Constitutional Health Network:
Drugs & Medicine

Last year we were shocked and scandalized when Turing Pharmaceuticals raised the price of one prescription drug from an already high $13.50 per pill to an unbelievable $750. The world was up in arms. The internet exploded with outrage. People were calling for the CEO’s head on a platter and it was headline news for months. Congressional hearings were even held to address the matter. But nothing happened. Absolutely nothing. No charges were filed. No effort was made to force the drugmaker to lower the price. No one got so much as a slap on the wrist. CEO Martin Shkreli was arrested—but the arrest had nothing to do with raising the drug price by 5000%. He was arrested for securities fraud, not for price-gouging. Of course we know price-gouging is nothing new when it comes to drugs. What was different about this case was the scope of it—5,000% rather than 50% or even 500%—and the sheer in-your-face audacity of the company that did it. Sure, ...

In yet another stunning show of disregard for patient safety, the FDA just approved a drug that’s been shown to make people commit suicide in clinical trials. That’s right. Suicide. Oh—and it might also make you have a fatal heart attack, stroke, or other “cardiovascular event.” These concerns were recently brought up before an FDA panel, which then decided that “the benefits of this drug outweigh the risks” and approved it anyway. What? The benefits outweigh the risk of death by your own hand? It must be a true miracle drug. So is this a new cancer treatment? An Alzheimer’s drug that actually works? A cure for diabetes? Or maybe it treats something life-threatening for which there’s no current treatment at all? Surely the benefits must be earth-shaking if they outweigh the risk of SUICIDE or death from a heart attack, right? Wrong. This drug doesn’t treat any life-threatening condition. And ...

Before I say anything else, I’d like to apologize. Last week I promised to explain how the new zika vaccine works and why it might be even worse than traditional vaccines. However, I can’t do that. Zika is going to have to take a backseat this week, because right now we have a REAL crisis on our hands. While the country was distracted by political hooey and I was distracted by things like zika and the FDA’s cave-in to Big Tobacco, something monumentally important happened. And folks, I have to confess it blind-sided me. I took my eye off the ball and I missed it. But I’m here today to remedy that. I’m talking about a Senate bill that just might become law. A law that would be a HUGE problem if you care about your health. It’s a bill that hands our food supply straight over to Monsanto and company, and flips us all the bird. But we just might be able to stop it if we all pull together and bombard our Congress critters with calls and emails ...

I hate to say it, but I think it’s time to talk about vaccines yet again. The situation just gets more ridiculous. Across the country we’re seeing more and more laws proposed that will force vaccination and track those who refuse. But even as this push gets stronger, we’re also seeing more and more evidence that the vaccine story we’ve been spoon fed all our lives just isn’t the whole truth. The Harvard mumps outbreak is a perfect example. As of right May 12, there were 59 cases of mumps at Harvard and more at surrounding schools. On the face of it this actually doesn’t sound too bad. With a student body numbering in the thousands and a vaccine that’s admittedly only about 88% effective, the surprising thing should be that there aren’t more students falling ill. At least that’s how the media is spinning it as they try to get us all on the vaccine bandwagon. And the argument would make sense except for one thing: The ...

For those who think that Congress should do something about the insane cost of prescription drugs, here’s a bit of news: Big Pharma just thumbed their nose at Congress over drug prices, and Congress sat there and took it. Big Pharma’s hooks are much too deep into both our political parties for anything to happen on a federal level. Ever. If any change comes, it’s going to be at the state level. And with Big Government’s tendency to stomp all over States’ rights, any change that does come will likely get squashed. In other words, don’t expect anything to change. Why do I say this? In part because of what happened recently when drugmaker Valeant got called on the carpet before Congress. Shkreli wasn’t the only one to raise drug prices through the stratosphere You probably remember hearing about Martin Shkreli on the news. He was the scumbag Big Pharma bigwig who raised the price of an obscure drug by 5000%—from a few ...

