The Second Declaration of Indepencence

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Big Pharma

One thing that you can most surely count on is the fact that almost everyone would like to see the medical industry overhauled because it has gotten completely out of control and out of reach for most. But it is much worse than that even.

In the days gone by, we had medical practitioners of every ilk imaginable, some on the right track and some were nothing short of charlatans or quacks who peddled snake oil and really bizarre treatments. Although there were many slick operators ready to empty your pocket for quackery, there was the ever growing medical industry making slow but steady progress.

Today things have changed greatly, we have the AMA, the FDA and many more government agencies controlling the medical industry to the point of total and utter confusion and frustration. And yet things haven't really changed at all because we still have quacks, snake oil peddlers and charlatans who operate totally outside of the law, and we have quacks, snake oil peddlers and charlatans who operate hand in hand with the government, the AMA and the FDA.

The following article by Chemist Shane Ellison is only a small but very good example of why our medical industry is such a sham and why it is so expensive.

Yes we can all agree that we need to change the whole medical system but to endorse anything like Obamacare would be going in just exactly the wrong direction. The past has demonstrated very well that government will always side with the greedy and seedy and we need to get government out of all of our affairs including the medical industry.

The same can be said for the banking industry, farming, manufacturing industry, education, travel and on and on infinite.



By Shane Ellison M. Sc.
The People's Chemist
March 5, 2011

One Nation Under Drugs

As a medicinal chemist, I ignored my suspicion that an insidious and deliberate effort to get each and every American hooked on drugs, while at the same time bankrupting them, existed between Big Pharma and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). I enjoyed my work. Drug design paid well and kept me comfortably isolated in a high-tech lab, fully equipped to help me bend and twist matter at will. The last thing I wanted to think of was a plot designed to sabotage health and wealth using my chemistry skills. But over time, experience confirmed my suspicion as fact and revealed something even scarier.

My passion for drug design arose from the miracle of emergency medicine, one of man’s greatest scientific achievements. Sadly though, medicine is no longer exclusive to emergency use. Today it’s being used in a deadly game of profiteering. Herein lies a story of deceit and a chemist’s abandonment of modern medicine.

My suspicion of modern medicine began while I was employed by Eli Lilly to design a new generation of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) drugs, a class which includes tamoxifen and raloxifene. Initially, they were thought to block estrogen receptors and thereby halt breast cancer. As time progressed, it was learned that they were also capable of activating estrogen receptors and boosting cancer growth. The Journal of the American Medical Association recognized this trend and published, “Our data add to the growing body of evidence that recent long-term use of HRT is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer and that such use may be related particularly to lobular tumors.”

My task was made clear: Design HRT ‘knock-offs’ that are effective without causing cancer. My attempt to design safer alternatives began with small alterations to the two-dimensional structure of tamoxifen. It was unsuccessful. All chemical cousins acted as cancer fertilizer and after one year, the project was ended. Access to tamoxifen and other HRT meds however, was not.

Despite its ability to inflame cancer, tamoxifen continued to be used as the Gold-Standard in breast cancer treatment. As a young naïve chemist, I was determined to learn how such a dangerous drug could get through the prestigious FDA approval process.

Pink Ribbon Campaign doesn’t Fight Cancer

Tamoxifen was developed by British company Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), whose pharmaceutical division was later spun off as Astra Zeneca. Knowing that “demand drives drug approval,” ICI established National Breast Cancer Awareness Month! Fueled by fear, women worldwide began pushing for more choices in cancer drugs, and in Big Pharma language, that means more drug approvals. Tamoxifen demand was successfully created and expanded every subsequent year thanks to ICI’s self-serving pink ribbon campaign.

But, how did tamoxifen sail past the protective blood-brain barrier of the FDA? A quick lesson in statistical contortionism shows how.

Just like chemists manipulate the properties of matter, Big Pharma manipulates studies using “checkbook science.” This allows them to pay for the design and interpretation of clinical trials. Tamoxifen studies were conveniently stopped at five years, the minimum amount of time required for cancer to develop. This successfully hid its cancer causing problem. But just like their pink campaigns, there’s more stink.

