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This essay outlines the broad themes of the conspiracy theory that pharmaceutical companies, regulators, politicians, and others are secretly working in consort against the public interest. This so-called Big Pharma conspiracy theory shares a number of features with other conspiracy narratives, but some features make this particular subgenre of conspiracy theory especially intractable and dangerous.
The Big Pharma conspiracy
theory Correspondence to:
Robert Blaskiewicz
Department of English
University of Wisconsin-
Eau Claire, Eau Claire, WI
Robert Blaskiewicz
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Eau Claire, WI, USA
This essay outlines the broad themes of the conspi-
racy theory that pharmaceutical companies, regula-
tors, politicians, and others are secretly working in
consort against the public interest. This so-called
Big Pharma conspiracy theory shares a number of
features with other conspiracy narratives, but some
features make this particular subgenre of conspiracy
theory especially intractable and dangerous.
Keywords: Conspiracy theory, Pharmaceutical
companies, Paranoia, Vaccines
The so-called Big Pharma conspiracy theory shares a
number of features with all other conspiracy the-
ories. First, it shares the same basic plot: a relatively
small number of people are working in secret
against the public good. Second is a belief that
most people are ignorant of the truth and that only
a small number of people with secret or suppressed
knowledge (the conspiracy theorists) know the real
score. Third is the conspiracy theoristsbackward
approach to evidence: lack of evidence for the con-
spiracy is evidence for the conspiracy, as is any dis-
confirming evidence. Lastly, the way supposedly
confirmatory evidence is handled capitalizes on
common mental shortcuts, misperceptions, and
non-rational cues, which make the conspiracy the-
ories all the more memorable, compelling, and con-
tagious. This maddening mixture of mistakes makes
conspiracy theories very difficult to combat.
Big Pharma conspiracy theories, however, in all
their variety, constitute their own genre within the
larger category of conspiratorial narratives. In
much the same way that the gothic novel has its
own conventions (for example, a heroine impri-
soned, set in a dark old spooky house riddled
with hidden passages, and hints of the paranormal),
the Big Pharma conspiracy theory has a number of
conventions that set it apart from other conspiracy
theories. In this case, the villain is the
Pharmaceutical Industry. Its not the actual
pharmaceutical industry; rather it is the pharma-
ceutical industry as they imagine it. In these
stories, Big Pharmais shorthand for an abstract
entity comprised of corporations, regulators,
NGOs, politicians, and often physicians, all with a
finger in the trillion-dollar prescription pharma-
ceutical pie. Eliding all of these separate entities
into a monolithic agent of evil allows the conspiracy
theorist to mistakenly ignore the complex and con-
flicting interests that they represent. This agent is,
as are all antagonists in conspiratorial narratives,
improbably powerful, competent, and craven, and
it allows the conspiracy theorist to cast himself in
the role of crusader and defender of a way of life,
a Manichean dichotomy that was identified in
Richard Hofstadters classic treatise on Americas
recurring conspiracism, The Paranoid Style in
American Politics.
Like many conspiracy theories, there may be real
tangible facts that undergird the elaborate conspi-
racy theory. For instance, pharmaceuticals have
side effects, many of which are unpleasant, some
of which can be fatal. This basic fact of pharma-
cology, however, has become the basis of blanket
claims about the universal dangerousness of
pharmaceutical products. Additionally, not all
medical interventions are successful, and in our liti-
gious culture people often seem to not understand
that sometimes adverse outcomes occur when
everything is done correctly. Nowhere are these
ideas more prevalent than in conspiracy theories
involving cancer treatments. Cancer treatments are
often invasive and dangerous, and while the best
practices, in the aggregate, improve outcomes for
patients, they can still be unpleasant, even trau-
matic. They may fail certain patients entirely, so
that a patient may experience all of the side effects
of a treatment and none of the hoped-for benefits.
To the conspiracist, ubiquitous advertisements by
pharmaceutical companies become mind control
or brainwashing, while industry lobbying
becomes corruption.
© The European Medical Writers Association 2013
DOI: 10.1179/2047480613Z.000000000142 Medical Writing 2013 VOL. 22 NO. 4
Conspiracy theories may be a way to reassure
oneself that there is an order to our lives, that cala-
mity and disaster are not meaningless or random.
