Thursday, 31 July 2008

Cymru am Byth!

It is a long established FACT!!!! that the Welsh School of Pharmacy is the best in the UK, consistently producing graduates with an indepth knowledge of basic scientific principles, a strong research ethic, and the ability to drink for thirteen hours straight in the Park Vaults on international days. God, I miss the Park Vaults.

Anyway, there appears to be a new Professor of Pharmacology there by the name of Gary Baxter. Never met the chap, so I assume he hasn't been there more than a couple of years. Even though I haven't met him, he appears to be a thoroughly good chap. This is why.

"As a pharmacist, I am embarrassed by the attitude of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society to complementary and alternative medicines — and to homoeopathy particularly — where the scientific evidence base clearly points to no benefit greater than placebo.

Edzard Ernst (PJ, 19 July 2008, p69) has provided a great service in highlighting the disingenuous stance of the Society in not making a clear denunciation of the supply by pharmacists of unproven therapies, which includes nearly the entire CAM repertory.

David Colquhoun is the author of the science blog, which I commend to all your readers. He describes, with embarrassing detail, in a written transcript “Royal Pharmaceutical Society defends quackery”, his encounters with the Society in trying to get a clear statement from the former director of practice and quality improvement David Pruce. Mr Pruce’s response was waffling and non-committal and I can only hope that he brings more clarity of thinking to bear in his new position at the Society.

I cannot emphasise strongly enough that the reputation of the profession as a reliable and trustworthy source of information on drugs and their use is at great risk. I believe that the Society’s attitude in not providing clear and unequivocal leadership on this issue says little for it as a responsible professional leader and guardian of the public good.

(Bolding is mine).

I absolutely agree with him entirely. The attitude of the Society on this matter is absolutely shocking. Borderline criminal, you could say. They're an embarrassment, and the only reason I'm associated with them is because I have to be.

LINK (again):

Further Evidence That Fellowships Are Directly Correlated To Fuckwittery!

Steven Kayne is a Fellow of the RPSGB. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he is also a homeopath. Bizarrely, he appears proud of the fact.

This ridiculous little man, who I have nothing but contempt for, has written on the PJ forums (fora?) that historical case reports provide "support for the administration of homoeopathy in a wide range of conditions". You could say that historical case reports provide support for trying people as witches. Anyway, the magical, mouth-breathing vermin and con-artists that believe in homeopathy are out in full force on the PJ forums (fora) with what appears to be the tacit approval of the RPSGB.

What a waste of money.

Forum LINK:

Ridiculous Little Man Fellowship LINK:

Monday, 28 July 2008

How Fucking Stupid Do Homeopaths Think We Are?

Christine Glover is, somehow, a prominent pharmacist. She is also a homeopath. She has sold 200C homeopathic "tablets" from her website.

A 1C tablet is 1 part in 100

A 2C tablet is 1 part in 10,000

A 3C tablet is 1 part in 1,000,000

A 4C tablet is 1 part in 100,000,000

And so on. We could be here all night, and I could wear out my typing finger. Basically, a 200C tablet has one part of active ingredient in 1x10^400 parts of lactose, or water, or alcohol, or whatever.

So a 200C tablet is 1 part in 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,





Roughly. I think.

In other words, this is roughly equivalent to 0.1ml in a sphere with a diameter 50,000 times larger than the distance from the Sun to Pluto* ( I still refuse to accept that Pluto is not a planet). The chance of getting a molecule of active ingredient in one of Ms Glover's 200C "solutions" is approximately the same as the chance of me having a threesome with Megan Fox and Angelina Jolie.

Christine Glover's site seems to have magically disappeared. However, thanks to the magic of the interweb, you can see her 200C "remedies" here.

I'm fairly sure I'm not stupid. I'm pretty sure that a 200C "remedy" contains zero active ingredient. Yet Christine Glover can't be stupid. Impossible. She is, after all, a Former President of the RPSGB. The layman could be fooled into thinking that this is a position that requires some scientific knowledge. She is also selling veterinary products, so I assume that she has some qualification in vetting. It would surely be unethical to do so otherwise. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine. Very prestigious. Of course, as we all know, the number of Fellowships you have is directly related to your academic excellence, and has nothing whatsoever to do with brown-nosing or backstabbing the right people at the right time.

*Thanks to the Randi website for sorting that out!

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Mouth-breathing believers

I'm rather disgusted that I have to share the letters after my name with the kind of idiots writing here.

Bear in mind that all these people went to university and studied three or four years of science that could be fairly tricky on occasion.

