There was once a “golden age” of pharmaceuticals that produced “breakthrough” drugs for managing pain, arthritis, blood pressure, and diabetes. And although big pharma has not developed really safe and effective treatments for most cancers, it produces billions of dollars worth of oncology drugs every year as well.
But for the past generation, there appears to be a new pharmaceutical golden rule: Profits over patients.
So, in keeping with that golden rule, when big pharma runs out of common diseases to treat, it invents some new ones. Along with new drugs to manage the so-called risk factors for those diseases.
And then pharmaceutical reps convince doctors to prescribe these drugs to their patients. Who are demanding the drugs anyway, because they’ve been inundated with ads from big pharma about how likely they are to be suffering from a new quasi-fictitious disease.
Talk about a field of dreams. Seems like big pharma’s new slogan is “if we make it, they will come.”
And that can be quite dangerous for everyone’s health.
A lot of modern medicine today revolves around managing the serious side effects of these new drugs. That’s one reason why my training in forensic medicine and toxicology is so applicable to pharmacology and medical practice today.
Break the cycle of drug usage
“Fear, faith, and forever” appear to be big pharma’s new “holy” trinity. The new “diseases” big pharma creates are the fear. The “faith” is that there’s a drug that will supposedly treat that disease. And the “forever” is drugs that are designed so that the people who take them never really can tell whether they’re working, or if they really need the drugs in the first place, or when they can stop taking them—if ever.
And that circles back to fear—of what will happen if you stop taking the drug.
But there is a way to break this cycle. All it takes is some knowledge.
If you know which diseases are big pharma creations, you can avoid the drugs designed to “treat” them. And that means you won’t subject yourself to the toxic drug side effects that can endanger your health.
To help make sure you’re not another of these big pharma victims, I’ve assembled a list of 6 of the most common “made-up” diseases—and the drugs frequently prescribed for these supposed disorders.
I’ll get to that list in a minute, but first, let’s look at how big pharma got so out of control.
How government, the health industry, and big pharma work together
During the 1970s and ’80s, I saw principled, ethical, highly qualified health professionals move back and forth among medical schools, government health agencies, and the medical device, health insurance, and pharmaceutical industries.
But now, government health agencies are often controlled by self-serving career bureaucrats, unaccountable to anyone. And among those who do leave the government, many waltz into the arms of the industries they were supposedly regulating to protect the public (like the former Centers for Disease Control director, who now works for Merck pharmaceuticals, as I reported in the Daily Dispatch “Common OTC drug slashes cervical cancer risk” back in July).
Meanwhile, many health insurance and hospital systems are now controlled by distant, for-profit, quasi-monopolies aided and abetted by big-government control schemes like Obamacare.
And it increasingly appears that many drug companies are now multinational monsters led by crony-capitalist profiteers who push out true competition and innovation by collusion with nanny-government, anti-scientific regulations.
A glaring example of this problem is Medicare Part D prescription coverage—a corporate-government scheme for massive wealth transfer from your retirement check straight to big pharma. Medicare Part D was promoted as filling the health insurance “donut hole” for prescription drug coverage. The problem is that big pharma gets the donut and American retirees are getting the hole.
Don’t be fooled by these phony diseases
Today, the drug industry is like the proverbial out-of-control carousel. People can get on, but they can’t get off.
But you never have to ride the carousel in the first place if you can avoid “treatment” for the following six fictitious or exaggerated disorders.
- Adult-onset attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism
You’d think big pharma would be making enough profits from all of the potentially misdiagnosed psychiatric conditions in kids (see sidebar). But apparently not. These conditions worked out so nicely for putting generations of children on drugs they can never get off, so why not extend the party to adults.
More than a decade ago, Joseph Biederman and colleagues of Harvard Medical School serendipitously determined that suddenly nearly 10 million American adults had the so-called “children’s disorder” of ADHD. Biederman is considered an expert on the subject, having published literally hundreds of studies on childhood ADHD and dozens more on adult ADHD.
In a 2004 Journal of the American Medical Association article, Biederman and his colleagues wrote that adult ADHD requires lifelong medication with stimulant drugs like Risperdal.1
But just four years later, Biederman was accused by the U.S. Congress of pushing Risperdal and hiding big pharma pay-offs.2 So much for “expert” evidence.
In the new edition of my textbook Fundamentals of Complementary & Alternative Medicine, 5th ed., I discuss the generally pathetic state of most psychiatric research especially when it comes to drug vs. non-drug approaches (check it out for yourself or your doctor at www.drmicozzi.com).
And that ridiculous research includes what is taken as evidence that adults can be diagnosed with autism. But the problem is that virtually any “antisocial” behavior could be labeled adult autism.
For instance, in the U.K., home of socialized medicine, the government nannies admit that “the autistic spectrum…is very broad, and two people with the condition may have very different symptoms or traits.”3
Various resources say adults may have autism if they are unsociable, inflexible, prone to anger, or overly sensitive to pain. That could describe me after seeing some of the latest drug advertising.