This in turn enables people to identify an enemy
to fight. When patients (and their loved ones) are
forced to accept a serious disease, they often experi-
ence powerlessness, especially when no cure is
available. This may itself trigger a search for a
culprit to blame for their suffering. Big Pharma is
a convenient target and is often imagined as with-
holding a cure. Indeed, a major premise of the Big
Pharma conspiracy theory is the cui bonofallacy:
he who benefits from misfortune must be the
cause of that misfortune. Such logic has been used
in other, non-medical conspiracy theories: Franklin
D Roosevelt got the war he wanted, therefore, he
was behind the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour;
George W Bush and his handlers wanted to go to
war in the Middle East, so they brought down the
World Trade Centre as a pretence to invade Iraq;
European Jews were de-ghettoized as Napoleon
swept across the continentthey must have been
behind the revolution that led to his ascent to power.
In the case of the Big Pharma conspiracy theory,
cui bono reasoning appears in a pair of often-levelled
charges. The more common charge is that a cure is
being withheld to keep people on more expensive,
less effective medical regimes. In the case of
cancer, the cheap, easy, and naturalsuppressed
cures range from baking soda, to marijuana, to vita-
mins, to apricot kernels (which are banned because
the amygdalin they contain breaks down into
hydrogen cyanide).
The more extreme charge is
that diseases are deliberately manufactured mol-
ecule-by-molecule or weaponised in labs and
released onto the populace in order to give compa-
nies an excuse to sell medications. One such high-
profile accusation of this, I think, was during the
2009 H1N1 swine flu outbreak. Mike Adams, an
inexplicably popular online health guru (he calls
himself the Health Ranger) who advocates nearly
every conspiracy theory, made this charge in 2009
in a bizarre little rap called Dont Inject Me (The
Swine Flu Vaccine Song):
Dont you know the swine flu was made by
Pharmaceutical scam
All you parents grab your kids
And shoot em up just like guinea pigs,
Inject your teens and your babies in the crib;
And when they get paralyzed,
Thats when you realize
Theres no way to undo what you did.
The big drug companies are makina killing
Collectinthe billions and gettinaway like a
James Bond villain
Cause theyre willinto do almost anything
Just to make money with the flu vaccine.
Adams actually embraces both cui bono claims, that all
you need is vitamin D to ward off the swine flu (but
that drug companies cant charge as much for it) and
that the flu was manufactured in order to sell the
vaccine. He also manages to invoke a global depopu-
lation conspiracy alongside creating a market for vac-
cines: two agendas that are hard to reconcile, as one
involves killing people and the other saving as
many people as possible by selling them vaccines.
This is a typical feature of conspiracist thought a
2012 study by Wood, Douglas, and Sutton found
that the endorsement of mutually incompatible con-
spiracy theories are positively correlated.
Anti-vaccine conspiracy theories play on many of
the same fears that run-of-the-mill Big Pharma con-
spiracy theories do including fears over side
effects, unnaturalsubstances in them and a
general suspicion of the profit motive in health
care but these theories are often supercharged by
the fears of parents. Parents who believe that their
children are vaccine-damagedand who are strug-
gling to understand and assign blame for an intract-
able, life-changing disease with no cure, have
created one of the most stubborn and dangerous
conspiracy theories. Following the widespread
attention received by Andrew Wakefields entirely
fraudulent 1998 Lancet article linking the MMR
vaccine to autism (withdrawn by the journal in
2011), childhood vaccination rates plummeted
below levels needed to support community immu-
nity in many areas, and children started to contract
diseases that many younger physicians had never
seen. The resilience of the conspiracy theory target-
ing vaccine manufacturers and researchers can be
seen in the fact that it persists despite over a dozen
studies demonstrating otherwise, including one
Cochrane review that had a sample size of about
14.7 million children.
The theory is as popular as
ever and is still pushed by the likes of Jenny
McCarthy, Generation Rescue, and innumerable
alternative medicine practitioners. Fear, it seems, is
more contagious than reason.
