Posts Tagged ‘holistic’

Sadly, the path the drug companies have followed, and continue to follow, is a long, rocky one littered with mistakes – mistakes that have been fatal for some; mistakes Big Pharma’s critics have labeled criminal; mistakes some claim are all too often more deliberate than accidental and therefore can hardly be referred to as mistakes. We examine some of the more high profile blunders, lapses, oversights – call them what you will – in our book MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX: The $ickness Industry, Big Pharma and Suppressed Cures.

An excerpt (abridged) from Medical Industrial Complex  follows:

Certainly the history of court cases involving Big Pharma is equally long and rocky with fines against the industry’s major players totaling many, many billions of dollars.

Our research has turned up numerous case studies that highlight just how “mistake-prone” this industry is and how often drug companies have ended up on the wrong side of the law. We include just a few of these in this chapter.

The first headline worth repeating was this one on the front page of the Daily Mail’s edition of July 2, 2012: ‘GlaxoSmithKline to pay $3billion fine after pleading guilty to healthcare fraud – the biggest in U.S. History.’

The report reads in part: “GlaxoSmithKline paid U.S. medics to prescribe potentially dangerous medicines to adults and children. It handed out cash as well as everything from Madonna concert tickets to pheasant-hunting trips. Authorities branded GSK as ‘cheaters who thought they could make an easy profit at the expense of public safety, taxpayers, and millions of Americans.’

“The enormous settlement – believed to be the largest ever for a drugs firm – covers offences relating to some of GSK’s best-selling drugs between 1997 and 2004.

“It bribed doctors to prescribe Paxil to children even though the authorities had not approved its use for under-18s. The controversial depression drug has been linked to a higher risk of suicide both in the US and here, where it is known as Seroxat.

“The main charges also relate to Wellbutrin, another drug for treating depression, and Avandia, a diabetes treatment…”

The Daily Mail report advises readers that GSK, which is based in West London, is Britain’s fifth biggest public company with a market valuation of $113 billion and a roster of household names that includes Lucozade, Aquafresh, Ribena and Horlicks. “It accounts for almost 5 per cent of the benchmark FTSE 100 index and is a favourite investment for pension fund managers”.

According to the report, GSK agreed to pay a fine of around $1 billion to the US authorities and a further payment of around $2 billion in civil settlements to state and federal authorities.

“The company’s marketeers promoted Wellbutrin as a weight loss treatment when it was approved only for treating depression…

“Carmen Ortiz, the US attorney for Massachusetts, said: ‘GSK’s sales force bribed physicians to prescribe GSK products using every imaginable form of high priced entertainment, from Hawaiian vacations to paying doctors millions of dollars to go on speaking tours, to a European pheasant hunt, to tickets to Madonna concerts’. ”

We think that last statement attributed to Carmen Ortiz is interesting as it mirrors our theory that at least some of the blame can be attributed to doctors in our critique of the Medical Industrial Complex.

Many other news stories and independent assessments of medical corruption also match this belief…

Our filed list of case studies goes on…and on…and on. It’s a depressingly long list. There’s the $1.5bn Xxxxxx (2012) case concerning the illegal promotion of the antipsychotic drug Xxxxxxxx. (Names redacted for legal reasons). There’s also the $1.42bn Xxx Xxx (2009) case for wrongly promoting the antipsychotic drug Xxxxxxx; there’s the $950m Xxxxx (2011) case over illegally promoting painkiller Xxxxx.

Some quick research online will reveal the redacted names (above) of the drugs and drug companies involved.

Need we go on? Okay, we don’t want to depress you any further…

However, it would be remiss of us not to refer you to FoodMatters.tv, an excellent wellness site we stumbled across. Under the heading ‘15 Most Dangerous Drugs Big Pharma Don’t Want You to Know About,’ it lists exactly that – the 15 most dangerous etc. etc.

FoodMatters’ correspondent says, “Drugs are so plagued with safety problems, it is a wonder they’re on the market at all” and “it’s a testament to Big Pharma’s greed and our poor regulatory processes that they are”.

