Medical Research Should Stop Now (And We Should Use What We Know)

Dr Vernon Coleman

The following short essay is taken from my book Paper Doctors which was first published in 1977 and which is now once again available as a paperback.

`Most doctors in clinical practice accept the myth that medical research still has much to offer. Their attitudes have been carefully nurtured over many decades by the researchers themselves (many of whom, resting comfortably on the achievements of their predecessors, think of themselves as rather superior beings), by academics who combine teaching with research and who find the quiet waters of research preferable to the hectic and often disturbed and disturbing waters of clinical medicine, and by doctors in practice who have been brought up to have nothing but respect and admiration for the medical researcher.

The public's attitude has been formed both by the medical profession and by science and medical writers anxious to provide their readers with hopeful and startling news. Initial scepticism which troubled the researchers of half a century ago has been replaced by an unreasonable and overwhelming faith that medical researchers will eventually produce all the answers and that spectacular cures are 'just around the corner'. Progress, the public is told, is part of human nature. So great is the public's faith in research that it is much easier for charitable organisations to collect money for research programmes than it is for them to collect money to provide medical and nursing care for the underprivileged sick.

Medical researchers have led us into a confused and confusing world where we no longer have either total free control over our own health or complete freedom to choose which avenues we wish to explore. The researchers have landed us with problems which we have to solve by accepting their solutions: in order to solve the problems created by doctors, we have to accept the solutions offered by doctors. And while we remain uncertain about what to do to solve these problems, the researchers fiddle happily in their laboratories. The scientists employed by our governments continue to look for simple answers to complex problems. The scientists employed by the pharmaceutical industry continue to produce marketable but medically unoriginal products which merely add to the world's problems rather than help to solve them.

We need to spend a few decades consolidating our position and tidying our base camp before we set off on any further exploratory missions. We need to assess our medical methods, we need to assess previously ignored and unfashionable techniques which may now have more to offer than traditional medicine, we need to study methods of dealing with the various personal and environmental pollutants which are such important causes of illness and death, and we need most of all to find solutions to the problems which our own researchers have created.

In the Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine in 1972 Dr N.R.E. Fendall wrote 'If I were asked to compose an epitaph on medicine throughout the twentieth century, it would read: brilliant in its discoveries, superb in its technological breakthrough, but woefully inept in its application to those most in need. Medicine will be judged not on its vast and rapid accumulation of knowledge per se but on its trusteeship of that knowledge.'

Speaking to a commemorative public meeting celebrating twenty years of the World Health Organisation, Lord Rosenheim said that we would make immense progress in health if within the next twenty years we could apply fully what we already know.

It is ironical that, when we have at last got the knowledge to help us ensure that medicine really does affect mortality rates for the first time in two centuries, we continue to search for answers which in reality we already have. Major causes of death in the younger age groups include cigarette smoking, various types of pollution, and accidents; and in the middle-aged groups, chest disorders, heart disorders and cancers. Most of these could be prevented if we applied the knowledge we have stored in our libraries.

It seems to me that one has to agree with the editorial writer in the Medical Journal of Australia who said in 1973, 'Medical research can no longer be allowed to grow at random, reacting only slowly and inadequately to the changing needs of community health and the ever-changing patterns of diseases.' For ethical, financial and common-sense reasons we must call a halt. As Theodor Fox put it in The Lancet in 1965, 'Today when so many progressive minds are preoccupied with ways of doing things, we too easily forget what ends these means are meant to serve.'

Meanwhile, however, the medical establishment is in the hands of the traditionalists-like the late Henry Miller, the medically qualified Vice Chancellor of the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, who, in his contribution to the book Medical History and Medical Care, published in 1971, wrote, 'Most of the diseases that are easily preventable are being prevented' and, in an attack on a physician who had expressed well-reasoned fears about the development of medical technology, said 'My impression is that he would prefer to be sick in a cottage hospital under the care of a physician in holy orders whose practice was uncomplicated by instrumentation of any kind.' Personally I am not at all convinced that I would prefer to occupy a bed in a modern, well-equipped hospital rather than an old-fashioned cottage hospital where tender, loving care is high on the list of priorities. It is, at the least, a choice which demands some consideration, and I hope that the rest of this book will provide the open-minded reader with much food for thought.’