So, what can be done to combat the Big Pharma
conspiracy theory? Sadly, the theory will always be
around because peddlers of alternative medicine find
Big Pharma to be a useful adversary in their quest to
sell their questionable remedies and because of the
role that belief plays in peoples lives. Furthermore,
once the theory has taken root in someonesmind,
Blaskiewicz The Big Pharma conspiracy theory
260 Medical Writing 2013 VOL. 22 NO. 4
its often impossible to dislodge it, as the conspiracy
theory turns those who argue against it into paid
shillsor sheeple.Itisbesttocatchpeoplebefore
they fall into conspiratorial beliefs. Secrecy and ignor-
ance beget conspiracy theories; they are best combated
by education and transparency.
1. Hofstadter R. The paranoid style in American politics.
In: The paranoid style in American politics. New York:
Random House Digital, Inc.; 2008. p. 340
2. Melley T. Agency panic and the culture of conspiracy.
In: Knight P. editor. Conspiracy nation: the politics of
paranoia in postwar America. New York: New York
University Press; 2002. p. 5781.
3. Kenward M. Laetrile and the law. New Scientist. 1979
January 11; p. 88.
4. Wood MJ, Douglas KM, Sutton RM. Dead and alive:
beliefs in contradictory conspiracy theories. Soc
Psychol Personality Sci 2012;3:76773.
5. Demicheli V, Rivetti A, Debalini MG, Di Pietrantonj C.
Vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella in children.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2012;(2). Art. No.:
Author information
Robert Blaskiewicz is a Visiting Assistant Professor of
Writing at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. His
research interests include the rhetoric of conspiracy
theories and other extraordinary claims, as well as veter-
anscombat narratives.
Fun with medical studies
What a shame this study has finished, as judging by
the protocol I would have quite liked to have
Applications will be done by massage until com-
plete penetration by the medical staff.
Helen Baldwin
Scinopsis, Fréjus, France
Blaskiewicz The Big Pharma conspiracy theory
261Medical Writing 2013 VOL. 22 NO. 4
... Let's look at the events in their sequence, imagine that it is a play and start with the most important thing-the libretto: the first scene-something happens on stage, but it is difficult to understand what; the second view-logic appears and intentions are highlighted; the third act-a pandemic. A pandemic (we use that terrible word) that probably [...] Pro-Kremlin channels also spread the already long-known BigPharma conspiracy theory which argues that the COVID-19 crisis is a fabrication or was organized in the interests of large Western pharmaceutical companies, and that pharmaceutical companies, government officials, politicians, and others secretly cooperate against the public interest (Blaskiewicz, 2013). These kinds of conspiracy theories and strategic conspiracy narratives (e.g., that COVID-19 was created in the United States) were produced in Russia and later disseminated through the media and social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, VKontakte, blogs, etc.) with the aim of influencing target audiences, among them also Estonian audiences. ...
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The Russian Federation has developed a large number of instruments to put pressure on the West using non-conventional means such as cyber attacks, economic tools and information warfare. Using modern IT technologies in its hybrid activities, Russia, much like China or other authoritarian powers, is trying to challenge the current world order. These instruments are particularly evident in the Baltic States. This article uses Estonia as a case study to inquire into the political goals and strategic conduct of Russia. Specifically, the focus is on the political context, instruments of information war, and available countermeasures. As argued in the current study, the shift from European to Eurasian power, Russia’s careful management and success in avoiding crossing the “red lines” of its adversaries, as well as in exploiting the socioeconomic weaknesses and openness of the West, all play a relevant role in understanding the political context. As for instruments, Russia has developed strategic narratives and conspiracy theories, plus several channels next to media channels, and policy tools such as Pax Russica and the compatriot policy. These are deployed in its neighborhood and aimed at unintegrated segments of the Russophone populations.
... Because the COVID-19 vaccines are new, people have to base their risk perception mostly on their experience and knowledge of existing vaccines. Unfortunately, vaccination attitudes have historically been influenced by misinformation (e.g., that Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine causes autism; Jolley & Douglas, 2014a) and conspiracy theories (e.g., that vaccines are for mind control; Blaskiewicz, 2013). Confusion due to the overwhelming amount of constant information, distress from emotive negative messages, and distrust following incompetence in the governments' responses and conflicting stories from different sources may further negatively impact vaccination intentions (Lockyer et al., 2021). ...
