Monday, December 31, 2012

Why You Can't Trust the Medical Industry


Why You Can't Trust the Medical Industry

The medical/pharmaceutical industry is no longer an entity to be trusted.  The medical profession has been taken over by greed, leaving the patients twisting in the wind, at the mercy of the insatiable desire for money that runs the industry.  Many people still put all their trust in their doctor, and in spite of their good intentions, their methods are compromised by pharmaceutical reps and simply by the way the system works.  Many have presented the facts on the subject in various books; here I want to present a little of what I’ve found to encourage you step out and question what your doctor says, be skeptical and begin to put the control of your health back into your own hands.

Money is free image from Wikimedia Commons.


The Mindset

The older generation has traditionally put all their trust in their doctor, and most wouldn’t dream of going through life without regular visits. After all, they are the ones with the lengthy education, the degrees and the experience. This generation in particular is the group that will have rows of prescription bottles to deal with every day, and the group that suffers the consequences of all those chemicals.

I am wondering if a lot of this mindset might have been encouraged back in the '50's when industrialized countries literally got launched into the space age with a huge emphasis on science.  I remember how we were encouraged in grade school to participate in the annual science fairs, and the popular saying "better living through chemistry" was based on a chemical company slogan of the time.  We all began to believe that answers could be found in the chemistry lab for about anything.  Over the years, science and chemistry began to be seen as legitimate while natural approaches were ignored and eventually denigrated.

Drug companies may have begun with noble goals, but over the decades, they have lost sight of their mission to bring healing and help to those in need in favor of selling more and more drugs to an otherwise healthy public at any cost.  But the public often has no clue that they have left the path of integrity, still believing that first, drugs are necessary for heath, and second, that the drug companies have their best interests at heart.

It has become the norm to expect to be on medication after medication because people have put their complete trust in the medical community to manage their health.  And breaking that mindset is difficult at best, partly because it takes a great deal of effort to find out the facts for yourself.  There is an enormous amount of information available online now that provides help of all kinds, help that will allow anyone willing to take the time to take control of their health.

Pill bottles is free photo from Wikimedia Commons.


The FDA and Medical Research
The original intent of the FDA was to protect consumers from dangerous products, but the agency appears to have lost its way and to be heavily influenced in its decisions by the drug industry. . . 54 percent of the time, experts hired to advise the FDA on which medicines should be approved for sale have a direct financial interest in the drug or topic they're asked to evaluate.  In turn, it's very common for FDA employees to retire to well-paid positions on the advisory boards of large drug companies.  
(Lee, John R. MD, Zava, David, PhD; Hopkins, Virginia. What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer.  New York, NY: Warner Books, 2002, p. 23)
The FDA controls what is available for sale and is supposed to be protecting consumers from dangerous substances.  But it no longer does what they were created to do, allowing an enormous number of dangerous drugs and other substances to stay on the market.

Complaints are filed every day about various medications and their serious side effects, but often the only action taken is to revise the literature insert.  Drugs such as statins and hormone replacement therapy have been demonstrated to be extremely dangerous, yet they are still widely prescribed, with an amended list of side effects.
. . . the side effects of properly prescribed prescription drugs are the fourth- or fifth-leading cause of death in the United States.  This doesn't even include deaths from improperly prescribed drugs, deaths from in-hospital errors, and unreported drug deaths. . . All the drugs that are killing so many people are approved by the FDA and considered part of the standard of medical care (Lee, p. 22).
Aspartame isn’t a drug, but it is a chemical substance widely used in diet products.  There have been thousands of complaints registered with the FDA concerning the neurological side effects of the sweetener, yet it is still flooding our store shelves in a host of different products.

The FDA has associations with the pharmaceutical industry that are more than inappropriate; they are downright corrupt.  Grants from the drug industry influence study results, and they also exert a great deal of influence over the education and research processes as well.  Money talks, and money rules.  Coming up against the establishment is dangerous for doctors who could be fined or even lose their licenses if they stray from the standard of treatment.

