Thursday, September 21, 2006

A 'Legal' Drug-Pusher Speaks Out!

Click the link for an eye-opening interview with an ex-pharmaceutical sales rep turned whistle-blower....CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Knocking Off Nature!

Here is an article I came across which echoes some of my previous blog entries and was written by an ex-pharmaceutical chemist - so he must know what he is talking about!

Drug Companies Use Natural Cures to Design New Drugs

Date: 2/24/06 Author: Shane Ellison, M.Sc. Source:

Most medical doctors are hostile toward the use of nutritional supplements. They parrot that they are ineffective and possibly dangerous due to a lack of scientific evidence supporting them. Not true. Mountains of evidence exist. And it points to some fascinating and highly effective nutritional supplements.

To obtain new drugs, pharmaceutical chemists, like myself, rigorously study nutritional supplements (i.e. natural products). Once a single active ingredient is identified a chemist makes a "copy-cat." The drug company then calls it their own. Simply put, if the study of nutritional supplements did not exist then drugs would not be possible.

Most every drug sold today has a natural-based predecessor. Drug companies and medical doctors obfuscate this historical fact. They like patients to think that drugs are intuitively invented out of thin air. This helps foster the very profitable belief that drugs are the only option for health. Understanding that nutritional supplements guide drug development will allow you more choices in health care - inexpensive and safe ones. Consider the following examples:

Pseudoephedrine is an ingredient found in over-the-counter cough syrup. It is a knock-off of the active ingredients found in "Mormon Tea." In 2004, the Annals of Emergency Medicine noted that Pseudoephedrine is so damaging to the heart that it can elicit a heart attack among users - even healthy ones. In sharp contrast, naturally-occurring Mormon Tea can be safely used as a cough suppressant. Today, however, it is blacklisted while Pseudoephedrine remains on the shelves of every corner grocery store in America.

Ritalin and many other stimulants are knock-offs of the active ingredients found in Ma Huang AKA Ephedra. Ritalin is an amphetamine. As such, it can cause addiction and brain cell death. Despite false propaganda, Ma Huang is a safe and effective stimulant that increases mental focus without damaging the body. Ma Huang is blacklisted while Ritalin is dispensed to children.

Cholesterol-lowering drugs (Lipitor, Zocor, Pravachol, etc.) known as statins are knock-offs of the natural ingredient found in Red Yeast Rice. Akin to the drugs, Red Yeast Rice can dangerously lower cholesterol and CoQ10 levels within your body. Like statins, it is not advisable to use Red Yeast Rice to lower cholesterol. Both are poisons.

As a side note, if cholesterol-lowering drugs were the billion dollar panacea that drug companies claim them to be, we could all eat Red Yeast Rice at a fraction of the cost. Unfortunately, they are not.

Aspirin, the drug that your doctor tells you to take EVERYDAY, is a knock-off of the active ingredient found in white willow bark. The side effects of Aspirin are so severe that they can cause a higher death rate relative to the populations who do not take it. Rarely brought to the attention of users, Aspirin depletes the body of the essential nutrient folic acid. White willow bark is virtually unknown yet remains a safe and effective alternative to Aspirin for pain relief and any purported cardiovascular benefits.

The list goes on. Most would be shocked to know that even painkillers and anticancer drugs were derived from natural sources:

The tiny family of prescription pain killers used by doctors are knock offs of the natural ingredients found in opium. Naturally occurring opium is safer and less addictive than the fast-acting drug knock-offs morphine, codeine, and oxycodone.

Baicalein, an anti-cancer drug used among those who suffer from leukemia, is a knock-off of the active ingredient found in the roots of Chinese Skullcap (Scuterllaria Baicalensis). Chinese Skullcap is a safe and effective natural cancer fighter that induces cell suicide (apoptosis) among leukemia-derived cancer cells.

