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There is no doubt that a 'more pharma is better' culture lies at the heart of today's failed healthcare system

Big Pharma

(NaturalNews) Sir Richard Thompson – former president of the Royal College of Physicians, and personal doctor to the British Queen for 21 years – and five eminent colleagues, have started a campaign to raise awareness of over-medication in favor of Big Pharma.

The campaign highlights the fact that current drug treatments are often based on shaky science, and their efficiency and use are often misjudged – especially when it comes to treating the elderly.

"The time has come for a full and open public enquiry into the way evidence of the efficacy of drugs is obtained and revealed. There is real danger that some current drug treatments are much less effective than had previously been thought," Sir Richard told the U.K.'s Daily Mail.

Over-medicating is killing tens of thousands around the world

The team of six experts, led by NHS cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra, claims that all too often, patients are prescribed drugs that they don't need, or which have even been found to be useless.

According to The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), adverse side-effects from prescribed drugs have more than tripled in the U.S. in the last few years. In 2014, over-medication caused serious outcomes – such as hospitalization and life-threatening disability – for an estimated 800,000 patients, and more than 123,000 lost their lives.

According to Peter Gotzsche, Professor of Research Design and Analysis at the University of Copenhagen, prescription drugs are the third most common cause of death after heart disease and cancer. He is particularly concerned about over-prescription of psychiatric drugs such as antidepressants and dementia drugs. In the U.S. and the European Union, these drugs are responsible for causing more than half a million deaths in those aged over 65.

Manipulating science

Peter Gotzsche has made it his mission to inform the world about the dangers associated with several pharmaceutical grade drugs. It saddens him to see that the pharmaceutical industry is manipulating data in order to get their products on the shelves.

Harmful effects of certain drugs are deliberately not reported, and one has to dig deep into the science world to find this information.

"The medical profession is being bought by the pharmaceutical industry, not only in terms of the practice of medicine, but also in terms of teaching and research. The academic institutions of this country are allowing themselves to be the paid agents of the pharmaceutical industry. I think it's disgraceful," says Arnold Seymour Relman, Harvard Professor of Medicine, and Former Editor-in-Chief of the New England Medical Journal.

More money for marketing

The primary responsibility of drug companies should be the health of patients. Unfortunately, keeping the money flowing and the shareholders happy seems to be the main goal. According to Dr. Malhotra, twice as much money is being spent on marketing drugs as is spent on research and development.

Dr Malhotra said, "There is no doubt that a 'more medicine is better' culture lies at the heart of healthcare, exacerbated by financial incentives within the system to prescribe more drugs and carry out more procedures."

Elderly are most at risk

The elderly are often given a cocktail of several medicines. Side-effects are misinterpreted as signs of disease, and to treat these symptoms additional medicine is prescribed. Dr. Malhotra states that he has treated elderly patients who were given three to four different drugs to treat high blood pressure. This made them dizzy and caused falls, resulting in hip fractures or even death.

Professor Gotzsche claims that over-prescription meets the criteria for "organized crime" under U.S. law. Between 2007 and 2012, almost all the big pharmaceutical companies paid high fines for marketing drugs for off-label uses, misrepresentation of research results, and hiding data on harm.

However, these companies happily pay the fines and still make huge profits, while destroying tens of thousands of lives worldwide.

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