According to Uffe Ravnskov, getting articles into medical journals is impossible if they contradict prevailing thought.  He has challenged the accuracy of articles, as well as tried to get his own published, but has been met with nothing but brick walls.  Letters he has written objecting to the conclusions drawn in articles are ignored.  He quotes a former editor of The British Medical Journal, Richard Smith, who concluded that the whole peer review system is “slow, expensive, ineffective, something of a lottery, prone to bias and abuse and hopeless at spotting errors and fraud.” [1]  Ravnskov does a detailed expose of the entire medical/pharmaceutical/governmental corruption involved in gaining approval for drugs.  And it is apparently truly corruption; that’s not overstating the situation.

1 Ravnskov, Uffe.  Ignore the Awkward!  How the Cholesterol Myths Are Kept Alive.  Uffe Ravnskov, 2010, p. 116.

The Truth About the Drug Companies by Marcia Angell, M.D.

During her two decades at The New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Marcia Angell had a front-row seat on the appalling spectacle of the pharmaceutical industry. She watched drug companies stray from their original mission of discovering and manufacturing useful drugs and instead become vast marketing machines with unprecedented control over their own fortunes. She saw them gain nearly limitless influence over medical research, education, and how doctors do their jobs. She sympathized as the American public, particularly the elderly, struggled and increasingly failed to meet spiraling prescription drug prices. Now, in this bold, hard-hitting new book, Dr. Angell exposes the shocking truth of what the pharmaceutical industry has become–and argues for essential, long-overdue change.

How Statin Drugs Really Lower Cholesterol: And Kill You One Cell at a Time by James B. and Hannah Yoseph, MD

This book recounts the Yoseph's path looking into how statins came to market in the first place, and in the process they expose the corruption in the FDA as well as in the drug companies that push these pills. The book is thoroughly documented with images of original paperwork that prove what they found. Their conclusion is that the FDA is no longer there to protect the public.




Currently, the situation is one of extreme moral hazard. A pharmaceutical company makes far more money acting illegally, than acting legally. If the activity is exposed, no-one goes to prison and no-one is personally bankrupted. All that is required is  to set aside enough money to pay the fine, if it ever arrives. ‘Don’t worry, dear shareholders, it’s only $9Bn.’ Phew, and I thought profits would be damaged.’  (Dr. Malcolm Kendrick)

Rx symbol is free image from wpclipart.com.


Marketing to Doctors

Great video that very graphically portrays the problem of doctors that are in bed with Big Pharma. WARNING- definitely rated R!!


Cholesterol, Statins and the Low-Fat Diet

There are three health issues in particular that truly upset me where the standard of treatment is concerned, the first being the whole cholesterol/statin issue and the highly-touted low-fat diet.  Statins have been proven to be dangerous over and over again, yet people pop them like candy every day.  The medical community scares patients, telling them that they will die of heart disease if they don’t stay on these medications, and nothing could be further from the truth.  The whole cholesterol issue has been twisted to benefit the drug companies to the point that some even consider putting the stuff in our drinking water!

Cholesterol is not the bad guy, but the drug companies are raking in obscene profits having convinced the population that it is.  For more on this issue, see Alzheimer's, Dementia and Statins.  There you will find links to lots of online articles and books at amazon.com that debunk the whole cholesterol myth.  For more on this and the dangers of the highly-promoted low-fat diet, see my blog post here, Cholesterol, Mother of All Scams.

In Ravnskov's book,  Ignore the Awkward!, he has systematically gone through study after study that contradict the basic assumption that cholesterol causes heart disease, and statins help prevent it.  He explains how difficult it is to go against public opinion that has been ingrained for decades, an opinion based on faulty research:
What do you think will happen if one of the scientists who participate in a drug trial openly questions the methods used or the way the results are presented?  Do you think that he will be invited as a well paid speaker to the next congress, or that his research will be paid for by the drug company in the future?  Even independent researchers may find it difficult to challenge an idea that is accepted by everyone.  Colleagues may question their intellect as may those who allocate research funds.  Very few will dare to rock the boat (p. 75).
Concerning the skewed interpretation of research results in the name of covering up side effects, Ravnskov says this:
. . . drug companies and their paid research staff are clever enough to cover up any adversity associated with cholesterol reduction, whether by dietary means or by drugs, and to exaggerate the trivial benefit. . . questionable trial results are presented in the best possible manner, meaning the most profitable way, profitable for the doctor and the drug industry, but certainly not for the patients (p. 76-77).
More and more people are taking themselves off statins, realizing the severity of the side effects involved. When going against the tide of public opinion and the mandates for lower cholesterol from the medical/pharmaceutical industry, it takes a great deal of conviction and backbone.  But as people realize the damage these drugs do, public opinion will begin to change.


Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and Estrogen Dominance

Hormone Replacement Therapy is another area of concern to me.  Menopause has been portrayed as a “disease” caused by a deficiency of estrogen.  Again, nothing could be further from the truth. Estrogen is routinely prescribed to women with symptoms of menopause and PMS, actually aggravating the situation.  For example, if a woman comes into her doctor’s office with menopause symptoms, she will automatically be put on HRT.  Later, when she finds out she has endometriosis, the doctor will often recommend a hysterectomy.  It was the estrogen in the HRT that caused the endometriosis, but convincing a doctor of that is nearly impossible.

There are huge profits involved in the medical treatment of women, including HRT, mammography, hysterectomy, reproductive cancers and osteoporosis. With all this money on the line (and we’re talking an enormous amount of money), doctors are not apt to break ranks anytime soon.  This leaves women left dealing with the fear they instill, and the ensuing side effects of their treatments.

The truth about hormone balance is found many places online, but Dr. John R. Lee's website in particular.  Here you will find out about how most women have too much estrogen to start with.  Dr. Lee treated women with natural progesterone cream successfully for years before he passed away, and many continue to enjoy the benefits of the supplement.  I encourage you to check out my post Hormone Balance and Estrogen Dominance where you will find other links to all the help you need to break free from the standard of treatment and regain control of your health.

Many doctors have no respect for  Dr. Lee and his research, so brace yourself if you choose to discuss this with your doctor.  My doctor just snickered when I mentioned his name, and a friend’s doctor openly called him a quack.  And one word of warning- hormones are very potent substances, so you need to educate yourself first before trying natural progesterone. Better yet, find someone who will write a prescription for an apothecary that will custom mix natural estrogen and natural progesterone for you. My doctor defers to the pharmacist at the apothecary because she knows he is more up to speed on this than she is.


Osteoarthritis
. . . the traditional treatments are in my opinion, a violation of the physician’s Hippocratic oath to “do no harm”.  
Theodosakis, Jason.  The Arthritis Cure.  New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press, 2004, p. xvi.
The way the medical community treats osteoarthritis is a crime. Osteoarthritis involves the degeneration of the cartilage between bones that normally allows them to slip easily against each other.  As the disease progresses, bones will eventually end up rubbing against each other precipitating the symptoms of arthritis- pain and inflammation.  The medical community has traditionally considered osteoarthritis to be incurable, which is why treatment involves pain killers- acetominophen (Tylenol), NSAID’s (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) in the form of ibuprophen (Motrin, Advil), and sometimes steroid injections (cortisone).

The obvious drawback to this approach is that pain killers only cover up the symptoms while the disease continues unchecked.  That leaves the surgeons waiting in the wings to replace your joints when they are finally destroyed.
. . . over one hundred thousand Americans a year are hospitalized from the complications of these drugs (p. 57).
The side effects of these pain killers is absolutely deadly.  All these drugs cause serious damage to the digestive tract with long-term use and result in ulcers and internal bleeding.  Kidney failure, liver failure and deaths from the overdose of acetominophen are the predominant problems with this kind of treatment.  And to add insult to injury, NSAID’s may actually hasten the progress of the disease (p. 131).

These warnings also apply to a newer class of drugs called COX-2 inhibitors.  All the major studies of these drugs were funded by the drug companies promoting them, data reported to the FDA contradicted what was published, and employees of the drug companies were actively involved in the testing.  Fishy?  These drugs increase the chances of a heart attack, and they too will hasten the progress of osteoarthritis.