Full-text available
Background: The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic was followed by the widespread proliferation of conspiracy beliefs (CBs) regarding the origin and harmfulness of the virus and a high level of hesitancy and resistance to vaccination. We aimed to test a series of hypotheses on the correlates of CBs and vaccination. Methods: The sample (N=1203), was based on a multistage probabilistic household sampling designed to represent the general population of Serbia. We investigated correlates of CBs and vaccination, including socio-demographic factors, personality (HEXACO + Disintegration trait), somatic health, stressful experiences during pandemics (i.e. Covid-19 related and other threatening events), and psychological distress. The subjects were randomly split into two approximately equal subgroups, enabling cross-validation of the findings. Based on the significant regression predictors found in the exploratory, the SEM model was tested in the confirmatory subsample. Results: The SEM model based on the finding in the first subgroup had excellent Goodness-of-Fit indices. The most important correlates of CBs were Disintegration (proneness to psychotic-like experiences), low Openness, lower education, Extraversion, living in a smaller settlement, and being employed. The correlates of vaccination were older age, CBs, and larger places of living. Evidence on the role of both stressful experiences and psychological distress in CBs and vaccination was not found.Conclusions: The findings of moderately strong and robust (cross-validated) paths, leading from Disintegration to CBs and from CBs to vaccination were the most important ones. Our findings seem to emphasize the role of cognitive/perceptual processes in CBs and vaccination.
... We speculated that, conspiracy beliefs and information sufficiency are other important factors in implementing successful vaccination programs in different countries, and along with a lack of trust regarding vaccine benefits, government policies, health systems, vaccine developers and service providers. Additionally, we speculated that hidden and inadequate health information would accelerate anti-vaccine conspiracy beliefs and rumors [93][94][95]. Accordingly, information sufficiency and conspiracy beliefs were identified as predictors of COVID-19 vaccine acceptance and hesitancy. To ensure vaccine trust, the communication strategies and vaccine delivery techniques to be applied during vaccination should be transparent, honest, accurate, truthful, multimodal, and frequent, involving partnerships with community and health workers in an inclusive manner. ...
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Background and aims Although vaccines are considered the most effective and fundamental therapeutic tools for consistently preventing the COVID-19 disease, worldwide vaccine hesitancy has become a widespread public health issue for successful immunization. The aim of this review was to identify an up-to-date and concise assessment of potential factors influencing COVID-19 vaccine acceptance and refusal intention, and to outline the key message in order to organize these factors according to country count. Methods A systematic search of the peer-reviewed literature articles indexed in reputable databases, mainly Pub Med (MEDLINE), Elsevier, Science Direct, and Scopus, was performed between21stJune 2021 and10th July 2021. After obtaining the results via careful screening using a PRISMA flow diagram, 47 peer-reviewed articles met the inclusion criteria and formed the basic structure of the review. Results In total, 11 potential factors were identified, of which the greatest number of articles (n = 28) reported “safety” (34.46%; 95% CI 25.05─43.87) as the overarching consideration, while “side effects” (38.73%; 95% CI 28.14─49.32) was reported by 22 articles, which was the next common factor. Other potential factors such as “effectiveness” were identified in 19 articles (29.98%; 95% CI 17.09─41.67), followed by “trust” (n = 15 studies; 27.91%; 95% CI 17.1─38.73),“information sufficiency”(n = 12; 34.46%; 95% CI 35.87─63.07),“efficacy”(n = 8; 28.73%; 95% CI 9.72─47.74), “conspiracy beliefs” (n = 8; 14.30%; 95% CI 7.97─20.63),“social influence” (n = 6; 42.11%; 95% CI 14.01─70.21), “political roles” (n = 4; 16.75%; 95% CI 5.34─28.16), “vaccine mandated” (n = 4; 51.20%; 95% CI 20.25─82.15), and “fear and anxiety” (n = 3; 8.73%; 95% CI 0.59─18.05). The findings for country-specific influential vaccination factors revealed that, “safety” was recognized mostly (n = 14) in Asian continents (32.45%; 95% CI 19.60─45.31), followed