Posts Tagged ‘wellness’

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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No-one can object to the pharmaceutical companies making profits. Surely that’s the aim of all companies – to make profits. But how much is too much? We ask that very question 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)

Excerpts from Medical Industrial Complex  follow:

Many people are alive today because of prescription drugs, and many more are enjoying a better quality of life because of prescription drugs. Let us be clear and unequivocal about that. And unsubstantiated criticism of the pharmaceutical industry, or any industry for that matter, does no-one any good.

We kept all that front of mind when conducting our research for this book.

Unfortunately, the inescapable fact is that much of the good Big Pharma does is undone by mistakes, dubious business practices, (reported/confirmed cases of) fraud and, quite simply, by greed.

Much has been written about Big Pharma in recent years. One of the most informative books on the industry is The Truth About Drug Companies, by Marcia Angell, M.D., former editor of the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine.

The book’s blurb reads (abridged):

“Currently Americans spend a staggering $200 billion each year on prescription drugs. As Dr. Angell powerfully demonstrates, claims that high drug prices are necessary to fund research and development are unfounded: The truth is that drug companies funnel the bulk of their resources into the marketing of products of dubious benefit. Meanwhile, as profits soar, the companies brazenly use their wealth and power to push their agenda through Congress, the FDA, and academic medical centers.

“Zeroing in on hugely successful drugs like AZT (the first drug to treat HIV/AIDS), Taxol (the best-selling cancer drug in history), and the blockbuster allergy drug Claritin, Dr. Angell demonstrates exactly how new products are brought to market. Drug companies, she shows, routinely rely on publicly funded institutions for their basic research; they rig clinical trials to make their products look better than they are; and they use their legions of lawyers to stretch out government-granted exclusive marketing rights for years. They also flood the market with copycat drugs that cost a lot more than the drugs they mimic but are no more effective.

The Truth About the Drug Companies is a searing indictment of an industry that has spun out of control”.

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Within the book itself, Dr. Angell describes the unethical and at times inhumane pharmaceutical industry she witnessed in her 21 years spent as the first female editor-in-chief of The New England Journal of Medicine. She also gives numerous examples to prove beyond dispute that the world’s biggest drug companies have grown so powerful they are now able to pull the strings and call many of the shots in medical academia, health research and even the way doctors and nurses go about their work. Meanwhile, the public, including more and more of the poor, invalid and elderly, are unable to meet the cost of rapidly increasing prescription drug prices.

For an insight into the profitability of the major pharmaceutical companies, take a gander at the top performers on the latest Fortune 500 list. (Fortune 500 being Fortune Magazine’s annual list of the top 500 US companies – publicly and privately listed – according to their gross revenues).

Fortune 500

At the time of writing, the 2014 Fortune 500 list was the latest available. One of the best summaries of the pharmaceutical companies (drug wholesalers, chain pharmacies, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), and pharmaceutical manufacturers) we could find is on the very professional DrugChannels.net site. Compiled by Dr. Adam J. Fein, CEO of Drug Channels Institute, it’s an eye-opener for the uninformed.

As Dr. Fein informs the public, his data “will help you ‘follow the dollar’ and understand how drug channel intermediaries make money.”

The good doctor compares the fortunes of the eight listed drug channels companies (AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, CVS Caremark, Express Scripts, McKesson, Omnicare, Rite Aid, and Walgreens) with Fortune 500’s 12 pharmaceutical manufacturers and a separate survey of independent pharmacies.

Dr. Fein reports “The 2013, median revenues for the eight drug channel companies were $95.1 billion, up 1.4% vs. 2012. Median revenues for the manufacturer group were $17.5 billion… The revenues of the 12 largest pharmaceutical manufacturers on the Fortune 500 list range from $67.2 billion (Pfizer) to $5.5 billion (Celgene)”.

In the report he quotes 2012 data supplied by the National Community Pharmacists Association’s 2013 NCPA Digest, which shows that independent pharmacies had higher profitability than the eight largest drug channels companies, including PBMs.

Dr. Fein also observes that, “In 2013…investment returns reflected last year’s strong stock market performance”.

The median Total Return to Investors in 2013 as reported from Fortune’s list is detailed as follows: 8 Drug Channels companies: +65.8% (range: +30.1% to +272.1%); 12 Drug Manufacturers: +34.8% (range: +7.3% to +115.3%).

Starting to get the picture? Big Pharma is mighty profitable and becoming more so each and every year.

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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We are constantly inundated with reports and allegations – some well-founded, some not – regarding the alarming state of the public healthcare system worldwide. Which raises the question just how reliable are these reports and how valid the allegations. We investigate this 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)

New book pulls no punches.

As you may have guessed from the title of our book we are highly critical of the medical system. We are not alone in this of course, and we address these concerns in the very first chapter.

 

Relevant excerpts (abridged) from the book follow:  

“…UK peer-reviewed journal BMC International Health and Human Rights, which estimates healthcare expenditures globally total 3 trillion US dollars, indicates it’s little wonder this sector is vulnerable to corruption. In an article dated May 3, 2012 and published on its respected biomedcentral.com website, BMC highlights the huge expense associated with the procurement of the many services the sector offers, and points out that the nature of healthcare is such that the demand is not fully predictable and often exceeds supply.