Sample comment: "However you cannot throw 200 years of knowledge and literature out of the window just because modern testing techniques do not work. I am a believer in God but can anyone prove his existence? "


(You may have to register to view the above site. Frankly, it's not worth it.)

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Merry Christmas.

Volunteered to do the Christmas on-call week this week. ( I don't mean I did it this week). Naturally, I had ulterior motives, such as not working the Six Nations next spring, or autumn, depending where you are. Also, everyone else who can do it has kids or is married.

As a bonus, I get our Golden Tech for a couple of hours to help me out as well. Screw the pharmacists, the dispensary could not function without this wonderful lady. Worth her weight in gold and precious jewels and sweet, sweet Brains.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Bugger, I've got to agree with The Grauniad.

The newspaper associated with the muesli-knitting sandle-eaters has SLAMMED homeopathy in a SENSATIONAL BLAST that will send SHOCKWAVES throughout the RPSGB.

NO-NONSENSE Professor Edzard Ernst, of CRACK OUTFIT Peninsula Medical School, FIRED A BROADSIDE stating"My plea is simply for honesty. Let people buy what they want, but tell them the truth about what they are buying. These treatments are biologically implausible and the clinical tests have shown they don't do anything at all in human beings. The argument that this information is not relevant or important for customers is quite simply ridiculous," he says. "If they are unable to stick to their ethical code, then they should change their code and be clear that it is alright to put profits before patients."

BIGWIGS at Boots HIT BACK, CLAIMING that "Homeopathy is recognised by the NHS and many health professionals and our customers choose to use homeopathy. Boots is committed to providing our customers with a wide range of healthcare products to suit their individual needs, we know that many people believe in the benefits of complementary medicines and we aim to offer the products we know our customers want. Our pharmacists are trained healthcare professionals who provide professional advice within guidance issued by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain regarding the supply of homeopathic products."

However, TheWelshPharmacist UNDERSTANDS that FORMER HOT-SHOT president of the RPSGB, Christine Glover is a practising homeopath. This DRAMATIC DEVELOPMENT has to call into question the COMMITMENT of the RPSGB to the practice and promotion of science. INTRIGUINGLY, and IRONICALLY, the current president of the BELEAGUERED RPSGB also PLYS HIS TRADE for Boots.

How will the RPSGB react to this BOMBSHELL?

(Anyone thoroughly confused by the above should go and read a week's worth of the Western Mail's rugby "coverage")


Who's Gareth Malson?

Disclaimer: Polls are a bunch of nonsense, enabling stupid people to have an opinion.

There's a new poll on the new (crap) PJ site, asking "Is it ethical to sell homoeopathic or other remedies that have no evidence base to support their effectiveness". Unfortunately, you have to register to vote. However, there is no restriction on who can vote, and no check of identity. So we have the situation where someone is purporting to be Gareth Malson, Staff Editor of the PJ, and Other Pharmacist. The Journal should urgently address this issue. There is absolutely no way that a pharmacist involved with the weekly trade magazine can think it is right to sell homeopathy. Clearly, Mr. Malson has had his identity stolen. This can be the only solution. After all, we have had firm and decisive opinions on homeopathy from the Society. Firmness and decisiveness are practically the Society's middle names. I am sure that the real Mr. Malson does not think that it is ethical to sell remedies that have no evidence base. This is contrary to everything he was taught at university. There must be some mistake.


Monday, 21 July 2008

My Holiday Poll.

Seriously, I'm not going to the fucking Rhondda. That's the comedy diazepam option.

What's My Name?

When I'm in work, I quite often make a complete and utter fucking hash of Maori names. Not out of any kind of malice, or because I can't be bothered to learn how to pronounce them*, it's just because it's tricky to let your head round if you haven't been brought up amongst it. This culminated today in a nurse making me say the same three syllables of some chap's name over and over again until I got it right. Then I thrust my ID card in her face and screamed at her "Ha!! HOW DO YOU SAY MY NAME THEN BITCH!!!11**". She recoiled like a vampire faced with garlic, or a Rhondda girl faced with a bath.

Anyway, I'm settling in a bit better now, have got to know the nurses a bit better (except for the ones that prefer nights, get on with the physios, OTs, social workers [from Porth, you can tell by the hump]. Also, I'm enjoying the company of the house surgeons I see regularly. Even the guy from Surrey, who is still speaking to me after I launched into my "Fucking Slurry, get half the bloody English team picked from there while Maynard and Morris and James get ignored***" rant.