by the United States (n = 6; 33.33%; 95% CI12.68─53.98). “Side effects” was identified from studies in Asia and Europe (n = 6; 35.78%; 95% CI 16.79─54.77 and 16.93%; 95% CI 4.70─28.08, respectively), followed by Africa (n = 4; 74.60%, 95% CI 58.08─91.11); however, public response to “effectiveness” was found in the greatest (n = 7) number of studies in Asian countries (44.84%; 95% CI 25─64.68), followed by the United States (n = 6; 16.68%, 95% CI 8.47─24.89). In Europe, “trust” (n = 5) appeared as a critical predictor (24.94%; 95% CI 2.32─47.56). “Information sufficiency” was identified mostly (n = 4) in articles from the United States (51.53%; 95% CI = 14.12─88.74), followed by Asia (n = 3; 40%; 95% CI 27.01─52.99). More concerns was observed relating to “efficacy” and “conspiracy beliefs” in Asian countries (n = 3; 27.03%; 95% CI 10.35─43.71 and 18.55%; 95% CI 8.67─28.43, respectively). The impact of “social influence” on making a rapid vaccination decision was high in Europe (n = 3; 23.85%, 95% CI -18.48─66.18), followed by the United States (n = 2; 74.85%). Finally, “political roles” and “vaccine-mandated” were important concerns in the United States. Conclusions The prevailing factors responsible for COVID-19 vaccine acceptance and hesitancy varied globally; however, the global COVID-19 vaccine acceptance relies on several common factors related to psychological and, societal aspect, and the vaccine itself. People would connect with informative and effective messaging that clarifies the safety, side effects, and effectiveness of prospective COVID-19 vaccines, which would foster vaccine confidence and encourage people to be vaccinated willingly.
... In such a manner, Big Pharma, considering its perceived power, is often accused of both creating demand for certain drugs by restricting access to them and of creating addiction by encouraging their overuse (Singler, 2015). It is also believed that cures for some diseases are being withheld to make people buy more expensive, but less effective medications (Blaskiewicz, 2013), and that the industry hides the side-effects of widely recommended practices, such as vaccination (Grimes, 2016). A current widely popular conspiracy theory, also rooted in this image of the pharmaceutical industry as powerful and profit-hungry, is that the pandemic is a plot by Big Pharma (Lynas, 2020;van Mulukom et al., in press). ...
... Because the COVID-19 vaccines are new, people have to base their risk perception mostly on their experience and knowledge of existing vaccines. Unfortunately, vaccination attitudes have historically been influenced by misinformation (e.g., that Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine causes autism; Jolley & Douglas, 2014a) and conspiracy theories (e.g., that vaccines are for mind control; Blaskiewicz, 2013). Confusion due to the overwhelming amount of constant information, distress from emotive negative messages, and distrust following incompetence in the governments' responses and conflicting stories from different sources may further negatively impact vaccination intentions (Lockyer et al., 2021). ...
Rationale Belief in COVID-19 conspiracy theories can have severe consequences; it is therefore crucial to understand this phenomenon, in its similarities with general conspiracy belief, but also in how it is context-dependent. Objective The aim of this systematic review is to provide a comprehensive overview of the available research on COVID-19 conspiracy beliefs and to synthesise this research to make it widely accessible. Methods We present a synthesis of COVID-19 conspiracy belief research from 85 international articles, identified and appraised through a systematic review, in line with contemporary protocols and guidelines for systematic reviews. Results We identify a number of potential antecedents of COVID-19 conspiracy beliefs (individual differences, personality traits, demographic variables, attitudes, thinking styles and biases, group identity, trust in authorities, and social media use), their consequences (protective behaviours, self-centred and misguided behaviours such as hoarding and pseudoscientific health practices, vaccination intentions, psychological wellbeing, and other negative social consequences such as discrimination and violence), and the effect sizes of their relations with the conspiracy beliefs. Conclusions We conclude that understanding both the potential antecedents and consequences of conspiracy beliefs and how they are context-dependent is highly important to tackle them, whether in the COVID-19 pandemic or future threats, such as that of climate change.
