Professor Rob Howard of University College London is a leading academic involved in developing scientific understanding for UK doctors in relation to dementia and was given a life time achievement award on the 14th March 2019 by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
Professor Howard is an influential psychiatrist on Twitter. As a former Dean of the Royal College of Psychiatrists he is regarded by many as a College ‘spokesperson’. It would appear that the Royal College of Psychiatrists agree with this unofficial understanding. The evidence for this is abundant as Professor Howard routinely ignores Core Values for Psychiatrists yet the College, day after day, turns a blind eye.
In November of 2018 I asked Professor Howard if he supported Sunshine legislation? He replied:
“I have other windmills of my own to tilt at before I retire, I am afraid . . . I am not sure whether legislation is the way to do it and I don’t like the ‘sunshine’ label.”
Professor Howard has gone on to describe the ambition for greater scientific transparency as a “misguided pursuit”.
First Do No Harm – The report of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices has concluded the opposite to Prof Howard. This report has recommended the introduction of Sunshine legislation to the UK.
Tilting at windmills is an idiom that means attacking imaginary enemies. The expression is derived from the 1605 novel Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, and the word "tilt" in this context comes from jousting.
In my professional lifetime I have reasoned why I support greater scientific transparency. I am not a jouster (I do not like battles, pretend or otherwise). I consider sunshine to be a most natural thing and it seems strange to refer to it as a ‘label’.