Drugging the World – Big Pharma and Huge Profits

Anyone who watches television or reads magazines and newspapers has undoubtedly seen the endless number of invitingly happy ads convincing people that they need drugs to be or get better.

Drugs to (supposedly) cure anything that ails a body.

Image by Allspice1

The problem is that the human body does not appreciate drugs in the system. The vast majority of drugs, factually, cannot be safely used.

And most drugs only mask the symptoms of what ails the patient, while, in many cases, causing other issues.

Consider the types of warnings (called possible side effects) that are announced (by law) with various drug ads:

Anxiety; bizarre behavior; black or bloody stools; bloody or dark urine; chest pain; constipation; decreased sexual desire or ability; diarrhea; dizziness; drowsiness; dry mouth; exaggerated reflexes; hallucinations; increased sweating; joint pain; loss of appetite; nausea; nervousness; new or worsening agitation, panic attacks, irritability, aggressiveness, impulsiveness, hostility, inability to sit still or an exaggerated feeling of well-being, restlessness; painful erection; severe allergic reactions; severe or persistent headache; severe or persistent nausea; stomach pains; sudden accidental death; suicidal thoughts or attempts; tiredness; tremors; trouble sleeping; unusual or severe mental or mood changes; vomiting; weight loss; worsening of depression. The list goes on and on.

Despite the warnings, pills are consumed every second of every day.

Why, when drugs can wreak so much havoc, is the annual worldwide sale of prescription drugs approximately $1 Trillion? (Note: the U.S. takes in close to one-third of the international drug revenue total while making up only five percent of the world’s population.)

Image by Bryan Chan

Simply stated, vitamins and natural herbs are relatively inexpensive while drug patents are immensely profitable with the average drug company earning about a 15 percent net profit, substantially higher than almost every other industry that exists…anywhere.

Couple that with the fact that pharmacuetical companies pay kickbacks to medical practitioners for writing drug prescriptions.

All the while, these same ads make idiotic statements like “(fill-in-the-blank) drug is believed to” do something, or “(fill-in-the-blank) drug is thought to do” this other thing. Big Pharma does not even know for sure what happens!

There are safe alternatives to popping pills. Without the side effects. It only takes a little bit of research to avoid the numerous pitfalls connected to drugs.

One place to start is The People’s Chemist, a former medicinal chemist for big pharma who became, through his work and research, a Mother Nature health advocate.

Over For Now.

Main Street One

And Yet Another "Syndrome" Is Created

It seems that as the world becomes more complex, in order to deal with the challenges of everyday life, labels must be created.

The latest is “Computer Stress Syndrome.”

This is yet another syndrome to add to the, literally, hundreds that have been named to identify a disorder experienced by the average person.

It is probably also the first step required for pharmaceutical companies to create a new wonder drug to alleviate the pain, anxiety and frustration attached to it.

The first line in a story released Tuesday claimed, “Crashing machines, slow boot times, and agony dealing with technical support have Digital Age people suffering from Computer Stress Syndrome…”

As reported by Agence France-Presse (AFP), the “findings were based on a survey of more than 1,000 people in North America by a Customer Experience Board created by the Chief Marketing Officer Council to look into how to keep customers happy in the highly competitive communications sector.”

On its website, the Customer Experience Board states, “Today’s digitally dependent consumers are increasingly overwhelmed and upset with technical glitches and problems in their daily lives. The source of their pain: frustrating, complex computers and devices, technical failures, viral infections, and long waits to resolve support issues that disrupt the flow of their work and personal lives.”

They call their study “Combating Computer Stress Syndrome: Barriers and Best Practices in Tech Support.”

Enter, from stage left, the doctor who seized the moment.

The AFP article states, “Murray Feingold, a US physician credited in the study with giving CSS its label.”

Thank you, Feingold!

You came up with yet another syndrome and people around the planet will be able to think about you when they pop their little pill to make it all better, while drug companies make even more billions of dollars profit creating additional members of the Great Drug Society.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Great Drug Society-you are living in it now.

The Great Drug Society, led by the pharmaceutical industry (PhRMA), takes in close to One Trillion Dollars annually, worldwide and, at least in the United States, spends upwards of 40% of its budget on advertising and public relations campaigns designed to make people want drugs.

This Main Streeter does not subscribe to all of the various syndromes that have been created in order to add to PhRMA’s profits. And, please keep in mind that the drug will not do anything to speed up tech support.

Speaking of support…when was the last time anyone was truly satisfied with a customer service call?

It is a sure bet that everyone enjoys listening to recorded voices advising which number button to push in order to reach the proper person for assistance and then being told that all representatives are busy but that you are a valued customer, so please wait and listen to this music. (These surely must be symptoms of Phone Button Syndrome and Phone Waiting Music Syndrome.)

On still a lighter note, the following video discusses “Hourglass Syndrome,” which has, basically, the same “symptoms” as the aforementioned (though not the dreaded tech support issue).

Over For Now.

Main Street One

Just Take This Pill . . . (we need the money)

There has been a lot written the past several years about over prescribing drugs to people, especially seniors, in America. I have to throw my hat in the ring.