... Oliver and Wood (2014a) reported that almost half of all Americans endorse at least one medical conspiracy, including narratives that pharmaceutical companies cover up known health effects of vaccinations, suppress known cures, or are knowingly keeping patients unwell for profit. Conspiracy theories focused on pharmaceutical companies, regulators, politicians, and others secretly conspiring against the public interest (Blaskiewicz, 2013) are such a part of common parlance, that this industry is known as 'big pharma'. It is these narratives that we refer to as health-related conspiracy theories, distinct from others solely focused on medical or health practitioners to the exclusion of other conspirators. ...
Health-related conspiracy theories can undermine the trustworthiness of actors and institutions and may impact an individual’s intention to seek help. Across three experimental studies, we investigated the consequences of exposure to an antidepressant conspiracy theory on general intentions to seek medical and psychological help. Study 1 participants (N = 299) were randomly allocated to read one of three articles (pro-conspiracy, anti-conspiracy, control) after which they completed measures of conspiracy endorsement, trust, powerlessness, and health-seeking intentions. Results suggested that exposure to antidepressant conspiracy theories significantly reduced individual’s intention to seek help indirectly through decreased trust in health authorities, but not health-industry-related powerlessness. In two additional pre-registered studies, we found some support for these findings. While Study 2 (N = 244) found no support for a direct or indirect relationship between conspiracy exposure and health-seeking intentions, an exploratory analysis highlighted the importance of gender differences when investigating conspiracy exposure on intentions. Study 3 (N = 247) replicated Study 1 findings, highlighting that antidepressant conspiracy theories decrease health-seeking intentions indirectly through decreased trust and increased powerlessness. Mere exposure to antidepressant conspiracy theories had significant indirect consequences on general health-seeking intentions.
... There is no shortage of such theories concerning the medical world, especially the pharmaceutical industry. Some conspiracy theories maintain that vaccinations cause autism or that big pharma withholds cures to keep people on more expensive, less effective treatments [13]. ...
Full-text available
Objective: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, public health experts have faced the challenge of convincing people to change their everyday habits. This study aims to evaluate the impact of trust in medicine on Polish citizens' adherence to recommended behaviors. Methods: An online survey was conducted on a quota sample of adult Poles (n = 1072) during the second wave of COVID-19. Results: The trust-in-medicine index was created from statements relating to trust in healthcare professionals, vaccines, and medicines. This index showed that 27.1% of respondents expressed low trust, 36.7% expressed moderate trust, and 36.3% expressed high trust. The recommended behavior index was created from nine statements. This index showed that 15.8% of respondents had low adherence, 38.2% had moderate adherence, and 46.0% had high adherence to the healthcare experts' recommendations. One-way analysis of variance showed that people with a high trust had significantly higher scores on the recommended behavior index when compared to people with a moderate or low trust. Conclusions: This study suggests that those responsible for health policy should put more effort into building trust not only in health professionals, but also in pharmaceutical companies. We also determined the socio-demographic features of people to whom such actions of trust building should be directed.
... The conspiracy theory concerning the government hiding information may play the biggest role in antivaccine sentiment. Blaming large pharmaceutical companies as the culprit is also an easy target since they are often imagined as withholding a cure by individuals who are left feeling powerless when they are diagnosed with serious illnesses [84]. ...
Background Among all of the studied potential causes of autism, vaccines have received some of the most scrutiny and have been the topic of many evidence-based studies. These efforts have led the great majority of scientists, physicians, and public health researchers to refute causation between vaccines and autism. Rationale This presumed association and concern has been a major contributor to parents’ refusal to immunize their children and has become a major threat to public health in secluded populations over the last two decades, even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the emergence of COVID-19 immunizations, sentiments towards this topic were addressed as a public health concern that may influence the ability to overcome the Corona virus worldwide. Scientific review of data Despite the overwhelming data demonstrating that there is no link between vaccines and autism, many parents are hesitant to immunize their children because of the alleged association. Other contributing factors to the myths and conspiracy theories surrounding the association between vaccines and autism include the fact that the diagnosis of autism is typically made after the age of receiving the main childhood immunizations, as well as the occasional occurrence of regression after the age of first year vaccinations. In spite of vast evidence that the main contribution to the increase in incidence is from improvement of the diagnostic process, this rapid and publicized rise in autism diagnoses feeds parental concerns regarding any medical intervention that may be associated with the health of their children. Recommandations It is plausible that with more evidence-based studies linking autism to specific etiologies the myth will diminish and disappear eventually. In an era where conspiracy theories are prevalent on social media, it is critical that evidence-based studies relating autism to specific etiologies be made public, and that information concerning autism diagnosis and causes be made more readily available through social media and parental organizations.