The correspondent labels the following drugs “dangerous”: Lipitor and Crestor, Yaz and Yasmin, Lyrica, Topomax and Lamictal, Humira, Prolia and TNF Blockers, Chantix, Ambien, Tamoxifen, Boniva, Prempro and Premarin.

FoodMatters provides an explanation for its opposition to each of the above-named drugs.

For example, in the case of Lipitor, the correspondent asks, “Why is Lipitor the bestselling drug in the world? Because every adult with high LDL (low-density lipoprotein) or fear of high LDL is on it. (And also 2.8 million children, says Consumer Reports.) No one is going to say statins don’t prevent heart attack in high-risk patients (though diet and exercise have worked in high-risk groups too). But doctors will say statins are so over-prescribed that more patients get their side effects – weakness, dizziness, pain and arthritis – than heart attack prevention. Worse, they think it’s old age”.

And in the case of Crestor, the correspondent says, “Crestor is so highly linked to rhabdomyolysis it is doubly criticised: Public Citizen calls it a Do Not Use and the FDA’s David Graham named it one of the five most dangerous drugs before Congress”.

So, next time your doctor writes out a prescription, or your local pharmacist hands a prescription to you, or you pop a pill the TV ads insist is “safe” keep all the above in mind. Certainly there are some miracle drugs and even, dare we admit it, some cures out there in Big Pharma Country, but equally there’s some highly dubious and downright dangerous drugs – and we’re not just talking about the illegal or illicit variety!

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Medical Industrial Complex is available via Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/MEDICAL-INDUSTRIAL-COMPLEX-Suppressed-Underground-ebook/dp/B00Y8Y3TUM/

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We are openly critical of the big pharmaceutical companies in our new release book MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX: The $ickness Industry, Big Pharma and Suppressed Cures. Our criticism is tempered by the fact that – as we acknowledge more than once in our book – products developed, manufactured and marketed by Big Pharma save lives. (Some would argue they cost lives, too, but that’s another story).

MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX: The $ickness Industry, Big Pharma and Suppressed Cures (The Underground Knowledge Series Book 3)

However, we keep coming back to the questions that crop up whenever the pharmaceutical companies and their modus operandi are analyzed. Questions like: Why is so little money ploughed back into research? Why the continuing emphasis on treatments ahead of cures? And, regarding revenues and profits, how much is too much?

BBC News addresses this very issue in a report aired on November 6, 2014 under the title ‘Pharmaceutical industry gets high on fat profits.’ The report asks people to imagine an industry that generates higher profit margins than any other and is no stranger to multi-billion dollar fines for malpractice.

“Throw in widespread accusations of collusion and over-charging, and banking no doubt springs to mind. In fact, the industry described above is responsible for the development of medicines to save lives and alleviate suffering, not the generation of profit for its own sake”.

The BBC News report reminds us that pharmaceutical companies have, by far, developed  most medicines known to Man, but have profited big-time in the process – “and not always by legitimate means”.

It continues, “Last year, US giant Pfizer, the world’s largest drug company by pharmaceutical revenue, made an eye-watering 42% profit margin… five pharmaceutical companies made a profit margin of 20% or more…With some drugs costing upwards of $100,000 for a full course, and with the cost of manufacturing just a tiny fraction of this, it’s not hard to see why…

“Drug companies justify the high prices they charge by arguing that their research and development (R&D) costs are huge. On average, only three in 10 drugs launched are profitable, with one of those going on to be a blockbuster with $1bn-plus revenues a year…

“But … drug companies spend far more on marketing drugs – in some cases twice as much – than on developing them. And besides, profit margins take into account R&D costs”.

The report concludes that the industry also argues that the wider value of the drug needs to be considered. However, it (BBC News) rightly points out that just because you can charge a high price for something does not necessarily mean you should. Especially when you factor in the lives at stake in the healthcare field.

The problem with that is – as we see it – the pharmaceutical companies and the shareholders they answer to would quickly dismiss such a rationale. They’re solely focused on the bottom line: profit.

Profit is not necessarily a dirty word when it comes to healthcare. We happen to believe capitalism, if managed properly, can actually work well in medicine. Profit incentives can spark imaginations in pharmacists and healthcare entrepreneurs and doctors as there’s the reward aspect in capitalism which motivates people to find medical cures.

