Friday, January 16, 2009
“Pfizer may announce $2 billion in cost cuts including plant closings and slashing up to 10% of the work force when new chairman and CEO Jeffrey Kindler announces his plan next week for a strategic overhaul of the world's largest drugmaker.”
These were headlines earlier this week and it brought two thoughts to mind. First, 70% of all the medical “research” done in this country is funded by pharmaceutical companies.
Questions about such research began to come to our attention in 2004 when the FDA did some reanalysis of antidepressants and concluded that the drugs increased the risk of suicide in children.
Merck pulled its arthritis drug Vioxx off the market when it was discovered that it doubled the risk of heart attacks. Yet in 2000 the New England Journal of Medicine had published a study of the effects of Vioxx where the risks were very downplayed.
The industry promised to do better but more and more scientists are realizing that only part of their findings are published with the “more damaging” information being glossed over or left out completely. Dr Aubrey Blumsohn, a British bone specialist contends that Procter and Gamble published a report in his name that not only he didn’t write but one that he was suspicious wasn’t accurate. He later found out that 40% of the data he submitted after doing research on an osteoporosis drug was missing, thereby skewing the results.
Who is suffering from the side effects of these dangerous drugs? We are. I’m not advocating a no drug solution for everything, so please don’t try to pigeon-hole me into that category. But the facts are that drugs have side effects and often they are dangerous, which is why a drug should be used for a very short period of time while striving to discover and remediate the root cause underlying the problem. Known drug side effects can be factored into the equation of whether taking the drug is the best solution for a given time. But what about the dangerous side effects which are unknown because they were suppressed by the pharmaceutical company?
The second thought that came to mind is that our preoccupation with drugs and masking symptoms we don’t care for along with the huge profits which pharmaceutical companies enjoy, completely explains why gluten sensitivity and celiac disease is so under- and mis-diagnosed. There’s no drug to treat it! And if there’s no drug there’s not much interest generated from the medical community.
Where does that leave us, my friends? Out of the mainstream medical model, that’s for sure. But until my dream of changing the face of healthcare comes about, I don’t mind. I’ll continue to let more and more patients know that addressing the underlying root cause of their health problem is not only a method that makes sense, but one that works. And it is my hope that it becomes more widely available as we continue to prove its efficacy.
To your good health,
Dr Vikki Petersen