... An obvious benefit of observing inactivity or weak activity of acarbose as a reference standard is that it allows the investigators to compare their test sample-often an unproven natural product-favorably with acarbose, which is a widely prescribed commercial product with connotations of "Big Pharma" [144]. One group that reported "90-500 times" better AG inhibitory activity for a plant extract than for acarbose emphasized this aspect in the title of the resultant short communication, "α-Glucosidase and αamylase inhibitors from Myrcia spp.: a stronger alternative to acarbose?" ...
Postprandial hyperglycemia is treated with the oral antidiabetic drug acarbose, an intestinal α-glucosidase inhibitor. Side effects of acarbose motivated a growing number of screening studies to identify novel α-glucosidase inhibitors derived from plant extracts and other natural sources. As “gold standard”, acarbose is frequently included as the reference standard to assess the potency of these candidate α-glucosidase inhibitors, with many outperforming acarbose by several orders of magnitude. The results are subsequently used to identify suitable compounds/products with strong potential for in vivo efficacy. However, most α-glucosidase inhibitor screening studies use enzyme preparations obtained from nonmammalian sources (typically Saccharomyces cerevisiae), despite strong evidence that inhibition data obtained using nonmammalian α-glucosidase may hold limited value in terms of identifying α-glucosidase inhibitors with actual in vivo hypoglycemic potential. The aim was to critically discuss the screening of novel α-glucosidase inhibitors from plant sources, emphasizing inconsistencies and pitfalls, specifically where acarbose was included as the reference standard. An assessment of the available literature emphasized the cruciality of stating the biological source of α-glucosidase in such screening studies to allow for unambiguous and rational interpretation of the data. The review also highlights the lack of a universally adopted screening assay for novel α-glucosidase inhibitors and the commercial availability of a standardized preparation of mammalian α-glucosidase.
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Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness. The disease was discovered in December 2019. On 31 st December 2019, a series of pneumonia cases of unknown cause was detected in the People's Republic of China (PRC). COVID-19 has caused States to restrict movements, closed down schools, major markets and churches and thus the virus has serious impact on the enjoyment of legal freedoms. Covid-19 has very devastating effects on economic activities generally and thus the urgent need to reduce the spread but the situation in Cameroon is difficult to handle as the negative impacts of the virus are further compounded by lack of support from the government to boost economic activities like supporting small businesses with funding and reducing taxes for big enterprises so as to reduce costs and encourage production. The general objective of this paper is to critically examine the negative impact of COVID-19 on the enjoyment of legal freedoms. One of the main findings of the paper is that Cameroon as a State committed to the protection of its citizens' rights has ratified treaties protecting human rights of people including legal freedoms and thus to eradicate the impact COVID-19 has on these legal freedoms, the work strongly recommends that as disease outbreaks are not likely to disappear in the near future, proactive international actions are required to not only save lives but also protect economic prosperity.
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Conspiracy theories can form a monological belief system: A self-sustaining worldview comprised of a network of mutually supportive beliefs. The present research shows that even mutually incompatible conspiracy theories are positively correlated in endorsement. In Study 1 (n = 137), the more participants believed that Princess Diana faked her own death, the more they believed that she was murdered. In Study 2 (n = 102), the more participants believed that Osama Bin Laden was already dead when U.S. special forces raided his compound in Pakistan, the more they believed he is still alive. Hierarchical regression models showed that mutually incompatible conspiracy theories are positively associated because both are associated with the view that the authorities are engaged in a cover-up (Study 2). The monological nature of conspiracy belief appears to be driven not by conspiracy theories directly supporting one another but by broader beliefs supporting conspiracy theories in general.
