Pharmaceutical Vending Machines (comic)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
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Tags: drug marketing, pharmaceuticals, Big Pharma

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Comments by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger

In a bold move designed to sell even more prescription drugs, the FDA has announced its intention to bypass doctors and allow pharmacists to prescribe certain drugs directly to consumers. The move would subject patients to prescription-strength pharmaceuticals even though they have not been examined, diagnosed with any condition or given any kind of non-drug treatment plan by the person prescribing the drugs. It is a "drugs only" approach that moves the U.S. medical system one step closer to what I call "drive-by medicine."

The FDA is justifying this move by explaining that pharmacists have the training and knowledge to provide "interventions" to patients. As the FDA stated in a Federal Registry notice: "Some groups have asserted that pharmacist interaction with the consumer could ensure safe and effective use of a drug product that otherwise might require a prescription. Because pharmacists have the training and knowledge to provide certain interventions, they may be able to ensure that patients meet the conditions for use and educate patients on appropriate use of the drug product."

What the FDA is not stating, however, is that pharmacists are remarkably ignorant about nutrition and disease prevention, and they receive absolutely no training on how to teach patients to be healthy without using pharmaceuticals. The entire training curriculum of a pharmacist is, of course, centered on treating symptoms with drugs. They're very good at what they've studied, and most pharmacists are quite intelligent and capable in their particular field. But no pharmacist is required to learn anything substantial about nutrition, superfoods, exercise, medicinal herbs, sunlight therapy, homeopathy or other safer, more natural modalities for preventing and reversing disease.

As a result, pharmacists are one-trick ponies: For every health symptom observed, they see drugs as the primary treatment option. If you only carry a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. If you only know drugs, every health concern looks like it needs a pharmaceutical.

What the drug companies really want: A pharmaceutical vending machine!

The FDA has, for many years, functioned as the marketing branch of Big Pharma. And that explains this latest move: It's a blatant attempt to bypass doctors, allowing drug companies to sell more products directly to consumers without the possibility of being discouraged by an intelligent gatekeeper (the physician).

The drug companies, you see, would prefer that the medical system worked like this:

1. Patients are educated about disease through television advertisements. (They tell you what's wrong with you! Please don't confuse this form of "education" with "marketing propaganda." The drug companies say their ads are merely educational in nature...)

2. Patients self-diagnose their own symptoms based on what they learned in the television ads.

3. Patients purchase drugs by name by asking their pharmacist for whatever they think they need. No doctor required. No medical exam necessary.

4. Patients self-medicate by taking the drugs they purchased from the pharmacy. When they run out, they purchase more.

This is the system that Big Pharma would prefer to see. It would dramatically boost drug sales while eliminating the need to spend so much money bribing and influencing doctors.

When it comes right down to it, what the drug companies really want is a pharmaceutical vending machine. Insert your life savings (or a credit card with a huge credit limit), press the button for your "disease" or condition, and it dispenses drugs along with FDA black box warnings that are ignored by everyone. Through this vending machine concept, drug companies could actually bypass both doctors and pharmacists, distributing pharmaceuticals directly to patients who have been motivated to purchase them by watching highly deceptive drug advertisements.

It's a brilliant way to greatly expand the sales of pharmaceuticals, regardless of who gets hurt in the process. But as readers of this website already know, Big Pharma has no regard whatsoever for who gets hurt as long as more drugs are sold.

What will the AMA do?

Interestingly, this move by the FDA actually pits the AMA (American Medical Association, which represents the interests of doctors) against the Food and Drug Administration. The AMA, not surprisingly, wants to keep doctors in the loop on all this, making sure doctors are the gatekeepers who decide which drugs get prescribed to which patients. Big Pharma and the FDA, on the other hand, want to bypass doctors, allowing patients to buy all the pharmaceuticals they want without needing to talk to a doctor.

This is partly why the FDA is pushing so hard to approve so many prescription drugs as over-the-counter drugs. This bypasses doctors and allows drug companies to sell prescription chemicals directly to consumers. (There's a plan at the FDA right now to convert up to fifty percent of all prescription drugs to over-the-counter drugs in the next few years!)

A clever way to get there is to shift some drugs to "behind-the-counter" status first, meaning they are essentially prescribed by a pharmacist. Once the industry becomes comfortable with that, the FDA can shift those same drugs to over-the-counter status, bypassing both doctors and pharmacists. It's a two-step plan designed to ease drugs into an over-the-counter status.

The AMA, of course, is likely to fight this move, arguing that doctors play an important role in knowing which drugs can be safely prescribed to which patients. Ignoring, for a moment, the fact that virtually all conventional M.D.s are easily influenced to prescribe whatever brand-name pharmaceuticals the drug companies want them to prescribe, I happen to agree with the AMA's stance that doctors should remain the gatekeepers here. Although I strongly disagree with the current training of doctors (which still teaches virtually nothing about nutrition or disease prevention), I do agree that doctors are the ones qualified to prescribe these drugs and monitor their safety in a patient. Pharmacists have lots of technical knowledge about physiology, biochemistry and chemical interactions, but they are not doctors, and they do not have the diagnostic training that doctors receive.

All this could put the AMA in a political fight with the FDA. Until now, the AMA and FDA have been allies, mostly because they both support Big Pharma. But with the FDA trying to take over more turf and essentially attempting to force physicians out of the loop when it comes to prescribing drugs, we could see the AMA actually standing up and arguing that pharmaceuticals are too dangerous to allow direct sales to patients. This would be a hilarious position, of course, given how strongly the AMA has defended prescription drugs in the past.

Turf wars among rival mobs

These are all just turf wars, folks. It's like watching two crooks fight over who gets to mug a little old lady first. Both the AMA and FDA, in my opinion, are extremely harmful, dishonest and unethical organizations who only seek to enhance their own power and control, regardless of who is harmed in the process. The FDA / Big Pharma gang, as I've stated many times, is operated much like an organized crime ring. (Where is the RICO Act when you really need it?)

Both the AMA and FDA are still primarily drug pushers, and neither one is willing to admit that medicinal herbs, superfoods or nutritional therapies have any ability to treat or cure any disease whatsoever. These groups are so stuck in the outdated mindset of drugs that they cannot see just how quickly they are both becoming obsolete.

The future of medicine is about using plants, sunlight, homeopathy, superfoods, living foods, mind-body medicine and other modalities that virtually no one in the conventional medical industry is willing to acknowledge. Even today, most pharmaceuticals are only used by low-IQ consumers who simply don't know any better. Those people who are educated and intelligent are increasingly ditching their medicines and shifting to natural foods, herbs, nutritional supplements and natural therapies to prevent disease and enhance health.

Drug companies can bypass doctors and pharmacists in whatever way they want. They can even set up Rx vending machines with voice interaction that claims to offer a "virtual pharmacist" to prescribe drugs! But in the end, the only people stupid enough to actually use these machines will be the same people who frequent soda pop and junk food vending machines right now: The ignorant, easily-controlled segment of the population that still somehow believes drugs are good for them and that the FDA is looking out for their best interests.

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