This essay is taken from `Paper Doctors’ by Vernon Coleman. The book is available via the bookshop on

Copyright Vernon Coleman February 2024

What the papers say about Vernon Coleman
Since he first exposed the covid fraud in February and March 2020, Vernon Coleman has been vilified, monstered, lied about and libelled by the mainstream media. He has been attacked, condemned as a conspiracy theorist and, without any justification, dismissed as `discredited’.

But before he exposed the covid fraud, Vernon Coleman was widely praised by the very same publications which now attack him.

Here are just a few quotes which appeared in the mainstream media before the beginning of 2020:

‘Dr Coleman produces mountains of evidence to justify his outrageous claims.’ – Edinburgh Evening News

‘Dr Coleman lays about him with an uncompromising verbal scalpel, dipped in vitriol, against all sorts of sacred medical cows.’ – Exeter Express and Echo

‘Vernon Coleman writes brilliant books.’ – The Good Book Guide

‘No thinking person can ignore him. This is why he has been for over 20 years one of the world’s leading advocates on human and animal rights in relation to health. Long may it continue.’ – The Ecologist

‘The calmest voice of reason comes from Dr Vernon Coleman.’ – The Observer

‘A godsend.’ – Daily Telegraph

‘Dr Vernon Coleman has justifiably acquired a reputation for being controversial, iconoclastic and influential.’ – General Practitioner

‘Superstar.’ – Independent on Sunday

‘Brilliant!’ – The People

‘Compulsive reading.’ – The Guardian

‘His message is important.’ – The Economist

‘He’s the Lone Ranger, Robin Hood and the Equalizer rolled into one.’ – Glasgow Evening Times

‘The man is a national treasure.’ – What Doctors Don’t Tell You

‘His advice is optimistic and enthusiastic.’ – British Medical Journal

‘Revered guru of medicine.’ – Nursing Times

‘Gentle, kind and caring’ – Western Daily Press

‘His trademark is that he doesn’t mince words. Far funnier than the usual tone of soupy piety you get from his colleagues.’ – The Guardian

‘Dr Coleman is one of our most enlightened, trenchant and sensitive dispensers of medical advice.’ – The Observer

‘Vernon Coleman is a leading medical authority and known to millions through his writing, broadcasting and bestselling books.’ – Woman’s Own

‘His book Bodypower is one of the most sensible treatises on personal survival that has ever been published.’ – Yorkshire Evening Post

‘One of the country’s top health experts.’ – Woman’s Journal

‘Dr Coleman is crusading for a more complete awareness of what is good and bad for our bodies. In the course of that he has made many friends and some powerful enemies.’ – Western Morning News

‘Brilliant.’ – The People

‘Dr Vernon Coleman is one of our most enlightened, trenchant and sensible dispensers of medical advice.’ – The Observer

‘The most influential medical writer in Britain. There can be little doubt that Vernon Coleman is the people’s doctor.’ – Devon Life

‘The medical expert you can’t ignore.’ – Sunday Independent

‘A literary genius.’ – HSL Newsletter

‘I would much rather spend an evening in his company than be trapped for five minutes in a radio commentary box with Mr Geoffrey Boycott.’ – Peter Tinniswood, Punch

‘Hard hitting...inimitably forthright.’ – Hull Daily Mail

‘Refreshingly forthright.’ – Liverpool Daily Post

‘Outspoken and alert.’ – Sunday Express

‘The man with a mission.’ – Morning News

‘A good read…very funny and packed with interesting and useful advice.’ –The Big Issue

‘Dr Coleman gains in stature with successive books’ – Coventry Evening Telegraph

‘Dr Coleman made me think again.’ – BBC World Service

‘Marvellously succinct, refreshingly sensible.’ – The Spectator

‘The living terror of the British medical establishment. A doctor of science as well as a medical graduate. Dr Coleman is probably one of the most brilliant men alive today. His extensive medical knowledge renders him fearless.’ – Irish Times

‘His future as King of the media docs is assured.’ – The Independent

‘Britain’s leading medical author.’ – The Star

‘His advice is practical and readable.’ – Northern Echo

‘The layman’s champion.’ –Evening Herald

‘All commonsense and no nonsense.’ – Health Services Management

‘One of Britain’s leading experts.’ – Slimmer Magazine

‘The only three things I always read before the programme are Andrew Rawnsley in the Observer, Peter Hitchens in the Mail and Dr Vernon Coleman in The People. Or, if I’m really up against it, just Vernon Coleman.’ – Eddie Mair, Presenter on BBC’s Radio Four

