Truth Will Out

by Chris Holmes

As more smokers become aware that Champix (or Chantix in the U.S.) is not so much a ‘Wonder Drug’ as a ‘Wonder If I’ll Just Get The Nausea, Or If I’ll Have A Complete Personality Change, Murder My Family And Then String Myself Up In The Garage’ sort of a drug, some of them are bound to also wonder if there are ways of quitting smoking that don’t involve gambling with your life.

There certainly are.  Not only that, they have proven to work better than any of the medications in the long run anyway (i.e. at the twelve month follow-up stage, by which time over 80% of Champix users are smoking again.)

Hypnotherapy, the Allen Carr method (which functions as a form of hypnotherapy anyway) and acupuncture all have proven hit-rates that beat the meds.  I have no connection with the last two, as I am a professional hypnotherapist specialising in smoking, alcohol, gambling and drug habits for over a decade… but I recommend them anyway because they have a proven track-record and they are SAFE.  In a moment I will provide some handy tips for anyone considering hypnotherapy.

Acupuncture: The key with this method seems to be to find an experienced practitioner who has worked with the smoking issue a lot.  I don’t pretend to know HOW it works, but it definitely works for some – and as it cannot damage you or make you go crazy it is well worth a shot if you haven’t tried it.  Surely it makes no sense to try any method that involves risk unless you have already tried all the ones that do not.

Allen Carr: He is no longer with us but his books are.  So are the group-therapy franchises that grew out of his own private sessions as a ‘therapist’.  In truth Carr set himself up as a smoking cessation therapist with no formal training of any kind, and one of his successes claimed that “he BORED me into quitting!”  This maybe reflects Carr’s tenacity and unshakeable belief in his own method, plus his tendency to go on a bit!  The group therapy sessions are four to five hours in length, ending with about 15 minutes of “hypnotherapy” from practitioners who are not really hypnotherapists.  The cost was around £250 last time I looked, which was a few years ago.  My advice is to read Carr’s original book first, the one that made him famous.  He self-published it originally, then it went on to sell millions of copies. It’s about six quid, and it’s called “Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking.”

Hypnotherapy:

1) If you have a bad attitude, you’re angry with the world or suspicious by nature and think everyone is out to cheat you, DO NOT ring a hypnotherapist.  You will not respond positively and then you’ll convince yourself it’s THEIR fault!  You COULD start by having therapy to fix your emotional issues, and then succeed normally with the smoking.  That would work, and it would also make you happier.  But it wouldn’t work the other way around.

2) For everyone else, hypnotherapy is the ideal way to ditch the habit effortlessly and with no weight-gain.

3) If the therapist is quoting fees that go over £200, find a different therapist UNLESS: you are rich and famous and/or the practice is located in Harley Street or whatever the equivalent of that is in your country.  (Where all the private doctors who “specialise in diseases of the rich”, as Tom Lehrer put it, have their offices.)

4) Some hypnotherapists will usually aim to do smoking cessation in one session, as I do.  Some don’t, and that’s okay as long as the overall cost of stopping smoking stays within that £100-£200 range.  Do not assume that if you pay top dollar you get the best therapist.  You just get the best-dressed therapist, with a Rolex.  Their overall success-rate won’t be any different to anyone else’s.

5) Your therapist should explain to you, in advance, that hypnotherapy is nothing like the experience you expect it to be.  Most clients are expecting to be asleep, or “away with the fairies” or something.  In fact, you feel perfectly normal.  You don’t “feel hypnotised” at all.  This is important to know in advance, otherwise the client may assume “it’s not working” which can affect their MOOD and therefore the outcome.

6) The ideal mood for hypnotherapy success is LOOKING FORWARD to that success.   A mood of positive, eager anticipation.  So if anything is bothering, worrying or troubling you during the session – anything at all – TELL THE THERAPIST IMMEDIATELY.   Interrupt the proceedings, ask, raise any questions you like.  Then they can deal with it, it won’t be a problem.

7)  The more positive you are, the better the result will be.

8) The more comfortable you are with the therapist, the better the result will be.

9) The more you are looking forward to being rid of tobacco, the quicker you will be.

10)  It does seem like nothing is happening during a hypnotherapy session.  Don’t let that bother you – all hypnotherapy sessions are like that.  You only notice the results afterwards.  ALSO: It does sound as if the hypnotherapist is simply telling you things you know already.  That is because your conscious mind DOES know those things already.  Hypnotherapy is an update for the Subconscious mind – which controls all habitual behaviour – to bring it up to speed with what the conscious mind has already learned.  So I tell all my clients:

“The trance part of the session does seem a bit boring!  And we use quite a bit of repetition when we talk to the Subconscious, so not only does it sound like I’m telling you things you know already, but several times over!  But it gets the job done, and that’s all that really matters.”

It also helps to know: how much clients relax varies enormously and doesn’t matter at all, and that the only thing that really matters is how you feel about what is being said to you about tobacco.  If you are in broad agreement with it, that’s acceptance and success should be immediate.