I hate to say "I told you so," but there it is. We haven't gotten to the point of mass vaccination yet, but give it time. The fact that we haven't is mainly because there isn't a zika vaccine ready. However, this month Congress did pass a bill laying some pretty tasty goodies on Big Pharma's plate anyway, all in the name of zika. Here's what happened: Congress passed a bill that lets the FDA include companies who are developing zika drugs in the "priority review" voucher program. This means that any company who's working on a zika drug, whether it's a vaccine, a treatment, or something else can get a voucher allowing them to get another drug fast-tracked through the system and FDA-approved faster. This might not sound like much, but these vouchers are like a golden ticket for Big Pharma. They cut the time it takes a drug to get approved by several months. This can translate into millions of dollars in the short term, and in the ...

Prescription drugs are the 4th leading cause of death in the country according to many sources. It’s a huge problem. Millions more suffer from side effects of medications, and all too often the side effects are worse than the condition the drug was intended to treat. The FDA approves an average of 24 drugs per year. Yet as a nation we’re not any healthier than we were a decade ago. We’re certainly less healthy than we were 40 years ago. 70% of adults take at least one prescription drug, and Big Pharma would like to see that number reach 100%. Big Pharma doesn't care about the side effects as long as we buy into the advertising and shell out the cash for their pills. Study results that show drugs are ineffective or even downright harmful are often hidden — even from the FDA. Drugs often aren’t tested thoroughly before they hit the market. And drug advertising often promotes minimizes huge or even life-threatening side effects. The result ...

There’s been a lot of hand-wringing the past decade about “superbugs.” These are bacteria that have become immune to all or most of the antibiotics created to kill them. It’s a growing problem, and it has multiple causes — most of which are entirely preventable. However, instead of cracking down on the practices that lead to antibiotic resistance, Big Government chooses to turn a blind eye. There’s a lot of rhetoric but no action. This is par for the course. When it comes to the public good or lining the pockets of its cronies, Big Government invariably leaves us hanging out to dry. It’s not a pretty picture but it’s not surprising either. However, you’d think that Big Pharma would be all over this impending crisis. They’re quick enough to jump on every other “public health” crisis and churn out side effect-laden pills. Why the lack of response on this one? Because there’s no money to be made in ...

“If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”   Remember those words? Nearly six years after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, they live on in infamy. They were the ultimate Big Lie, and they’re exactly what came to mind as I read about the most recent prescription drug outrage. This time Big Pharma has taken a page from Big Insurance’s playbook, and the issue is set to go all the way to the Supreme Court. It’s called a “forced switch.” Big Pharma wants a monopoly on your wallet When it comes to an industry that fakes data and fights to keep lethal drugs on the market, nothing should surprise us. And yet, the idea of the “forced switch” seems unbelievable. Here’s what happens:   New drugs are granted a patent. This means that the only one who can manufacture and market the drug is the company that created it. Patents are granted for a certain number of years, after which they ...

While it’s true that the right medications for the right conditions really can save lives, it’s equally true that Big Pharma really doesn’t give a crap about your health. Of course you already know that, but if you ever doubted for a moment, consider this: Until 2013 it was entirely legal to patent human genes. In fact, a frightening percentage of the human genome was “protected” by patents. Protected from what through? From anyone trying to study it, or develop medical treatments based on what could be learned. Big Pharma wants to own your DNA That’s right. Until only two years ago, biotech companies could take out a patent on a part of your body. The part of you which decides whether your eyes will be blue or brown. Whether you will be short or tall. The part that decides whether you will live well into old age, or develop cancer and die. As recently as 2013, a shocking 20 percent of that DNA was under patent. Not the ...

While the days of believing that doctors are all-wise and all-powerful are long gone, we still expect certain things when we walk into the doctor’s office. We assume that, first, there’s something that will help us and, second, that the doctor knows what it is. Most importantly, we assume that the doctor will be honest with us. Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily true. And while most doctors probably don’t actively lie to their patients, they’re very good at withholding information. Sometimes they do it with the best intentions, honestly believing it’s “for our own good.” Sometimes they’re just jerks. Occasionally they’re actively dishonest, and sometimes they’re as much victims of the system as we are. Whatever the reason, the fact remains doctors don’t tell us a lot of things. Here are some of the most common things they’ll never say, but probably should: “You don’t really need this ...

