Lancet Offline: The distance between us - 'This descent into unreason is what happens when you inflame public anxieties'

25 November, 2022

Dear HIFA colleagues,

"This descent into unreason is what happens when you inflame public anxieties. It needs to stop."

This is the concluding sentence of Richard Horton's latest Offline comment in tomorrow's Lancet. It's an important observation and concludes his observations of a public meeting with Dr Aseem Malhotra as main speaker. Dr Malhotra is a controversial figure. Wikipedia notes: "During the COVID-19 pandemic, Malhotra published a book called The 21-Day Immunity Plan,[10] which claims that following the diet can quickly help people reduce their risk from the virus; such claims are not backed by medical research evidence. Despite initially campaigning for the COVID vaccine,[11] he later campaigned against the use of COVID mRNA vaccines[12] contrary to the available evidence."

Citation and extracts below. Full text:

CITATION: Offline: The distance between us

Richard Horton

The Lancet - Comment| volume 400, issue 10366, p1834, november 26, 2022

published: november 26, 2022

'1000 people gathered in the magnificent Light auditorium at Friends House on a bleak winter evening in London. They were there to hear Dr Aseem Malhotra, a cardiologist, answer the question, “Has Big Pharma Hijacked Evidence-Based Medicine?”...

'Malhotra's method of argument deserves scrutiny to understand why it persuades some people. Frame one's view as the reluctant endpoint of a personal journey. Quote respected scientists. Stand up to corporates. Place oneself firmly on the side of patients. Emphasise well described concerns about the presentation of research evidence. Allude to correlations. Make the call for access to raw data an issue of trust and transparency. The meeting ended rowdily... Someone suggested that WHO should be abolished and received enthusiastic applause... The audience began to fragment amid shouts and insults. The last words I heard as I exited were from someone alleging the pandemic's origin lay in a 30 nucleotide sequence amplified into a bioweapon. This descent into unreason is what happens when you inflame public anxieties. It needs to stop.'

Neil Pakenham-Walsh, Global Coordinator HIFA,

Global Healthcare Information Network: Working in official relations with WHO