Monthly Archives: May 2008

More Dore media coverage: Bad Science and the Sun

A quick post to note some more of the unfolding coverage of Dore UK’s closures. Ben Goldacre uses his Guardian bad science column to point out that, when analysing the coverage of Dore:

it seems the bloggers win on timeliness, accuracy, relevance, effort, ethics, and stupid names. Continue reading

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Filed under autism, Ben Goldacre, Dore, dyslexia, dyspraxia

Dore UK clients are “very unlikely” to get a refund of any money they are owed by the company

Dore UK have now released an Administrator’s letter to their customers (PDF). According to the Administrators:

due to the Companies’ financial position refunds are not possible…Whilst it is early in the Administration process, it appears very unlikely that there will be funds available to settle any claim you may have.

Dore’s own FAQ (PDF) makes clear that

As the Company will be in Administration there are no funds available to reimburse clients.

I am sorry to be passing on bad news here. If you are owed money by Dore, I would, once again, strongly suggest that you seek advice ASAP on whether you will be able to reclaim any of this money. The Citizens’ Advice Bureau are a good, free first port of call, and brainduck lists some helpful links.

Dore’s FAQ also states that

Your prime concern will, no doubt, be how you finish the programme. Our concern is exactly the same. We will therefore be focusing all our efforts and resource on identifying ways to market to allow the programme to be continued by our clients.

Although I am sure that the Administrators are acting legally, this is not an admirable position for Dore UK to take, particularly not when they emphasise their empathy with distressed parents. Dore marketed a service to clients: promoting (without good evidence) a programme they said required specialised facilities. Dore may now wish to offer alternative services to new or existing clients. However, this does not make up for the fact that Dore UK is guilty of taking clients’ money for particular services – and then failing to offer either the full services that clients paid for, or a refund to clients.

Numerous public figures – some of them relatively wealthy – have endorsed Dore and played important roles in the running of the company. I wonder if the likes of Wynford Dore, Kenny Logan and Dr Roy Rutherford now feel any guilt about their involvement in and promotion of Dore? And I wonder if they will ever apologise to the clients who have been let down?

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Filed under Dore

Patrick Holford on Statins and Why You Should Spend Money on His Supplements As Well or Instead

Patrick Holford on ITV Lunchtime 16 April 2008
Visiting Professor Patrick Holford of Teesside University and Head of Science and Education at Biocare has an odd relationship with statins. Who can forget his straight-to-camera overview of Big Pharma’s “full spectrum dominance” and the industrial complex that enforces mass-medication with prescription drugs such as statins. Or his shocked (and incorrect) assertion that “almost 20,000 people have to take a statin for 5 years for 1 less heart attack”. It could never have made sense to anyone who gave the matter half a second’s thought, far less someone who styles himself as leading health expert, but there you have it: Visiting Professor at the University of Teesside and able to make that statement with a rather unnerving (and misplaced) sincerity. Regular readers will not be surprised to learn that Holford sees the just announced and updated NICE Clinical Guidelines[1] as yet another opportunity to decry Big Pharma’s profits relating to statins and to promote niacin: you may, however, be interested in an upcoming plot twist. Continue reading

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Filed under Holford, patrick holford, supplements

Sun, Times and Independent articles on Dore closure

The Sun, Times and Independent have just published articles on Dore UK going into administration: it’s great to see this getting into the mainstream media. The Sun’s the Times’ articles are excellent – so we’ll look at those first. Then we’ll take a brief look at why the Independent‘s article is so poor. Continue reading

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Filed under Dore

Patrick Holford and Natural Products magazine get things badly wrong about nutrition and allergy

Just a quick post – to note that Prof Patrick Holford of Teesside University has a pretty terrible article on hayfever on the Natural Products website. Continue reading

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Filed under allergies, Holford, patrick holford, University of Teesside

Wynford Dore statement leaves serious questions unanswered: UPDATED

Wynford Dore has now issued a response to those affected by Dore’s financial problems (oddly, posted on Dore’s forum, instead of on their homepage). While Dore’s UK’s homepage continues to refer to Dore being “put into the hands of advisors”, Dore’s statement refers to “Administrators”. However, this leaves a number of serious questions unanswered:

  • Who are Dore UK’s administrators (apparently, this will be posted on Dore’s UK site at some future point – but why hasn’t this important information already been released)? Dore’s administrators are “Joanne Wright, Fraser Gray and Jamie Gleave, all of Kroll”. See below for details.
  • Will staff get paid what they are owed? Will families get a refund of what they have paid?
  • What will happen to Dore in other parts of the world? Will Dore centres continue to operate as normal in other countries, or will they be going into administration? And are Dore centres still taking families’ money?