In all seriousness, there likely are some people who develop ADHD or autism as adults—but how can it be as many as big pharma would have us believe? If you think you or a loved one may have one of these disorders, ask a reputable psychiatrist or other mental health professional for tests.
- Asthma that needs two dangerous drugs (instead of one dangerous drug)
It used to be that deaths were caused in young asthma patients by the toxic propellant gases in their inhalers. This was such a problem, I helped the FDA speed up its reclassification of the acupuncture needle as a therapeutic device in the mid-1990s, by providing them copies of research showing acupuncture is a safe and effective “alternative” treatment for asthma.
You’d think that would be the end of dangerous drugs for this condition. But no. Big pharma went ahead and developed something called long-acting, beta-antagonists (LABA).
Even a government bureaucrat should be able to figure out that drugs with the word “antagonist” in their name probably aren’t the safest substances on the planet. And a large clinical trial on LABA bore that out. The study had to be stopped early because African-Americans who took these drugs were actually dying.4
But the FDA still approved LABA. Albeit with a “black box” warning, reserved for drugs deemed to have serious or even life-threatening adverse events. Yet two of the most common asthma drugs, Symbicort and Advair, contain LAMA—spiked with steroids for even more toxicity.
Sleep or wakefulness disorder
Can’t sleep? The remedy used to be hot milk or a dark, cool bedroom. But nearly two decades ago, big pharma decided that sleeplessness should be given a more impressive name: sleep or wakefulness disorder. And, of course, they created a bunch of drugs to go with it.
Today, the insomnia drugs Ambien, Lunesta, and Sonata have saturated the market. And created a bunch of unsavory side effects. Ambien’s active ingredient, zolpidem, has been linked to sleepwalking, sleep driving, and even sleep eating (try keeping off those extra pounds when consuming a fourth full meal every night).
But despite these side effects, Americans are now so convinced they can’t sleep without taking a drug that between 2005-2010, the feds reported that nearly 9 million Americans took these insomnia drugs.5
And last year, the CDC called sleeplessness an “epidemic,” and estimated that 50 to 70 million Americans have “sleep or wakefulness disorder.”6
Yes, plain old sleeplessness is now a disorder. And it’s going to get worse. Because most fancy insomnia drugs have lost their patent protection. So big pharma is now rolling out sub-categories of insomnia like “terminal insomnia” (falling asleep while waiting for government security or the late airline flight? Or at the computer keyboard?), “shift-work sleep disorder,” and yes, “sleep eating.” So, a new drug for the sleep eating caused by the old drug.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, try ditching the drugs. There is a variety of research showing that natural substances like melatonin, valerian, and hops can help you sleep. So can tart or wild cherries, as I wrote in the September 2014 issue of Insiders’ Cures (“Big time health benefits from a tiny fruit”). And ashwaganda, also known as winter cherry, is an ayurvedic remedy that can promote sound sleep.
- Mind-body conditions that can only be treated with drugs
Remember when fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome did not exist, were “all in your head,” or were just a sign of malingering? Instead of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, it was Munchausen syndrome by exhaustion (Munchausen syndrome by modern life?).
Now, because of drugs like Cymbalta and Lyrica, it turns out that mind-body disorders like fibromyalgia (FM) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) are indeed “real” after all, which is pharma-speak for “real profits.”
Of course, I’ve long known from my own research that FM and CFS do exist along a spectrum. But what big pharma and mainstream medicine won’t tell you is that whether you are susceptible to the FM versus CFS end of the spectrum depends upon a psychometric profile I call your “emotional type.”
What’s more, mainstream medicine won’t tell you that there are at least seven non-drug therapies that work well for mind-body disorders like FM and CFS. And, based on research I published with Mike Jawer, your individual emotional type helps predict which of these therapies will work best for you. (For more information, check out Your Emotional Type at www.drmicozzi.com)
Osteoporosis, of course, is an all-too-real disease. And big pharma invented toxic bisphosphonate drugs like Boniva, Fosomax, and Actonel to “treat” it. But apparently not enough people have osteoporosis to satisfy big pharma’s bottom line.
So now there’s a new disorder—“osteopenia.” And, surprise, it too can supposedly be treated with osteoporosis drugs.
Osteopenia is defined as bone density that is low, but not low enough to be full-blown osteoporosis. Pharma helped plant funky, quasi-fictitious bone-density devices in healthcare facilities to “detect” this disease no one knew they had. If you’re diagnosed with osteopenia, that supposedly means that maybe, someday, perhaps, you might develop osteoporosis.
So now, there’s a whole new class of customers for bisphosphonate drugs. But, as I revealed in the January 2015 issue of Insiders’ Cures (“The shocking drug scandal you haven’t heard about”), it turns out that bisphosphonates actually kill one of the two key types of cells needed for healthy bone. And they can cause the fractures these drugs were supposed to prevent, as well as destruction of the jawbone and deadly brain abscesses. Not to mention esophageal cancer, which is essentially untreatable.
