Your medication could be your problem

Your medication could be your problem

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According to the groundbreaking 2003 medical report Death by Medicine, by Drs. Gary Null, Carolyn Dean, Martin Feldman, Debora Rasio and Dorothy Smith, 783,936 (106,000 when used as prescribed) people in the United States die every year from conventional medicine mistakes. That's the equivalent of six jumbo jet crashes a day for an entire year. But where is the media attention for this tragedy? Where is the government support for stopping these medical mistakes before they happen?

This is a disturbing pattern. Celebrities who recently died with prescription drugs found in their system: Anna Nicole Smith, Heath Ledger, Michael Jackson, Britney Murphy, DJ AM. Now Andrew Koenig: "His parents said Wednesday he had been off his medication when he vanished during a visit to Vancouver..." Using this logic, once a person takes prescription meds they need to stay on them until they're poisoned?

http://www.naturalnews.com/009278.html

Medical Errors - A Leading Cause of Death

The JOURNAL of the AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (JAMA) Vol 284, No 4, July 26th 2000 article written by Dr Barbara Starfield, MD, MPH, of the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, shows that medical errors may be the third leading cause of death in the United States.

The report apparently shows there are 2,000 deaths/year from unnecessary surgery; 7000 deaths/year from medication errors in hospitals; 20,000 deaths/year from other errors in hospitals; 80,000 deaths/year from infections in hospitals; 106,000 deaths/year from non-error, adverse effects of medications - these total up to 225,000 deaths per year in the US from iatrogenic causes which ranks these deaths as the # 3 killer. Iatrogenic is a term used when a patient dies as a direct result of treatments by a physician, whether it is from misdiagnosis of the ailment or from adverse drug reactions used to treat the illness. (drug reactions are the most common cause).

Prescription Drugs - Leading Killer in USA

According to information we have received, a statistical study of hospital deaths in the U.S. conducted at the University of Toronto revealed that pharmaceutical drugs kill more people every year than are killed in traffic accidents.

The study is said to show that more than two million American hospitalized patients suffered a serious adverse drug reaction (ADR) within the 12-month period of the study and, of these, over 100,000 died as a result. The researchers found that over 75 per cent of these ADRs were dose-dependent, which suggests they were due to the inherent toxicity of the drugs rather than to allergic reactions.

The data did not include fatal reactions caused by accidental overdoses or errors in administration of the drugs. If these had been included, it is estimated that another 100,000 deaths would be added to the total every year.

The researchers concluded that ADRs are now the fourth leading cause of death in the United States after heart disease, cancer, and stroke.

Source: Jason, et al. (Lazarou et al), Incidence of Adverse Drug Reactions in Hospitalized Patients, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Vol. 279. April 15, 1998, pp. 1200-05. Also Bates, David W., Drugs and Adverse Drug Reactions: How Worried Should We Be? JAMA, Vol. 279. April 15, 1998, pp. 1216-17.

One of the first JAMA article on medical errors appeared in JAMA 1994;272:1851-7. by Leape LL. Then in April 1998, JAMA 1998 Apr 15;279(15):1200-5 See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/htbin-post/Entrez/query?db=m&form=6&Dopt=r&u...

Related articles are at http://jama.ama-assn.org/issues/v280n20/related/jlt1125-1.html#searchmed...

Other related articles:
Schuster M, McGlynn E, Brook R. How good is the quality of health care in the United States? Milbank Q. 1998;76:517-563. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/htbin-post/Entrez/query?db=m&form=6&Dopt=r&u...

World Health Report 2000. Available at: http://www.who.int/whr/2000/en/report.htm.

Starfield B. Evaluating the State Children's Health Insurance Program: critical considerations. Annu Rev Public Health. 2000;21:569-585. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/htbin-post/Entrez/query?db=m&form=6&Dopt=r&u...

Leape L. Unnecessary surgery. Annu Rev Public Health. 1992;13:363-383. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/htbin-post/Entrez/query?db=m&form=6&Dopt=r&u...

Phillips D, Christenfeld N, Glynn L. Increase in US medication-error deaths between 1983 and 1993. Lancet. 1998;351:643-644. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/htbin-post/Entrez/query?db=m&form=6&Dopt=r&u...

Weingart SN, Wilson RM, Gibberd RW, Harrison B. Epidemiology and medical error. BMJ. 2000;320:774-777. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/htbin-post/Entrez/query?db=m&form=6&Dopt=r&u...

