This week, driving into work with the radio on, I’ve been further reminded of colonialism and GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) burgeoning success in positioning itself as global vaccine champions of an Ebola threatened ‘free world’. This is probably the greatest PR exercise GSK could hope for following their 2013 $3billion fine after they were found guilty of promoting two drugs for unapproved uses and failing to report safety data to the Food and Drug Administration - the largest healthcare fraud settlement in US history! Handy too, that the chase for the Ebola prize might detract from its recent $490million fine for bribery in China, a case which included amongst other things, prostitutes were procured to doctors to persuade them to prescribe GSK medicines, allegedly pushing up the prices Chinese patients pay for GSK drugs by as much as 30%.
So as dear old GSK announce, alongside the US National Institutes of Health, that each of the 20 healthy adult volunteers involved in its trial showed an “immunological response” and that the drug was “well tolerated”. Dr Moncef Slaoui, chairman of Global Vaccines at GSK, said: “We are very encouraged by these positive first trial results, showing this type of vaccine has an acceptable safety profile and can produce an immune response against Ebola in humans.”
Here are two choice paragraphs to mull over from the Pailey article which summarises some of the key issues.
An investigation by Channel 4 Dispatches, earlier this year, revealed that 'scientists advising health ministers on how much sugar should be in our diet are being funded by chocolate, ice-cream and fizzy drink companies as well as a lobby group for the sugar industry.' Specifically it exposed that members of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) are preposterously close to the food industry. SACN advises Public Health England, who ultimately advise health ministers, who in turn have the power to influence how much sugar will be in all our diets. Professor Ian MacDonald of Nottingham University, who is a key member of the group, also sits on two advisory boards for Coca Cola and for Mars, as well as receiving funding from Unilever which is the world’s largest ice-cream manufacturer. These revelations are outrageous and should make us questions whether policy makers are too close to the food industry.
So whilst we ignore the superb public health work of those on the ground in Africa and look to a magic bullet from the west for a multi-billion dollar Ebola ‘cure’ - whilst we conveniently forget the factors that drive us to reach for the bottle, or the pills, or the prescriptions that keep us sedate - conveniently ignoring the lack of work, education and money - and reach out for cheap food in one hand and a gastric band in the other...the marketeers are laughing all the way to the bank as we consume their products to satiate our boredom and loneliness, and of course, purchase their spurious miracle cures. People are making billions from us. Let’s forget the products and take a long hard look at our very sophisticatedly packaged, battery farmed lives. Hey, if you look beyond the hype for a moment and it makes you feel ill - don’t question it - your dissatisfaction is probably an illness - and there’s always medication for it, or even worse, surgery.
Healthy Hearts Grants
Heart Research UK has announced that its Health Hearts Grants Programme will re-open for applications in January 2015. Heart Research UK Healthy Heart Grants support innovative projects designed to promote heart health and to prevent or reduce the risks of heart disease in specific groups or communities. Grants of up to £10,000 are available to community groups, voluntary organisations and researchers who are spreading the healthy heart message. The closing date for applications will be the 28th February 2015. Read more by clicking on the sparkly heart above.
Foyle Foundation Small Grants Programme
The Foyle Foundation is inviting small local charities to apply for funding through its Small Grants programme. Through its Small Grants Programme, grants of between £1,000 and £10,000 are available to smaller charities in the UK, especially those working at grass roots and local community level, in any field, across a wide range of activities. Applicants will need to demonstrate that the grant will make a significant difference to their work.
Applications can be made at any time. Read more at:
The Austin and Hope Pilkington Trust which awards grants to registered charities in the United Kingdom has announced that the next closing date for applications is the 1st June 2015. During 2015, the Trust is seeking to fund projects that promote Community development and Medical - Research and non-research. Grants are usually between £1,000 and £3,000 and are awarded for one year. Previous grants awarded include:
Another glossy publication of perspectives on the value of art and culture from Arts Council England, which includes a piece by Prof John Ashton on health. Create is a new journal that aims to stimulate discussion about the true value of art and culture to our society. See more by clicking on the can of cultivation above.
The CELEBRATIONS project has been led by Buxton artists Adrienne and Langley Brown, and inspired by conversations with patients, families, staff and volunteers of Ashgate Hospice, Chesterfield. The work will become a permanent feature in the Hospice's reception, where it will be a welcoming presence and an absorbing talking point. This project has been especially inspired by the life and work of Alison Creed, and the project was initiated and generously supported by Francis Creed and the Creed family.
For more details please contact Langley Brown firstname.lastname@example.org
SPALVŲ METAMORFOZĖS (Colour Metamorphosis)
On the 4th December, artwork created by nurses and health workers from Kaunas Republican Hospital and Hospice and Kaunas Republican Public Hospital Care Clinic alongside the artists Marijona Sinkevičienė and Lina Drižiūtė-Malinauskiene who have been exploring the health, wellbeing and welfare of workers within the healthcare system in Lithuania. This work has been managed by Socialiniai Meno Projektai. The exhibition opens on the 4th December at Kaunas County Public Library and will be opened by esteemed Professor of sociology, and singer/guitarist, Leonardas Rinkevičius. With the health and wellbeing of the workforce a key priority for governments across Europe, this is the start of an important workforce public health programme in Lithuania.
Morpurgo backs 10 year old's library campaign
One of the world's most successful childrens authors is backing a ten-year-old boy's campaign to protect the library service in Cornwall. It comes as council cuts across our region leave the future of hundreds of libraries in doubt, with some facing closure and others having to reduce their opening hours. Click on the rabbit contemplating the moon for more details.
The Recoverist Manifesto has gone to press…