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Ex-Pharmaceutical Chemist Brazenly Exposes Prescription Drug Industry Lies
Ex-Pharmaceutical Chemist Brazenly Exposes Prescription Drug Industry Lies
The People's Chemist Interview with Dr. Al Sears M.D.
You have full permission to forward as long as all bylines are included at bottom of interview. I have attached this as a PDF file too. Download and print. Hand out at your church - or something...
Dr. Sears: What prompted you to leave the pharmaceutical industry?
Shane: I worked for Array Biopharma designing TamoxifenTM derivatives for Eli Lilly. Because TamoxifenTM was shown to ignite higher cancer rates among women, Eli Lilly hoped to replace it by developing a new "chemical cousin." To illustrate its danger:
"Incidence of endometrial cancer (cancer of the womb lining) almost doubled for those taking the drug [TAMOXIFEN] for one to two years. Taking it over a five-year period: Cases quadrupled." - American Academy of Family Physicians
We were unsuccessful in our attempts of curbing the cancer effects of Tamoxifen. Despite its known danger, TamoxifenTM remained on the market - as the gold standard in treating cancer! A huge medical paradox, I noticed that doctors and drug ads for TamoxifenTM continually insisted that it might decrease cancer risk.
"Tamoxifen (Nolvadex) - has been officially approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help protect high-risk women from getting breast cancer. It's generally taken for five years." - Mayo Clinic
This was the exact opposite of what we and other biochemists found in the lab and reported. This paradox was the catalyst for my investigation into health myths. Ultimately, it resulted in my resignation from corporate drug making.
Dr. Sears: Did you ever feel you were misleading doctors?
Shane: As a medicinal chemist, I had zero contact with doctors. Therefore, I wasn't directly misleading doctors. Instead, drug reps, who have absolutely ZERO background in science, are the ones who have contact with medical doctors. And their only job is to mislead doctors: hype drug benefits while concealing negative side-effects. They do this by memorizing what is "spoon fed" to them by the company. It's not exactly Hollywood, but the whole charade sells lots of dangerous drugs. And because they don't have backgrounds in science, drug reps are totally unaware of their deplorable actions - for the most part.
Dr. Sears: Do drug companies sell drugs that cure disease?
Shane: No. The drug company business model is based on "sustainability." Rather than find a cause and cure, patients are simply sustained. There is not a single prescription drug that offers a "cure" to any ailment. People are becoming aware of this fact:
"...The system encourages people to get sick and then people get paid to treat them." - Dr. Matthew Fink Beth Israel, New York Times 2006
Some would argue that antibiotics cure infection. This is almost true. Antibiotics make us feel better. Inevitably though, their use leads to other infections, side effects. Therefore, in the long run, man-made antibiotics act as a growth medium for producing stronger and deadlier bacteria. This is hardly a cure, especially when Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine has successfully and inexpensively cured bacterial and viral infections for thousands of years with "adaptogens" like andrographis.
Dr. Sears: If drug companies don't design drugs to cure disease then how does drug design work?
Shane: Drug design is based on identifying measurable symptoms of a disease and making a molecule in the lab to offset those symptoms. Typically, the design of such a molecule is derived from plants or other natural sources. They are "copy-cats" of Mother Nature. Unfortunately, because they are slightly altered, they carry large amounts of risk due to fast absorption into the bloodstream and toxicity.
Curing a disease versus treating its symptoms does not make "business sense" to drug companies. Just like government can only profit from criminals, the drug industry only makes money from sick people - sick people with insurance. Consider the recent quote in The New York Times:
"Real profit [in medicine] is made not by controlling chronic diseases...but by treating their many complications." - The New York Times, 2006
This business model is extremely profitable. It enables drug companies to secure dependency among users. The profits derived from this dependency allows drug companies to pay for Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) advertising, drug trials, university research, government lobbying, and "ghost writers." Combined, these strategies are used to deceive the general public as well as medical doctors. Marketing hype always supersedes science.
Dr. Sears: What inspired you to write Health Myths Exposed (http://www.thepeopleschemist.com/foundation.html)?
To further increase profits, drug companies invent disease and subsequently, offer a solution. Herein lays the origin of deadly health myths. Such myths include, but are surely not limited to, that of high cholesterol being the culprit of heart disease, type II diabetes being incurable, high-blood pressure being a death sentence and that AIDS, rather than starvation, is killing Africans. Through "junk science" and "ghost writing," the general public and some of the world's most respected health experts have fallen victim to these myths. The end result is, "Asking the doctor if a drug is right for you."