There are life-saving distinctions between a drug and its natural- based predecessor. A prescription drug is a single isolate. A nutritional supplement contains a multitude of active substances. This distinction makes drugs more dangerous and less effective than nutritional supplements. As a single isolate, a drug does not target the underlying cause of illness. It only masks symptoms. Further, a drug isolate has no "buffers" to offset negative side-effects. In sharp contrast, nutritional supplements utilize an array of ingredients to attack the illness at its core while striving to mitigate negative side-effects. If safe and effective, then why don't drug companies distribute nutritional supplements? The answer is very simple. They clash with the drug-company business model. Natural medicine cannot be patented and subsequently monopolized. Only dangerous, man-made prescription drugs carry patent rights. And this is what satisfies a drug company's voracious appetite for wealth.

Patent rights allow for checkbook science (the practice of funding, designing and interpreting the results of drug research), exclusivity and inflated prices. Add to that an army of good-looking, slick and foolish thinking sales reps and you have the world's most successful business model - corporate drug dealing. While profitable, this model is currently killing an estimated 200,000 people every year.

Face the facts: Those who adhere to Western Medicine are stuck with risky and expensive counterfeits of Mother Nature. Those who embrace Mother Nature by choosing nutrition are able to use natural cures without risking their lives.

About the Author: Shane holds a Master's degree in organic chemistry and has first hand experience in drug design. Abandoning his career as a medicinal chemist, he is dedicated to stopping prescription drug hype. He is an internationally recognized authority on therapeutic nutrition and author of Health Myths Exposed and The Hidden Truth about Cholesterol- Lowering Drugs.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Big Pharma's "Triple Whammy" Circular Ploy!

In my previous post I mentioned the seeming contradiction in Big Pharma's efforts to discredit complimentary alternative medicine while using it's subsidiary companies to salt the market with their own inferior brands of 'natural' health supplements! But on closer inspection this turns out to be an exceedingly clever, though underhand, ploy. In fact, it is already having a "triple whammy" of an effect!

  1. The obvious benefit is that by "cashing in" on the general public's dissatisfaction with mainstream medicine and their growing interest in natural prevention and cure, Big Pharma, through its subsidiary companies, is also profiteering from this shift away from pharmaceutical intervention. It may be only a fraction of the profits it still makes on conventional drug therapies, but the greediest of the rich wouldn't balk at prising the penny from a dying man's hand!
  2. By salting the market with cut-price and inferior synthetic versions of these supplements, they are diluting the potency and efficacy of available supplements for the general public (the better educated of us seasoned 'alternatives' wouldn't be fooled by these counterfeits!). They also place 'unfair' competition on the manufacturers and suppliers of the more expensive, less-profitable but genuine and effective supplements. Many of these will be forced out of business, leaving a bigger slice of pie for Big Pharma. Also, when the general public is fooled into buying and using these cheap imposters, they will undoubtedly find them either ineffective at best or positively harmful at worst - thus reinforcing the propaganda machine's contention that CAM and supplements don't work or are harmful!
  3. When Big Pharma sponsors trials into the efficacy of alternative treatments it is usually their own inferior versions that are used. This almost guarantees a finding of "not effective compared to pharmaceuticals" verdict! This further reinforces the general public's negative view of CAM and leads them back into the mainstream medical fold. Couple that with the push for tighter controls on non-drug therapies and supplementation by the CODEX ALIMENTARIUS and the World Trade Organisation (both yielding to pressure from Big Pharma interests) you can see that pretty soon the only medical interventions we will be allowed to choose are the mainstream pharmaceutical variety!

Don't be fooled...

Big Pharma: Who Prophits? Part 3

Big Pharma has seen, particularly in the USA and Australia, a public shift away from its dubious drugs to more natural therapies. People have recognised the value in traditional cures that have stood the test of time for generations in resoving our health problems with unparallelled efficacy and safety and preventing many health issues in the first place. Modern drugs cannot compete in this area. Seeing their prophits tumble in recent times because of this public vote of no confidence, Big Pharma has struck back in a multi-pronged approach!
  • Method One: Launch a "Negative Publicity Campaign" against all natural therapies. This includes widespread publication in the popular media of reports and trials involving any natural therapy [whether that be vitamins & minerals, herbs, acupuncture, homeopathy, etc.] which indicate that it is either ineffective, or worse. These trials/reports always originate from individuals/organizations that are subsidiaries of, tied to or sponsored and paid for by Big Pharma and its affiliates. They are hopelessly biased, innaccurate and utilise sloppy unscientific methods.

