A Salutary Story

Dr Vernon Coleman MB ChB DSc FRSA

I was invited to speak at an important conference in London.

The conference was, I was told, intended to tackle the subject of medication errors and adverse reactions to prescribed drugs. The company organising the conference was called PasTest.

`For over thirty years, PasTest has been providing medical education to professionals within the NHS,' they told me. `Building on our commitment to quality in medical and healthcare education, PasTest is creating a range of healthcare events which focus on the professional development of clinicians and managers who are working together to deliver healthcare services for the UK. Our aim is to provide a means for those who are in a position to improve services on both national and regional levels. The topics covered by our conferences are embraced within policy, best practice, case study, clinical management and evidence based practice. PasTest endeavours to source the best speakers who will engage audiences with balanced, relevant and thought provoking programmes. PasTest has proven in the past that by using thorough investigative research and keeping up to date with advances in healthcare and medical practice, a premium educational event can be achieved.'

Goody, I thought.

Iatrogenesis (doctor induced disease) is something of a speciality of mine. I have written numerous books and articles on the subject. My campaigns have resulted in more drugs being banned or controlled than anyone else's. A previous Government admitted that they had taken action on prescription drug control because of my articles.

The conference organisers offered to pay me £1,500 plus £500 in expenses for two hours of my time. In addition to speaking at the conference they wanted me to help them decide on the final programme.

I thought the conference was an important one and would give me a good opportunity to tell NHS staff the truth. I signed a contract and PasTest duly wrote to confirm my appointment as a consultant and speaker for the PasTest Conference Division.

And then there was silence. My office repeatedly asked for details of when and where the conference was being held.


Eventually a programme for the event appeared on the internet. Curiously, my name was not on the list of speakers.

Here is part of the blurb promoting the conference:

`Against a background of increasing media coverage into the number of UK patients who are either becoming ill or dying due to adviser reactions to medication our conference aims to explain the current strategies to avoid Adverse Drug reactions and what can be done to educate patients.'

Putting the blame on patients for problems caused by prescription drugs is brilliant. Most drug related problems are caused by the stupidity of doctors not the ignorance of patients. If the aim is to educate patients on how best to avoid prescription drug problems the advice would be simple: `Don't trust doctors. They are, by and large, a bunch of incompetent buffoons who do what they are told to do by drug company representatives.'

The promotion for the conference claimed that `errors in medication...account for 4% of hospital bed capacity.' And that prescription drug problems `reportedly kill up to 10,000 people a year in the UK'.

As I would have shown (had I not been banned from the conference) these figures were absurdly low. I had already published evidence showing that one in six hospital beds were occupied by patients who had been made ill by doctors. And there was, and is, plenty of evidence showing that doctors are now one of the top three causes of sickness and death (alongside cancer and circulatory disorders such as heart disease and stroke).

The list of speakers included a variety of people I had never heard of including one speaker representing The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry and another representing the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.

Delegates representing the NHS were expected to pay £250 plus VAT (£293.75) to attend the event. Delegates whose Trust would be funding the cost were asked to apply for a Health Authority Approval form.

The NHS was paying to send delegates to a conference where someone representing the drug industry would speak to them on drug safety. But I was banned.

This is what Simon Levy of PasTest said when we asked them why I was banned: `certain parties felt that he (Vernon Coleman) was too controversial to speak and as a result would not attend.'

Is the drug industry now deciding whom they will allow to speak to doctors and NHS staff on the problems caused by prescription drugs?

Why are people who had me banned so frightened of what I would to say? It can surely only be because they know that I would have caused embarrassment by telling the truth.

In the end PasTest paid me £1,500 to stay at home. I used the money to buy advertisements for my book How To Stop Your Doctor Killing You.

Copyright Vernon Coleman May 2019

Vernon Colemanís international bestseller How To Stop Your Doctor Killing You is available as an eBook and a paperback on Amazon.