Background: Mumps, measles and rubella (MMR) are serious diseases that can lead to potentially fatal illness, disability and death. However, public debate over the safety of the trivalent MMR vaccine and the resultant drop in vaccination coverage in several countries persists, despite its almost universal use and accepted effectiveness. Objectives: To assess the effectiveness and adverse effects associated with the MMR vaccine in children up to 15 years of age. Search methods: For this update we searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library 2011, Issue 2), which includes the Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections Group's Specialised Register, PubMed (July 2004 to May week 2, 2011) and (July 2004 to May 2011). Selection criteria: We used comparative prospective or retrospective trials assessing the effects of the MMR vaccine compared to placebo, do nothing or a combination of measles, mumps and rubella antigens on healthy individuals up to 15 years of age. Data collection and analysis: Two review authors independently extracted data and assessed methodological quality of the included studies. One review author arbitrated in case of disagreement. Main results: We included five randomised controlled trials (RCTs), one controlled clinical trial (CCT), 27 cohort studies, 17 case-control studies, five time-series trials, one case cross-over trial, two ecological studies, six self controlled case series studies involving in all about 14,700,000 children and assessing effectiveness and safety of MMR vaccine. Based on the available evidence, one MMR vaccine dose is at least 95% effective in preventing clinical measles and 92% effective in preventing secondary cases among household contacts.Effectiveness of at least one dose of MMR in preventing clinical mumps in children is estimated to be between 69% and 81% for the vaccine prepared with Jeryl Lynn mumps strain and between 70% and 75% for the vaccine containing the Urabe strain. Vaccination with MMR containing the Urabe strain has demonstrated to be 73% effective in preventing secondary mumps cases. Effectiveness of Jeryl Lynn containing MMR in preventing laboratory-confirmed mumps cases in children and adolescents was estimated to be between 64% to 66% for one dose and 83% to 88% for two vaccine doses. We did not identify any studies assessing the effectiveness of MMR in preventing rubella.The highest risk of association with aseptic meningitis was observed within the third week after immunisation with Urabe-containing MMR (risk ratio (RR) 14.28; 95% confidence interval (CI) from 7.93 to 25.71) and within the third (RR 22.5; 95% CI 11.8 to 42.9) or fifth (RR 15.6; 95% CI 10.3 to 24.2) weeks after immunisation with the vaccine prepared with the Leningrad-Zagreb strain. A significant risk of association with febrile seizures and MMR exposure during the two previous weeks (RR 1.10; 95% CI 1.05 to 1.15) was assessed in one large person-time cohort study involving 537,171 children aged between three months and five year of age. Increased risk of febrile seizure has also been observed in children aged between 12 to 23 months (relative incidence (RI) 4.09; 95% CI 3.1 to 5.33) and children aged 12 to 35 months (RI 5.68; 95% CI 2.31 to 13.97) within six to 11 days after exposure to MMR vaccine. An increased risk of thrombocytopenic purpura within six weeks after MMR immunisation in children aged 12 to 23 months was assessed in one case-control study (RR 6.3; 95% CI 1.3 to 30.1) and in one small self controlled case series (incidence rate ratio (IRR) 5.38; 95% CI 2.72 to 10.62). Increased risk of thrombocytopenic purpura within six weeks after MMR exposure was also assessed in one other case-control study involving 2311 children and adolescents between one month and 18 years (odds ratio (OR) 2.4; 95% CI 1.2 to 4.7). Exposure to the MMR vaccine was unlikely to be associated with autism, asthma, leukaemia, hay fever, type 1 diabetes, gait disturbance, Crohn's disease, demyelinating diseases, bacterial or viral infections. Authors' conclusions: The design and reporting of safety outcomes in MMR vaccine studies, both pre- and post-marketing, are largely inadequate. The evidence of adverse events following immunisation with the MMR vaccine cannot be separated from its role in preventing the target diseases.
Conspiracy nation: the politics of paranoia in postwar America
  • T Melley
Melley T. Agency panic and the culture of conspiracy. In: Knight P. editor. Conspiracy nation: the politics of paranoia in postwar America. New York: New York University Press; 2002. p. 57-81.
Laetrile and the law
  • M Kenward
Kenward M. Laetrile and the law. New Scientist. 1979 January 11; p. 88.