  • Method Two: Despite their stance above, Big Pharma muscles in on the non-drug market itself! Go into any supermarket or department store that sells medicines and you will find cheap generic vitamins and minerals for sale, including items like cod liver oil capsules, garlic capsules and so on. The manufacturers of these cut price "natural" remedies are usually the Big Pharma companies or their subsidiaries and are usually formulated using cheap, ineffective "synthetic chemical versions" of the nutrients in question: i.e., ferrous sulphate as an iron supplement!

  • Method Three: Using orgnizations like CODEX ALIMENTARIUS and the World Trade Organization to reclassify certain natural remedies and supplements so that more control can be exercised on what can be legally sold, what health claims can be made for them and at what level of potency they can be supplied. This means that many natural supplements will become illegal and others will be in potencies so weak they will no longer be effective. Also, the list of allowed supplements are usually made up of the ineffective synthetic chemical versions that the drug companies are peddling!

  • Method Four: Where drugs have been shown to be ineffective for the purpose for which they were developed, or have such potentially life-threatening side effects that they have had to be withdrawn or have their licences revoked, Big Pharma attempts to repackage these same deadly chemicals for other uses and thus recoup its losses! As one example that most people will be familiar with, Thalidomide was a drug developed and prescribed to pregnant women to treat morning sickness (hardly a life-threatening disease in the first place - see points below!). Shortly thereafter a significant number of these women gave birth to children with extensive physical defects. For a long time, the drug company responsible for developing the drug denied their product had anything to do with it until the evidence continued to stack up against them and they were forced to pay out millions in compensation and lost lawsuits and the drug was withdrawn. Like me, you may have thought that was the end of the matter and Thalidomide was no longer produced. Wrong! The company is now attempting to market this same drug as a treatment for many other illnesses and symptoms - but not for consumption by pregnant women! Talk about flogging a dead horse!

  • Method Five: Long ago, when it became apparent that synthetic drugs were not going to be the incredible cure-all that was promised, Big Pharma changed tack and instead of trying to develop a cure for heart disease, cancer and so on, decided to concentrate their efforts on developing palliatives for many of the symptoms associated with these illnesses! So now we have a plethora of drugs touted as painkillers, anti-inflamatories, anti-histamines, antacids, beta blockers, selective seratonin reuptake inhibitors, cholesterol production inhibitors, etc., etc. The beauty of this system, as alluded to in part two, is that your customers will continually come back for more! As many of these people will end up taking these drugs for life, assuming they don't die from its toxic effects, they may eventually become resistant to the drug and will have to switch to newer versions (which, coincidentally, is usually about the time a drug's patent runs out and becomes less prophitable!). Secondly, many of these patients will develop distressing side effects to these drugs and will, no doubt, be prescribed still further drugs to treat these side effect symptoms!

  • Method Six: Big Pharma, working hand in glove with medical associations, food manufacturers and government agencies, promote a highly unnatural and unhealthy dietary paradigm which causes many of the health problems the industrialised nations succumb to in ever-increasing numbers in order to increase its customer base. Again sloppy pseudo-science is employed by Big Pharma sponsored/biased individuals/organizations to promote and reinforce this hopelessly skewed and unhealthy dietary phenomenon: High carbs/low saturated fat. Processed food manufacturers offer us "low fat" heart-healthy "food" that is usually high in sugars, sodium, chemical additives and refined starches - all elements any unbiased, free-thinking expert will tell you are disastrous for health!

