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Originally published March 19 2007

When pharmacists tell the truth (comic)

by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor

When it comes to pharmaceuticals, the term "side effects" is commonly used and generally understood to indicate something undesirable. But what many people don't realize is that all the effects are side effects. In other words, if you ingest a foreign chemical (a medication), it's going to produce certain biochemical effects in the body. Some of those effects are toxic and dangerous, and they're typically called "side effects." Other effects are considered "good" (like chemically suffocating the liver so it doesn't produce cholesterol) and they're called "therapeutic effects." But in reality, they're all side effects.

None of them are natural effects, and none of them are fundamentally compatible with natural human biochemistry. Although there are some exceptions, most drugs work by hijacking the body's biochemistry, not by supporting it or complementing it. Cholesterol lowering drugs, for example, work by artificially shutting off cholesterol synthesis in the liver. But cholesterol isn't the enemy here. It's actually necessary for the production of sex hormones and vitamin D, and blocking cholesterol production directly interferes with the body's own natural production of CoQ10 for cellular energy. That's why people who take statin drugs often feel exhausted, depleted and near death's door. Sure, their cholesterol number is lower. But at what cost to their health?

I find it amazing how quick consumers are to accept the damaging side effects of prescription drugs, even when those drugs offer only a slight improvement in some observable "therapeutic" effect that may not actually have any health benefit anyway. To use the same example, statin drugs really do lower the numbers representing cholesterol numbers in lab tests, but research shows that artificially lowered cholesterol saves no lives and does nothing to reduce the risk of heart attacks or strokes, especially in women. So, sure, the number is lower, but the patient is no healthier because of it!

It's sort of like taking a group of low-IQ schoolchildren with failing math scores and giving them all a 25% scoring bonus just to help them pass the tests. They may end up with higher scores, but are they really any smarter? Of course not. And people taking cholesterol drugs aren't any healthier, either.

Clever marketing gimmicks ensnare trusting consumers

The marketing of pharmaceuticals is based on exaggerating miniscule "benefits" of these patented chemicals while minimizing their enormous risks. Through fraudulent science, distorted advertising, corruption of regulators and a mainstream media happy to promote any agenda that generates repeat advertising dollars, the pharmaceutical industry is able to convince most Americans that synthetic chemicals are actually good for their health! At the same time, these consumers are taught by doctors that vitamins are dangerous, herbs are unproven and sunlight will kill you.

No wonder so many people are confused. That's the whole point of all the pro-pharma propaganda -- to confuse people into defaulting to the one authority figure they think they can trust: their doctors. So Big Pharma targets doctors with hundreds of millions of dollars in incentives, bribes and "consulting fees," and many doctors just cave in and write out prescriptions for harmful, overpriced medications that ultimate serve no purpose other than the financial enrichment of the drug companies.

The scary part is that, by and large, doctors are convinced they cannot be influenced by drug reps or patients' requests for brand-name drugs. They think they're immune to influence. But careful studies show that doctors are surprisingly gullible, and their beliefs and opinions are easily swayed by any salesperson who dangles the mantra of "evidence-based medicine" in front of their eyes. What they're never told, of course, is that the "evidence" is fictional and that doctors are really only considered glorified drug dispensing machines by pharmaceutical firms. If doctors could be legally replaced with prescription drug vending machines, drug companies would ditch the doctors in a second and start promoting the vending machines. (Don't laugh... this may be coming soon to a convenience store near you...)

What would really be funny (and honest) would be to require drug advertisements to explain all the effects of the drugs using time segments proportional to their impact on patients. A typical 30-second drug ad for a weight loss medication, for example, might spend fifteen seconds repeating DIARRHEA, ten seconds screaming about NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCIES and only five seconds mentioning actual weight loss.

Cholesterol drugs, in the same way, might spend fifteen seconds talking about FATIGUE, ten seconds explaining LOSS OF SEX DRIVE and only five seconds on LOWER CHOLESTEROL NUMBERS (that won't make you any healthier anyway).

Drug companies work hard to hide the side effects in small print so that patients and doctors won't notice them. And when one particular side effect kills enough patients to get noticed by somebody, the FDA takes to the podium and announces that one particular side effect will now appear in, "Not so small print" -- or, as they call it, a "black box warning." Notice it's not a "large red warning" but rather a tiny "black box warning." It's about the size of text on an electronic toy that proclaims, "Batteries not included."

That's about as urgent as the FDA ever gets about drug side effects warnings. Raising too much alarm, they think, might scare patients away who could "benefit" from the drugs. From the point of view of Big Pharma and the FDA, it's better for everyone to remain ignorant of dangerous side effects than to lose a few patients who might be honestly informed.

The origins of this cartoon

The idea for this cartoon came about, by the way, following a desperate trip to Walgreens trying to find some cottonballs and rubbing alcohol for acupuncture. Wandering around near the back of the store where they strategically position the pharmacy (so you have to walk through all the aisles of junk food and beverage crap that gave you the diseases that caused you to need medication in the first place), I overhead a pharmacist reading off a long list of alarming side effects to an older gentleman standing there buying his medication. The list was downright jaw-dropping. I remember thinking to myself, "How can you stand there listening to all these side effects and then eat those pills?"

Patients, apparently, no longer pay any attention to side effects. Which is just as well, since doctors and drug companies don't either. Everybody just pretends side effects don't exist, and when they become so obvious that they cannot be ignored any longer, doctors simply label the symptoms a new disease requiring yet another medication.

So, for example, if you are diagnosed with depression, you'll be given a depression drug that causes diabetes. And when your diabetes becomes so obvious that it can no longer be ignored, you'll be diagnosed as "diabetic" and given diabetes drugs. When those drugs partially destroy your liver, you'll be given drugs for liver disease. And the whole medicine game continues until your kidneys, heart and brain are transformed into medication mush.

And this will all be conducted with a great degree of apparent seriousness and scientific scrutiny by those professionals profiting from your voluntary participation. The whole system has all the trappings of real medicine -- the diplomas on the wall, the lab coats worn by doctors, the safety approval of government regulators -- and yet it is nothing more than a grand profiteering hoax that operates under the illusion of health care. The people who profit from our modern medical hoax vigorously defend the whole charade, often with impressive insistence that they are somehow helping people. Those who know better, however, are escaping the chemical confines of conventional medicine and seeking alternative or complementary health modalities.

Ultimately, conventional (western) medicine will collapse upon its own blatant failures, to be replaced by a new age of medicine where disease prevention -- not treatment -- keeps people healthy, vibrant and productive without bankrupting the nation in the process.

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