Here at the Daily Health, occasionally we get criticised for speaking out against Big Pharma – with some of our critics feeling that we focus too strongly on the negative aspects of pharmaceutical drugs, like their side effects… instead of highlighting the “countless drugs that actually cure people” (as someone recently put it to me).
Well, let’s see… pharmaceutical drugs that “cure” diseases?
Cancer? Nope. Heart disease? Nope. Diabetes? Nope. Alzheimer’s disease? Nope. Chronic pain? Nope…
Not one drug offering a LASTING cure springs to mind.
How to create a monster
Of course, I am not claiming that alternative medicine “cures” diseases… but it does offer much safer (and in many cases more effective) disease prevention strategies and also causes very few distressing or potentially life-threatening side effects. The same cannot always be said for its synthetic counterparts.
Take statin drugs, for instance. While these drugs do lower your cholesterol, it is now a well-known fact that they increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes… to mention only one of their side effects (there are plenty more!). Chemotherapy may have the ability to put some cancer patients in remission, but it also causes many secondary cancers.
And then there are opioid painkillers, like oxycodone. These powerful drugs may numb chronic pain, but they don’t treat the root cause of pain and they also come with two very unsettling side effects: addiction and death.
A recent analysis, by the New York Times, of nearly 60 million death certificates revealed that in 2014, the opioid addiction and overdose death rate among Americans aged 25-34 was 5 times higher than it was in 1999 – mortality levels not seen since the AIDS epidemic.
Dr. Caleb Alexander, from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, said that this spike can be attributed back to the 90s when Big Pharma funded numerous campaigns (read: marketing seminars) to “educate” US doctors about the need for opioid painkillers. As a result, opioid painkillers became one of the most prescribed drugs in the US.
Dr. Caleb added: “When I was in training, we were routinely taught that one need not be concerned about the addiction potential of opioids. But nothing could be further from the truth.”
Worse still, because these drugs are only available on prescription, many people who have become addicted to opioid painkillers are now turning to cheaper alternatives, like the street drug heroin, to numb their pain and feed their addiction… leading to further addiction and overdose deaths.
And that’s how you create a big ugly pharmaceutical monster and health crisis: Create a powerful drug, then create a need for it, tell people it is perfectly safe to take and deny any consumer complaints about adverse effects, and wait for the drug to slowly destroy lives by creating secondary diseases and debilitating health problems (laying the foundation for further drugs to be developed… a perfect storm waiting to happen).
From where I’m standing, it looks like when it comes to Big Pharma, it’s all about following the money: There are far more profits to be made from treating diseases for a lifetime than curing them.
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US opioid death epidemic, published New Scientist Special Free Issue, 04.02.16