I am interested in this guy Dr. John Virapen

and his book Side Effects: Death. Confessions of a Pharma-Insider.

IMHO it is a mindless conspiracy theory and Dr. Virapen is simply trying to get rich. I wanted to support my opinion in an discussion with a friend and I was surprised he is quite unknown on Google, that is why I came to Skeptics. But:

What should I ask for? How should I ask so that I help create quality resource about Dr. Virapen an his conspiracy theory?


1 Answer 1


Here are some random bits of advice:

  • I am sure the book is full of many, many claims. (If it wasn't, it would be a tweet, not a book.) However, the Q&A format isn't really conducive to taking on lots of different claims at once. Have a look and pick one (or at worst, two) of the claims. If you want to ask about more, raise separate questions.

  • Pick a claim that is actually meaningful - particularly, it should be a testable claim. For example, the blurb says:

Whether you know it or not, the pharmaceutical industry (lovingly referred to as Big Pharma) controls many facets of your life – making the world a “medicine cult.”

This, by itself, is a poor claim. If one person said it was true, and another said it was false, by what measure could we tell who is right? I can't see one off the top of my head. If the world would look exactly the same, whether the claim is true or false, it is not interesting and out-of-scope.

  • Type in the claim (with a little bit of context, if required), so we know, word-for-word what has been said. Tell us where we can find it in the book (or even better, online), if we want to follow up.

  • Make sure you keep an open mind. The question should be written in a way that invites evidence from "either side". Don't only ask for evidence disproving the claims.

  • Dr Virapen's intentions (i.e. whether he is only motivated by getting rich or whether he is being altruistic, or somewhere in between) are impossible to prove either way, and are therefore off-topic.

  • 1
    I often do a quick spot-check to ensure I am giving people their correct titles. I've been unable to find a source that explains Virapen's qualifications. His own site calls him Dr, he says he worked in Medicine. Some sources say he has a PhD, but none of the biographies I have seen say where and when he became a doctor. I wonder if his book does.
    – Oddthinking Mod
    Mar 23, 2012 at 12:14

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