Originally published September 30 2009
Placebo Effect Regularly Beats Pharmaceutical Drugs
by Kim Evans
(NaturalNews) A Wired UK article just told us a dirty little secret that the pharmaceutical drug world would rather keep quiet. That fact is: drugs are having a difficult time beating the placebo effect, and increasingly so. In fact, they're finding the placebo effect is getting stronger in people, making it more difficult for drugs to show any improvement over it. The credit for the increased placebo effect has been attributed to the increase in consumer advertising, which makes many consumers "believe" more in the drugs and their effects.
Because the placebo effect is getting stronger, many widely distributed drugs would have had a hard time getting approval to begin with, if they were tested against today's placebo effect. Many drugs, notably Prozac, have also been shown to falter when compared to placebo - after they're already on the market.
A Saatchi & Saatchi advertising executive explains the key to producing a good pharmaceutical ad: it's in making the association between the drug and other aspects of life that promote peace of mind, like playing with your kids or reading a good book.
It's Madison Avenue type stuff, designed to play on your emotions and specifically, to boost sales. These messages appear to be working because many people keep calling on doctors for more drugs, which is the drug company's number one goal. But, interestingly, the same mechanism also seems to be messing up the new drug approval process for drug companies.
Wired tells us, "The fact that an increasing number of medications are unable to beat sugar pills has thrown the industry into crisis" and that "half of all drugs that fail in late-stage trials drop out because of their inability to beat sugar pills." Eli Lilly's next-generation antidepressants haven't been doing better than a placebo in seven out of ten trials. It wasn't long ago that Merck withdrew its "highly anticipated medical breakthrough" antidepressant for the same reason; it didn't beat sugar pills.
It's interesting because placebo pills are often sugar pills, and sugar is known to depress the immune system for hours after it's taken. So, in truth, drug companies are having a difficult time competing against an immune system depressant.
William Potter, psychiatrist turned Eli Lilly drug developer, found himself baffled by the evidence that drugs he'd long been prescribing were now failing against placebos. So, he started digging around in Eli Lilly's trial database, a database that included trials the company didn't make public and preferred to keep quiet.
Inside that database, Potter found there were tremendous differences in the results of drug trials, based on things like the size and color of the pills, and even where in the world the trial was located.
For example, blue tranquilizer pills have better effects than red pills, even with the same stuff inside. This is the case in all but Italian men, which with whom the color blue is associated with their national football team. And Valium often beats the placebo in France and Belgium, but regularly fails in the U.S.
Other research has found that patients do better with a caring doctor who takes time with them, compared to a non-caring doctor who doesn't bother with communication, even if they are both given the same placebo.
These random factors can sway drug trials one way or the other, yet drug companies aren't required to submit for regulatory review all of the tests they run on a particular drug. They can submit just the ones they do well in and keep the ones that they fail to themselves, even if the factors for "doing well" are as esoteric (and non-scientific) as the color of the pill given, the branding of the pill, the price of the pill, or which country the trial was held.
Fabrizio Benedetti studied the placebo effect on his own, because funding couldn't be found to study something the drug industry considers to be getting in the way of profits.
Building on previous research, Benedetti found that when someone is given a pill, the brain expects change to happen. Based on that expectation, the brain often then starts producing its own pain-relieving medicine, which can reduce pain and even regulate heart and respiratory functionality.
Instead of working to understand how the body can heal itself, drug companies see this, the placebo effect, as a nuisance. In fact, these days, daily doses of immune-depressing sugar pills might cause bigger problems for drug companies than their direct competitors do.
It'd be curious to see what would happen if the sugar pills were replaced with a whole foods diet, or supplementation with placebo herbs like cat's claw, garlic, or other known immune system enhancers. Perhaps, this should become the standard for the testing of pharmaceutical drugs, as testing against substances that are known to depress the immune system isn't really a level playing field, even if the drug companies are routinely failing.
Of course, if this were to happen, far fewer drugs would pass the already flimsy approval requirements that allow for the cherry picking of data and hiding of negative results. And this isn't something the drug industry wants.
About the authorKim Evans is a natural health writer and author of Cleaning Up! The Ultimate Body Cleanse. Cleaning Up! offers deep cleansing and using methods in this book, people have gotten rid of dozens of different types of health problems, as well as just losing excess weight, thinking more clearly, and feeling better.
Kim's next book chronicles events in her life that happen to match patterns in the Bible. She's also found three places in the Bible that tell us its about these patterns and even asking you to match them.
Here's a little from the upcoming book...
In Isaiah 22:20, it says, "And it must occur in that day that I will call my servant, namely Eliakim." But, because these prophecies are cryptic and they aren't meant to be understood until they are understood, it's only the last three letters.
A few lines later, it says, "From the land of Kittim it has been revealed to them."
Here, you just take out any three middle letters, and again, it's the name of the person bringing you this message, or the sacred secret of the prophecy. Actually, if you take those two passages, Kim is about the only name you can get from both of them.
In Numbers 1:1 – 1:18, it's talking about "the family" and mentions Pagiel. It also twice mentions February 1st, (Kim's birthday) and then says that the youngest is 20 years old. Kim's little sister Paige is currently 20 years old.
In Chronicles 1 11:20 it mentions the brother of Joab and then in the same sentence uses the word brandishing. Kim's middle name is Jo and her older sister's name is Brandi. There are other patterns to her sisters too but these sort of mention them by name.
Of course, it helps if you know that there is a magical spiritual reality available that comes deep cleansing and often major dietary upgrades. It's also why Jesus was teaching the same thing, if you find his teachings in the Essene Gospel of Peace. In this text, he even says things like, "You'll never see the father unless you clean your colon." But, this is paraphrased...
In the Bible Jesus says things more like, happy are those who wash their robes, as they can enter the tree of life. The tree of life is elsewhere explained as God's paradise. He also said, first clean the inside of the cup and then the outside will also be clean.
Kim's book Cleaning Up! is here http://www.cleaningupcleanse.com. You can also preorder The Sacred Prophecies Have Been Fulfilled
here. It shouldn't be long.
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