Comeback Rant – Pharma and Fear

Finally!! I am back with my fundas after a long long hiatus…well, 3 months and counting!

I was off to India with my family during the Easter break. Imparted a lot of ‘funda’ to my friends and relatives. My first ‘flesh and blood’ convert was my brother-in-law.  We got talking about health issues, the deceptions of modern marketing machinery, traditional food habits and medical practices.  As the number of pegs increased we moved to vedanta philosophy and self, micro-macrocosm, and the whole cosmic stuff. He is the philosophy ‘guru’.

Physically, he was not in great shape, pretty much overweight with associated issues. He has been wanting to bring about a lifestyle change for quite sometime but could not get started. These are sensitive issues and every person must realize for himself whether or not he wants to change his lifestyle. At best, I can give certain information, some reasoning, some convincing arguments and plant the seeds of change. It is like telling a smoker to quit smoking. I mean, you can tell him any number of times, but he can only quit if he decides to. Self-realization!! People talk of willpower etc, but it doesn’t mean anything without self-realization. That automatically takes care of willpower.

I returned from the trip and got really busy with my day job. Suddenly on April fools day, an email  pops up in my inbox from my B-I-L – ‘How do i get started?’, he asked me. It has been more than 2 months since he started and he is doing amazing. This is what self-realization is. He wanted to do it. I did plant the seeds during my trip but at some point HE realized that he needed to change. Something on April 1st turned that switch on for him and that was self-realization. I can’t do that for him, nor can a nagging partner or parent (except for children). His wife followed him into the new lifestyle, and together they are really happy converts!!

Since then, more enthusiastic followers within the family have enrolled themselves and I am sure they will benefit hugely as well. I can get people thinking on these lines, but they have to take the decision to improve their health and well being. It is especially important for those of us with kids to know the good from the bad because we are being tempted and tricked everyday, in every instance, into consuming extremely harmful ‘so-called healthy’ products for which the long-term consequences can be disastrous. It is important for the parents to understand the consequences and be a guiding factor for their kids.

Even though I did not post since March, I was heavily into research and reading medical journals on the go. I wanted to learn about the human physiology, how the systems in our bodies actually work, the traditions, the cultures, the centuries old philosophies of Ayurveda and Chinese Qi. A lot of questions got answered, a lot new questions came up. The search for ‘why’ never ends.

The body is the most amazing thing on planet. It is self-healing. It is super smart. It’s prime objective is to keep us alive in any which way it can. It is healing all the time to keep us ticking. It will do everything to keep you alive. Everything works in such an intricate and complex harmony that it is beyond complete scientific explanation. One book I read and continue to read is the Textbook of Medical Physiology by Hall and Guyton (a bible for medical students). You won’t believe how many times it is written that ‘we are still not sure how this mechanism takes place’!! But that’s the truth! We are groping in the dark, yet we claim to know it all. We think we know it all. HDL is good cholesterol, someone said. So we produce a drug that increases HDL. We have conquered arteriosclerosis, we claimed. We give the drug and …ooopppsss patients fall dead. There must be more to it, we realized. Yes, there is more and much more and much much more about which we have no clue!!

Pharma Ranting:

Don’t get me wrong. I have huge respect for a lot of guys in the medical community. A whole lot of doctors in our real food, natural health community are eminent people in their profession. They are doctors who practice the oath they took when they started their medical studies – ‘First do no harm’. But people will lose faith in this noble, life-saving breed if  BigPharmas continue to infiltrate and corrupt the community.  If I end up with my bones in pieces I know the guys in white coats can fix me. Great progress has been made in emergency treatments and surgeries. It is the ever widening net of so-called conditions and the management of symptoms that has flourished as a multi-trillion dollar industry and this industry only profits from people being made sick and remaining sick for the rest of their lives. It has sadly infiltrated the medical community at large. For migraines, elevated blood sugars, hypertension, stress, fatigue, depression, skin issues, weight issues,  acid reflux, IBS and a host of such chronic symptoms, your condition is managed but never cured.

The 10 largest drugs companies control over one-third of the multi-trillion dollar global pharma market, and profit margins of about 30%. Six are based in the United States and four in Europe. Companies currently spend one-third of all sales revenue on marketing their products – roughly twice what they spend on research and development.

As a result of this pressure to maintain sales, there is now,  “an inherent conflict of interest between the legitimate business goals of manufacturers and the social, medical and economic needs of providers and the public to select and use drugs in the most rational way”.- WHO

The late medical journalist Lynn Payer addressed the issue in the early 1990s in her book Disease-Mongers: How Doctors, Drug Companies, and Insurers Are Making You Feel Sick. She wrote: “Disease-mongering—trying to convince essentially well people that they are sick, or slightly sick people that they are very ill—is big business…. Disease mongering is the most insidious of the various forms that medical advertising, so-called medical education, and information and medical diagnosis can take.”