  • Method Seven: Treat numbers, not illness! This is the most arbitary and unscientific of the approaches used - and is blindly endorsed and enforced by the medical profession! For instance, until relatively recently, anyone whose blood cholesterol level was above 220 (US system) would be prescribed cholesterol lowering drugs called statins - one of the biggest money-spinners for Big Pharma. This figure was then arbitarily lowered, on the back of some very dubious statistics, to 200. Not very significant you may think, but this actually meant that millions more people, in the US alone, automatically and overnight, became candidates for statin therapy! How's that for a simple, low cost way to increase an industry's prophits! The same is true for blood-pressure: there was a time when doctors would be content to call an otherwise healthy and happy patient's blood-pressure reading of 140 over 90 a high normal reading and leave it at that. But no more! Any reading between 120 (textbook normal) and 140 over 80 (textbook normal) to 90 has now been arbitarily reclassified to pre-hypertension and requires treatment with blood pressure lowering drugs!

There are probably far more underhand techniques and strategies being employed to keep the cogs of Big Pharma's multi-billion cash machine turning and the majority of its customers in a state of sickly dependance, but I need to bring this section to a close.

ADDENDUM: I have just returned from my weekly shopping trip and, while breezing past the shelves of fish oil supplements (omega-3 is VERY important for a healthy heart and circulatory system!), I spied a wolf in the fold! Yes, my local branch of a famous UK health food store chain was selling Haliborange Fish Oil supplement. As I quickly pointed out to the assistant, Haliborange is the trademark of Seven Seas (who also market cod-liver oil for healthy, supple joints and relief from arthritis, etc.) and if you look at the small print on the bottom of the box, Seven Seas is a division of....MERCK one of the key players in the BIG PHARMA team! Look again at the first three bulleted points about hypocrisy and double dealing!

Big Pharma: Who prophits? Part 2

Normally, in business, you identify a need that is not currently being met and develop a product or service that meets that need. You then work out whether demand for your product or service will be sufficient and enduring enough to ensure any business you set up to provide that product or service will be profitable. Finally, you ensure that there is no viable competition already providing a similar product or service which could dilute your client/customer base. If all of these criteria can be met, hey presto, you can set up in business and provide a product or service that meets a need at a price that people are willing to pay and makes you a tidy profit! Right? Wrong! Life and business never runs that smoothly! Someone may come along and provide a better product or service, or a similar one at a lower price! [Undercut them, out-advertise them, discredit them or their product/service with negative publicity] Raw materials or production/labour cost may rise, cutting into profits. [Find cheaper sources of raw materials, cut corners, cut labour!] You may be a victim of your own success; your product or service may be so good that customers do not need to come back for more! [Use built-in redudancy features which mean customers have to keep coming back for upgrades!]