Finally: don’t ‘test’ the results by trying a cigarette.  Hypnotherapy shuts the habit and the cravings down.  Testing it by smoking simply starts them up again.  Further hypnotherapy will shut them down again, but it is cheaper to let sleeping dogs lie.

more about hypnotherapy  

the book that blew the whistle on the nicotine scam

 

by Chris Holmes

Primary Care Trusts are “failing in their duty of care” in blacklisting 19 drugs on the basis of cost alone, according to a report this week in the Metro newspaper (Thursday 24th November, page 8).  Political Editor John Higginson reports that this “appears to go against the NHS constitution, which gives patients the right to receive any drug recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence if their doctor believes it is clinically appropriate.”

The list includes drugs with proven efficacy in the treatment of cancer and also epilepsy – but the PCTs concerned have decided that these drugs cost too much.

The very same Primary Care Trusts also decided it was perfectly okay to spend £84,000,000 in England alone last year (not the whole of the UK, that figure is even higher) on a treatment service which they know from their own research DOES NOT WORK any better than willpower alone when the results are assessed at one year.  I’m talking about the NHS Stop Smoking Services and particularly the nicotine replacement products which we now know for sure have a 6% success rate at the 12 month stage – exactly the same as willpower.

My suggestion is simple: Take that vast amount of money and spend it on life-saving drug therapies that have been proven to be effective, and leave smoking cessation to experts like myself.  I’m a hypnotherapist by the way, and nearly all my smoking clients have already tried willpower, nicotine gum, patches, lozenges, the little inhalator-thingy… some have tried Zyban and the latest (non) wonder drug Champix… then they come to me, convinced that they “have failed” repeatedly and that it is “really hard to stop smoking”!  No, it’s really hard if you try to do it via the NHS.  It’s really easy with hypnotherapy, provided it’s done well.

But I’m not suggesting the PCTs should fund that.  They should be funding those life-saving drugs, not wasting tens of millions every single year on a service that clearly doesn’t work at all.

the book that blew the whistle on the nicotine scam

by hypnotherapist Chris Holmes

*Update: If you or a loved one has suffered a bad reaction to Champix and you are based in the U.K., you can report it to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) here. The more people do that the clearer the true picture will become. Protect others! Report it.*

The only reason Champix Chantix was passed by the FDA as if it were safe enough to unleash on the public is because the manufacturer, Pfizer, submitted some trial data showing serious side effects “through the wrong channels” which caused them to be missed in a crucial safety review.  Shortly after this news hit the headlines at the end of May 2011, the French Health Minister stopped public funding for the drug citing safety concerns.  The trouble is, the range of side effects is so wide and unpredictable with this drug that many symptoms are not being attributed quickly enough to the actual cause, which has helped Pfizer to avoid a ban on the drug for far too long.  This heartbreaking story is only one of many, but it is a classic example of damage that has never been offically attributed to Champix:

 

“Hi,

I have read your website several times and even given doctor and Psychiatrists printed off copies to show the effect that this drug is having on people. Nick my 54 year old husband took Champix for 10 days in March 2010, he could not get anymore tablets as the nurse was off sick so decided to do without.( he had stopped smoking).  4 days later I had to ring an ambulance at 4 in the morning as he was going in and out of consciouness, the treatment at the hospital was not good but they kept him in for observations at my insistance but could not find anything wrong so sent him home, I told them about champix but they were not interested.”  [Oh, you can't TELL them anything, Alyson!  You're not QUALIFIED! This means your words/opinions count for nothing, it's part of their medical training to just assume we're all deluded idiots - Ed.]
“Over the next few weeks things got a lot worse, Nick found it difficult to walk, talk, write… he had severe muscle spasms and involuntary muscle movements, he had balance problem and short term memory problems, his behaviour became quite childlike and his brakes were off, he said exactly what he thought. Things came to a head when it was raining and Nick was in the garden in his underwear. I rang our doctor and asked to go private to see someone, she arranged for us to go to hospital, they did all the tests blood, urine, scans, spinal tap but still could find no reason for this to happen, they suggested that Nick saw a psychiatrist, he has been seeing him since June this year, he has said that he can find no reason for Nick’s problems and has passed it back to the hospital.”
“At present Nick suffers short term memory loss, a change in personality and cognitive ability, he takes everything you say literally, he has no awareness of danger and has developed tourretism and obsessive behaviour (touching dotes) he still has balance problems and difficulty walking and gets tired easily.”

“At our last doctor’s appointment I told the doctor I believe that Nick is having fits between a few seconds and a minute we are trying to get a diagnosis and have an appointment with a senior neurologist at the end of this month. Our Gp has told them our suspicions so perhaps this time someone will listen. How can somone go from a normal man working as a carer to this for no reason and the only thing that changed was that he took champix, we are now on 8 months and things are still not getting better, if you met Nick you would think he had learning difficulties.
I am so frustrated that no one will admit what has caused it and because they will not or cannot diagnose it we can not get any allowances to help look after him. I work full time and betweem my family and myself we look after him.”

“If I could turn back time I would but as its not possible I will just keep going and hope someone will take responsibilty and try to stop this drug harming anyone else.  I will always be here for Nick but this company hid certain results to get this drug licensed they need to be stopped.”

 

Yes.  Pfizer need to be stopped, Doc.