Inventing disease is not a "far out" conspiracy theory. It is a simple matter of finding ailments that naturally occur due to poor lifestyle habits and/or aging and labeling them as a disease. Once "big-pharma" steals jurisdiction over the general public's common sense, they convince them of the necessity of their drugs.
Dr. Sears: Are we taking more prescription drugs than we used to?
Shane: Oh yes. The promotion of health myths by the drug industry has essentially lodged a pharmaceutical bullet into the heads of American's. It has totally skewed their thinking, which usually goes like this:
"I'll ignore proper nutrition, suck down diet soda, and sit my arse in a cubicle all day. I'll relinquish my health responsibility to my doctor by following his orders. Never mind drug side-effects, my expanding waist line, afternoon lethargy and the inability to exercise or make love to my spouse. To procure health I'll just eat drugs: The cholesterol and blood-pressure lowering kind. After all, my corporate drug-eating insurance plan will pay for them."
The outcome has been an exponential increase in prescription drug use. Spending on prescription drugs quadrupled between 1990 and 2002 to more than 162.4 billion. Today Americans spend $200 billion. Medical doctors in the U.S. write an average of fourteen prescriptions per person, annually! Spending is predicted to top $446 billion per year by the year 2012.
Dr. Sears: Does FDA approval mean that a drug is safe?
Shane: No. Consumers are essentially unwitting test subjects. FDA insiders have admitted this:
"The agency [the FDA] neglects safety in its rush to speed the drug-approval process because current laws and policies let the drug industry influence the FDA."
If our drugs were safe and effective then we would be much healthier as a nation. Despite the prescription drug feeding frenzy, the U.S. ranks 12 among the top 13 countries in the health of its citizens. At least eighty percent of seniors have one chronic disease and fifty percent have at least two. And JAMA estimates that one in three children born in the year 2000 will suffer from type II diabetes! They will lose an estimated 11 to 20 years from their lifespan!
Prescription drugs kill an estimated 105,000 people per year. That equates to one individual dying about every five minutes from an "approved" drug ─ almost three hundred deaths every day ─ that is, twice as many fatalities in a single year from "approved drugs" as the total number of U.S. deaths [58,000] from the Vietnam War. This does not include the 98,000 killed every year by hospital medical error. And let us no forget the 2.2 million who are injured from using prescription drugs as prescribed...
How can this be? More than half of the top FDA scientists have financial conflicts of interest with respect to the drugs that come under their scrutiny. These ties are often in the form of stock options. Such conflicts are commonly waived and hidden from the general public. Allowing these conflicts of interest is a result of lobbying by drug companies.
Lobbying has led to the passing of laws that are advantageous to drug companies and dangerous to the public. For example, in 1997, the U.S government passed the Food and Drug Modernization Act (FDAMA). This allows for a new drugs approval based on only one favorable clinical trial - despite the fact that 25 might show negative results! The results have been, and will continue to be, disastrous. VioxxTM is a great example. However, dozens more exist and are outlined in my book Health Myths Exposed. In fact, unlike VioxxTM many approved drugs that were proven to lack efficacy and be harmful still remain on the market!
Dr. Sears: What is direct-to-consumer advertising and how has it influenced medicine?
Shane: Direct -to-Consumer (DTC) advertising is relatively new and was previously illegal. It was thought by the FDA that DTC advertising would promote health awareness amongst consumers. Therefore, in an outrageous conflict of interest, the FDA granted this responsibility to the drug companies.
Supporters of DTC advertising say that it bridges the gap between doctors and patients. This is only true if DTC advertising were honest. Sadly, we find drug companies are in clear violation of the law due to making false and exaggerated claims about effectiveness and safety.
To better illustrate this, we can look to Pfizer. Pfizer falsely advertised that a condition known as rhabdomyolysis (muscle pain) occurred at a much lower rate among LipitorTM users relative to their competitor's drug. Consequently, millions of patients were prescribed LipitorTM at dosages higher than recommended in an effort to plummet cholesterol levels faster. The result was disastrous, thousands suffered unnecessarily from rhabdomyolysis.