Undaunted, big pharma moved on to a new class of drugs called selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), including Evista and tamoxifen.
SERM is not an evil conspiracy being countered by MI-6 and James Bond (at least not that kind of conspiracy), nor is it another new Eurozone big-government, multinational, nanny-regulatory organization. Instead, SERMs are supposed to prevent osteopenia and osteoporosis, along with some cancers.
But of course, like all drugs, SERMs have side effects. Serious side effects like stroke and endometrial cancer.
So why take them when there are vitamins and minerals proven to strengthen and nourish bones? I recommend you get bone-building calcium and K2 from food—dairy, cheese, yogurt, soy, eggs, fish, and meat are all good sources (see page X). And supplement with 5 mg of boron, 150-200 mg of magnesium, 10,000 IU of vitamin D, 500 mg of vitamin C, and 50 IU of vitamin E daily.
- Treatment-resistant depression
In the old days of practicing medicine, if a condition was resistant to the treatment, it simply meant the treatment didn’t work.
But not so fast. We have now discovered if a drug doesn’t work, what it really means that there is something wrong with you—and that you just need to take a second drug along with the ineffective first drug.
This concept is particularly convenient for antidepressants, because so few work in the first place. Now we have drugs like Symbyax that combine SSRI antidepressants with antipsychotics. Symbyax is only supposed to be taken by people who have tried two different antidepressants that haven’t worked.
Sounds like a small group, right? Until you realize that research shows antidepressants are ineffective for six out of seven people (as I reported in a Feb. 25, 2013 Daily Dispatch). That creates quite a large market for an add-on second drug.
By now, everyone should know that antidepressants don’t work. But somehow, mainstream medicine and big pharma haven’t gotten the message. Instead, they believe the problem is not that the drugs are ineffective, but rather the patients are “treatment resistant.” There is nothing wrong with the drugs—just with you—when they don’t work!
And that’s just a prescription for more drugs with deathly side effects.
I’ve often reported how studies show antidepressants are associated with an increased risk of suicide. And that’s also true for Symbyax, particularly in young adults and people over age 65 with dementia.
Rather than just pile drug on top of drug in a futile effort to fight depression, try a natural approach. My Emotional Type quiz, and my book with Mike Jawer, “Your Emotional Type,” at www.drmicozzi.com will help you discover which mind-body therapies work best for your type of depression. And check out page X to find out what you can eat to improve your mental health.
Knowledge is power
In a climate where everyone is now being forced to subsidize a dysfunctional healthcare system by mandates to buy ever-more expensive health insurance under Obamacare, it’s easy to be fooled by big pharma’s epidemic of fictitious disorders. And the ineffective and dangerous drugs designed to “treat” these phony diseases.
It may seem like, thanks to big government, faulty regulations, and crony capitalism, the only way to out of this toxic system is death—one step big pharma is actually helping us take.
But don’t despair. This newsletter, my Daily Dispatches, and my books and reports are all designed to give you the power to find alternatives to big pharma, its fictitious diseases, and its toxic drugs.
SIDEBAR: Questioning big pharma’s mental health
Many of big pharma’s new drugs are geared toward psychiatric disorders.
Every drug-addled psychiatrist has protocols for putting people on prescription drugs, from childhood to adolescence to adulthood. But nobody has a clue how to get people off of those drugs.
Children as young as 2 years old are amazingly being diagnosed with conditions like bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia.7 But who can really evaluate such a culture-bound condition in a toddler? We’re creating generations of people who are likely to go from cradle to grave with a prescription for a drug to treat a mental disorder they may not even have
This problem is compounded by the fact that children’s psychiatrists, who get their patients hooked, then no longer treat them as adults. Then the adult physicians tell these patients they don’t know how to deal with their childhood drugs. (That’s why we should all have great respect for the young adults who have had to wean themselves off these drugs, without medical help, while dealing with all of the other challenges of growing up.)
At least when it comes to addiction to illegal/recreational drugs, doctors know how to manage withdrawal and rehabilitation. But there’s little information on how to do that for people following, and then trying to get off, prescription psychiatric drug protocols.
And that creates millions of literally captive customers for whatever new “mental disorder” drug big pharma can create.
1 “Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Adults: A Survey of Current Practice in Psychiatry and Primary Care.” Arch Intern Med. 2004;164(11):1221-1226.
4“The Salmeterol Multicenter Asthma Research Trial: a comparison of usual pharmacotherapy for asthma or usual pharmacotherapy plus salmeterol.”
Chest. 2006 Jan;129(1):15-26.
7“National trends in the outpatient diagnosis and treatment of bipolar disorder in youth.” Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2007 Sep;64(9):1032-9.