I begin today’s message with something I wrote about four years ago. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, it has now come to pass…
Selling Sickness: Turning Healthy People into Patients
In his book, Selling Sickness, medical journalist Ray Moynihan reveals comments made by the head of Merck pharmaceuticals thirty years ago. The CEO of Merck was distressed that his company’s products were limited to sick people. In an interview with Fortune, he openly wished for his company to be “more like Wrigley’s chewing gum.” He dreamed of making drugs for healthy people so they could “sell to everyone.”
The drug giants now fund aggressive, multi-billion dollar marketing campaigns. Their goal is to expand the boundaries of illness. Case in point: statin drugs.
Statins are already some of the most widely prescribed drugs. The pharmaceutical marketing machine is looking for ways to grow that market. Currently, the drug companies are pushing for statins to be used to treat everything from Alzheimer’s, to diabetes and arthritis.
They have also reduced the threshold for treatment of high cholesterol. In fact, a recent Pfizer study recommends statins for patients with “normal” cholesterol levels. Other companies argue that statins should be taken by EVERY person over 55. Some medical professionals are even recommending these drugs for children.
I wrote the brief above four years ago. Since then, the drug companies have made significant “progress”…
Two weeks ago, an FDA advisory panel approved the statin drug Crestor as a “preventive” medicine. This is the first time such an approval has been granted. It is ominous sign of things to come.
This dangerous statin drug can now be marketed to people who have no history or risk factors for heart disease. This is what the drug companies have been looking to accomplish for decades – to turn healthy people into patients.
In a glaring statement of the obvious, Dr. Steven Nissen of the Cleveland Clinic said “this will expand the number of Americans eligible for statin therapy by millions.”
The CEO of Merck knew that “sick people” are a limited market. All along, the goal has been to expand this market by convincing people that drugs can actually keep you healthy. Now that the door is open, expect an array of chemical concoctions marketed to prevent disease. It won’t happen overnight. But it’s on the way.
Drugs are anything but natural. But they are often designed to mimic the effects of natural compounds. In fact, many drugs are just synthetic versions of what nature has already created.
In spite of this, there is a pervasive myth (no doubt fostered by Big Pharma) that drugs have been proven to work, while natural remedies have not.
Dr. Michael T. Murray, N.D. is a long-time professor of natural medicine. He is also the author of more than 20 books. Over the years, he has compiled more than 50,000 articles from the scientific literature, proving the effectiveness of nutrition and natural medicine. He writes:
“One of the great myths about natural medicines is that they are not scientific. The fact of the matter is that for most common illnesses there is greater support in the medical literature for a natural approach than there is for drugs or surgery.”
If you want to maintain or improve your health, do what the pharmaceutical companies do when they want to develop a new drug: Look to nature! Not only will you find therapies that work, they will be far safer and less expensive.
Case in Point: Omega-3 Fatty Acids vs. Statins
Researchers at University Hospital in Basel, Switzerland reviewed 97 controlled studies which measured the results of six different cholesterol- and triglyceride-lowering interventions. They used mortality data to assess their effectiveness. The results were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Among the six treatments considered, omega-3 fatty acid supplementation reduced the risk of overall and cardiac mortality better than any other intervention. Statin drugs came in second.
If you want to reduce your cholesterol, reduce your risk of heart attack and avoid the serious side-effects of statins, supplement your diet with a couple teaspoons of fish oil each day.
A Pill for Every Ill… And Not a Cure in Sight
What would you do if you were told today that you have high blood pressure… or diabetes… or high cholesterol… or that you are suffering from depression?
Most people would say, “Okay, Doc. What drug should I take?” If that would be your reaction, I hope you’ll reconsider.
Drugs do not “cure” illness. They don’t heal. They only mask. While a drug may temporarily relieve symptoms, it will do nothing to address the cause of an illness. It’s like clipping the leaves from a dandelion to keep weeds out of the garden.
And every single drug – including those you can buy over the counter – can have extremely serious side effects. Did you know that Tylenol is the leading cause of acute liver failure in the United States? In some cases, liver failure occurs at only half the maximum daily dose. Regular use of this drug has also been shown to double the risk of kidney cancer.
That’s right – “harmless” Tylenol.
Take the Natural Route to Health and Wellness
Here’s the good news. Virtually every drug can be outperformed by safe and affordable nutrients. And when you combine the appropriate nutritional supplementation with a healthy diet, sun exposure and exercise, you have a long-term solution that no drug in the world can match.
If you’re making New Year’s resolutions today, make a resolution to identify and curtail the habits that lead to illness. And if you are faced with a health crisis in the future, seek the natural tools your body needs to heal itself.