14 Days on Champix ruined my life

Champix/Chantix 6

the book that blew the whistle on the nicotine scam

by hypnotherapist Chris Holmes

*Update: If you or a loved one has suffered a bad reaction to Champix and you are based in the U.K., you can report it to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) here. The more people do that the clearer the true picture will become. Protect others! Report it.*

Today I met someone who was successful with Champix.  This person had come to me for weight loss, and some of that weight gain had been as a result of stopping smoking.  The young woman – let’s call her Lucy - reported that although she had taken a course of Champix in 2010, and it “did nothing at all”, this year she was really determined and had told herself that: “This time the tablets WILL work… this time I’m definitely going to stop smoking!”  And indeed she did.

So – presumably – the first time around she did NOT tell herself that.  Maybe that’s why the tablets “did nothing at all”.  And – presumably – the tablets were made to the exact same specifications as the 2010 batch… dosage was the same, length of course the same… indeed the only factor that was different was her mental attitude and the positive suggestions she was giving herself.

Positive suggestions and mental attitude are what hypnotherapy are all about.  Essentially we do the same sort of thing but without the tablets, AND we include therapy to prevent the weight gain, which is easily avoided if your hypnotherapist knows what they’re doing.  I’ll soon reverse Lucy’s weight gain anyway, but we could have done the lot in one go if she’d come here in the first place.

But that’s not what prompted me to write this post.  What prompted me to write it was the realisation that Lucy was the first of my clients ever to report lasting success with Champix.  True, it had only been four months so far, but she was pretty confident she had it licked and I had no reason to doubt this.  Now, I meet a lot of smokers and ex-smokers in the course of my work, and of course we talk about these things all the time, regardless of what the session today is actually about, so I had to wonder why – four years after Champix was made available in the UK – a “wonder drug with a 50% success rate”, we were told – this was the first smoker I had ever met, professionally or socially, that reckoned they had quit successfully with Champix and without side effects.

I’ve met loads that haven’t succeeded with Champix, and about half of them said they had to stop taking it because it made them ill.

So when people contact the Truth Will Out site (occasionally) to report that they and their partner and their neighbour and all their 27 friends have successfully quit with Chantix or Champix… (and that all of them had previously tried hypnotherapy and failed! despite the fact that less than 1% of the population have ever consulted a hypnotherapist about ANYTHING)… I might be forgiven for doubting this tale, and wondering if this message really comes from some liar who sells Champix over the internet and is a bit worried about sales being not what they were now that smokers are beginning to twig that this “wonder drug” isn’t any better than the last one (Zyban), but it does seem to be WAY more harmful and unpredictable.

safer alternative

by Chris Holmes

Update, 19/08/11: Check this out, from The British Medical Journal!  Could it finally be the admission we have been waiting for these last few years, that NHS Smoking Cessation services are an abject failure and those millions would be better used elsewhere within the NHS?

 

Question: What does the NHS mean by “success rate”?

Answer: If any smoker reports to the NHS Stop Smoking Services that they have not smoked for 4 weeks, they are counted as a “success”.

Yet the UK Department of Health have known since the results of the Borland report were published several years ago that the actual outcome of NHS Stop Smoking Services when the results are reviewed at one year is 6% – exactly the same as willpower alone, and well within the normal placebo range.  This means that the NHS Stop Smoking Services don’t increase smokers’ chances by any significant margin and are therefore a complete waste of valuable NHS resources.

The main aim of the Truth Will Out Campaign over the last three and a half years has been to warn smokers that they are being led a merry dance by the Department of Health, and it is still going on:

Metro News, Wednesday August 17 2011

MORE TRY TO STOP SMOKING ON NHS

“More smokers are trying to quit but success rates have fallen, figures show.  The number trying to kick the habit has trebled in the past ten years to 788,000 – but the success rate of 49 per cent in 2010/11 is down from 53% a decade earlier.”

Ah, but you see it never was 53%, or anything like that.  That doesn’t count as a success rate if the Department of Health already know – but aren’t telling smokers – that this dwindles away to only 6% at one year, which is exactly the same as willpower anyway.  And don’t you think that if all smokers were aware of that fact, it is extremely unlikely that 788,000 smokers would be wasting their time with those stupid, pointless methods in the first place – not to mention the collossal waste of money, as the Metro reports:

“In England, £84.3 million was spent on NHS Stop Smoking Services in 2010/11.”

I first denounced this as a criminal waste of precious NHS resources here on this site in March 2008, providing all the documentary evidence (see Evidence) necessary to prove that what I’m saying is true, and the response of the UK Department of Health has been to waste a further £250,000,000 on it since then.  Actually it is way more than that, because the above figure is for England alone.

How many extra surgeons, scanners or dialysis machines could be bought with that, Minister?  But no, you’d rather keep gifting it to drug companies for zero actual benefit, and we have to ask ourselves why the hell that is?  No, better still let’s ask you: “Why the hell are you doing that, Minister?”

The Usual Tripe

Whenever any spokesperson from the NHS, the BMA, N.I.C.E. or the DoH is obliged to comment on this, they simply refer to the Stock Answers For Radio/TV/Newspapers manual, which is getting a bit dog-eared now but they still hold onto it as it seems to have always done the trick in the past.  Firstly, they solemnly draw attention to how many people die from smoking in the U.K. every year.  This ploy is twofold: firstly it suggests that anyone objecting to what the government is doing about this must be highly irresponsible because clearly, something must be done, whilst the solemn tone suggests that “We, the sober authorities are surely the ones to fix this” – even though they plainly haven’t, despite funnelling vast sums of public money into the project for a whole decade.  As the report in the Metro notes:

“Some 22 per cent of men and 20 per cent of women are smokers, similar to previous years.”

