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Originally published October 4 2004

Vioxx only the beginning; antidepressants and statin drugs are medication timebombs

by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor

There's a much bigger story than you might think about the recent hoo-ha concerning Vioxx being pulled from the market. It's not just about Vioxx or Merck, the drug's manufacturer. Virtually all prescription drugs that are heavily marketed by pharmaceutical companies today are harmful to human physiology. Every drug has unintended side effects, and almost no drugs undergo thorough testing. This is one of the great misunderstood points about modern medicine -- people think that the FDA approves drugs only after they have been adequately tested on large numbers of people for several years. They think that drugs must be "proven" safe before the FDA will approve them. But this is not the case at all; in fact, the FDA is increasingly approving drugs after very short trials. I've seen drugs approved after 12 weeks of testing on a couple hundred people. That's hardly the threshold of credibility that should be required of prescription drugs before they are unleashed on the public and marketed to tens of millions of people along with instructions that tell people to be taking these for life.

That's one of the big scams in the pharmaceutical industry -- these drugs are tested on a few hundred people (or sometimes only a few dozen people) for very short durations, such as a couple of months or weeks, and then they are approved by the FDA on fast track programs and heavily marketed to the general public with instructions that they should be used for a lifetime. Vioxx, it turns out, was a sleeping giant of a problem. It was a hidden landmine that people were taking on a daily basis, thinking it was doing them some good. But the real risk to Vioxx only became apparent after people were taking it for a period of years.

Well, the question remains -- what other prescription drugs have the same problems that are only going to become apparent years later? I can give you the answer to two of those right now, and that is antidepressant drugs and statin drugs. On the antidepressant drugs front, the evidence is now starting to emerge. We're finding that drug companies distorted clinical trials, withheld information from the FDA, and then suppressed negative studies that would have shown quite clearly the correlation between antidepressants and violent behavior / suicides.

In contrast, there is very little talk about statin drugs and the hidden dangers they pose to human health. We have tens of millions of people now either taking statin drugs or considering taking them in order to lower their LDL cholesterol, based on advice from their doctors. For their part, doctors and physicians are heavily hyping up statin drugs and claiming that nearly everyone should be taking these for life because "they're so good for you." There's even been talk of dripping statin drugs into the water supply -- an idea that is so outlandish as to be truly bizarre, even for Big Pharma.

People who take statin drugs today are going to learn something quite interesting five or ten years from now. What they're going to learn is what people who have been taking Vioxx are learning today, which is that these drugs are not adequately tested, that there are severe side effects, and that a person's total health is actually reduced when they take prescription drugs.

Let's face it -- drug companies sell the promise of health, longevity, and cures for diseases. They use imagery that makes you think you might be healthy by taking their drugs. They spend billions of dollars on promotion to convince people that their lives will be happier and healthier if they would only purchase these pills and take them on a regular basis. They promise all of this, but they deliver none of it. In contrast, what they actually deliver is liver toxicity, brain confusion, birth defects, imbalanced physiology, and a chain reaction of biological side effects that are only now beginning to surface in the scientific community.

Patent medicines are toxic chemicals that are not suitable for human consumption. And the more heavily marketed a prescription drug is, the worse it ends up being for you. What we need to do as a society is learn from these mistakes. It's time to take a much closer look at the highly corrupt relationship between the FDA and pharmaceutical companies. It's time to re-examine the drug approval process and demand a much higher standard of safety. It's time to hold pharmaceutical companies financially accountable for the death and the harm they cause to tens of millions of customers who consume their products and who suffer the health consequences as a result.

It's time to stop pushing drugs onto consumers as something they should be taking for a lifetime, and start reverting back to the only justifiable role of prescription drugs that a society should allow: the temporary, emergency use of them to balance acute metabolic or biological disorders to give the patient enough time to make lifestyle changes that could bring their health back into balance. And finally, it's also time to ban all direct-to-consumer advertising by pharmaceutical companies. These ads, which are plastered across television stations, billboards, and seem to dominate magazines and newspapers these days, do nothing but unduly influence customers, causing them to request overpriced, brand name prescription drugs from their doctors, even when they have no clue whatsoever what the drugs do for them. Direct-to-consumer advertising is partly responsible for this current Vioxx mess, and it is something that should be outlawed in our nation in order to protect the health of the public.

Let's get serious about this. Patients don't have the training to determine whether they should be taking certain prescription drugs -- this is a decision that doctors should be making. So why are pharmaceutical companies allowed to advertise directly to the general public in the first place? The kind of system we should have in place is a system where all drug trial results are publicly posted in an open-source database, and then where doctors can have free and open access to that database to decide on their own what drugs might be useful in certain limited situations. Virtually all pharmaceutical marketing, advertising, and public relations should be outlawed, including the pharmaceutical influence in medical schools and drug rep visits to doctor's offices.

Until we are willing to step up and put a limit on the influence and reach of the pharmaceutical industry, we as a nation are going to continue to collide with results like we're seeing here with Vioxx. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. The increase in heart attack and strokes from taking Vioxx was rather small, but there are no doubt other prescription drugs that have far more dangerous side effects, and I believe that includes statin drugs which will someday be the source of a major class-action lawsuit against Big Pharma.

As an end user, what can you do to protect yourself from the hidden, unknown side effects of prescription drugs? The answer is simple: don't work with any doctor who uses drugs as a first resort. Find yourself a naturopathic physician, and do everything you can in terms of changing your lifestyle, engaging in physical exercise, getting natural sunshine, and pursuing a highly nutritious diet in order to enhance your health and prevent disease so that you don't need prescription drugs in the first place.

Remember, the human body has a blueprint for health. All you need to do is provide it with the building blocks it needs and engage in the kinds of activity for which it was designed. Your body can achieve health on its own, without chemical additives in the form of prescription drugs. In fact, the minute you start taking a prescription drug, your health begins to decline, and it is very difficult to reverse.

By the way, for those suffering from arthritis and inflammation, here are two simple things you can do to reduce that inflammation. Number one, drink lots of water, because often inflammation is a result of a state of chronic dehydration. And number two, avoid drinking cow's milk, because dairy products actually promote stagnation -- and to some degree, various allergic reactions throughout the body which may be misdiagnosed as arthritis.

Also, be sure to get plenty of vitamin D, and the best way to do that is to get natural sunlight on your skin on a regular basis. Dr. Colick, author of the UV Advantage, recommends that people with fair skin get 5-10 minutes a day, 3 days a week in order to get adequate vitamin D into their diet. As he explains it, many people who suffer from aches and arthritis are actually suffering from nothing more complicated than a chronic vitamin D deficiency, because they aren't getting sunlight and they aren't getting vitamin D in their diet.

So, if you do these three things -- avoiding cow's milk and dairy products, drinking lots of water each day, and getting vitamin D into your diet through exposure to natural sunlight or by taking cod liver oil as a nutritional supplement -- you will find that most of your aches and pains are fading away in the first place.

Bottom line is, people don't need Vioxx. What they need is an education about what really works, not only to reverse the symptoms of arthritis, but to engage in a healthy lifestyle that prevents chronic disease in the long run.


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