All of these things can and do happen! Some businesses inevitably go to the wall, while the more unscrupulous ones survive: it's a dog eat dog world! This is truest of all for Big Pharma! I think the pharmaceutical business started out with honourable intentions, but as profits spiralled upwards, greed replaced ethics. We have all probably donated money to the various bodies claiming to be researching cures for some of the major ills that afflict us in the industrialised world: heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's, MS and now AIDS. How long have some of these organisations been raising funds and doing research? Decades? Has any one of them come close to a cure? The answer is NO! There are a whole plethora of drugs that have been developed to manage symptoms, some may even claim to have provided a cure in a small number of cases, but generally people who do recover do so in spite of these drugs not because of them! I say this because most drugs are synthetic inorganic chemicals that have a far more toxic effect than they do a curative one. Why synthetic? Because a drug company cannot patent a natural substance and if they cannot patent something, they cannot make exclusive and explosive profits on it. Take Aspirin as an example. Long ago, people living in cold and damp areas around the world would occasionally suffer from the pain and inflamation of rheumatism. Coincidentally, willow trees also tended to grow in damp areas [ man has needs - nature provides!] and these people discovered that if they chewed on the bark of the willow tree it lessened the pain and inflamation of their rheumatism! As far as is recorded, there were no incidences of stomach problems, ulcers or internal bleeding with this natural remedy. Fast forward to the dawn of the industrial revolution and an enterprising man wondered "What is it, in willow bark, that is so efficacious in easing pain and inflamation?". And so salicylic acid, the "active ingredient" in willow bark was isolated. Now, once you have isolated a chemical substance (even an organic naturally occurring one) and identified it's exact chemical structure, you can now produce the chemical, synthetically, in large quantities and at relatively low cost. Because it is a synthetically produced chemical compound you can patent it and make exclusive profits on its sale! Lo and behold, Aspirin was born! Unfortunately, having developed this cash cow, those involved didn't stop to wonder if there were other substances in the willow bark that acted with the salicylic acid to neutralise its more negative effects on the gut (i.e., irritation and bleeding)! This same "tunnel vision" approach is true of every drug developed since. Of course, if someone were to dare to suggest maybe we should go back to nature and investigate the curative potential of willow bark as an analgesic, we would have the pharmaceutical and medical mainstream up in arms! How dare anyone suggest we go back to an unpatentable and less profitable natural substance when we can peddle this cheap to produce, highly profitable synthetic chemical instead! So what if it has potentially lethal side effects? We can always offer another drug by way of symptom management! So what if it has potentially lethal side effects? We can always offer another drug by way of symptom management! And so on, and so on ad nauseam!
So we see just some of the ways Big Pharma maintains its stranglehold on the profitable business of healthcare...Use relatively cheap-to-produce synthetic chemicals which can be patented to provide maximum profits. Don't worry over much if they do not cure the illness and cause potentially serious side keeps customers coming back for more and more lucrative drugs! If a potential competitor threatens our profits with a better or cheaper natural alternative use all of our corporate power to discredit them and close them down (i.e., via the CODEX ALIMENTARIUS)!
To be continued....

Big Pharma: Who prophits?

Big Pharma, as a global industry, is in the very lucrative business of making a profit on human sickness and suffering. Like any business, its reason for existence is to grow and prosper so it is logical to deduce that, in order to protect its continued profitability, it must ensure that its products are in continuous and increasing demand. Therefore, it is essential that growing numbers of people become and remain sick and in need of pharmaceutical drugs. In light of this it is interesting to reflect that, in the last 60 or so years of growth and power within the global pharmaceutical industry, increasing numbers of people, in the industrialised nations of the world, are suffering from heart disease, strokes and cancer in increasingly epidemic proportions. Now ask yourself this question: If a cure for all of these ills could be found, whether it be a pharmaceutical drug or a natural remedy, what would happen to the pharmaceutical industry once everyone was cured and no longer suffered sickness that required regular medication with drugs? The answer to that is the very reason why Big Pharma has yet to patent any drug that will cure any disease and why it would go to any length to ensure that no-one ever truly gets well via any means! How do they achieve this? Read on...

ADDENDUM: Go here for a chilling example of how one of the Big Pharma big-leaguers, Merck, gleefully informs interested parties how [due to WHO forecasts of increasing incidences of heart disease, stroke, hypertension and diabetes in both the delveloped and developing world] their products are going to achieve stellar prophits for its investors and shareholders!

The 'One-Size-Fits-All' Mentality & The Drive To 'Follow The Herd'!