Folks, this NHS Stop Smoking programme was started by the Blair government in 2001.  It has been running for ten years and fraudulently boasting upwards of 50% average success rates all along, with hundreds of thousands of smokers being duped into taking part with scandalous misinformation about actual outcomes, yet the percentage of smokers in the UK today is: “similar to previous years”!

£84 million is a lot of TAXPAYERS’ money - that’s just England, and only the cost of the last twelve months of this ten year farce.  53% was always a totally misleading suggestion as an outcome and so is 49%.  The real outcome is around 6%, and that cannot be called a ‘success’ rate when the smoker’s own willpower creates the same outcome.  There is no scientific justification for any of this expenditure, and the Department of Health knows this, so they are deliberately setting out to mislead the public about the real situation, and the government have been endorsing that for years now.

So, rather than admit the error and pull the plug – freeing up valuable resources for other vital areas of the NHS - the Official Solemn Spokesperson will firstly tell the readers/listeners/viewers how many smokers are dying every year, then boast about how much of our money they have wasted on those NHS services – a great deal of which goes straight into drug company coffers, like so much of the NHS’s resources.  (The NHS drugs bill is now over £10 billion a year.)   They never breathe a word about the Borland report’s findings of 94% failure at one year, but woffle on instead about “numerous scientific studies” which they claim have “demonstrated the effectiveness” of nicotine products, Zyban, Champix etc. BUT WITHOUT TELLING YOU that they are referring exclusively to SHORT TERM RESULTS.  It’s deception, pure and simple – and it’s a standard script, cropping up all over the place in newspapers, on radio and TV and on the internet.

Short-term results being hyped as “success rates” – it’s standard practice now, and it is not scientific at all, it is pure marketing but the creepy bit is that it is evidently being sustained with the blessing of medical authorities and the government.  We’ve already seen how politicians were afraid to take on Rupert Murdoch because he grew too powerful, and how his malign influence corrupted decision-making with regard to takeover bids and even criminal behaviour like bribery.  This is the same sort of thing, because drug companies having grown so powerful that no-one in government wants to upset them, and it has corrupted the BMA, NICE, the MHRA, the NHS and the DoH.   Did you know that Nicotine Replacement products were originally approved on the basis of their performance at just SIX WEEKS?  That’s not an accurate measure of real outcomes, in fact it proved very misleading!  How many smokers know about that?  How many DOCTORS know that?

Drug company products are usually referred to as “evidence-based” medicine, but all the evidence is that it doesn’t work any better than willpower in the long run, and the difference between 53% and 6% is so huge that this is a very clear case of the NHS and Department of Health seriously misleading the public about the effectiveness of those services.  Isn’t that illegal?

The “something must be done” suggestion is bogus: the NHS is strapped for cash – how much more could be done with those resources by other services within the NHS to prevent suffering and save lives if all this money wasn’t being wasted on a project which is a total failure in reality?

This is a massive fraud, and it is costing lives.  And if you, or anyone you know actually stopped smoking whilst using those services – believe me, the scientific evidence is, you did it with willpower really.  And that ain’t worth £84 million of anyone’s money, is it?

 

A Post Script

For years, the government used the Ferguson report to justify this expenditure, which arrived at a “success rate” of 15% at one year.  I have studied carefully all the reports the Department of Health quoted in response to my enquiries as to the scientific basis of this vast expenditure.  None of them justify it, and it turned out that the Ferguson report had to disqualify a whole bunch of the original sample of smokers to arrive at 15% “success”.  They were disqualified on the basis of socio-economic factors – i.e. they were the people the authors of the report pre-judged were least likely to stop smoking, so they eliminated them before assessing the outcomes!  That’s not science, Minister – that’s spin.

All along, I have said it was 94% failure, same as willpower alone.  The Borland report confirmed it – but incredibly, STILL concluded that this expenditure was worthwhile and should be continued!  A blatant case of the drug companies getting their own way REGARDLESS of what the actual evidence is.

Sometimes I have been dismissed as being a ‘conspiracy theorist’, but only by people who don’t like what I’m saying.  Do they challenge my evidence?  No, because it is entirely based on government reports.  Do they think that smokers should not be told that the science clearly shows that NRT doesn’t improve their chances and the rest is just marketing which cynically sticks to very short-term results, which are very poor anyway?  Do they really think the status quo should be carried on for another decade?  Why?  Who would be in favour of that, except those who profit from it?

That’s not a conspiracy theory.  It’s old-fashioned, dishonest-to-badness corruption – which any knucklehead can understand.  As straightforward and not-very-surprising as MPs fiddling their expenses and police officers being paid cash by a media tycoon for inside information.  Did anyone think THAT should go on for another ten years?  NO!