The thing is, I'm living in a foreign country where Welsh is, if not unheard of, at least not a common thing. I have been saddled with a fucking ridiculous/awesome Welsh name, unfortunately most of the time when I'm on the phone to GPs I tend to refer to myself by my surname, as it's a damn sight easier to comprehend. So, I get my house officers, and nurses yelling at me with the anglicised form of my name, which I have never introduced myself with, but I have been answering to, just because it's easier. It's got to the stage now where it's too awkward to say "Er, actually, that's not my name."So I shall just keep ignoring it.

Imagine the possible consequences though, I could end up getting married to someone who doesn't know what my name is, because I was too polite to correct them.

*"They were all speaking English before I entered the pub, and then they started speaking Welsh"

"Have you got fucking X-ray ears or something?"

Unsurprisingly, this exchange occurred in Norfolk.

** This didn't really happen. Well, apart from the recoiling bit, but that's probably because I haven't shaved for two weeks. I never go out of my way to piss nurses off, you never know when you may need a catheter inserted...

*** You can't deny that Glamorgan have been shafted by the Wales&England selectors over the years, even if this rant is a little bit 1997.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Great Minds Think Alike.

Couple of interesting points in the letters pages of The Journal this week. Firstly, some drone from Asda, who makes no apologies for referring to patients as customers. If I ever meet him, I intend to make no apology for calling him a tool.

Secondly, and much more importantly Professor Ernst has written a letter calling for "the Society to take urgent action so that its ethical standards are adhered to". This is with regards to homeopathy, and the fact that it is worthless at best, and dangerous at worst. Good luck with that, Professor Ernst, although I've never known the Society to take urgent action on anything. Apart from ripping off pharmacists for all the cash they can get!


My Biggest Regret Of The Last Ten Years.

Is that this was never built upon.

Hindsight is easy, but I reckon we would have been in a far far better position now had a proper British/Anglo-Welsh league taken off then.

(It's not really my biggest regret, that would be along the lines of "If only I had the bollocks to go and talk to her...").

Irate responses from Valley Commandos are welcome.

Same old, same old...

Dear Minion,

Thank you for your recent email, which I understand, was also sent to our offices in Cardiff and Edinburgh .

I understand that you have recently contacted the Legal and Ethical Advisory Service of the Society regarding this issue and I would refer you to their responses.


Chief Exec and Registrar

The offices in Cardiff and Edinburgh haven't replied with anything more than an "out of office" message yet. Odd, that.

My response.

Thanks for your response.

The point is, the response from the Law and Ethics Service was less than satisfactory, consisting as it did of a wilful refusal to weigh up scientific evidence, assess the scientific evidence, and come to a scientific conclusion. Instead, I received a "homeopathy factsheet" that was not worth the paper it was written on. Why does the RPSGB refuse to accept the fact that homeopathy is no better than placebo?

Do you have a personal opinion on homeopathy?

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Choose my next holiday!

Ignore the fact that I'm sort of on a big holiday anyway. There is a poll going up, and the most popular destination will be where I drag my sorry ass to next. When I finally earn some holiday.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008


So, I seem to have been blackballed by the Law and Ethics department, the Scottish departmant, the General Enquiries department, and Jeremy " I rote about a buk, it was gud. Somehow, I got a degree in it" Holmes. It's probably a bit too much to expect the latter to come out with any kind of informed opinion though*. If anyone else fancies asking them for an opinion on homeopathy, go ahead.

*Arts graduates. What are they good for? Absolutely nothing.**

** The honourable exceptions will know who they are.

Monday, 14 July 2008

What The Hell Is This Thing You Call Science?

Taken from the RPSGB website

"One of the Charter objects of the Society is to maintain and develop the science and practice of pharmacy in its contribution to the health and well-being of the public."

This is the response I got from

Hi, Extremely Annoying Person.

Unfortunately I am unable to help you as we organise conferences in this department.

I will forward your email on to see if anyone else can assist you with your question.

Kind regards

Somehow, I'm not surprised.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Give it a rest, will you...

Dear Sir/Madam

Recently, I have been engaged in a correspondence with the Law and Ethics division of the RPSGB. Their refusal to answer a simple question is quite worrying, really. The question is

"Does the RPSGB think that homeopathy is an effective treatment"?

Perhaps you could let me know the thoughts of the RPSGB on this.


Dai Harder.

I really should find a new hobby, but it's such an easy target. Anyway, the above email was sent to the Welsh, Scottish, General Enquiries, Jeremy Holmes, Head of Policy Development, and the Science departments of the RPSGB. I await their reply with interest. My predictions:

WELSH: Thank you for your email, blah blah blah blah, meaningless fucking guff.

