Big Bucks, and Bad Pharma

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The news recently has been focussing on the irrational weather systems that have been plaguing the UK, the U.S., and even the east coast of China and Indonesia, where the warm moist air from Indonesian rain-storms, has had a knock-on effect over the North Pacific, which had the effect of causing the Polar Vortex to shift from its normal location, rotating as it did around the Pole, and in fact caused the Ice and Snow Storms covering the U.S., and driving the Atlantic Jet Stream to drag more moisture laden air towards the UK’s shores, giving us the wettest winter in almost 250 years.

Of course our journalisitc boys and girls love a good visual story, especially when it affects the Home Counties, and the Fleet Street Pack can get out and about and take impressive pictures of water flooded streets, villages, hamlets and towns in the Tory Heartlands.

The left wing element can then also blame the Government for their lack of spending on maintenance. The religious nutters can blame the lack of appeasement to their particular Gods, and the Prime MInister can take the hint and look for a few photo-opportunities.

Of course the opposition can then pledge to do more, with even more money, and when the crisis is over, in the fullness of time, it will all be forgotten about by the public, and the polly’s can get back to their snout-in-the-trough ways.

Real Journalism?

So, who does the real journalistic endeavours?

Well, I recently began reading a book called “Bad Pharma” by Doctor Ben Goldacre, who has a history of writing such exposées about such things, and he tells of how the Corporate Pharmaceutical Community are skewing the results of research studies, perhaps unwittingly (we’ll say for legal reasons) such that the results appear to back up the thesis being proposed in carrying out the research work, rather than being as objective as we might hope for.

Then yesterday and today, I watched in slack-jawed astonishment as RT (Yeah – THAT Russian Channel – Russia Today – with its own news gathering services, video channel, and now in several major languages – English, Hispanic, Arabic, and of course Russian) produced a half-hour documentary that exposed how the Pharmaceutical Corporations of America, are now influencing the medical field in ways that serve their interests, rather than ours.

Big Bad Pharma?

Back in the 1960s, the pharma industry came up with Benzodiazapines, which helped boost mood, but were later prescribed for PMS. (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome)

The drugs work by selectively affecting neurons that have receptors for the neuro-transmitter Gamma AminoButyric Acid (GABA). When Benzodiazepines are introduced, the inhibiting effects of GABA are magnified. As a result, people taking these drugs experience altered mood, relaxed muscles and drowsiness

Of course, many women and their husbands or partners will recognise the symptoms, of rising tensions, and the irritability of the days before a women’s menstruation phase, and BZD as it is often called, is useful in extreme cases.

Of course with the growth of vaccinations in the 50s, 60s, and beyond, many of these corporations grew fat on the land, and they’ve been instrumental in finding new molecules to treat many of the major diseases that weren’t viral, or bacteriological in nature in the intervening years.

Of course in the 1960s, companies still had huge revenue streams from vaccines, and other similar treatments, such that “Anxiety” was seen as a minor condition, but over recent years these medical conditions have been revised in such a way as to make them treatable with pharmaceutical means, and have become huge profit streams.

Anxiety and Stress, we were told were the major cause of stomach ulcers, until in a research lab in Australia in 1994, a research student found the real culprit – a bacterium called “Helico-bacter Pylori” and it could be killed by a cocktail of anti-biotics and bismuth as is found in Pepto-Bismol – a pink coloured antacid available in most pharmacies.

What perhaps is annoying for those in the veterinary field, is that this had been known about in pigs, and was treatable over 50years prior.

Unconventional Medicine, Unconventional Results, Unconventional Costs?

Of course, I too have had recourse to use unconventional medicine for my own ailments, when I treated my own Osteo-arthritis, and by accident my Sciatica, which had plagued me for over 20years using the techniques of a naturopathic medical doctor, who previously trained as a Veterinarian from America.

However, to return to the reason for this post, this report from RT, interviewed several Physicians from France, and India, who alleged that the U.S. Pharma giants, are redefining clinical diagnosis, under slightly different names, and producing the treatments to treat these new ailments, but which, are in fact just the same molecules previously out of patent period, but using different colourings, and released under a different name.

One of these new medical conditions – PMDD, Pre-menstrual Dysmorphia Disease – You might know it as PMS…

Now you watch out girls…

Let’s be careful out there… And remember, your partner or husband loves you. Take it easy on him, he’s only a man.

Which brings me to the other conditions that came under the programme’s scrutiny which were Erectile Dysfunction, for which men were being encouraged to take their “medicine” daily, just in case, and Statins, which lower cholesterol, but for whom many of those taking it were doing all the right things to protect themselves, so all other things being equal, were putting themselves more at risk of certain side effects for little or no benefit, or worse.

On a wider note, perhaps we ought to be forcing our politicians to redress the balance of research, so that we can be sure that the research is impartial, and that the Academics are sufficiently well-funded so that we don’t end up paying unnecessarily for drugs we don’t need, for conditions that are within the bounds of normality, which would save hundreds, if not thousands of millions on the nation’s medical bills, and if the alternatives, that I am happy to use again if necessary, will cut the nation’s health bill dramatically then more power to us. But there’s an element to this story that perhaps deserves a telling for another day.

W.

 

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