose ‘on homeopathic remedies.

The 2011 event was a follow-up to the ‘overdose’ protest staged by the 10:23 Campaign in 2010, and is was about bringing an international touch to the worldwide practice touted as an “Alternative Medicine”.

In 2012, the “campaign” was understated and is working at the grass-roots level to bring about awareness, and policy changes – with some very exciting action being taken by a number of people nation-wide in Australia!

While many believe homeopathy is to be a “herbal” medicine or an “all-natural” alternative, it is neither.

“Homeopathy is an unscientific and absurd pseudoscience, which persists today as an accepted form of complementary medicine, despite there never having been any reliable scientific evidence that it works.” – 10:23 Campaign Website

In a Nutshell, Homeopathy is the practice of diluting an active ingredient (that may cause similar symptoms to that being experienced in larger doses) in water (which Homeopaths call potentisation), vigorously shaking it via ten hard strikes against an elastic body (succussion), and repeating the process.

The more dilute, the more powerful the remedy. When this is completed to the desired dilution (Usually 30), the final liquid is dropped in to sugar balls, or infused in the sugar pills.

The Gritty Technical Stuff

Homeopathic 30C Preparation

Dilution is based on a factor 1 part per 100. A 2C dilution would require taking an active ingredient, diluting it in 99 parts of alcohol or distilled water, and then some of that diluted solution diluted by a further factor of one hundred.

2C is equal to 1 part per 10,000.
6c is equal to 1 part per 1,000,000,000,000

You can see how by 30C, someone taking this dilution would need to consume 1041 pills (a billion times the mass of the Earth) to consume a SINGLE MOLECULE of the original active ingredient.

That’s 1/100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 pills!

At 12C you pass what is known as the Avogadro Limit (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avogadro_constant). This is the point at which there is likely nothing of your original substance left; and this is where Homeopathy gets even more interesting! Continue reading →

Setting Ground Rules

There is little sense is discussing issues with people who are not interested in the truth, and it is difficult to reason with people who are not able to recognize what constitutes a fallacious argument.

In an attempt to prevent myself for wasting my time, I have formed two ground rules for which “believers” will need to pass before I seriously consider engaging with them in any great depth.


My first rule addresses the openness of the discussion. There is little to discuss if only one person is open to new information.

Of course, I am not going to leave them high and dry – If they want it explained, I am happy to refer to the QualiaSoup video on open-mindedness: http://bit.ly/QSopenminded

My second rule seeks to establish a framework that prevents fallacious conclusions. We can not reason with people who can not reason.

If someone is unfamiliar with logical fallacies, some of these are explained at a recently launched website called Your Logical Fallacy Is

Though, if they have failed the rule two, I am happy to provide links to resources that will help them develop critical thinking skills.

Skeptics Society: Adam Vanlangenberg’s quest to encourage critical thinking in High School students

In an Australian high school, maths teacher Adam Vanlangenberg holds a weekly lunchtime meeting, inviting students (and teachers) to discuss popular phenomena during a “Skeptics Society” class at the McKinnon Secondary College.

The class has proven to be extremely popular; In an article from the Age written by Jewel Topsfield (“Sceptical group brave enough to tackle the big issues, like the Stallone rump reading“). Adam says ”I thought if I got 30 kids I would be happy. About 100 kids turned up, which blew me away.”

All too often, skepticism is seen as a “debunking” of sorts – Adam appeared on the Australian morning television show “The Circle”, speaking with the hosts about the aims of the class and how it come to be; he has succeeded in presenting skepticism for what it is, an evidence-based search for answers.

Please watch, and share the video!


Check out the blog at http://scepticschool.com/