Disease mongering got rolling in 1879 with the invention of Listerine, which was originally considered a surgical antiseptic. It was named for the famous English surgeon Joseph Lister, who performed the first antiseptic surgical procedure. Soon, however, Listerine’s inventors, Dr. Joseph Lawrence and Jordan W. Lambert, were selling it in concentrated form as a floor cleaner and as a treatment for gonorrhea. In 1895 they began to market it to dentists for oral care, and in 1914 it became the first over-the-counter mouthwash marketed in the United States. By the 1920s, the Lambert Pharmacal Company, Listerine’s maker, was confident they had found a cure; now all they needed was a disease. So they made one up: “halitosis.” Before that time, halitosis was an obscure medical term that almost no one had heard of. Advertisers began to promote Listerine as a cure for this condition, which, they said, could blight anyone’s chances of succeeding in romance, marriage and work. Soon, people all over America were suffering from halitosis.


Since direct-to-consumer drug advertising debuted in 1997 in the US, pharma’s credo has been When The Medication Is Ready, The Disease (and Patients) Will Appear.

  • Drugs approved for devastating illness, such as clinical depression, are now indicated for milder conditions, such as shyness, which is now dubbed ‘social phobia’.
  • One Eli-Lilly advertisement shows a series of photographs of an uptight-looking model, and asks in the headline: “Distracted? Disorganized? Frustrated? Modern Life or Adult ADD?” The advertisement notes that adult ADD can go undiagnosed because “its symptoms are often mistaken for a stressful life.” The commercial suggests that readers get checked out by their physician, because Strattera®, the first approved medication for adult ADD, can help “you stay focused, so you can get things done at work and at home.”
  • Who knew so many people suffered from restless legs?
  • Insomnia has been a goldmine to Big Pharma. To goose the insomnia market, Pharma has created subcategories of insomnia — chronic, acute, transient, initial, delayed-onset and middle-of-the-night as well as early-morning wakening non-restful sleep.
  • Cholesterol – the mother of all deceptions- making Statins the biggest revenue generator.
  • Osteoporosis
  • and now even balding, which makes me sick (pun intended)!!

The list can go on…..

Social media and internet presence are the direct-to-consumer channels. WebMD, for example, is the voice of Pharma on the Web.

Arthur Caplan, Professor of Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA, told the popular American TV programme 60 Minutes, “If you want to stir up worry in the public, and you’ve got the advertising dollars to do it, you can turn almost anything into a disease.”

How many times have you heard statements like ‘it is a lifetime disease’, ‘unfortunately it’s your genes’, ‘it’s not serious but you have to live with it’, ‘just take the pink pill in the morning the blue pill in the afternoon, the green pill in the evening and the red pill at night and you will be fine‘!!

You will be put on life-long medication. You will be required to make regular visits for check-ups. The doctors make money, the pharmacies make money, the diagnostic centers make money.  Everybody makes money. You are the cash cow for life and in the process you get sicker and sicker.

The way forward may be in immunizing ourselves psychologically against the messages from Big Pharma that invade our lives on every hand. We have to learn to stop being suckers for pills. We have to learn to question. It is not difficult to be informed enough to ask pertinent questions. If a doctor can’t satisfactorily answer your queries, sack him. Look for another doctor who works with you. You are the one paying for the services. That’s the reality today. They are no different than a lawyer you might engage, or an insurance policy salesman.

Today, because the comforts of religion are no longer real for many people, death seems more final, resulting in a panicky rush to use anything that offers better health and increased longevity.

We have not lost faith, but we have transferred it from GOD to the medical profession.- G.B.Shaw

We must realize that our body can self heal and reverse most of the chronic conditions if we give the right message to it. The only way your body gets messages is through the food you eat. Your food talks to your genes. Your body is pleading with you to give it the right stuff. The headaches, the hypertension, the fatigue, elevated blood sugars, IBS, acid reflux etc are messages the body is giving you that you need to change whatever you are currently doing. Listen to your body. You are the doctor.

Our cells have learnt to survive over 3 billion years. It survived when there was no oxygen on planet. It evolved to adapt to oxygen and grow into the present human form. Our DNA’s evolved to live in harmony with the plant and animal kingdom. Our gut learnt to live in harmony with 100 trillion bacteria, each of which have specific roles. 3 billion years without pill-popping is not too bad !!

All we need to do is provide our super-smart, self-healing body with the natural ingredients from the plant and animal kingdom to keep us healthy.  Your body will immediately recognize and welcome a pumpkin, a blueberry and a lamb chop, but it doesn’t know how to deal with a high fructose corn syrup, butylated hydroxyanisole, brominated vegetable oil or hexane.

Our health is determined mainly not by the pills we choose to swallow, but how we choose to live our lives — the ways we eat, exercise, work, play, love and relate to others. Realizing that, we can outsmart the efforts of the disease mongerers to pathologize every moment of our existence.





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