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    big pharm
    DoloresTeresa posted:
    At the risk of sounding like a spokesperson for the pharmaceutical companies, I must raise an objection to the former drug salesperson whose video is on It takes at least 12 years for a drug to go from years of research, testing and FDA approval. Naturally the drug company wants to make a profit as would any business, especially considering the cost of twelve years of research, testing etc.

    I agree with what the former salesperson says about side effects and many of the other negative comments. However, my anger is with doctors who are stupid enough to take a pharm rep's word for when and how to use a new drug. My own doctor fired me because I would not take a beta blocker without evidence that I needed one. Nor did he suggest anything like diet, exercise etc. His response to my refusal was to insist on a calcium channel blocker. It turned out the problem was digestive due to an antibiotic he prescribed for an infection he said I had which I did not actually have. He knew this but insisted I continue taking the antibiotic anyway and like an idiot I did. It killed the good bacteria. I cured myself by taking a probiotic.

    A doctor should be a gatekeeper and should be armed with information. Pharmaceutical companies do not prescribe drugs--doctors do.

    Having said that, people often insist on meds and refuse proper diet and exercise. They engage in health and life threatening behaviors. Do we just say too bad-- you don't deserve this diabetes or blood pressure pill? In a video of the heart attack grill I heard a person say it was okay to eat there because he was taking statins. People simply refuse to care for their own health and continue eating unhealthfully and not exercising. In a free society people are allowed to be stupid.

    If people want to do this it is their business. While doctors are guilty of not giving more information or of not being aware of the latest information, they know that they will lose patients if they do not prescribe. So if a doctor has tried to persuade someone to develop a healthful lifestyle and he doesn't (in the time allowed for an office visit by the hmo or other insurer), then he has no alternative but to prescribe meds. While big pharm is certainly guilty of many highly questionable practices, so are doctors and patients.

    EngineerGuy responded:
    Hi Dolores,

    Well spoken, and a great post, as always.

    I think of the effort to reduce smoking. In any one year, not much happened. But over the years and decades, smoking has reduced from over 70% to under 30%.

    Today, we are bombarded by advertising from big pharma that the way to a happy life smiling and dancing in the sunshine, is through wonderful medications. 1/6th of our economy is health spending, and a large part of that is drugs, which pours $57 billion into advertising each year (but half that, $31 billion, on R&D)(1). This means that almost nothing will be seen on TV or print, that would detract from big pharma's message. People accept that we want a medication to cure our illnesses, not a diet to help it a little bit.

    How many health professionals, physicians or anyone, have even heard of Fuhrman, Ornish, McDougall, Pritikin, Esselstyn, etc? Most have not. Who is going to pay to advertise Fuhrman, Ornish, etc? The government advisors are paid consultants to the Beef Council and Dairy Council, to ensure that government recommendations are friendly to big business.

    My point is that the word about smoking got out, and made a gradual big difference. The word about lifestyle choices is really not getting out, and therefore cannot make a big difference over the years. I frequently read Consumer's Reports on health, and Prevention magazines, and Diabetes Today, etc. These all give lots of advice that is MODERATE. There is no mention of actually effective, but not moderate, lifestyle changes. Most people, if they follow all the moderate advice, will continue to worsen.

    That's not a very positive outlook. But that's why I am personally compelled to become a health coach, when I retire. And before then, I can start giving talks to any group that will listen. I'll start the talk on the offensive, facing the credibility gap (If this stuff were true, why wouldn't my doctor or the government tell us about it?). "Dr. Ornish was the first person to demonstrate reversal of atherosclerosis in human beings."

    Best regards, EngineerGuy

    DoloresTeresa replied to EngineerGuy's response:
    There has actually been an improvement in drug advertising on tv. Surely you have noticed. While the people are laughing and dancing in the sunshine a narrator is listing all the possible side effects including death. No more fine print appearing at the bottom of the tv for about five seconds.

    EngineerGuy replied to DoloresTeresa's response:
    Hi Dolores,

    The side effects have always been there (I'm pretty certain), required by law to be at the same volume and speed of talking, as the commercial. The commercials are ubiquitous, showing that they increase sales for the drug company, which shows that people don't believe the side effects will happen to them. Of course they wouldn't. Why else would this public service health announcement tell people about these medications?

    Best regards, EngineerGuy

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