big pharma


Too many Americans can’t afford to and simply do not–take their medicines as prescribed. That estimate is based on information from the (American!) Centers for Disease Control). I have had patients come into my office who take their medications –in both cases, for life-threatening infectious diseases — only every other day, simply because that is all they can afford. I explained to each one individually the idea of the half-life of a drug. They only stay in your body for a certain length of time, then they leave your body in waste products.  That is why taking a drug every other day is not really effective. They both gave me almost exactly the same response — It was all they could afford, and it was probably better than nothing. Read more on Big Pharma Is Capitalism Out Of Control…


I used to really enjoy going to the kind of tiny circuses that tour the small towns in rural areas.  Much of my adult life has been as a wandering gypsy doctor through such areas and it seems that many of the little towns had little to offer and went wild when the circus came to town – no matter how modest the offerings were.

Of course I had experience with the really big shows.  When I was a kid my folks took me once to the Greatest Show On Earth — Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey — where I think now the plethora of amusements in three rings is probably best suited for those who really enjoy their attention deficit disorder.
But it was in a tiny field in France by a beach on the English Channel that I saw a lovely one ring circus. I was most impressed with the lion tamer — a person of African descent, large and muscled and handsome — but I was close enough to see each time he put his head in the lion’s mouth, and he did it multiple times.

The old, indifferent lion had no teeth, but the effect was still thrilling.

The image was vivid, and I have not thought of it for many years.

I think of it when I hear talk about the Food and Drug administration (FDA).

The FDA has no teeth, and as you can tell from the interview below, is simply

Read more on FDA: A Toothless Old Lion…

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Why would a pharmaceutical manufacturer want to change a drug from prescription to over the counter (OTC)?

Well, one thing I’ve learned in my lifetime is – When the Question is “WHY?” then the answer is “MONEY.”

Prescription Drugs Go Over The CounterIn this case, the most obvious reason is more money for pharmaceutical companies.  I certainly cannot think of anything — I mean any way shape or form — that can benefit patients.

Oh, sure – in our economically-ignorant country, many people think – “Whee!  I can buy any drug I want without spending money on a doctor’s appointment and without having to get a prescription! ”

These people are prime candidates for the Darwin Awards.

Yes, believe it or not, the “RX to OTC Switch” can actually HURT patients.

Drug patents expire relatively quickly, competitors are waiting at the gates with generic equivalents, and when a drug becomes OTC, there is a chance that insurance does not cover it.

This makes insurance companies and government programs (Medicare, Medicaid/Medi-Cal, etc.) very happy.  They are so strapped for cash that even paying for a cheaper generic is a strain on the budget.  When this kind of money is involved, you can bet that lobbyists are pressuring the government to ease their restrictions so that drugs once considered risky enough to warrant a prescription so that not just anybody can have access will be available to anyone who can walk into a drug store or click on a shopping cart on the web.

Patients will have to pay for OTC meds in cash money and doctors usually do not bother prescribing an equivalent drug.  If they do not already know of an equivalent, they will probably — and generally do — just tell a patient to go buy it over the counter.

A patient who cannot afford the drug will go off it.

OK – so what’s the big deal if a cold medicine, allergy remedy or hair-restoring pill is no longer a prescription drug?

Read more on When Prescription Drugs Go Over-The-Counter…

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Doctor Woman Eating Red AppleOnce my husband found one of those funny videos that is called “Viral” because of the way it spreads across the internet like wildfire.  This one was an episode of a 1950s game show.

Like many shows of the era, it had a sponsor’s name and logo prominently displayed in every camera shot – the backdrop of the set where the panel sat and I think even the desk fronts of the panelists.  The sponsor was Raleigh cigarettes.

The show had made the rounds of the video sites because it was so hilariously biased.  The simple quiz format always yielded the same answer –

“What is the capital of North Carolina?” Read more on Infiltrating Medical School and Continuing Education…

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One of my Frequently Asked Questions is “why do you hate prescription drugs so much?”

And the answer is, I DON’T.  Not at all.  I have used, and will continue to use, prescription drugs whenever they are the best treatment for an individual.

What I DO hate is the way they are mis-used, and the way some companies push their drugs for inappropriate purposes, or in dosages that are harmful when they could be helpful in (usually lower) doses. Read more on A Remarkable Medicine And Its Champion…

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She was an administrative type, accompanying me to a meeting to which I did not particularly want to go.  I had told her about some particularly useless drugs that had been FDA approved since I don’t remember when, and she asked me the question that covered everything.

“Why doesn’t the FDA work?” Read more on Estelle On Why The FDA Is Screwed Up…

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Rarely do I see a poll or study that lines up so perfectly with what patients tell me as this study showing that plenty of women have no interest in sex. Whatever creator you believe in, with a seemingly infinite sense of humor, has given males a sexual response that sometimes looks or sounds like little more than a simple spinal cord reflex.

Although I will admit that I am sometimes a bit surprised at what the cues are, there seems to often be something unlikely that provokes the pleasure response pretty directly. Two of the strangest – and yet most common – things men tell me that are “turn-ons” are seeing a woman’s fingers with deep red fingernail polish resting on her blue-jeans leg warmers; and watching a woman bend over to fix the sink (yes – fully clothed). Read more on Lack Of Female Desire? Throw A Pill At It!…

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I used to be the darling of the pharmaceutical industry.  They gave me contracts to test their new drugs.  They hired me to travel the country and speak at meetings of medical groups. I don’t think their current opinion is quite so flattering.  I’m often asked, “Why do you hate prescription drugs? Why are you against drug companies?”  And the answer is, “I’m NOT!”  I strongly believe in using prescription drugs made by legitimate pharmaceutical companies in certain cases.  In fact, I insist on it.  If a patient who is aware of my facility in using natural treatments could do better with a prescription, that’s what I advise. If they refuse, I may decide to work with them on a second-best treatment, if it doesn’t run risk of serious illness or death. Otherwise, I tell them to find somebody else to give them natural treatments. I won’t risk their health or life.  What I oppose is the politics involved with pharmaceutical companies and some of the things they have done. Read more on Why Big Pharma Gets A Bad Reputation…

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Before you read this, I want to warn you – at any moment, I can veer off into an emotional rant.  And after you read this, you should be outraged, also.

There is a prescription form of Omega-3 fish oil being marketed by a major pharmaceutical company. It costs about seven times more than the same amount of Omega-3 fish oil you can buy as a dietary supplement.

Omega-3 HookIf I had no other reason to dislike “Big Pharma” this would suffice.  Everything I learn about pharmaceutical companies makes me think less of them. They are stealing our effective and useful natural substances without adequate science, creating patentable molecules, and making more money than any of us can imagine off human suffering and death. Read more on Fish Oil For $100 A Pill…

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I have assisted several people in changing gender. Most of them have been middle-aged. To me, it is simply a sort of birth defect.  Sometimes the chromosomal sex does not match the brain for a variety of very specific reasons, some of which we know something about, some of which we do not.
Milton Berle In Drag

Milton Berle In Drag

I am now far less involved with these folks.  Not that I do not venerate them and respect their struggle.  Rather, the condition of being a person requiring transgendering is so mainstream, that plenty of types of medical insurance pay for this.

Then again, several do not.  In fact, I had two patients in one year who worked for a major international conglomorate, and the sexual reassignment surgery was covered by their company benefits.  Let’s see if Obamacare is going to take that into consideration.

Read more on Sex Changes Are Confusing Enough When You Have Accurate Information…

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