Guyer B, Hoyert D, Martin J, Ventura S, MacDorman M, Strobino D. Annual summary of vital statistics 1998. Pediatrics. 1999;104:1229-1246. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/htbin-post/Entrez/query?db=m&form=6&Dopt=r&u...

Harrold LR, Field TS, Gurwitz JH. Knowledge, patterns of care, and outcomes of care for generalists and specialists. J Gen Intern Med. 1999;14:499-511. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/htbin-post/Entrez/query?db=m&form=6&Dopt=r&u...

Holland E, Degruy F. Drug-Induced Disorders - November 1, 1997 - American Family Physician "...more than 1 million patients are injured while in the hospital and approximately 180,000 die because of these injuries." http://www.aafp.org/afp/971101ap/holland.html

FDA advisers tied to industry

An article by Dennis Cauchon, the USA TODAY Newspaper

Sept. 25, 2000

According to a USA Today study, more than half of the experts hired to advise the government on the safety and effectiveness of medicine have financial relationships with the pharmaceutical companies that will be helped or hurt by their decisions. These experts are hired to advise the Food and Drug Administration on which medicines should be approved for sale, what the warning labels should say and how studies of drugs should be designed. The experts are supposed to be independent, but USA TODAY found that 54% of the time, they have a direct financial interest in the drug or topic they are asked to evaluate. These conflicts include helping a pharmaceutical company develop a medicine, then serving on an FDA advisory committee that judges the drug.

The conflicts typically include stock ownership, consulting fees or research grants.

Federal law generally prohibits the FDA from using experts with financial conflicts of interest, but according to the article, the FDA has waived the restriction more than 800 times since 1998.

These pharmaceutical experts, about 300 on 18 advisory committees, make decisions that affect the health of millions of Americans and billions of dollars in drugs sales. With few exceptions, the FDA follows the committees' advice.

The FDA reveals when financial conflicts exist, but it has kept details secret since 1992, so it is not possible to determine the amount of money or the drug company involved.

A USA Today analysis of financial conflicts at 159 FDA advisory committee meetings from Jan. 1, 1998, through last June 30 found:

At 92% of the meetings, at least one member had a financial conflict of interest.

At 55% of meetings, half or more of the FDA advisers had conflicts of interest.

Conflicts were most frequent at the 57 meetings when broader issues were discussed: 92% of members had conflicts.

At the 102 meetings dealing with the fate of a specific drug, 33% of the experts had a financial conflict.

"The best experts for the FDA are often the best experts to consult with industry," says FDA senior associate commissioner Linda Suydam, who is in charge of waiving conflict-of-interest restrictions. But Larry Sasich of Public Citizen, an advocacy group, says, "The industry has more influence on the process than people realize."

FDA Conflict-of-Interest continued:

In the book Alternative Medicine Definitive Guide to Cancer, they discuss "How Cancer Politics Have Kept You In the Dark" - Chapter 26. They talk about one study that disclosed that almost 50% of high-ranking FDA officials had been employed by major drug companies immediately before joining the FDA and that half of these officials upon leaving the FDA take up executive jobs in pharmaceutical companies.

Another study that they discuss was printed in the Wall Street Journal in 1992. It revealed that 60% of drug advertisements in medical journals actually violated FDA guidelines, yet the FDA did nothing about those violations.

Yet, in 1985, the FDA teamed up with the Pharmaceutical Advertising Council to use drug industry funds to combat "quackery" in medicine - alternative medicine.

Note: To get an understanding of why the FDA and other organizations are so opposed to "alternative medicine", be sure to read chapter 26 of the above named book - Alternative Medicine Definitive Guide to Cancer and other books, including the section of G. Edward Griffin's book World Without Cancer titled "The Politics of Cancer Therapy", or listen to the audio of the same name on our audio page.

System to Control Deadly Drug Interaction Failing

This article written by Andrea Knox for Knight Ridder Newspapers appeared on January 7, 2001 in "The Star," a Ventura County Newspaper.

In the article, it is reported that in the past four years, 10 prescription drugs and a vaccine have been taken off the market after killing and injuring thousands. According to the article, it is estimated that US drug fatalities runs 100,000 a year. There is no way of confirming the numbers because there is no reliable way to track and investigate problems with drugs. Doctors are not even required to report bad drug interactions.

It also doesn't help that the FDA has cut the time for routine drug approvals, making the real-life test for drugs coming after it has actually been approved. Without a proper monitoring system, it takes longer to discover what drugs could be causing problems.

