The Allen Lane Foundation has just awarded Social Audit a grant of 10,000 to explore Pharmageddon. This is specifically to allow us to offer attractive prizes/grants for the best submissions (Abstracts) for the inaugural conference on Pharmageddon?

The competition rules are simple and unchanged, but the prize money has now doubled. Please send us up to 350 words on Pharmageddon, by 31 December 2007. If the response merits it, we will award a first prize of €5,000; second prize, €3,000 and third Prize €2,000, with five further awards of €1,000 each. Otherwise, we shall offer up to 15 prizes of €1,000 to the best Abstracts received.

This grant supports a project that aims to grow sufficiently to establish whether or not the risk of Pharmageddon might be real, and whether the reality is capable of being understood, in the face of perhaps implacable and overwhelming resistance.

Do you doubt, or can you believe in, "the prospect of a world in which medicines and medicine produce more ill-health than health, and when medical progress does more harm than good"? Either way, please let us know.

The offer of prizes/grants reflects these thoughts:

The issues are vital and deserve attention: Pharmageddon implies the drug equivalent of Climate Change – or not

The prize money is recompense for hard work, for condensing and honing words, and thinking beyond your usual box

Competition should stimulate participation, and make the challenge equal for passionate believers and disbelievers alike

It feels appropriate that Sir Allen Lane was the founder of Penguin Books, and that one of his Foundation’s main aims is to support work that "encourages or enables unpopular groups to share in the life of the whole community".

The Foundation’s grant underpins this as an enduring project: perhaps a book will emerge and/or might develop as website accessed by subscription or invitation. This would partly depend on Abstracts received but, with a fair wind, there will be more prizes to come. The main prize would be to stimulate wider appreciation of these vital issues, but contributors might earn royalties too.

Charles Medawar
22 October 2007


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