We deal with big challenges in the American healthcare system. On the one hand, there's the system itself. Healthcare costs are rising. Physicians are busy. Health insurance is pricey and hard to get. These factors limit our access to good healthcare, and continue to be a source of strong political debate.   On the other hand, there's us. As a nation, we are mostly overweight and mostly under-active. Many of us have serious health problems like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Sources like the New England Journal of Medicine say that over the next several years, the average American's life expectancy could go down by as much as five years. This means that for the first time in history, we are raising children who are not expected to live as long as their parents' do. Many of the diseases which lead to shorter lives are caused by our lifestyle, like what we eat and how much exercise we get.    In other words: what's making ...

The drug digoxin, commonly sold under the name Lanoxin, has been used for many years to treat heart failure because it has the ability to make the heart beat more rhythmically and stronger. It's also used to treat heart arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation. Physicians revered the medicine as one of the best treatment methods at one time, but medical professionals are now urging some patients to switch their medication.    People with AV block, sick sinus syndrome, a thyroid disorder, kidney disease or an electrolyte imbalance are already advised not to take the drug. People who have had a recent heart attack shouldn't take it either. However, researchers have found that this medication that's meant to increase a person's lifespan by preventing heart failure may actually cause a person's risk of premature death to elevate, whether they have heart failure or an irregular heartbeat.    A recent study indicated a person taking ...

As a child, I had all my shots. My parents, having lived through polio epidemics, were firm believers in vaccination. I had the standard battery of immunizations — which was a lot smaller than it is now — including the dreaded MMR shot and the oral polio vaccine. I also had the recommended number of doses of the DPT shot. DPT stands for Diphtheria, Pertussis, and Tetanus. The “D” and “P” part of the vaccine were supposed to protect us for a lifetime. Tetanus immunity has to be renewed every ten years, but having the mandated doses of diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine were supposed to keep a person safe from these diseases for the rest of their life. Well, back in 2006, decades into my “lifelong immunity,” I got pertussis. I don’t know how I got it. And I don’t seem to have passed it on to anyone else, thank God. There was no outbreak in the area either before or after my case, and to the best of ...

The Zika virus is still headline news, and the fear feeding frenzy only seems to be getting worse. Earlier this month, Florida Governor Rick Scott actually declared a state of emergency in four Florida counties. The emergency? A couple of cases of Zika had been diagnosed in each. Nine cases in total. But don't panic, Florida residents or those of you living in neighboring states. This doesn't mean that there will soon be an epidemic of birth defects in the area. Although the media keeps repeating the same scary numbers, the fact remains that so far Brazil still has a much lower incidence of microcephaly than the U.S. does. Until the current hysteria struck, Brazil reported about 200 cases each year. The U.S., on the other hand, has around 25,000. That's right. Twenty-five thousand. Thus far, in spite of the panic, Brazil has still only confirmed around 500 cases. This is extremely low for a country of this size. It strongly suggests that Brazil has been ...

I predicted it months ago. At the time the world was panicking over a heretofore little-known virus called zika. With little to no scientific evidence, “experts” were claiming that it caused horrible birth defects—even though the virus has been around forever and never caused birth defects before. Meanwhile, they were ignoring more likely causes of said birth defects such as poor nutrition and environmental pollution. Now thanks to the media frenzy “zika” is a household word. It’s still going on, of course. After the first wave of fear-mongering, the media has only needed to poke the fire once in a while to keep it blazing in the public consciousness. In the interim, the “experts” have quietly toned down the “zika causes birth defects” rhetoric. The focus has shifted slightly toward “zika causes Guillain-Barre Syndrome.” GBS, if you’ve never heard of it, is a neurological condition that can follow ...

I first wrote about the so-called “21st Century Cures Act” several months ago, after it passed the House. I said then that it should scare your pants off—that while it promised to “modernize” the drug approval process, it would really set medicine back a hundred years in many ways. At the time, the bill was meeting some opposition in the Senate and so had been broken down into several smaller bills in an effort to shove them through on the quiet. A few weeks ago this atrocious Act reared its ugly head in the Senate again. And quietly, with no fanfare, while the whole of the country was caught up in the post-election insanity that’s infected us this year, the Senate hammered several more nails in the coffin of our right to make our own medical decisions. The 21st Century Cures Act has now been passed by both houses of Congress. It only needs the President’s signature to become law. And considering that the present occupant of the White ...

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