The proven alternative is outlined in The Arthritis Cure by Jason Theodosakis, MD.  In this book he outlines a program that includes the use of three specific supplements- glucosamine, chondroitin and a newer supplement called ASU.  Glucosamine and chondroitin have both been thoroughly tested and proven out over and over again with osteoarthritis reversed in patient after patient.  These supplements are used as part of a comprehensive program to overcome arthritis.  This program includes diet changes, exercise and supplements to fight depression if necessary.  He goes into great depth explaining the action of the supplements and he makes all kinds of diet and exercise recommendations.

After extensive testing of hundreds of glucosamine products available, he only recommends two that actually have the full amount of the active ingredients as labeled.  They are Osteo Bi-flex and Nature Made Triple Strength Tripleflex.  After spending years testing products and finding most of them to be substandard with nowhere near the strength as labeled, he has made available his own line of supplements with sufficient active ingredients to actually work.  These products are available at his website.

When it comes to osetoarthritis, it makes much more sense to get Dr. Theo’s book and follow his recommendations.  His success rate is huge, and it will save you a great deal of money and pain.
In head-to-head comparisions, not only are glucosamine/chondroitin and ASU more effective than NSAID’s for long-term use, they’re far safer.  As shown by dozens of carefully controlled clinical sutdies, not a single death worldwide has been attributed to these supplements after hundreds of millions of doses over many years.  By comparison, at any given time, more than 13 million Americans are taking an anti-inflammatory drug- and these drugs lead to some 16,500 deaths and 103,000 hospitalizations every year (p. 120).

Health the Natural Way

Many people just don’t need the medications they have been prescribed. There are plenty of websites that tell you how to change your lifestyle to regain control.  Nothing will replace a healthy diet (with the right kinds of fat!), and nothing will replace the need for exercise.  Most people in the industrialized world create their own health problems by not watching what goes into their mouths.  Health is a lifestyle issue that covers everything- what you eat and drink, how much exercise you get, and stress control.  Staying free from the biased influence of the medical community can be done, but it takes effort and education.
In its zeal to find a magic drug to stop breast cancer, the industry has forgotten about healing.  It doesn’t have time.  It has to run the patients through the HMO mill, get them out of the hospital faster, cut costs, avoid lawsuits, keep positions and funding, and make the drug companies happy by promoting and prescribing their products so that they’ll keep funding the universities and hospitals.  (Lee, p. 19)
The medical/pharmaceutical industry does NOT have your best interests at heart; they very simply want your money.  Here I will insert a disclaimer where individual doctors are concerned, understanding that they generally do their best for you.  The problem is that they are not trained in nutrition and prevention, and a large part of what they know comes straight from the pharmaceutical reps that circulate around doctors’ offices and run the "continuing education" that doctors all attend.  Generally, they are overworked and just simply don’t have time to find out any different.

This is where you and I have to pick up the ball and run with it.  Education is the first step in managing your own health.  Links to books and websites are below.  Second, if you need to change how you eat, do it.  This isn’t rocket science, merely a decision that will take a great deal of commitment.  You can’t be healthy if you don’t give your body what it needs to repair itself.   Third, increase your physical activity, assuming you need to.  Walk if nothing else.  And last, stress management is vital.  Stress wreaks havoc with your health.

We can have control of our health if we choose to take the time.  There are plenty of success stories out there; you could become one of them.  There are conditions that require monitoring by a physician, diabetes in particular, so just use your common sense.  However, I would wager that there aren’t that many conditions that can’t at least be helped by a lifestyle change.  But brace yourself for resistance if you choose to go the nutrition/prevention route.

Cornucopia is free image from publicdomainpictures.net.


Books


Statin Drug Side Effects by Duane Graveline, MD

If you are on a statin drug or are thinking of going on a statin, this fully referenced book, Statin Drug Side Effects, is a "must read" for you. The unacceptable legacy of statin drug use at today's high doses is a trail of chronic aches and pains, numbness, weakness, confusion, fatigue, shortness of breath and even heart failure in hordes of unsuspecting victims. Only by knowing this information, and in consultation with your healthcare professional, can you make an informed decision about your health care. If you are a user of Vytorin, Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor, Mevacor, Pravachol or Lescol you must read this book. Most of the statin side effects I discuss are unknown to your busy doctor. Although knowledgeable about muscle and liver problems, few have heard of statin amnesia and other forms of memory dysfunction and fewer still associate hostility, aggression and profound depression as statin related. As a former astronaut, aerospace medical research scientist, flight surgeon and family doctor, I was appalled by the lack of information in the medical community on the full range of side effects of the statin drugs. This book is a comprehensive reference source and summary of side effects of statin drugs.



