[Ibogaine] More from Alex

Nick Sandberg nick227 at tiscali.co.uk
Fri Feb 15 05:34:07 EST 2008


Dear Alex,

 

Thanks for your reply and for details of your background. I do not for a
second dispute that appropriate animal and clinical trials are necessary
prior to a drug becoming available. The point I'm trying to make, in
discussing this matter with you, is that the existing financial climate that
prevails makes it exceptionally hard to get studies done without the backing
of the Pharmaceutical houses. 

 

Now if you want to take a "hardline" attitude and say "That's how it is, and
ibogaine hasn't been adequately tested" then I agree with what you are
saying but I also feel that it is good to simultaneously point out the
financial and political issues, just to give the listener a fair picture of
what is going on. From a man who clearly has invested a considerable amount
of his time in trying to make life better for drug-users, I would expect you
to be interested in this side of it.

 

The reality with ibogaine is that it has now become, as Frank Vocci,
Director of NIDA, stated, a "vast, uncontrolled experiment," with thousands
of addicts either self-treating, being treated by lay practitioners, or
being treated in one of many private clinics that have set themselves up
over the last decade. It's a complete chaos and at the heart of it is a
medication with specific benefits in treating addiction but which cannot get
legally where it's needed simply because of the dominance of the
"for-profit" healthcare model.

 

Pharm houses appear to have many grievances with ibogaine. Certainly the
following are among them...

 

* ibogaine is primarily a one-shot medication, thus reducing the potential
financial returns it could make against the considerable R&D outlay. Repeat
dosing can be undertaken, to help promote longer-term drug abstinence where
it's needed, but it's certainly not of the "take 3 times a day" model.

* ibogaine is naturally occurring and only use patents would be available.

* there's an industry prejudice against developing psychoactive medications.

 

The situation, by anyone's standards, is appalling. High profile scientists
like Deborah Mash and Stanley Glick have been working with ibogaine or
closely related drugs for years but simply cannot get Pharm house funding to
continue studies.

 

I do urge you to take account of the vast financial and humanitarian issues
when giving your talk. 

 

Regards

 

Nick Sandberg

 

 

________________________________________

From: Alex Wodak [mailto:awodak at stvincents.com.au]

Sent: 14 February 2008 00:53

To: Nick Sandberg

Cc: gerry.stimson at ihra.net

Subject: RE: Ibogaine Talk

 

Dear Mr Sandberg,

 

People (like you) who want to give me a hard time because I am resolute
about the need for due scientific process for new drugs should know that I
am not someone who gives up easily

 

It is perfectly true that I associate iboguaine and thalidomide 

 

But it is also true that every drug that has been newly considered since
thalidomide has been influenced by the lessons so painfully learnt from the
sorry tale of thalidomide

 

And as iboguaine is being considered since thalidomide, it is going to have
to go through the same proper careful scientific process (that you obviously
know so little about) as every other drug since thalidomide has had to go
through

 

Now if you still want to call referring to this history as 'manipulation', I
suggest that you first learn about this process of scrutiny and then buy
yourself a dictionary and look up the word 'manipulation'

 

Dana Beal has already hectored me about ibogiane in New Orleans in December.


 

More to the point, he promised to send me published papers providing
evidence forthe efficacy and safety of iboguaine 

 

He has not done so - though I am not surprised by that

 

You have sent me just 2 (two) references to support your claims

 

The abstract of the first paper you have cited as evidence refers to 'the
purported efficacy' - note the word 'purported'. 

 

That means the authors think that the alleged efficacy is not yet supported
by enough evidence. 

 

The abstract then refers to 'preliminary efficacy for opiate detoxification'


 

These authors then report decreased cravings and decreased depression
scores. 

 

And that's it. 

 

I am sorry Mr Sandberg but that one paper is not 'evidence for efficacy and
safety'

 

The next paper is about 'the iboguaine subculture'

 

I will read that paper

 

But I don't expect a paper with that title to provide any more 'evidence for
efficacy and safety' than a paper on the methadone subculture would give me
'evidence for efficacy and safety' of methadone 

 

Your comments about animal studies indicate to me that, frankly, you are
quite out of your depth

 

Finding a drug that helps cockroaches to stop using heroin is interesting 

 

But it doesn't tell us whether that drug is going to be effective and safe
when used on your or my son in Bristol

 

I will leave to others the judgment about whether I am or am not
compassionate about injecting drug users 

 

But I started (with colleagues) as an act of civil disobedience the first
needle syringe programme in Australia in 1986 when this was in breach of the
Drugs Misuse and Trafficking Act (1985)

 

That led to the acceptance and implementation of needle syringe programmes
in Australia

 

I started (with colleagues) as an act of civil disobedience the first
medically supervised injecting centre in Australia in 1999 when this was in
breach of the law

 

That led to the acceptance and implementation of the first official
medically supervised injecting centre in Australia

  

I started (with a colleague) the first organisation of injecting drug users
in Australia (in 1989)

 

I have been the director of a major alcohol and drug treatment service for
more than 25 years

 

I have been responsible for getting drug users included on many official
Department of Health committees

 

Let's try and find where we  can agree:

 

1 Do you agree that all new pharmaceutical drugs should be carefully
assessed before widespread implementation to make sure that they are safe?

 

2 Do you agree that all new pharmaceutical drugs should be carefully
assessed before widespread implementation to make sure that they are
effective?

 

3 Do you agree that ibogaine should be carefully assessed before widespread
implementation to make sure that it is safe? 

 

4 Do you agree that ibogaine should be carefully assessed before widespread
implementation to make sure that it is effective?

 

5 Do you believe that ibogaine has already been carefully assessed and shown
to be safe? 

 

6 If so, what is your evidence?

 

7 Do you believe that ibogaine has already been carefully assessed and shown
to be effective?

 

8 If so, what is your evidence?

 

9 Do you think that these above questions are fair and important?

 

10 If not, why not?

 

Although this has been a private correspondence, I will refer to your
answers  - or lack of answers to these questions  - in my talk in Barcelona

 

best wishes, 

 

Alex

 

 

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