In 1992, tamoxifen evangelist Dr. Bernard Fisher, working for the National Cancer Institute (NCI), received $68 million in federal money to assess whether the drug could prevent breast cancer. In an effort to make tamoxifen appear safe and effective, Fisher failed to report falsified data and enrollment fraud to the NCI, casting further stench over the study and resulting in his termination as director. The smoke and mirrors showed that tamoxifen reduced breast cancer by 50%. In reality, it was an insignificant 1.3%, absolute difference.

Checkbook science isn’t illegal by FDA standards. It’s been going on for over 20 years. Known as the Bayh-Dole Act, U.S law was amended in 1980 to permit flagrant conflicts of interest, ones that allow the industry to design drug trials and hire experts to conjure up favorable results at will.

One Study Gets FDA Approval

Once demand was created, and checkbook science in place, the FDA only needed one study to approve tamoxifen in record time – 30 days. They did this by hiring advisors with Big Pharma financial ties to sit on its review committee. Failing to do their homework, only ten percent of the case reports from women enrolled in the tamoxifen trials were reviewed by the committee. But, most alarming to me as a chemist, it was still given a green light as a preventive cancer treatment for healthy women!

Aiming for wealth, not health, Big Pharma hit the financial bull’s eye. As the Gold-Standard for breast cancer treatment today, generic tamoxifen rakes in billions every year with few noticing its “ little cancer problem,” as it became known in our lab.

Big Pharma Pays for Drug Review

I thought I was getting paid well as a new drug chemist; I was driving a brand new PT Cruiser (which my wife hated), had $15,000 in stock options and was offered a $10,000 incentive to buy a new house. Heck, if I was really good, I would get a $4,500 dollar raise after a year, which equated to a weekly burrito at Chipotle, with guacamole (which is extra) and Mountain Dew included.

A closer look at the real drug profits however, revealed I wasn’t even making pennies on the pharmaceutical dollar and neither were the biology researchers. Drug profits were going to the pharmaceutical titans, their shareholders and to the FDA.

Rather than being funded solely by taxpayers, our drug administration is being paid by the very industry it’s supposed to regulate. This is legal—courtesy of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act. Today, the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the FDA is dependent on drug companies for nearly half of its funding.

502 Million Children Could Be Fed…

Drug lobbying is another slimy practice that greases the “FDA revolving door,” and blurs the line between the drug industry and the U.S. government. According to a report by the Center for Public Integrity, congressmen are outnumbered two to one by lobbyists for the pharmaceutical industry. And many are later put onto the government payroll and vice -versa. Total pharmaceutical lobbying in 2009 came to a whopping $267,893,947, enough to feed 502 million starving African children. Instead, it pays to grease the drug approval pipe-line via 450 lobbying organizations, 1,743 lobbyists, and 1,113 revolvers (congress and senior congressional staffers who revolve in and out of the private and public sectors).

Why Doctors can’t keep up with Safety

Doctors can’t keep up with safety and efficacy of tamoxifen or any other drugs being used today. But this hasn’t changed their prescribing habits. Medical ghost writing, the slimy practice of hiring PhD’s to crank out drug reports that hype benefits and hide negative side effects, has successfully brainwashed most physicians into thinking that “the benefits of drugs outweigh risks.”

Once completed, drug companies recruit doctor’s to put their name on the report as authors. These reports are then published in prestigious medical journals. The dangling carrots for this deceitful practice are money and prestige. Ghostwriters earn up to $20,000 per report and . doctors receive the acclaim of being published. Ultimately, patients get bad drugs disguised as good medicine resulting in carnage like the Vioxx™ body count – 55,000 people died from taking “the safest pain killer,” as it was lauded in ghost written articles.

As deplorable as medical ghostwriting sounds, it’s more common than you might think. Dr. Jeffrey Drazen, editor for the New England Journal of Medicine, insists that he can’t find drug review authors who don’t have financial ties to drug companies. The editor of the British Journal of Medicine admitted that, “We are being hoodwinked by the drug companies. The articles come in with doctors’ names on them and we often find some of them have little or no idea about what they have written.”

The Prescription Drug Leviathan

The conspiracy pays well. Annual global drug profits, if stacked in cash, would occupy two thousand “towers” of bills, each one as high as the Empire State Building. In 2009, global revenues from prescription drugs topped $837 billion, and the United States took the largest bite out of the pharmaceutical pie, consuming $300.3 billion in prescriptions. Big Pharma, with the collusion of the FDA, is now half way to its goal of marketing the entire country into drug dependence. According%

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