Opinion by Consumer Advocate Tim Bolen
I live in Southern California, in the United States, and I know that, in the United States, there is a tremendous war going on between the forces of “health” versus the forces of “medicine.” This war is over the future of health care. It’s a bloody war, and it doesn’t stop at the US borders…
In California we say “We’d rather be ‘healthy’ than ‘medicated,” and there’s a big difference between the two philosophies. In that war I am firmly, and unequivocally, on the side of “health.” I want the best health care I can get, and I want right now…
Everybody knows that the US Health Care System is badly broken – and not repairable.
The US MEDICARE System will go belly-up in the year 2011 – It’s going to be, at that point, so costly that the United States simply won’t be able to afford it anymore. AMERICAN CORPORATIONS, right this moment, are cutting back their health care offerings – No one can afford the skyrocketing costs. HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANIES are desperately trying to reduce provider expenditure – and because of that, Americans are being offered a poorer, and poorer, quality of health care – Insanely, everything NEW is being banned.
Why? There are two interlocking reasons.
(1) The whole US medical system is based on the use of “drugs, drugs, and more drugs.” Mega-Greedy “Big Pharma” controls the system completely – including the US regulatory system designed to regulate “Big Pharma” itself.
It’s common knowledge that the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) does not, in any way protect the American public from “Big Pharma,” but, in fact, (a) acts to protect the pharmaceutical industry, and (b) acts to attack competitors to “Big Pharma,” like energy/electro-medicine, vitamins and supplementation, oxygen therapies, etc.)
(2) The medical system itself is a deadly rip-off of gigantic proportion. A study, a compilation of most recent studies, called “Death by Medicine,” says:
“It is evident that the American medical system is the leading cause of death and injury in the United States. The total number of iatrogenic deaths shown … is 783,936. The 2001 heart disease annual death rate is 699,697; the annual cancer death rate, 553,251.” (see the chart below)
The number of people having in-hospital, adverse drug reactions (ADR) to prescribed medicine is 2.2 million. Dr. Richard Besser, of the CDC, in 1995, said the number of unnecessary antibiotics prescribed annually for viral infections was 20 million. Dr. Besser, in 2003, now refers to tens of millions of unnecessary antibiotics.
The number of unnecessary medical and surgical procedures performed annually is 7.5 million. The number of people exposed to unnecessary hospitalization annually is 8.9 million.“
The Lazarou study on Hospital ADR also showed that, besides the 106,000 “deaths,” twenty times that number of people had health problems caused by that same hospital Adverse Drug Reaction. There were an additional 2,200,000 health problems caused by Adverse Drug Reaction to drugs in hospitals. It would be reasonable to assume, then, that that factor of twenty times the number of deaths could be applied to all of the death statistics – meaning that in addition to the total 783,936 deaths there were 15,678,720 serious health problems caused by the American Medical System.
Shocked? It gets worse… Wait until you read how slovenly our drug-based system actually operates.
The top three causes of Unnecessary Deaths in the United States are related to our “drugs only” health care system…
The number one cause of unnecessary death in the United States, called Iatrogenic deaths (783,986) is shown in the table below. Our regulatory system is doing NOTHING about this problem, either. The study graph below is re-printed by permission of the authors:
|Hospital Adverse Drug Reactions||106,000||$12 billion||Lazarou1 Suh49|
|Medical error||98,000||$2 billion||IOM6|
|Bedsores||115,000||$55 billion||Xakellis7 Barczak8|
|Infection||88,000||$5 billion||Weinstein9 MMWR10|
|Outpatient Adverse Drug Reactions||199,000||$77 billion||Starfield12 Weingart112|
|Unnecessary Procedures||37,136||$122 billion||HCUP3,13|
The number two cause of unnecessary death in the United States is Heart Disease. Statistics show “The 2001 heart disease annual death rate is 699,697.”
The number three cause of unnecessary death in the United States is Cancer. Statistics show “the annual cancer death rate is 553,251.”
The total number of known unnecessary deaths, per year, directly due to the drug-based American Medical System is 2,036,884. People in the “health” world know that both heart disease and cancer are solvable issues – but not with drugs…
This has to stop…
So, how do we stop it?
Simple. The United States is “Big Pharma’s” cash generator. Prices for prescription drugs in the US are five to twenty times higher than the same prescription in other countries. Fully half of “Big Pharma’s” gargantuan cash intake is generated in the US. If we reign in “Big Pharma” here, they will be reined in worldwide.
So, lets rein them in.
How? (1) Stop drug advertising to the general public. (2) Make it against the law for drug “detail” men to talk directly to doctors at all. (3) allow internet sales of drugs from foreign countries. (4) disallow use of dangerous drugs for “off-label” use, period. Make it a federal felony for any health professional to use any prescription drug for any purpose other than that it was specifically designed, tested, and approved for. (5) Make it a federal felony for any health professional to use, or prescribe, any combinations of drugs that have not been specifically designed, and tested, to work together. (6) Criminally prosecute executives of drug companies, like Merck, that covered up adverse effects of drugs, where people died, or were injured, from the cover-up. (7) Increase lawsuit activity against drug companies for the damage they’ve already done. (8) Stop the drug industry/FDA revolving door policy.
What would be the benefit?
(1) We’d get our media back. National Television news channels, the last time I looked, had fifty percent of their advertising devoted to drug ads. News channels are not going to bite the hands that feed them – look what happened with ABC and Robert F. Kennedy Junior’s report on the adverse effects of thimerasol in vaccines…
(2) We’d get our University Research Centers back. ALL they do now is “drug” research – period. Because that’s where the money comes from. Our Universities could research real health options not just “drugs, drugs, and more drugs.”
(3) We’d get our water resources back. With a decreased overall drug use, we wouldn’t have to spend so much money on our water/sewer infrastructure – a situation becoming a major problem nationwide.
(4) We’d get our health regulatory system back.
(5) Real health care could surface.
Is this realistic?
Yup… Some of this is already happening. “We the people,” in the US, just need to, consciously, understand, and act on the fact, that “Big Pharma” is the enemy of America, (1) they’ve committed atrocities beyond anything in human history – like the Vioxx, and other, drug scandals. (2) Their greed is intentionally damaging the American financial fabric. (3) Their greed is intentionally putting Americans out of work because American corporations simply can’t afford to fund health care costs for their workers anymore – and are contracting for labor overseas.
We’ve identified the problem – and we know the answer. So let’s proceed.
Tim Bolen – Consumer Advocate