SCOTTISH: As above.

GENERAL ENQUIRIES: Hey, why don't you look at our fantastic homeopathic fact sheet that's out fo date and written by a practicing homeopath!

JEREMY: What the hell is this science crap? What the hell am I doing here? I don't understand any of this? I know, let's produce a meaningless glossy insert reminiscent of Pravda. That will fix everything.

SCIENCE: It's a load of shite no better than placebo. *

* Unfortunately, I don't really think this will be the response.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Committee Co-Ordinator.

So, what's a committee co-ordinator then? I reckon it's someone who sorts out tea and biscuits. Whatever it is, the RPSGB seem to need one. Well, actually, more than one.

"The post holder will work closely with the Statutory Committees Manager, Senior Committee Coordinator
and three Committee Co-ordinators."

Anyone got any ideas what they all do? Me neither, having five different people to decide what type of choccy hobnobs to have seems a bit excessive.


Also, does anyone else associate the word "Secretariat" with the USSR, or is it just me?

"The successful candidate will have experience of compliance with legal procedures and working
within protocols"

Yay, protocols. They're all well and good, but there seems to be a certain type of individual who absolutely, positively loves protocols! For this type of person, there is never enough protocol. Protocols are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, their raison d'etre, their justification for existence. God forbid you should go against the protocol. People like this tend not to be too bright, and absolutely, positively delight in not doing things "because the protocol says so".

They probably all work in New Zealand Immigration.

Nationalities That I Have Been Mistaken For Since I Got Here, Part Two

5) Australian. It's possibly not the wisest idea to wear a Waratahs top out in Auckland on a Saturday night. A bit like wearing a t-shirt saying "I LOVE HITLER!!" in Israel in 1948.

6) Dutch. I have no idea about this one, no idea at all. I've never even been to Dutchland. Still, I suppose it's better than being mistaken for a Boer.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Assess Evidence? Come To a Definite Conclusion? Sod That!

Thank you again for your further email on this topic.

You have asked whether the “RPSGB think[s] that homeopathy is an effective treatment?”. As you will be aware from our previous correspondence the Society has set out clear professional standards for the sale/supply of complementary therapies. My colleagues and I have advised you of these requirements.

In terms of whether any product is an “effective treatment” I will not be able to assist. As you are likely to be aware the Legal and Ethical Advisory Service provides assistance on matters relating to pharmacy legislation and the Code of Ethics. As I have outlined above you have been referred to the relevant sections of the Code of Ethics and its supporting documents. The Advisory Service does not comment on the effectiveness of medicines.

I do not propose to comment further on this specific matter.

Perhaps I should give it a break, but, fuck it, I'm paying 400 quid* a year for this, so I may as well keep banging away.

My reply.

I appreciate your reply.

Could you please tell me if there is a department, or even an individual, within the RPSGB that would be able to provide a definite answer on whether or not homeopathy is an effective treatment? If I was to make a complaint against a pharmacist because he or she was selling homeopathy, would it be further investigated by yourself, or not?

In the meantime, the Code of Ethics has once again baffled me!

Section 2.4 states that when supplying an OTC medicine I must supply
"sufficient advice to ensure the
safe and effective use of the medicine is provided." Note the use of the word effective.

Yet, with regards to homeopathy, section 8.3 states that I should
"recommend a remedy only where you can be satisfied of its
safety and quality," Note the complete absence of the word "effective".

Good thing homeopathy is not yet an OTC medicine!

Why the double standards?

I'd appreciate it if you could direct me to someone within the RPSGB who could give a definite answer on whether homeopathy is an effective treatment.

Being on call sucks, I end up getting angry about stuff like this instead of doing something interesting.

*I don't know where the pound sign is on a Colonial keyboard.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

"The Scientist In The High Street"

It's a load of bollocks really. Perhaps I've been working in the wrong shops, but I for one have never had the joy of an experimental cobweb filled dungeon filled with bubbling flasks of wrong-coloured stuff, time machines, or some bloke made out of bits attached to a table with a bolt through his neck, only to be brought to life by lightening.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Pharmaceutical Journal

The website's had a revamp. I'm sure this will not turn out to be a money-wasting rebranding exercise. Anyway, go and have a look while they've still got a poor chap who bears a resemblance to an extra from Dawn of the Dead on there.

Edit: Oh do fuck off, there's a massive great flashing advert from Boots the Homeopaths there as well. Hurrah!


Just to show how incredible he was, look at the little dot in the far right hand side of this picture. Ignore the one-day crap. He was better than Viv, Sobers, Tendulkar, that twat Ponting