‘Dr Coleman is more illuminating than the proverbial lady with the lamp’ – Company Magazine

‘Britain’s leading health care campaigner.’ – The Sun

‘What he says is true.’ – Punch

‘Perhaps the best known health writer for the general public in the world today.’ – The Therapist

‘Vernon Coleman writes as a general practitioner who has become disquieted by the all-pervasive influence of the pharmaceutical industry in modern medicine…He describes, with a wealth of illustrations, the phenomena of modern iatrogenesis; but he is also concerned about the wider harm which can result from doctors’ and patients’ preoccupation with medication instead of with the prevention of disease. He demonstrates, all the more effectively because he writes in a sober, matter-of-fact style, the immense influence exercised by the drug industry on doctors’ prescribing habits…He writes as a family doctor who is keenly aware of the social dimensions of medical practice. He ends his book with practical suggestions as to how medical care – in the developing countries as well as in the West – can best be freed from this unhealthy pharmaceutical predominance.’ – G.M.Carstairs, The Times Literary Supplement (1975)

‘What he says of the present is true: and it is the great merit of the book that he says it from the viewpoint of a practising general practitioner, who sees from the inside what is going on, and is appalled by the consequences to the profession, and to the public.’ – Brian Inglis, Punch (1975)

‘Dr Coleman writes with more sense than bias. Required reading for any Minister of Health’ – Daily Express

‘I hope this book becomes a bestseller among doctors, nurses and the wider public…’ – Nursing Times

‘Few would disagree with Dr Coleman that more should be done about prevention.’ – The Lancet

‘This short but very readable book has a message that is timely. Vernon Coleman’s point is that much of the medical research into which money and expertise are poured is useless. At the same time, remedial conditions of mind and body which cause the most distress are largely neglected. This is true.’ – Daily Telegraph

‘If you believe Dr Vernon Coleman, the main beneficiaries of the hundred million pounds worth of research done in this country each year are certainly not the patients. The research benefits mostly the medical place seekers, who use their academic investigations as rungs on the promotional ladder, or drug companies with an eye for the latest market opening…The future may hold bionic superman but all a nation’s physic cannot significantly change the basic mortality statistics except sometimes, to make them worse.’ – The Guardian

‘Dr Coleman’s well-coordinated book could not be more timely.’ – Yorkshire Post

‘The Medicine Men is well worth reading’ – Times Educational Supplement

‘Dr Vernon Coleman…is not a mine of information – he is a fountain. It pours out of him, mixed with opinions which have an attractive common sense ring about them.’ – Coventry Evening Telegraph

‘When the children have finished playing the games on your Sinclair or Commodore Vic 20 computer, you can turn it to more practical purposes. For what is probably Britain’s first home doctor programme for computers is now available. Dr Vernon Coleman, one of the country’s leading medical authors, has prepared the text for a remarkable series of six cassettes called The Home Doctor Series. Dr Coleman, author of the new book ‘Bodypower’…has turned his attention to computers.’ – The Times 1983

‘The Medicine Men’ by Dr Vernon Coleman, was the subject of a 14 minute ‘commercial’ on the BBC’s Nationwide television programme recently. Industry doctors and general practitioners come in for a severe drubbing: two down and several more to go because the targets for Dr Coleman’s pen are many, varied and, to say the least, surprising. Take the physicians who carry out clinical trials: many of those, claims the author, have sold themselves to the industry and agreed to do research for rewards of one kind or another, whether that reward be a trip abroad, a piece of equipment, a few dinners, a series of published papers or simply money.’ – The Pharmaceutical Journal

‘By the year 2020 there will be a holocaust, not caused by a plutonium plume but by greed, medical ambition and political opportunism. This is the latest vision of Vernon Coleman, an articulate and prolific medical author…this disturbing book detects diseases in the whole way we deliver health care.’ – Sunday Times (1988)

‘…the issues explores he explores are central to the health of the nation.’ – Nursing Times

‘It is not necessary to accept his conclusion to be able to savour his decidedly trenchant comments on today’s medicine…a book to stimulate and to make one argue.’ – British Medical Journal

‘As a writer of medical bestsellers, Dr Vernon Coleman’s aim is to shock us out of our complacency…it’s impossible not to be impressed by some of his arguments.’ – Western Daily Press

‘Controversial and devastating’ – Publishing News