This is personal, as it deals with my step-father of 30 years. (I earlier mentioned in a post that my biological father was killed in an accident when I was 20. Mom re-married 7 years later.)

Pop, as we called my step-dad, passed away just over a year ago, on July 4, 2008.

He was, without a doubt, over prescribed. And, I am certain, that this caused his death. It also added profits to the drug companies (more on that in just a bit).

At one time, Pop had been advised by physicians to take as many as 12 different drugs during the course of his day. And he did it. Without any questions. Without any regard to what may be occurring in, and to, his body. And, unfortunately, without telling any of us.

I defy anyone, anyone at all, to tell me (and the world) what the consequences might be to have that many different drugs in a body at the same time.

It would be extremely hard (I say impossible) for any drug company scientist or researcher or any pharmacist, despite their years of study and training, to predict all of the possible side effects one drug might cause in a body. Why? Because there are over six and a half billion people on Earth and that means there could be that many different reactions, as every person’s body is just a little bit different.

Thus, if it is hard to predict everything that one drug could do, how could anyone possibly believe that they could, in good conscience, prescribe two, four, eight, or twelve completely different drugs to one individual?

Pop’s final two or three years were the worst. He started a serious decline in motor functions, bodily control, experienced dizziness, lightheadedness, and more, all of which ultimately combined to lead him to death before his time.

Undoubtedly the main culprits, through direct observation (once we found out), were antidepressants, antipsychotics and anti-anxiety pills, which my sister and I do not, to this day, believe that he needed.

Almost all of the time, Pop had already started taking one of the new wonder pills his doctor advised before we discovered he was taking it.

And, yes, his family doctor and the specialists he had visited, knew his history and the drugs he had been taking at the time. At least they had all the paperwork citing such. Did they review it? I certainly hope so.

Generally, within a day or two of beginning with an additional anti-pill (a week at most), Pop would experience one or more of the commonly advertised side effects.

Then, due to his by-then-weakened body state, he would fall and injure his body. One time he broke his right hip and off he went to the hospital. Next, he got dizzy sitting on the toilet and slipped off only to fracture a rib. Another time he experienced vertigo and banged into the doorframe and cracked his collar bone. The final saga began with another fall where he broke his other hip.

After that last fall, he went to the hospital, then to extended nursing care and finally back to his assisted living facility before finally passing.

Each of those accidents occurred following his taking yet another anti-pill “to make him better.”

During this time Pop also started losing weight. He was not a big man. He was below average height for a man and slender. I think that anyone without excess body fat to lose who experiences a 35% loss in their weight will eventually fall to serious consequences.

Shortly after Pop passed away CNN ran a story about over prescribing seniors with drugs, sharing similar stories of other people.

Then there was a news story about Eli Lilly and their, what I call, payoffs to doctors.

Lilly explains that the gifts and the consulting and speech money they pay are made to compensate a doctor for time away from practice for doing such. That may be true enough. However, critics of this compensation practice (which has probably been going on for decades) feel that treatments recommended by these doctors are more than likely influenced by these payments. I would have to agree.

While Wall Street companies (i.e., the financial market, et al) pay their executives rather lavish salaries, bonuses and other forms of compensation, drug company executives also score extremely well.

And, while drug company execs make tens of millions in salaries and bonuses and even more in stock options, the net profit of these pill pushers is astronomical.

Let’s take, as a comparison, oil companies.

For 2007, according to a Congressional Research Service report, the oil industry earned $1.5 trillion (78% by the big five) and had a net profit of $155 billion (75% for the big five). Those figures are, indeed, very large. Taking it one step further, these numbers equate to approximately an 8% net profit, which is not much higher than reported by the US Census Bureau a decade earlier, with much lower gas prices.

By comparison, the pharmaceutical industry, for 2007, raked in $606 billion in revenue. The drug companies are pretty consistent in earning above 15% in net profits. That is about twice as much as the oil industry and several times more than the manufacturing industry (usually around 4%) and retail (closer to 2% or 3%).

As an added note, Pfizer Company had sales of over 48 billion dollars in 2006 and had an almost 40% net profit, over $19 billion.

I do believe that a 40% NET PROFIT is completely out of hand.

Even Wal-Mart, with worldwide sales of nearly $405 billion, made a paltry, by comparison, 3% net profit (or slightly over $13 billion).

And, we in Main Street USA wonder why health care costs so much. (I covered some of that reason in an earlier post.)

If people want to talk about who is really only in business for the money look no further.

It is the same companies that are producing the anti-pills that have widely advertised (forced on them by the FDA) side effects such as: sexual dysfunction, anxiety, insomnia, confusion, hostility, extreme agitation, suicidal thoughts, and more. One that I know of even has to state sudden accidental death.

And would not those possible side effects become more pronounced if combined with some other drug, or combination of drugs?

While I am not a chemist, to me it makes perfectly logical sense to conclude that when a person ingests several foreign chemicals (i.e., not naturally found in his/her body) that there could be severe complications.

That is why there currently are class action law suits against some of the pharmaceutical companies.

What I know for certain is that Pop started his decline with increased drug prescriptions, many of which did have adverse affects and caused bodily harm/injury, ultimately leading to his demise. Rest In Peace, Pop.

Over For Now,

Main Street One