So – where’s MY parliamentary enquiry, Minister?

the book that blew the whistle on the nicotine scam

 

 

 

by Chris Holmes

This message came in by email the other day:

Austrian Smokers rights wrote:
Tobaco is a wonderful indian ritual and healing plant: would you please take this skul and bones of “nicotine”; and replace it by Chmapix or NicVax the killing vaccines.

thanks
chritsine

Now, Austrian Smokers’ Rights have had a little pop at me before, for the same reason that the Ashtray Blog bloke did, who is a devotee of the electronic cigarette… because I had the temerity to suggest that nicotine is just a useless poison.  Poisons are usually denoted by the symbol of the skull and crossbones, so it seems appropriate.  True, the same symbol should be on the Champix packaging in my view – I’ll suggest it to Pfizer’s Head of Marketing next time we meet up for a beer.  NicVax I know nothing about – yet.  But the idea that a vaccine will fix a compulsive habit like smoking seems very dubious to me.

As for tobacco being “a wonderful indian ritual and healing plant”, that is an unusually positive view of it nowadays, to say the least!  But if Christine is assuming that I am anti-tobacco or anti-smoking, she hasn’t read much of this site and has missed the point of it.  I’m not pro-tobacco, but I am very liberal about what people do to themselves, even if it kills them.  Mountaineering kills people, but I wouldn’t sign a petition to get it banned, would you?

Just because something is used in a ritual doesn’t mean it has any useful aspect to it.  Humans and animals have both been sacrificed in rituals in the past, but that doesn’t make human or animal sacrifice a worthy thing.  Rituals are not necessarily a good thing anyway, because they are simply repetiton of an act without questioning it, which can lead to all kinds of mad mucking about: look at that daft nonsense with Black Rod and the opening of the English Parliament – how silly is that?

Tobacco might possibly inhibit the development of Alzheimers, and prevent endometrial cancer.  But the list of diseases it causes is far longer than that, so it certainly isn’t healthy to smoke tobacco, and the vast majority of the tobacco smoked in the world is certainly not part of any ritual, indian or otherwise.  It’s just a dirty and rather pointless habit, but if anyone wants to smoke it that’s fine by me.

The whole point of this site is to denounce Nicotine Replacement Therapy as a scam which the Department of Health already know from their own research doesn’t work any better than willpower in the long run.  I’m also calling for Champix to be banned, because anyone with half a brain can easily see that it should be.

My book is the first to explain what cravings really are, and why they have no connection to nicotine whatsoever.  It also explains how we hypnotherapists routinely shut down all kinds of cravings without any difficulty just about every working day of our lives, including smokers’ cravings.

I didn’t write the book for the Austrian Smokers’ Rights group, though.  I wrote it for any ordinary smoker who would like to quit but hasn’t found that easy, and anyone who is interested in hypnotherapy and the Subconscious mind.  So the skull and crossbones stay, no apologies.

the book that blew the whistle on the nicotine scam

 

 

By Chris Holmes

*Update: If you or a loved one has suffered a bad reaction to Champix and you are based in the U.K., you can report it to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) here. The more people do that the clearer the true picture will become. Protect others! Report it.*

Just before I get onto this post, here’s the latest Champix review from Kara:  “I have been on champix for only 6 days now, and in my opinion that is 6 days too long.  I have had, in this time alone a ridiculous change in my mental state.  Never had problems besides some depression in my early 20′s, and I feel like I’ve changed in just one week!  I am constantly agitated, irritable and angry ALL of the time.  Something happened the other day that made me question this drug; something so out of character it scared me!  I got in to an argument with my sister’s husband, and literally snapped!  I struck him with a leather strap 3 times, so hard it left bruises!  He just stood there stunned, and all I could think was that I wanted to kill him!  He was stunned because it was like a TOTALLY different person!  I was shocked at myself, and scared; I totally lost control, and I attribute it FULLY to this drug!  I’m a very happy person normally.
The other thing is I can’t stop eating! I go to the gym 5 times a week, and am generally very healthy (besides the smoking), but I haven’t been able to stop eating the past 5 days!!!
Today was my last day on this evil drug. NO MORE!”

The phrase “totally out of character” just keeps cropping up again and again with this drug, doesn’t it?  And what if there had been a knife to hand – or a firearm?  “…all I could think was that I wanted to kill him!”  Ladies and gentlefolk, that is NOT caused by just needing a ciggie.  And that’s after just six days on the drug.  Whew! That’s scary.

Back in 2008, I was contributing information about The Evil Champix and to a website called Australian Women Online and Tim Wilkinson posted several times about his own horrible experience with the drug. This week he posted this message on Truth Will Out:

“Hi.
I left a post on the Womens site on Champix in 2008, I have done extensive research into the drug and also how it was tested, how it was given the ‘all clear’ in Australia and the rules and regulations that govern its perscription.
I have received a number of emails that detail the horror stories of people who have taken Champix with adverse results.
I have also extensively researched the possible legal action that could be taken against Pfizer.
Pfizer will tie up any legal action against them in the courts for years, this will also be dependent on individuals’ medical records, if they can tie up a country (Nigeria) in the international courts for more than a decade…
I have found a legal recourse against them that is foolproof and will scare them to death! If you or anyone close to you has been badly affected by Champix (Chantix in the U.S.) please contact me at timwilkinson@willprotect.com.au

If you are not from Australia please put your country of origin in the subject line of your message.”

So I sent Tim the following reply:

“Hi Tim, thanks for your latest message! At first I reproduced it on all the Champix posts on Truth Will Out, but then took out the email address immediately as I thought I had better check with you before publicising that quite so broadly. I wasn’t sure if you meant that I should contact you, or anyone who thought they’d been injured by Champix.