The cholesterol campaign is the greatest medical scandal in modern time. If you have read the author's previous books ´The Cholesteol Myths´ (out of print) or 'Fat and Cholesterol are GOOD for You', you should know that for certain. For instance, according to more than 25 scientific studies old people with high cholesterol live the longest. Another shocking fact is that the authors of a recent American study of more than 130,000 patients with acute myocardial infarction found that on average, their cholesterol was lower than normally. Their finding has already been confirmed by others. What they also found was that three years later, mortality was twice as high among those whose cholesterol was the lowest. Their conclusion? We must lower cholesterol even more! But there is much, much more. The author's aim with this book is to show how prominent scientists have turned white into black by ignoring all conflicting observations; by twisting and exaggerating trivial findings; by citing studies with opposing results in a way to make them look supportive; and by ignoring or scorning the work of critical scientists. Those who have not read his previous books may not quite understand the width of these misleading processes. He has therefore included a short and simplified review of the most obvious contradictions to the cholesterol hypothesis. At the end he presents what he and his colleague Kilmer McCully think is the real cause, here told in a more simple way than in his previous book.


Hormone Balance Made Simple by John R. Lee MD

The authors of the classice books on menopause andpremenopause bring women an easy-to-use guide on balancing hormone levels safely and naturally.







The Arthritis Cure by Jason Theodosakis

Since its original publication in 1996, The Arthritis Cure has swept the nation, providing amazing relief for the millions who suffer chronic arthritis pain. By outlining a nine-point program that includes a new effective supplement, ASU, The Arthritis Cure Revised Edition describes a program that can halt, reverse, and possibly even cure degenerative osteoarthritis.

Based on the most recent and cutting-edge medical research, this invaluable resource promises readers:
--The latest research indicating that prescription arthritis drugs are not only expensive but can also be dangerous--they can raise blood pressure and damage the kidneys.
--New studies supporting the use of glucosamine and chondroitin to treat arthritic symptoms.
--Dr. Theodosaki's ratings of the current glucosamine products on the market, including which supplements are worth buying and which supplements are a waste of money.
--An all-new and improved exercise program for people with arthritis.
--The latest information on related conditions such as fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis.


Are Your Prescriptions Killing You? by Armon Neel. Full of valuable information about the over-prescribing of medications, especially to seniors who are particularly vulnerable to side effects. He devotes an entire chapter to the dangers of statins.







Blog Posts

The Science of Weight Loss- Find out why the standard advice won't work and what will.

Breakfast Cereal Diets- Really??- Why eating cereal can't possibly help you lose weight for the long term.

Sugar- The Real Villain- This was my first blog post on this subject; some information is repetitive, but there are other points made, as well as links and a list of sugar substitutes.

"Healthy" Foods That Aren't- Several foods that are perceived as healthy but really aren't.

They Told Me He's a Quack- Several people I have found out about that have gone against the tide of public opinion and "expert" advice and have given thousands of people help and hope.

Alzheimer's, Dementia and Statins- Statins are dangerous drugs that cause memory loss and muscle damage.

Cholesterol- Mother of All Scams- The whole cholesterol scare has been based on faulty research and has been exploited by pharmaceutical companies to keep an otherwise healthy population on their drugs.

Protein, pH and the Alkaline Diet- How the pH of the food you eat affects your health.

Restless Leg Syndrome- Treat the Cause, Not the Symptoms- My experience with RLS and what has helped me.

Hormone Balance and Estrogen Dominance- Regularly prescribed HRT has serious side effects; there is an alternative.

Water for Health- Why we need water to stay healthy.

Phonics and Dyslexia- Information that can help dyslexic adults as well as children, and a post about the phonics-whole language wars and why phonics wins every time hands-down.

Quill pen is free image from Wikimedia Commons.