In some areas of human endeavour the "one-size-fits-all" approach is fast falling out of favour. One area where it is clinging on for dear life is the medical profession. No matter what your race, culture, sexual orientation, gender, genetic predisposition or age may be, if you go to a doctor with a group of symptoms you are almost guaranteed to receive exactly the same drugs/treatment that every other Joe (or Joan) Bloggs has had when presenting with the same or very similar symptoms! I don't know about you, but whenever I've been to a doctor he's had his pen poised over his prescription pad before I've even closed the consulting room door behind me and sat down! I'm sure there is a ready-reckoner, supplied to all doctors by the pharmaceutical industry, which lists every possible symptom or group of symptoms alongside the drug or drugs considered most effective for each! In an ideal world this kind of approach would be all fine and dandy - everyone, doctors and patients alike, would know exactly what to do and what to expect in any given personal health crisis. Unfortunately, this world does not exist. We may all be human beings but we are by no means all alike! On a genetic level we are, each of us, completely unique. We may share racial, cultural or family traits, but even family members have genetic differences. We all react differently to physical, mental and emotional stimuli. Some people can eat junk, drink alcohol to excess, smoke all their lives and never take any regular exercise and live well into old age with no apparent ill effects. Others can eat a wholesome diet, exercise regularly, avoid tobacco and alcohol but keel over with a heart attack in their thirties! Surely the same must be true of medicines? As the saying goes, "one man's meat is another man's poison"! It is not much comfort to be told you have suffered serious side effects to a drug but that you are just one in a thousand to do so! So many drugs are prescribed to merely "manage" non-life-threatening symptoms but have potentially worse side effects. And what if the antacid you are taking to stave off the occasional bout of indigestion after a curry-house blow-out is causing you to come out in hives? Don't worry, we have this other spiffy new drug to counteract it. Before you know it, you are taking a cocktail of drugs with the potential for a myriad unexpected and unpleasant side effects and interactions. But they have all been rigorously tested in double-blind trials - Oh, yeah? On how many subjects? A couple of hundred? Even a couple of thousand is a mere drop in the ocean compared to the billions of unsuspecting guinea-pigs all around the world who will be subjected to these drugs once they are licensed for public use. On top of which, there is nothing to deter an overzealous practitioner from prescribing the latest anti-psychotic to treat a mild case of bemusement!

Which brings me onto the "herd mentality". Seeing as we are, each of us, so individual and unique, why do we have this uncontrollable urge to follow the herd - to conform - blend in - be a part of the in-crowd? Every now and then some movement away from conformity will the seventies it was the 'punk' movement. We want to express our individuality was the cry... from a large group of people all dressed similarly in black bin-liners, chains, trousers covered in zip fasteners and sporting spiky hair-dos in flourescent green, orange and purple! It seems as soon as one person has the courage and principles to stand up and declare that he is his own man and no one will tell him how to dress or think, a bunch of other guys in search of an identity will jump on his bandwagon! Oh-hum, has mankind marked himself out for extinction? There's an asteroid up there somewhere just waiting to make it's impact here on Earth and put us all out of our misery!

The 'Quick Fix' Culture...

As the dinosaurs became extinct around 65 million years ago, a small shrew-like animal began its slow evolution to become the new dominant species on the planet...MAN! What is even more startling is the realisation that the remnants of all of those evolutionary adaptations and incarnations are still preserved in our DNA and, in some cases such as the appendix, still visible in our physical bodies to this day! Yes, our climb to the top of the food chain has been a long, slow process of trial & error and survival of the fittest. But do we acknowledge and revere this legacy of nurturing by good old 'mother nature'? No, in the headlong rush into technological supremecy we have trampled rough-shod over her timeworn wisdom! We abuse the planet and, moreover, ourselves daily with polluted air, water and food. We liberally douse inorganic chemicals into and onto anything organic in a bid to outwit nature. We saturate our food with hydrogenated fats, refined starches and sugars and artificial colours and flavours straight out of a chem lab's test-tubes! We lead a more and more sedentary lifestyle, even letting governments and corporations do our thinking for us! Then all hell breaks loose...People are suffering from and dying of cancer, heart disease, strokes and a whole plethora of degenerative diseases. Hypertension and obesity are commonplace in the first world. But do we come to our senses and realise that, perhaps, our ever-consuming love affair with technological solutions for even the most basic of life's needs are to blame? No! We turn yet again to technology and the great god 'pharmaceutica' to take away our ill-health. We consume even more artificial, inorganic chemicals to put right what artificial inorganic chemical pollutants made wrong in the first place. God forbid we ever sacrifice the 'quick fix' in favour of returning to a more natural, holistic and biologically friendly way of honouring the body that 'mother nature' took hundreds of thousands of years to develop! Isn't it time we woke up to the truth? HELLO!

Check this out...CLICK HERE...and really think about it!

For those of you that support the basic human right of freedom of choice when it comes to health care and prevention of disease, please sign this petition! Let's show the Big Pharma GOLIATH that they cannot trample over the Davids of this world without a battle!