Call me paranoid, but I think it would be a good idea to keep the details of the legal recourse you have discovered out of this email exchange, at least for the time being. So, is it okay for me to provide a link on the various Champix pages of the site so that other sufferers can contact you directly? I really hope you’ve found a way to hit Pfizer where it hurts, they certainly deserve it.

best regards,
Chris”

This was Tim’s response, and it rather looks as though he means business:

Hi Chris.
Please post my address as many times as you wish, from my original post to now I have been sent and heard dozens of horror stories that has surprised me as to not only the commonness of adverse reactions to Champix but also the overwhelmingly similar symptoms that people have had.

I now think that the time has come to take action!

Getting recourse from Pfizer will not take away the pain that people have endured but it will go a very long way to helping people know/understand that they are not alone, and what they went through has nothing to do with strength of character nor more importantly the state of their mental health.

If there was a drug on the market that caused some users to lose their right leg it would be withdrawn immediately. Because Champix affects your inner core and for that reason its effects are invisible, the symptoms are explained away as a mental issue. In terms of the pharmaceutical industry it is the perfect cover for a drug that is subsidized and earning its maker billions of dollars in revenue.

I invite all those who have an adverse experience with Champix (including loved ones and friends of victims) to contact me via email so that I can collate information with the view to setting up meetings in Australia. I ask that any outside of Aus keep themselves posted or contact me with the subject line being their location.

I can make no promises as to the outcome, ‘but better to have tried and failed than to never have tried at all’!

timwilkinson@willprotect.com.au

We’re not going to fail, Tim. Already the French Health Minister has stopped using public money to fund Champix on safety grounds, and that’s just the start. I only wish we could get Champix (Chantix in the U.S.) banned today, so that no-one else has to die, or suffer like you did, but unfortunately – thanks to Pfizer’s lies and deception about the true extent of the dangers that have already occurred – there will be more, because Pfizer will not withdraw this killer drug until they are FORCED to do so.  So let’s get on with it, eh?  More and more influencial voices are calling for Champix/Chantix to be banned, we are certainly not on our own in this.

***Update, 31st August 2011:  Since this email exchange I have tried on several occasions to contact Tim, and have been unable to do so.  Since all these attempts were in the latter half of August, this may mean nothing at all – he may be on holiday, or similarly indisposed.  If anyone has tried to contact Tim during the past six weeks and has had similar difficulties, please let me know via the Truth Will Out Contact Page.  I’ll keep trying and keep you posted here.

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by Chris Holmes

In a fawning interview extract from Zeno’s blog, the Professor Against Complementary Medicine announces his academic demise and threatens to become “really outspoken” against CAM therapies! HA HA HA HA HA!

What really makes me laugh about this latest evidence of his total loss of credibility – as well as his job, which he should never have had in the first place – is this astounding statement:

“The trouble is that it is relatively easy to get research funds if you have the reputation of being “sympathetic” to CM. If you are critical, it is much harder.”

Hmm! Is it really “relatively easy” to get research funds if you are going to be ‘soft’ on Complementary Medicine? Who FROM? Who are all these kind donors who are lining up to give universities funding for research into CM, but unfortunately for Ernst stipulate that he mustn’t be too critical? Can you NAME ANY, Prof.?

Or perhaps he was unconsciously referring to the £2 million he secured from Maurice Laing by pretending he was going to be fair and even-handed about CM? He claimed he wasn’t going to be “critical” or pro-CAM when he started out, but open-minded. After a while it became apparent that he was actually an anti-CAM zealot, and now nobody really wants to fund that project because anti-CAM zealots are really in quite a small minority. Nobody, that is, except perhaps drug companies but of course if they’ve ever provided any funding to Ernst’s project in the past they would have taken careful steps to make sure no-one noticed, and they wouldn’t want to fund it now because Ernst got a bit carried away and no longer has the sort of credibility he enjoyed for a while.

Has Ernst been beating around the bush in his previous assessments of alternative therapies then? Outspoken, eh? Yeah, you do that, Ernst. You become “really outspoken”. I’ve been saying you were a wolf in sheep’s clothing for years. Here’s the rope: you hang yourself, pal. The fact is you were never bright enough to quit while you were ahead, and now the only people who have any time for you at all are the other mindless zealots who don’t know anything about CAM therapies anyway, and that’s why you really lost your job – it has nothing to do with Prince Charles. Academics in the U.K. are not there by Royal Appointment, are they? And the Royal Family don’t have the power or influence to remove any of them either – what planet are you on? Nobody wanted to fund your little misinformation game any longer, and your University got sick of your unacademic, self-publicising media antics, as they were bound to in the end.

Go to America, where I’m sure there’ll be a cushy job for you. Take the PharmaDollar, and stop posing as an objective scientist!  You’re a joke.