“Health care systems also tend to have weak or non-existent rules and regulations, lack of accountability, information imbalances between providers and patients and suppliers and providers, and low salaries for health care professionals and public officials. These characteristics of the health sector make it susceptible to corruption.”

BMC also claims that theft, diversion and resale of drugs are other sources of corruption that occur at the distribution point of the pharmaceutical supply chain. Examples listed include theft without falsification of inventory records, dispensing of drugs to patients who did not actually attend the pharmacy or clinic, recording of drugs as dispensed to legitimate patients but the patients do not receive them, and dispensing of drugs to patients who pay for them but the health care provider keeps the funds.

The article also gives examples of “illegal kickbacks” to surgeons and false claims allegations, stating that, in one case, “Physicians were allegedly awarded vacations, gifts and annual ‘consulting fees’ as high as $200,000 in return for physician endorsements of their implants or use of them in operations”.

BMC states that the medical device industry, especially in orthopaedics, is an area where there are relatively large sums of money involved and thus there is a susceptibility to corruption.

Clearly, healthcare corruption is a global problem – and a major one at that. Certainly, that’s the perception of the majority of independent analysts. Most alarming, or at least as alarming, is the reluctance – or downright unwillingness – of those involved to discuss the problem.

Now why is this? Is it because guilty parties are afraid that discussion could lead to investigation of corrupt practices? And are those same parties afraid of what an investigation will uncover?

…Despite the gloom and doom surrounding the Medical Industrial Complex, all is not lost in our opinion. Many good people remain within the healthcare system and devote their lives to improving the quality of their patients’ lives…

Modern technology may eventually empower the public and provide a path to a fairer healthcare system.

One subscriber to the technology-as-a-medical-solution theory is Eric Topol, MD, a professor of translational genomics and the director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla, California. Topol, who is described as a pioneer of the medicine of the future, is also author of the bestselling book, The Patient Will See You Now: The Future of Medicine is in Your Hands.

The book’s splurge reads as follows:

“In this new era, patients will control their data and be emancipated from a paternalistic medical regime in which ‘the doctor knows best.’ Mobile phones, apps, and attachments will literally put the lab and the ICU in our pockets. Computers will replace physicians for many diagnostic tasks, and enormous data sets will give us new means to attack conditions that have long been incurable. In spite of these benefits, the path forward will be complicated: some in the medical establishment will resist these changes, and digitized medicine will raise serious issues surrounding privacy. Nevertheless, the result – better, cheaper, and more humane health care for all – will be worth it. The Patient Will See You Now is essential reading for anyone who thinks they deserve better health care”.

It seems readers are resonating with Topol’s book if reviewers’ comments are anything to go by…”

 

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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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The countdown has begun for the release of our new Kindle ebook, MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX: The $ickness Industry, Big Pharma and Suppressed Cures — a no-holds-barred critique of the state of mainstream medicine today.

MedicalIndustrialComplex cover

Book three in The Underground Knowledge Series, it follows the successful release of ANTIGRAVITY PROPULSION: Human or Alien Technologies? (book two) and GENIUS INTELLIGENCE: Secret Techniques and Technologies to Increase IQ, (book one).

Medical Industrial Complex explores the contention that the big pharmaceutical companies and other major players put profits ahead of patients’ wellbeing and dollars ahead of lives. It shines the spotlight on, or in some cases applies the blowtorch to, all the players in the medical sector, including the doctors, hospitals, the medical academic establishment, hospital supply and equipment companies, politicians, consultants, insurers, banking executives, accountants, lawyers and of course Big Pharma.

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To view the discussion thread on the Medical Industrial Complex (the phenomenon) in our ‘Underground Knowledge’ group on Goodreads check out: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/142309-29-conspiracy-theories—a-discussion-group >>> Everyone’s welcome!

 

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Our next book, MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX: The $ickness Industry, Big Pharma and Suppressed Cures, is unlikely to be welcomed with open arms by the big drug companies or by other major players in the so-called Medical Industrial Complex. It’s a no-holds-barred critique of the state of modern medicine.

MedicalIndustrialComplex cover

Book three in our series The Underground Knowledge Series, it follows the recent successful release of ANTIGRAVITY PROPULSION: Human or Alien Technologies? (book two) and GENIUS INTELLIGENCE: Secret Techniques and Technologies to Increase IQ, (book one).

Medical Industrial Complex explores the contention that Big Pharma and co. put profits ahead of patients’ wellbeing and dollars ahead of lives. It shines the spotlight on, or in some cases applies the blowtorch to, all the major players in the medical sector, including the doctors, hospitals, the medical academic establishment, hospital supply and equipment companies, politicians, consultants, insurers, banking executives, accountants, lawyers and of course the drug companies.

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To view the discussion thread on Medical Industrial Complex (the phenomenon) in our ‘Underground Knowledge’ group on Goodreads check out: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/142309-29-conspiracy-theories—a-discussion-group >>> Everyone’s welcome!

 

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