In response to the mouthings of Robert Califf, head of the FDA, a waffly, dishonest and misleading article appeared in MedPage Today and was followed by major slamming by readers incensed enough to comment harshly.
Califf blames misinformation for Americans’ stagnating life expectancy. He’s right but not in the way he means—I’m referring to the orchestrated lies and disinformation peddled by Big Pharma in pursuit of profits, NOT community health.
“Many don’t use statins, vaccines, or COVID-19 therapies,” he says. “Many choose to smoke cigarettes and eat the wrong food.” This is an old switch trick of logic, cynically applied: he knows very well these are not equitable opposites.
Califf and the FDA are fighting misinformation head-on, claims the MedPage Today article (as if!) “The misinformation machine is really causing a lot of deaths,” he said, in an apparent ad-lib, this spring in a speech at Tufts University. The pandemic, he told KFF Health News, helped “crystallize” his need to tackle misinformation. It was a “blatant case,” in which multiple studies gave evidence about very effective therapeutics against COVID. “And a lot of people chose not to do it.” There were “large-scale purveyors of misinformation,” he said, poisoning the well.
Robert Califf MD, chief funny man in the FDA circus
However, the author of the journal article was not totally bowled over by the official B*S*. Califf and the FDA have added to the cacophony of misinformation, he said. And sometimes their misinformation is about misinformation.
Califf hasn’t been able to consistently estimate misinformation’s public health toll. Last June, he said it was the “leading cause of meaningful life-years lost.” In the fall, he told a conference: “I’ve been going around saying that misinformation is the most common cause of death in the United States.” He continued, “There is no way to prove that, but I do believe that it is.”
This is a complete, deliberate and outrageous lie. He just admits he doesn’t know, there is no way of knowing. Yet he says he “knows”.
Yes, it’s called the pharmaceutical industry!
This ONE FACT is a dismal indictment of everything the corrupt FDA does and stands for.
For decades, life expectancy ran parallel, then suddenly the US fell really short.
But the rant continues:
Outside experts are sympathetic. Misinformation is a “huge problem for public health,” said Joshua Sharfstein, MD, a Johns Hopkins University public health professor and former FDA principal deputy commissioner. Having a strategy to combat it is crucial. But, he cautioned, “that’s the easiest part of this.”
The agency launched a “Rumor Control” page seeking to debunk persistent confusion. Unfortunately, they omitted to hammer Big Pharma!
Califf has said he thinks better regulation and more authority- would help. In other words make him a bigger thug and he will get rid of unwanted elements everywhere (sounds like Hitler? It’s exactly like Hitler).
Califf bragged small victories. Ivermectin, once touted as a COVID wonder drug, “eventually” became one such win. But, then again, its use is “not completely gone,” he said. And, despite winning individual battles, his optimism is muted: “I’d say right now the trend in the war is in a negative direction.”
And it’s difficult to know what to take on or respond to, Califf said. “I think we’re just in the early days of being able to do that,” he told KFF Health News. “It’s very hard to be scientific,” he said.
No it isn’t! You just show humility and transparency. Most important of all: you allow discussion. Enough of this talk about THE science, as if it’s all fixed for eternity. That’s not science, that’s zealotry and dogma. Science means DIALOGUE, discussion, DEBATE, sharing opinions.
Science is NOT one bunch of bullies claiming they are the scientists and everyone who finds things differently are crooks, phoneys or idiots! That’s very far from science.
In countering misinformation, FDA risks coming off as high-handed, says the article. Too right. In September 2021, the agency tweeted about purported myths and misinformation on mammograms. Among the myths? That they’re painful. Instead, the agency explained that “everyone’s pain threshold is different” and the breast cancer-screening procedure is more often described as “temporary discomfort.”
Obviously, this is a remark by a man, an elderly man at that. Ask any woman: she’s tell you it HURTS!
Statements like Califf’s “erode trust,” said Lisa Fitzpatrick, MD, MPH, MPA, an infectious diseases physician and currently the CEO of Grapevine Health, a startup trying to improve health literacy in underserved communities. Fitzpatrick has previously served as an official with the District of Columbia’s Medicaid program and with the CDC.
“Who are you to judge what’s painful?” she asked, rhetorically. It’s hard to brand subjective impressions as misinformation.
Califf has consistently played down the government’s ability to solve the problem of “misinformation”, meaning freedom of speech. “One hundred percent of experts agree, government cannot solve this. We have too much distrust in fundamental institutions,” he said last June.
Yes, well whose problem is this? If you lie consistently and repeatedly, people no longer trust you. Duh!
But what really astonished me was the pushback in the comments for this article!
“Bad information travels at the speed of light,” said one responder. “While good information is still going through fact checks and multiple edits. Unfortunately, this applies to medical and health care information, which leads to promotion of ineffective or even dangerous treatments for serious conditions and illness.”
I wonder if he spotted the irony and contradiction in this? Misinformation by Big Pharma (backed up by lies from stooges and shills) is a leading cause of sickness and death. No, I do not mean failed or ineffective treatments; I mean treatments that kill and maim.
Here’s another comment:
These pharmaceutical companies that lie and deceive the public get a small fine that doesn’t compare to the massive profits they’ve already made (Vioxx, OxyContin, Zantac, AZT). When will these purveyors of disinformation actually be held accountable?!
In my opinion, the greatest distrust of the FDA (and other government agencies) stems from the fact that we see that they are unduly influenced by the very people they are supposed to be monitoring. The old adage “Follow the Money!” is still so true. And the term misinformation has been so overused and misused by everyone that it no longer means anything. People just want open discourse about health issues. Medicine has been hammering us to be informed consumers for years. Then suddenly we weren’t supposed to ask any questions. Then when we saw the results of what happened to scientists and healthcare professionals who dared to ask questions, it became clear that this was more than an effort to correct misinformation.
And two more comments:
CDC, FDA, and the government stance in a nutshell—Our word is law, we are the king and therefore God and always right—so if you disagree (including scientists and licensed physicians, etc.) with the agenda we are pushing then you are spreading misinformation and we will witch hunt such people down and publically discredit them, censor them, attack them on a personal level as quacks, etc… We are too lazy to educate the public and explain things truthfully and with total transparency, so instead we are now dictators and all must do exactly as we say, no free will or choice allowed.
“There is no way to prove that, but I believe that it is.” He can say that with a straight face and expect me to trust him and the FDA? Nope. If the FDA would stop being a political agency and get back to scientifically based recommendations they might be able to regain some trust.
That last sums it all up. And by the way, this is not just about the wrongdoings and dishonesty of the American FDA, but government agencies all over the world.
To Your Good Health,
Prof. Keith Scott-Mumby
The Official Alternative Doctor
FDA Head Robert Califf Battles Misinformation — Sometimes With Fuzzy Facts by Darius Tahir, KFF Health News July 30, 2023. https://www.medpagetoday.com/special-reports/features/105673
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