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Central Hypnotherapy

*Update, 4/8/11:  I couldn’t help laughing when I noticed that one of my centhyp tweets had been re-tweeted on 18th April by… none other than Edzard Ernst!  Since I have been very critical of him, he threatened to sue me and he was rather rude to me on skepticat’s blog, I was surprised he had done this… until I realised that he had not even bothered to check the link he re-tweeted.  If he had, he would have realised that it just led to a publishing website that sells my book!  So why did he re-tweet it?  Because before the link, I had written: “Why doctors don’t provide hypnotherapy”, which happens to be the title of one of the chapters.  Ernst must have glanced at that, assumed it was some anti-CAM argument and re-tweeted it as a knee-jerk decision based on his own over-zealous anti-CAM agenda… but without even bothering to check what it actually was!  VERY scientific, Eddie-boy!  Perhaps that says a lot about the way you’ve been conducting your “research” all along, eh?

By the way, if anyone doubts that anti-CAM zealots are in a pretty small minority, I think it’s very telling that one of their most celebrated and widely-published champions, Edzard Ernst, still only has 3166 followers on Twitter after 17 years of constant CAM-bashing!

By Chris Holmes

*Update 1: If you or a loved one has suffered a bad reaction to Champix and you are based in the U.K., you can report it to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) here. The more people do that the clearer the true picture will become. Protect others! Report it.*

**Update 2: VIVE LA FRANCE! On May 31, 2011, French Health Minister Xavier Bertrand announced that varenicline prescriptions would no longer be subsidized by the government health insurance, due to questions about its safety. At last, someone with the honour and judgement of a normal human being!**

Pfizer claimed, over and over again, that if there was a serious safety problem with their evil, unpredictable drug it would have showed up in the official trials and reviews. It DID, but they managed to conceal it:

“Hundreds of reports of suicides and violent reactions tied to the stop-smoking drug Chantix were left out of a crucial government safety review.
The reports were missing because the drug’s manufacturer Pfizer Inc. submitted years of data through ‘improper channels’, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Serious problems — such as people killing themselves, trying to kill themselves, depression and unprovoked attacks on others — were mixed among 26,000 records of non-serious side effects such as nausea and rashes dating back to 2006, the year Chantix, or varenicline, was approved.” Daily Mail, May 29th 2011

In other words, Pfizer knew about the depression and the horror stories since 2006, and deliberately tried to hide the truth AGAIN. So every bad reaction, suicide, suicide attempt, hospitalisation, violent incident, wrecked working life or reputation – every ruined relationship/marriage and devastated family life that has occured since then, in countries all over the world, could have been avoided. In their ruthless drive for profit, this rogue company has utter contempt for proper reviews, safety procedure or the rule of law, despite already having been fined record sums for breaking rules in the past. The question is, what are governements going to do about this now? What is the New Zealand government going to do, having only “cautiously endorsed” Champix last November, after much hesitation following serious concerns about the health risks? Now that this latest piece of cynical deception has come out, are they STILL going to allow doctors to prescribe this killer drug to their innocent patients, putting their lives at risk unnecessarily? How long does it take for this message to get through to politicians and decision-makers? People are dying needlessly because of corruption and greed.

Pfizer’s standard marketing hype – that “the benefits outweigh the risks” – clearly cannot be accepted now, and have always been untrue because the benefits were greatly exaggerated to begin with, by the usual trick of publicising short-term results and never mentioning the known long-term failure rate. That is seriously misleading – and now we are discovering that they were seriously misleading the authorities about the true extent of the dangers right from the beginning.

Folks, this is not an anomaly: this has become standard practice for drug companies in utter contempt of the law and the fate of individuals, and particularly typical of Pfizer, and it HAS to be stopped. This drug must be withdrawn immediately, and Pfizer investigated and held to account for the horrific damage they have recklessly done to so many human lives. There are serious doubts now about how long it takes to get the drug out of your system even long after you’ve stopped taking it, with some sufferers now reporting very long-term damage.

Full story here.

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*Update 1: If you or a loved one has suffered a bad reaction to Champix and you are based in the U.K., you can report it to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) here. The more people do that the clearer the true picture will become. Protect others! Report it.*

 

**Update 2, 4th November 2011:

The American Food & Drug Administration (FDA) were recently reported in the Business section of the Washington Post as reassuring smokers that Chantix (known as Champix everywhere outside the USA) “does not increase psychiatric problems”, according to two small studies involving 26,000 smokers.  Since this flies in the face of everything else they know about Chantix already, it is surely irresponsible to say such a thing at this time, because the caveats added to the story further down do not carry anything like the weight of the inevitable headline.  Meanwhile, this article in the Daily Mail reports a study which states exactly the opposite.

Why?  Because the Daily Mail is not bending over backward to assist the pharmaceutical industry – even at the expense of smokers’ lives, if that’s what it takes – whereas the FDA very clearly is.  The testing and approvals system is corrupt as hell, using every possible means of dragging their feet so that Chantix/Champix stays on the market and remains ‘approved’ regardless of how many individual smokers’ lives are ruined by the drug.

The Truth Will Out Campaign has been trying to alert smokers (and doctors) to the dangers of this drug since Autumn of 2008 – so these unnecessary delays drive me pretty crazy – but just imagine the frustration of this commentator on the new Daily Mail report:

“Oh now they make this a huge statement. My mom used it in mid 2007. She ended up in a mental hospital. Thanks Champix. This stuff shouldn’t even be on the market!!! I still can’t understand why it is, with all these accounts of suicide! I read horror story’s back then after this happened to my mom about people killing themselves or having illness such as bi-polar disorder activated in them. My rule with all drugs is, if it hasn’t been on the market for more then 10 years…DO NOT take it. You never want to be the guinea pig. Sorry for all those who ended their lives because they were manipulated this drug.