Otherwise, as evidenced in the past in places like Eastern Europe, when things go to the other extreme and there’s too much government interference it can be just as crippling and corrupting for essential services such as healthcare. With little to no financial rewards on offer under communism, or even under some forms of socialism, most workers are less motivated – medical and healthcare workers included.

Somehow there needs to be a balance between governments and non-profit review committees to ensure mainstream medicine has a social conscience whilst still allowing the free market to work its magic.

…In the pharmaceutical industry’s haste to get drugs to market, critics say safety usually comes a distance second to profits. Little wonder then that mistakes occur and the line between legitimate and spurious business practices is oftentimes blurred.

We explore this untenable situation in the next chapter.

You have been reading an excerpt from Medical Industrial Complex.

The book is available via Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/MEDICAL-INDUSTRIAL-COMPLEX-Suppressed-Underground-ebook/dp/B00Y8Y3TUM/

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The role politics and politicians play in a country’s health is worthy of scrutiny and is one that has possibly been overlooked by many other independent critiques and critics of the medical establishment. We raise this point in our new release book MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX: The $ickness Industry, Big Pharma and Suppressed Cures.

MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX: The $ickness Industry, Big Pharma and Suppressed Cures (The Underground Knowledge Series Book 3)

We devote one entire chapter to the issue of politics and health in Medical Industrial Complex. An excerpt follows:

Serious questions need to be asked about a health ‘system’ in which politicians are often reluctant to invest money in long-term, preventative measures that can take years to show a return on investment.

A politician’s future is very much at the whim of voters who are notoriously fickle. Little wonder then that many tend to focus on short-term policies and initiatives instead of long-term ones. Those who don’t are very quickly brought into line by their party – be it on the Left or Right of the political spectrum – whose modus operandi, invariably and almost without exception, is to do whatever’s needed to win the next election and to stay in power.

That’s politics, folks.

In the process…short-term tangible things like spending more money to reduce waiting surgical waiting lists (to win votes) instead of dealing with the long term underlying causes are given priority.

If the wellbeing of constituents, as well as minors and other non-voters – aka human beings – wasn’t at stake, we’d say this is rather naughty of our elected representatives. As people’s health and, indeed, their very lives are at stake, we’d say this practice or policy, call it what you will, is downright deplorable.

When politics is thrown into the medical melting pot and stirred up with those other essential ingredients – namely Big Pharma, hospitals, the medical academic establishment, hospital supply and equipment companies, and other key players in the Medical Industrial Complex – the practice can only be described as seriously corrupt.

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“The medical profession is unconsciously irritated by lay knowledge.” –John Steinbeck, East of Eden

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Making short-term medical policies, in the case of vote-hungry, power-mad politicians, and pandering to those same policies, in the case of greedy elements within the medical establishment, when lives and health are on the line is unforgivable.

How refreshing it would be if the government of the day announced it was replacing its “ambulance at the bottom of the cliff” health policy with a 10 or 15-year, or, better still, a 20-year vision for the country’s health. A vision that requires investment in long-term preventative measures and that encourages a holistic approach.

Alas, the nature of politics and politicians is that no such change will likely occur. Equally, the current system – a system in which cures for diseases and other ailments come a distant second to just treating symptoms – suits the big pharmaceutical companies and their kind just fine. So no change can be expected any time soon from that quarter either.

At the end of the day, we, the common people, have two choices: we can force the politicians to listen or, better still, we can take responsibility for our own health. The obvious advantage in the latter choice is that it’s actionable immediately and doesn’t rely on a change of government and/or a new type of political leader to emerge.

Be warned, taking responsibility for your own health is not without its challenges. It requires research and no small amount of courage. And…Some health professionals do not take too kindly to patients who want to be involved in decisions about their treatment.

So, be prepared for some battles with your doctor. We know from personal experience they don’t always welcome questions about the (inevitable) side-effects of prescription drugs or suggestions that natural medicine or a health supplement may be a better alternative than a ‘quick-fix’ pill for certain ailments.

 

Medical Industrial Complex is available via Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/MEDICAL-INDUSTRIAL-COMPLEX-Suppressed-Underground-ebook/dp/B00Y8Y3TUM/

 

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