The Slog looks in more detail at the disinformation as Ivermectin joins HCQ on the Naughty Step….and in doing so, uncovers what looks like a large dollop of not entirely transparent funding of the Australian Health Budget.
Since last Tuesday’s Senate hearing – and the starring role of Dr Pierre Kory as a champion of Ivermectin – global awareness of Ivermectin as a prophylactic and management drug to tackle Covid19 has sky-rocketed.
I first blogged about it three days ago here. The largest single response to Pierre Kory’s testimony has been an array of Pharma defenders popping up in every known shape or form to (surprise, surprise) defame and generally rubbish the guy’s research findings, and raise doubts about Ivermectin in general.
I found two such examples particularly striking, and must give a hat-tip here to Slogger Peter for pointing them out. The first involves an Australian pharmaceutical academic whose name was immediately familiar to me:
“The evidence we have seen so far certainly does not support [Ivermectin]’s use in current practice,” says Professor Andrew McLachlan, the University of Sydney’s dean of pharmacy.
Since last March, Dr Mclachlan has been quoted extensively about, and written articles on, Covid19. Very early on, he was quoted as suggesting that the virus had probably mutated and showed signs of being out of control.
He has shown considerable interest in so-called ‘repurposed drugs’ for use against Covid; but he tends to doubt them. In the context of HCQ + Zinc, for example, has has called it out as one of “a spike in imports of unproven Covid19 drugs” – an outdated opinion if you seek out the US, French and Chinese use of the cocktail with enormous success. In a specific post about HCQ on June 5th, he headlined ‘Could taking hydroxychloroquine for coronavirus be more harmful than helpful?’ This proved to be an infamous dosage issue that has left huge question marks over the motives and competence of ReCOVER ‘s use of the drug in trials. The man in charge of this deadly “mistake” was our old friend Peter Horby. McLachlan has chosen not to comment on these later developments.
Taking his articles as a whole this year, he has had two goes at squashing Ivermectin – April 6th, ‘Head lice drug Ivermectin is being tested as a possible coronavirus treatment, but that’s no reason to buy it’ and later, in August, ‘Ivermectin is still not a miracle cure for COVID-19, despite what you may have read’. That opinion too is now out of date with daily increasing numbers of huge success when properly dosed; but Dr McLachlan has chosen to stick with his view.
I cannot see any personal connection of Andrew McLachlan to Big Pharma – but then this is true of many academic researchers who nevertheless wouldn’t have a job without their funding.
Finding out the precise who and how of medical research funding in Australia is a little like trying to find the centre of a four dimensional maze as designed by the illusional artist Escher. At a national ‘State’ level, the rule seems to be ‘don’t mention the Big Pharma thing’.
For example, the NHMRC invests in health and medical research through its grant program. Funding received for health and medical research from the Australian Government and other sources…..(pause for breath)…through the Medical Research Endowment Account (MREA). This amounted to $AU882.7 million in 2018-19….’.
Nearly a billion bucks, and not a single mention anywhere on either site about what proportion comes from Pharma. Still, i’s clear that the Aussie Government invests a colossal and commendble amount in medical research. But who pays for it?
Well, here’s a clue:
‘Public Summary Documents of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee to identify relevant products under consideration for public reimbursement over the study period….[showed] thirty-four pharmaceutical companies providing 1,482 sponsorships to 230 organizations’.
Quite a lot.
Drilling down to the University of Sydney reveals however that some funding comes from GE Healthcare and Sirtex (both US multinational health concerns in the private sector, although more hardware than Pharma based). However, $500,000 in funding from the MTPConnect Project Fund Program Ab initio Pharma – along with with a further $1.5 million being sourced from “the sector” has been used to support the establishment of a specialist pharmaceutical manufacturing facility.
So then: a University going into the drug business. But as so often in such matters, tidied away down a long website column at the Uni’s Pharmacy School (where Dr Mclachlan works) is this UXB (my emphases):
‘The collaboration has taken advantage of different schemes from the federal and state governments to leverage industry contribution for research funding, through the Research Connections element of the government’s $484 million Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Program, as well as Linkage Project funding from the Australian Research Council.’
So in English, State and National governments are begging half a billion dollars from the pharmaceutical industry….a little over half of the entire national MREA budget. Call me picky, but this doesn’t feel like “transparency”.
I apologise for the length of that section, but it does demonstrate how hard it is now – in this the age of instantly Googled information – to establish the provenance behind the public stance. As many of you will have noticed, Ausralia has been among the most hysterical in its curbs on free movement and dire Covid19 prognoses across the globe.
I’ll try to deal more quickly (dare I say clinically?) with the second case of Ivermectin bashing. This comes from Carlos Chaccour, a senior researcher at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health. His comments on ‘flawed data’ (it’s a question of scale) involving Ivermectin’s use in South America are (a) nit-picking given other data available and (b) somewhat deceptive by omission: the fatalities there were entirely down to black market selling of animal-use Ivermectin…and nothing whatever to do with Dr Kory’s data.
As for the BIGH itself, follow this link to The Gates Foundation: Bill and Melinda bankroll Carlos’s employer to the tune of $1.5 million.
Follow the money….