- Danielle, USA,
3/11/2011 6:08″

 

***Update 3, 21st October 2012: Pfizer settle first Chantix suicide case out of court http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-10-18/pfizer-settles-first-chantix-suicide-case-set-for-trial.html?cmpid=yhoo

 

14 Days on Champix Ruined My Life, Doc

by hypnotherapist Chris Holmes

I just had an update from Andy, who took Champix (Chantix) for only 14 days.  That was two and a half years ago, and this update is the latest reason I believe this medication should be withdrawn immediately.   This was the original message from Andy in 2009:

“I started taking Champix on December 1st 08 and took them for 14 days, during the time I took them I felt progressively more and more ill, I contacted my doctor twice and was told its normal to feel ill on them and to keep taking them. On 14 th December 08 I was admitted to hospital with chest pains, 1 week later and a lot of tests I was discharged, no diagnosis, just sent home, since then I have been diagnosed with Diabetes and Reynauds Syndrome, have balance problems, problems with my endocrine system and have been off of work (now lost my job), so how do you go from healthy to feeling ill and being admitted to hospital in 14 days, then 6 months later have the same mystery symptoms, my guess is that as Champix works on receptors in the brain it messes with a whole lot more than just dopamine receptors.

“Can I prove this? The answer is no. I’m a layman and the doctors tell me it isn’t the case, they know because they looked on the manufacturers website, so coincidently within the 2 week period I was using champix I turned diabetic, suffered circulatory problems, endocrine system problems and lost my balance and gained vision that comes and goes as it wants, lost the ability to work, drive my car and generally do things that normal people do, also I dont know where the end of this is, nor do the doctors.. If you google Chantix lawsuit you will find that in the US there are a whole heap of people with similar problems to those I’ve suffered, and am suffering now, find another way to give up smoking, I wish I had….”

So how has Andy fared since then? Has it all worn off, is he back to his normal self? Did the advice to stop taking Champix if you suffer any ill effects save him? After all, he was only on it for 14 days. Here’s Andy again:

“Further to my post (number 87, posted in June 2009) I’m still suffering the same symptoms 2.5 years down the line, I’ve been through over 2 years of tests, have lost my job, almost lost wife and children and now, the doctors finally say that they feel that it was Champix that has caused all this.

“In the very next breath they also said that proving it will be almost impossible and that getting any legal recourse will be even harder, so there we are, 38 years old and basically on the scrap heap until they can hopefully figure out a way to deal with my symptoms.

“So where do I go from here, I dont know, the doctors dont know either, I’ve used all my savings just to live the last couple of years and I cant function day to day, legal action would be futile and I cant fund it, so all I can do is sit and stare out the window and watch the world go by, happy days :(

So I thought that Andy’s dreadful outcome deserved a post all to itself. After all, it originally appeared on the thread of comments following my “Champix Chantix 4 – Enough Already” post back in 2008, when I was suggesting that too much suffering had already resulted from this horrible drug. Evidently Pfizer and Andy’s doctors did not agree: they had to ruin his life as well, and many others all over the world. Perhaps Andy’s doctors have finally started to get the message but it is way too late for Andy, and now they are suggesting that nothing can be done legally. Actually I beg to differ Andy, let’s not assume that. Failure to withdraw this drug immediately has to be negligence. Every single victim deserves compensation when the dangers were known YEARS AGO. Andy is not the only one to develop diabetes after taking Champix, despite being perfectly healthy beforehand. Check this little lot:

And that was published in May 2008 – six months BEFORE the drug was given to Andy. This killer drug is still being aggressively marketed and there are still doctors and “quit counsellors” handing it out with scarcely any warnings at all. It’s CRIMINAL.

Sufferers: report it. Doctors: don’t prescribe it. Smokers: don’t take it. Pharmacists: don’t stock it. BMA, NICE, MHRA, FDA… you are all responsible for this rogue drug ruining innocent people’s lives. For Christ’s sake, STOP IT NOW. Personally I think that YOU are the ones that should be sued… along with Pfizer, let’s not forget them. They know it hardly works for anyone in the long run anyway, only in the short term. 86% failure at one year. Do you think Andy would have ever taken it if he had known THAT? Do you think ANYONE would? Champix is just the latest fraudulent “wonder drug”, but in terms of the damage it is probably the worst yet. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if any of these drug giants has another nasty little concoction all ready for the hype train that turns out to be even worse, because the testing procedures are no longer looking at the long term effects or results of any new medications now: if it shows ANYTHING that looks like a positive effect, that’s it! That’s all you need, stop the trial right there, get out the big rubber stamp of approval and off we go again.

Alarmingly quick to approve, criminally slow to withdraw – that’s the FDA and the MHRA for you, and that’s why I’m calling them all lackeys of the pharmaceutical industry. And it’s people like Andy and his family who are paying the price for this global drug profiteering.

Nothing we can do, Doc? I’ll tell you what we CAN do, for a start: lose all faith in your ill-informed ‘advice’ – which is no more than drug company hype – and don’t take the tablets. It has really come to something when it takes two years for the patient to get their own doctor to realise what is wrong with the pills, hasn’t it? For shame, Doctor.

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