Number of physicians in the U.S..........................................700,000
Accidental deaths caused by physicians per year................120,000

This information was sent to us indicating that it came from the Benton County News Tribune on the seventeenth of November, 1999

Drug companies

46% of Americans take at least one prescription drug daily. (1)

Although drugs are sometimes appropriate and at times can save a person’s life, most of the time they are unnecessary, expensive and harmful. My advice would be to recognize that you should seek natural therapies which address the cause of the disease before choosing a drug-based solution.

I can assure you that the number of people who actually need drugs is a small percentage of those taking them. For example, people are being prescribed drugs for heartburn when it is one of the easiest health problems to treat. Most people ignore the fact that heartburn is an important clue from their body and rely on a drug instead to suppress the symptoms.

In case you haven't figured it out by now, the major reason for the traditional medical paradigm is the influence of the most powerful industry in the United States, the drug companies.

Drug companies exert a major influence on the majority of studies published and nearly all of medical education. This influence is what causes doctors to use their expensive symptomatic 'patch-up' drugs as solutions for people's problems.

drug companies

Drug companies have been able to get away with their high prices because the vast majority of people do not pay for their medications anymore. It's insurance companies that are picking up the tab. Since most people do not pay for it directly, drug companies are able to get away with charging outrageous prices.
Drug companies are the most profitable industry

The drug companies claim that they need large earnings - 125,835,595,000 in 1999 (2) - to conduct their research and development. They have a point - only up to a degree. Aggressive research is indeed needed. The medications produced by the pharmaceutical industry have improved the quality and length of life of many people. But this justification loses credibility when:

1. Just 1 out of every 5 dollars the drug industry collects goes to drug research.

2. Some drug companies spend almost twice as much money for advertising and marketing as they spend for research.

3. Drug industry profits are so large they outstrip every other industry's profits by far (3).

Drug companies are the most profitable industry. In 2001, a year which saw a drop in employment rates, a plunge in the stock market and symbols of America's economy literally come crashing down, the drug companies continued their reign as the most profitable industry in the annual Fortune 500 list.

While the overall profits of Fortune 500 companies declined by 53%, which was the 2nd biggest dive in profits the Fortune 500 has taken in its 47 years, the top 10 U.S. drug companies increased their profits by 33% (3).

Collectively, the 10 drug companies in the Fortune 500 topped all 3 of the Fortune magazine's measures of company profitability for 2001, according to the magazine's annual analysis of America's most important companies.

These drug companies had the greatest return on revenues, reporting a profit of 18.5 cents for every $1 of sales, which was 8 times higher than the median for all Fortune 500 industries, easily surpassing the next most profitable industry, which was commercial banking with a 13.5% return on revenue)(3).

drug companies

The system is badly broken and in need of a change. We cannot spend over one trillion dollars for health care just to improve profits for drug companies. We have the capital to more than adequately treat nearly all people. What we need to do is shift our perspectives and priorities.

This emphasis on drugs is one of the main reasons why spending for prescription drugs is the fastest-growing category of health care expenditures.

It is also one of the major factors contributing to the fact that doctors are a major leading cause of death in the United States, due to the fact that they have an over reliance on using drugs as 'patch-up' solutions, rather than seeking the cause of the problem.

How safe are prescription drugs?

In 1998 an extensive study published in the reputable Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) showed that 106,000 people die each year in American hospitals from medication side effects (4).

Let's look at this statistic a different way: 106,000 deaths a year averages out to nearly 300 deaths per day, every day. Deaths from all major airline crashes in the U.S. average less than 300 annually, but 1 airplane crash gets more media attention and governmental scrutiny than the 300 medication-related deaths which occurred not only on the same day as the airline crash, but also every day before and after for decades.

Why has this epidemic of side effects gone unrecognized? Deaths from medication reactions rarely look any different from natural deaths. There's no visible wreckage to videotape, no crash sites to fascinate and horrify TV viewers. As media people say, 'No film, no story'. Media and public relations firms, and how they shape the public's awereness, are discussed in more detail here.

Medication deaths often occur quietly in hospitals, emergency rooms and private homes. When medication-related deaths occur, it's often unclear at first whether the cause was the medication, the illness, or some other factor. In other words, to much of the media, there is nothing sexy about side effects.

The reported adverse effects of drugs are only the tip of the iceberg. Consider 'Digoxin', the best-selling heart drug. According to an article in JAMA, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) receives about 82 reports each year involving Digoxin, yet a systematic study of Medicare records reveals 202,211 hospitalizations for Digoxin adverse effects in a 7-year period (5). That's more than 28,000 reactions per year, 82 of which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hears about.

Read about 10 prescription drugs withdrawn from the market since 1997, after being used by millions of people, on