The pain killer, OxyContinTM, is another example of false advertising. Makers of the drug, Purdue Pharma L.P., falsely advertised that the addiction rate among the opium-based drug was a mere 1%. Approved only as a "last resort" drug for cancer patients, naïve medical doctors began to prescribe the drug as a "first resort". Prescriptions for Oxycontin rose from 300,000 to nearly 6 million. At the same time, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) reported that deaths from OxyContinTM rose 400%.
Instead of bridging the gap, DTC advertising forges a belief among the general public which asserts that drugs - not lifestyle habits and nutrition - confer health and longevity. And although, in reality, medicine is only necessary for sick people in times of emergency, DTC advertising has been wildly successful in convincing people that being healthy requires a lifetime of prescription drug use. While it's true that the advertising usually mentions the potential side effects of drugs, doctors tend to discount them. They simply regurgitate the pharmaceutical-company line that "the benefits of a drug outweigh the risks." Don't believe it.
The outcome of DTC advertising: The number of people who have fallen victim to FDA approved drugs has skyrocketed. It is hard to decipher which is more dangerous, the ads or the drugs? To date, no drug company has EVER been prosecuted for false advertising. The FDA simply ignores these violations. To avoid the prescription drug trap, it is important to understand how drug ads are designed to deceive us.
Dr. Sears: Do Americans need nutritional supplements?
Shane: YES! According to the National Center for Health Statistics, only nine percent of all American adults consume enough healthy foods to reach their
minimum recommended daily intake of nutrients to assure proper health. To substantiate this we look to Johns Hopkins Medical School who published the studies of Ames and Wakimoto. These researches noted that "suboptimal nutrient intake is a widespread problem."
Harvard University professor Walter Willett collected dietary data on more than 250,000 men and women for a period of 25 years. Summing up his research findings he said "what we know is that the major causes of diseases in our country -- cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes -- are not genetic factors, as so many people believe and use as an excuse, but diets and lifestyle factors. We have documented that unhealthy diet and lifestyle account for more than 80 percent of heart disease, 90 percent of type II diabetes, and more than 70 percent of stroke and colon cancer."
Dr. Sears: How can people learn more about living healthy without prescription drugs?
Shane: Visit my personal site by clicking here and begin with The People's Chemist Foundational Health Education. The link is: http://www.thepeopleschemist.com/foundation.html
My passion is learning about insulin resistance (type II diabetes) and teaching people how to avoid and reverse it naturally. I will be writing extensively on this topic for the new publication by Agora Publishing entitled, Total Health Breakthroughs.
Thank you for this opportunity Dr. Sears. It was an honor. For anyone who is not familiar with your work, I encourage them to visit your site at http://www.alsearsmd.com/ to learn about The Doctors Heart Cure and your wildly popular nutritional supplements.
About Shane Ellison, M.Sc.
Shane "The People's Chemist" Ellison has an MS in organic chemistry and has first hand experience in drug design and synthesis. He is a two-time recipient of the prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Grant for his studies in physiology and biochemistry. Today, Shane is an internationally recognized authority on insulin resistance and type II diabetes. His dedication to natural health prompted him to write Health Myths Exposed and The Hidden Truth about Cholesterol Lowering Drugs. He is co-author of 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Health with Dr. Joseph Mercola and Dr. Julian Whitaker. A passionate speaker, Shane has been a guest lecturer at major universities and corporations such as British Petroleum and appeared in the award-winning documentary by Dr. Gary Null entitled Prescription for Disaster. Get his Secret Cures eLetter and read the controversial Stinky Sulfur Awards at www.thepeopleschemist.com and get his Foundational Health Education by visiting www.thepeopleschemist.com/foundation.html
About Al Sears, MD
Dr. Al Sears is fast becoming the nation's leading authority on longevity and heart health. Since the release of his latest book, The Doctor's Heart Cure, he has been interviewed on over two dozen nationally syndicated radio programs with an audience of millions. In just three years, Dr. Sears has published over 325 articles and 3 books in the fields of alternative medicine, anti-aging and nutritional supplementation - including a monthly subscription newsletter entitled Health Confidential for Men. His cutting edge breakthroughs and commanding knowledge of alternative medicine have been transforming the lives of his patients for over 15 years. Dr. Sears currently owns and operates a successful integrative medicine and anti-aging clinic in Wellington, Florida. He is a member of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, a diplomat of the American Board of Anti-Aging Medicine and is Board Certified in Anti-Aging Medicine. He is an avid researcher and enthusiastic lecturer in this exciting new field of medicine. For more information visit www.alsearsmd.com.
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