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Meditel Productions Ltd. makes programmes on science, medicine and general health issues. The company director is Joan Shenton M.A. and the company has its office in London.

Meditel was first set up as a partnership in 1978 and became a limited company in 1981 after securing one of the earliest Channel 4 commissions for factual programming. The series on injury from prescribed drugs, 'Kill or Cure?' was repeated in the UK and has been screened in many different countries. It is also being used in London University Medical School in the course for students of pharmacology.

Meditel has made network programmes and series for Channel 4, Thames TV, Central TV, and Television South West and has won three major awards. It is the first independent company ever to win a Royal Television Society Journalism Award (Dispatches-Channel 4).

Through its close and continuing contact with medical advisers in different fields, Meditel is able to focus on important issues well before they are picked up by the national press.

In October 1989 Meditel became part of the Broadcast Communications, Britain's largest independent supplier of programming to Channel 4.


'Kill or Cure?' (1983 & 1987) Two series of documentaries on injury from prescribed drugs, monitoring for drug safety and compensation. Made for Channel 4. The New Scientist wrote about the first series "...balanced...skilful...competent and helpful... After far too many sensational and/or half baked television critiques of modern medicine and the drug industry 'Kill or Cure?' is worthy of close attention." One of the programmes was covering the SMON scandal, others the dangers of DTP vaccination, and the sale by the pharmaceutical industry of dangerous drugs in third world countries.

'4 What it's Worth' (1984-1989) A series of reports and programmes for Thames Television about issues as DES children, the Dalkon shield and dangers side-effects of painkilling drugs. The two programmes in this series on the possible dangers of various vitamins and herbs got in 1985 a Silver Award at the International Consumer Film Competition in Berlin.

'Who Cares' (1985) Four one hour documentaries for Channel 4 on comparative health care in six countries. One of the programmes got in 1986 the Special Merit award from the Medical Journalists Association and Pearl Assurance.

'Forgotten Millions'(1987) A documentary on the plight of the mental ill across the world. Made for Central Television's Viewpoint 87. The programme got in 1989 the Red Ribbon Award from the American Film and Video Association.

'Food: Fad or Fact?' (1987 & 1988) two series of six documentaries made for Television South West challenging some received views on the links between diet and disease. 'The Cholesterol Campaign' won in 1989 as educational documentary a bronze award at the Houston International Film Festival. 'Salt' won the New Jersey Television and Movie Award for Best Educational Production in 1988.

'Impotence: One in ten men' (1989) A documentary for Channel 4 on the problem of impotence and the latest treatments. The programme was awarded with a Certificate of Educational Merit by the British Medical Association. The Financial Times wrote "It is not just refreshing but cheering to find someone... who still has the instinct to question the received wisdom and challenge the consensus, however fashionable. That instinct lies at the heart of all best journalism."


Meditel was in 1987 among the first who paid attention to the AIDS controversies. They made a series of documentaries and news items about the debate:

'The Unheard Voices' (1987). Produced and directed by Jad Adams, executive producer Joan Shenton, and reporter Michael Verney-Elliot. The documentary was aired in November 1987 by Channel 4. The Sunday Telegraph described the programme as "outstanding...well argued". In the programme Duesberg and others argued that HIV could not be the cause of AIDS and that, as a result of present thinking on AIDS, millions of lives that could be saved will not be saved, and vast research funds are being wasted. The documentary won in 1988 the prestious journalism award from the Royal Television Society in the category international current affairs.

'The AIDS Catch' (1990) Broadcasted in June 1990 by Channel 4. Produced and directed by Joan Shenton, reporter: Michael Verney-Elliot. The second AIDS documentary questioning HIV as the cause of AIDS. The programme is also questioning whether AIDS is infectious or not, and paid attention to the long-term survivors. Montagnier introduces cofactors and says in this programme "At first we thought we had the best candidate to be the cause of AIDS...[but now]...I would agree that HIV by itself or some strains of HIV are not sufficient to induce AIDS " Meditel also introduced John Lauritsen, Walter Gilbert, Harry Rubin, Joseph Sonnabend, Gordon Stewart and Robert-Root-Bernstein. The Financial Times wrote: "An outstanding piece of 'sez who?' journalism. It is still encouraging to find that there are still proper television journalists around, working with the disciple, and with minds not wraped by sentimentalism!" Afterwards Meditel was being punished by the Broadcast Complaints Commission for being "unfair" to AIDS. The complaints were being filled by Wellcome and several established British pro-HIV organisations.

'AZT; Cause for Concern' (1992) Produced and directed by Joan Shenton, reporter: Michael Verney-Elliot. Aired by Channel 4 in February 1992. A programme about the the main drug prescribed to help people with AIDS. Meditel uncovers the disturbing evidence that AZT may in fact be causing more harm than good. With Lauritsen and Duesberg, but the programme also introduces John Hamilton, Michael Lange and Robert Hoffman. The programme makers stated that Wellcome's claims for AZT are "false and misleading".

'AIDS and Africa' (1993) For Channel 4 Dispatches. Aired 12 March 1993. For years now Western scientists have predicted an AIDS catastrophe for the continent. Joan Shenton travelled to Africa East and West to assess what is really happening on the ground. A story of hope for Africa; a report that suggests that Africa may not, after all, be in the grip of a devastating epidemic.

'Diary of an AIDS Dissident' (1993) Produced and directed by Joan Shenton. A short version of the programme has been aired in Europe by Sky News. PBS broadcasted the programme in the U.S. This filmed diary chronicles events in Berlin (world AIDS conference), London (AZT on Trial conference) and New York (Spin magazine, HEAL) which highlight the growing opposition to the current complacency surrounding the establishment view on the cause of AIDS.

Meditel also produced two shorter news items, 'Amsterdam AIDS Conference', about the alternative conference 'AIDS; A Different View', and 'European Dissidents' broadcasted both by Sky News in 1992.

Meditel can be contacted:
42 Brunswick Gardens
London W8 4AN
phone: 0171-229 7975 fax: 792 0413
e-mail: 100043.2223@compuserve.com
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