I would also note that – as well as failing to answer such important practical questions – Wynford’s 740 word long statement does not contain the word ‘sorry’ or ‘apology’. While I have my objections to Wynford’s approach, I would have hoped that he would at least have had the decency to make a public apology to all the staff, families and children who have been and are being affected by the financial problems faced by the company. Continue reading

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Filed under Dore

Dore UK go into administration: updated 6 times

Following Dore Australia’s move into administration at the end of last week, Dore UK has now also gone into administration. A Dore staff member on Dore’s discussion forums stated that they have gone into administration, and Dore UK staff were told about the move after lunch today. Dore states that they are “closing all of the UK centres which deliver the Dore Programme with immediate effect…We are presently exploring alternative arrangements to ensure every client is cared for”: I hope that this is does prove to be the case, and that staff will get what they are owed. See UPDATE 2 below, though, for a statement from Dore’s PR firm claiming that this is ‘restructuring’ instead of ‘administration’.

Firstly, we would offer our sympathies to all those who are caught up in this. Citizen’s Advice Bureau can be an excellent source of free practical advice on your rights in this type of situation; if you’re a member of a trade union, they will also often be able to help (and should definitely be contacted if Dore have made you redundant).

Secondly, we would like to point out the differences between how the blogosphere and the mainstream media dealt with Dore. A number of blogs noted the limited evidence for Dore’s efficacy – among others, see Bad Science, Brainduck, Gimpy, Left Brain/Right Brain, Podblack, and right here on HolfordWatch – while Gimpy raised the issue of financial problems with Dore back in January. However, the mainstream media has continued the overwhelmingly positive coverage of Dore, notwithstanding any such concerns.

Perhaps most damningly, You & Yours – nominally Radio 4’s flagship consumer programme – had positive coverage about Dore on last Monday [MP3]: immediately after Dore Australia went into administration leaving staff and clients unsure what would happen to what they were owed. You & Yours did know about the problems in Australia – I phoned them myself to tell them – but as far as I can tell they haven’t chosen to cover this (or to return my call).

More broadly – as we have noted on this blog – the mainstream media seem much happier to cover ‘miracle cure’ stories than to write about criticisms of the evidence for such ‘miracles’. Even after – to my shame – I was pedantic enough to call and e-mail a number of media outlets to let them know about a new article trashing Dore’s research base, no-one chose to cover this story. There are definitely questions to be asked about the media’s role in the rise of Dore, and Dore’s often-uncritical acceptance.

We will update this post when more news becomes available (you can e-mail us at holfordwatch at googlemail dot com if you would like to pass anything on, in confidence if necessary). We very much hope that things work out well for Dore staff and clients.

UPDATE 1: Gimpy and Podlback have now both posted on this.

UPDATE 2: Apparently, this morning Phil Hall Associates denied that Dore UK was going into administration, supplying a statement to the media that:

The business is being restructured to make it more cost efficient. We will be communicating directly with our clients. Plans are being drawn up to ensure that every patient is able to complete their programme. Wynford Dore has subsidised the programme to the tune of £15 million and is unable to sustain that level of investment any longer.

UPDATE 3: Gimpy has now blogged about a statement from Wynford Dore to UK clients. Apparently, Dore clients will be contacted next week.

UPDATE 4: Ben Goldacre’s Guardian Column this weeks looks at Dore, and the way that they were able to market their ‘miracle cure’ through the media. The announcement of Dore’s move into administration – or ‘restructuring’ – came in too late for inclusion in the column.

UPDATE 5: Brainduck blogs about the history of the Dore programme, how they have handled their financial troubles, and offers some good advice for the staff and clients caught up in this.

UPDATE 6: There are now reports of problems with Dore US. We will update this blog when we have confirmation.

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Filed under Dore, dyslexia