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That Other Epidemic…

The Pharmaceutical industry is dedicated to using the engine of capitalism to fund research that will conquer terrible diseases and improve quality of life for everyone… so they tell us.

Pharmaceutical companies rank among the largest corporations in the world, doing hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of business annually.  According to the Mayo Clinic, seven out of ten Americans are on at least one prescription drug, of which antibiotics, antidepressants and painkillers are the most common.  That doesn’t even take into account the vast variety of painkillers, sleeping pills, antihistamines and other drugs that don’t require prescriptions.  Put like that, pharmaceutical medicine has gone from being the hope of the ill to an integral part of the national lifestyle.

So let’s take a closer look at this lifestyle, its promises… and its risks.

 

Curing Diseases

There was a time when pharmaceutical companies did make material contributions to treating and curing disease, from antibiotics to AIDS drugs.  But since the late 1990s, that sort of thing has tapered off quite a bit, with research and marketing increasingly focused on repurposing existing drug patents.  In other words, it’s easier to find something else for an existing drug to do than it is to invent a new one.  The new one is more expensive to develop and test, and failed trials are complete financial losses.

A great deal of the industry’s investment in new research goes into developing the kind of drugs that have real prospects for long-term use – medicines to manage chronic disease and “everyday” medicines.  And the instances of dishonesty in scientific studies and trials of pharmaceutical drugs have been rising consistently for at least the last twenty years, with a fifteen-fold increase in retractions.  And those are just the ones who got caught.

 

Causing Health Problems

 

As we age, the tendency is for the medical system to pour more and more prescriptions down our throats, regardless of whatever diet, lifestyle, emotional issues, stress or other factors may be causing our health to break down.  This leads to the classic snowball effect where a pill causes side effects, so you take another pill to deal with the side-effects, and perhaps another to deal with tertiary effects and so on.  Quite apart from the list of rather serious side-effects each medicine may cause on its own (I was rather bemused to come across “asthma-related death” as a side-effect on a friend’s prescription asthma drug), doctors tend to give all too little thought to, and in many cases have little training in, the prevention of harmful drug interactions.

Official EU and UK data suggests that pharmaceutical drugs are on the order of thousands of times more dangerous than either dietary supplements or herbal remedies, and US studies have shown on the order of a hundred thousand deaths attributable to pharmaceutical drugs per year.  And that number includes only people who took them as directed.  The number of people dying in the US from pharmaceutical drugs more than doubled between 2000 and 2008.

How could this situation occur?  There are many factors, from drug companies falsifying studies (an increasingly common practice), fudging government approval, rebranding existing drugs for new purposes and suppressing news of dangerous side effects, the exaggeration of the benefits of a drug, and so on.  But the bottom line really is that it is in the monetary interests of all parties except the patient to promote a potentially profitable drug.  And the patient, because of the prescription system, has very little choice.

 

Advertising

Not only are pharmaceutical companies not pushing the frontiers of life-or-death medicine, they actually spend more money on marketing activities than on research.  Dr. David Belk researched the financial reports of 14 major pharmaceutical companies over an 11 year period, and found that from a total combined revenue of $4.44 trillion, $853 billion was profit, $735 billion was spent on research, and $1.33 trillion was spent on marketing.

Of course, that doesn’t all, or even mostly go to the television commercials we’re all bombarded with:

 

There has never been a more critical time for us to become self-informing citizens and take responsibility for our health.  The system is not going to do it for us.  In fact, all the evidence indicates that the system has a vested interest in making us sick and drug-dependent for as long as possible.

 

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger

~ Anthony S. Rodger, M.A.


The Mythical Town of Allopath

We first posted this video back in 2010.  Today, with the American healthcare debate flaring up again, it’s a helpful reminder that no one is discussing the real problems.

 

Every once in a while you come across an amazing little video with a giant message. And this is one of those times.

The video is called The Town of Allopath and, as you might guess, it’s a brilliant animated expose of the follies of our “official” medical tradition, which is technically known as “allopathic medicine”, and of the pharmaceutical approach to healing in general. Here it is:

The Elephant in the Room

Every time there’s a big public health care debate, such as the recent one in the USA or the earlier one in Canada, I’m struck more than anything by the elephant in the room that no one talks about.

Why is no one saying the obvious? – that our health care system is wildly expensive because it’s so dependent on expensive technology, because there’s no priority given to preventative health care, and because the medical associations, pharmaceutical corporations and insurance providers work hand in glove.

Could we have a superb health care system for half the cost? Of course we could! It would be easy to design one. So why don’t we? There are at least two reasons. The first, of course, consists of the entrenched political interests of the parties we’ve just mentioned. Unfortunately, though, there’s another factor that hits a lot closer to home, and that factor is us

 

Are We Really Part of the Solution?

We, the public in general, are the people who make our health care unaffordable. We’re the ones propping up the unholy alliance of allopathic medicine, Big Pharma, the Agri-Food giants, the chemical companies and the insurance firms. We do it every time we go looking for the magic pill to take away our symptoms, every time we fail to discern what our body is really telling us, every time we refuse to change our disastrous lifestyle.

If your smoke detector goes off at home, you look everywhere to make sure there’s no fire; you don’t just yank out the battery because the noise is inconvenient. Yet that’s exactly what we do every time we go to our GP and expect him or her to just make the nasty symptoms go away so we don’t have to think about them.

My own family doctor would love to do more preventative medicine, yet one of the big things holding him back is the pill-popping mentality of his own patients. So we ourselves are often as much a part of the problem as the people we blame. Remember, a symptom is not just an annoyance… it’s an invitation for you to listen to what your body is telling you.

So allopathy isn’t just a problem that’s “out there”; it’s a frame of mind that we all too easily lapse into. Do you oppose the monopoly of our expensive and largely ineffective allopathic institutions? Then it’s time to start looking at your own life and how you personally handle the health challenges that come your way.

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger


Do YOU Know This NEW Lifesaving Method?

With the holidays nearly in full swing, crowds everywhere, frenetic activity and lots of over-indulgence in food and alcohol going on around you, it’s more important than ever to be equipped to save a life when cardiac arrest hits.

And it can hit, anywhere, anytime.  Any number of factors can lead to SCA (Sudden Cardiac Arrest), including numerous physical traumas, anaphylactic shock due to severe allergic reaction, and more.  In fact, about 35% of all SCA events are unrelated to heart disease of any kind.  

Two medical researchers from Arizona have recently developed a new form of Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), called Continuous Chest Compression CPR, that seems to double the SCA victim’s chances of survival.  Best of all, it’s actually simpler than the older protocols and doesn’t require mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

To learn how to apply this life-saving technique yourself, just watch this short video:



PLEASE NOTE: as the video says, this form of CPR is not for use with infants, young children or drowning victims.  

Happy holidays and I sincerely hope you never have to use this technique!


~ Dr. Symeon Rodger




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