Magical Medicine: How to make a disease disappear
12th February 2010
A formal complaint has been lodged by Professor Malcolm Hooper with
the Rt. Hon The Lord Drayson, Minister of State with responsibility
for the Medical Research Council (Science and Innovation) about the
'PACE' Clinical Trial of behavioural modification interventions for
people with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
PACE is the acronym for Pacing, Activity, and Cognitive behavioural
therapy, a randomised Evaluation, interventions that, according to
one of the Principal Investigators, are without theoretical foundation.
The MRC's PACE Trial seemingly inhabits a unique and unenviable
position in the history of medicine. It is believed to be the first
and only clinical trial that patients and the charities that support
them have tried to stop before a single patient could be recruited
and is the only clinical trial that the Department for Work and
Pensions (DWP) has ever funded.
Since 1993, the giant US permanent health insurance company
UNUMProvident has been advising the UK DWP about the most effective
ways of curtailing sickness benefit payments. The PACE Trial is run
by psychiatrists of the Wessely School, most of whom work for the
medical and permanent health insurance industry, including
UNUMProvident. These psychiatrists insist =96 in defiance of both the
World Health Organisation and the significant biomedical evidence
about the nature of it -- that 'CFS/ME' is a behavioural disorder,
into which they have subsumed ME, a classified neurological disorder
whose separate existence they deny. Their beliefs have been
repudiated in writing by the World Health Organisation.
In 1992, the Wessely School gave directions that in cases of ME/CFS,
the first duty of the doctor is to avoid legitimisation of symptoms;
in 1994, ME was described by Professor Simon Wessely as merely 'a
belief'; in 1996 recommendations were made that no investigations
should be performed to confirm the diagnosis and in 1999 patients
with ME/CFS were referred to as 'the undeserving sick'.
The complaint is supported by a 442 page Report which addresses areas
of major concern about the PACE Trial.
These include apparent coercion and exploitation of patients, flawed
methodology, apparent lack of scientific rigour, apparent failure to
adhere to the Declaration of Helsinki, the unusual personal financial
interest of the Chief Investigator, the vested financial interests of
the Principal Investigators and others involved with the trial and
the underlying non-clinical purpose of the trial.
The psychiatrists' unproven beliefs and assumptions are presented as
fact and trial therapists have been trained to provide participants
with misinformation; therapists have also been trained to advise
participants to ignore symptoms, a situation that may in some cases
result in death.
There are some extremely disquieting issues surrounding the MRC PACE
Trial and documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act
allow the full story to be told for the first time.
People with ME/CFS do not seek any special consideration; they simply
wish to be treated equally to those who suffer from other classified
neurological disorders. As shown in the Report that accompanies the
complaint, the MRC PACE Trial clearly demonstrates that people with
ME/CFS are not treated equally to those with other chronic
The Report can be accessed at
File Size 6Mb
Adobe Acrobat format
CONTACT: Professor Malcolm Hooper 0191 =96 528 - 5536
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Letter of complaint to the Rt Hon The Lord Drayson
Professor Malcolm Hooper Ph.D., B.Pharm., C.Chem., MRIC
11th February 2010
The Rt Hon The Lord Drayson
Minister of State
(Science and Innovation)
1, Victoria Street
re: Complaint about the Medical Research Council
It is with deep concern that I lodge this formal complaint about the
Medical Research Council with you in your capacity as Minister with
responsibility for the MRC.
You will doubtless be aware of the serious problems at the MRC that
were documented in the 2003 Report of the House of Commons Select
Committee on Science and Technology (HC 132) in which MPs issued a
damning judgment on the MRC, lambasting it for wasting funds and for
introducing misguided strategies for its research. MPs found
evidence of poor planning and of focusing on 'politically-driven'
projects that have diverted money away from top-quality proposals.
The unprecedented attack was the result of a detailed probe into the
workings of the MRC.
Sadly, very serious problems continue to exist at the MRC, with
disastrous results for patients with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
The attached 442 page Report addresses the background to the MRC
'PACE' Trial on 'CFS/ME', the biomedical evidence that disproves the
assumptions of the MRC trial Principal Investigators, the many
extremely disturbing issues surrounding the PACE Trial, and
illustrations from the Manuals used in the trial.
The unproven beliefs and assumptions of the MRC Investigators are
presented as fact; trial therapists have been trained to provide
participants with misinformation, and therapists have also been
trained to advise participants to ignore symptoms arising from the
interventions, a situation that may in some cases result in death.
Patients with ME/CFS do not seek any special consideration; they
simply wish to be treated equally to those with other classified
neurological disorders. As shown in the commissioned Report that
accompanies this complaint (a bound copy of which will follow), the
MRC Trial clearly demonstrates that people with ME/CFS are not
treated equally to those with other chronic neurological disorders.
Given the long-standing recognition that at least one of the
interventions used in the trial is contra-indicated for people with
ME/CFS, an intervention that is already known to have adverse effects
on 50% of those who have already undertaken it, there is
international concern about the MRC PACE Trial.
I urge you to read the attached Report and to respond to it with due
attention and alacrity. You may wish to know that the Report is
already on international academic websites.
Download report here
Kris Kristofferson, "In the News"