Doctors group concerned Big Pharma more worried about profits than cures.
It is with irony that in November 2015 the American Medical Association (AMA) urged a ban on direct-to-consumer advertising for prescription drugs and implantable medical devices on the basis the ads contribute to rising costs and patient demand for inappropriate treatment.
The AMA stated that Big Pharma’s revenue for advertising has risen by 30% in the last two years to $4.5 billion and that prices for pharmaceuticals climbed nearly 5% in 2015.
n essence, the AMA is saying the ads are working too well because the ads are bringing patients to the doctor, already pre-sold on the drug or treatment advertised, whether or not they have the actual disease it is intended to treat.
Apparently, the daunting lists of side effects in advertisements cause little or no concern for pre-sold patients, especially when the prescriptions are paid for by private or government insurance.
While on the surface it may seem the AMA is doing something right, in reality this attempt to curb Big Pharma’s greed may reflect the dilemma of having to serve two masters: Big Pharma and a government itching for austerity.
Government and insurance companies cannot sustain paying for astronomically priced prescriptions and treatments forever.
So-called healthcare in America costs much more than its first world counterparts because of the fact that the business model of medicine is more corporatist than socialist now that Wall Street has its hands in the profits.
How did it come to be that Big Pharma, the AMA, and the medical profession are solidly placed as monopoly holders on medicine?
In what is a long story that has been told by Eustace Mullins in Murder by Injection: The Story of the Medical Conspiracy Against America, powerful interests combined to control the medical profession and the pharmaceutical industry, resulting in what we have today: a corporatist business model where high profits are made from misery and sickness.
In the 1800s, homeopathy was popular in America. Created by Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann and based on the concept of similibus cyrentur (like cures like), homeopathy involved using natural constituents — nontoxic doses of substances that have similar energy to that causing an ailment — in concert with the immune system.
Doctors needed to spend significant time with patients, and remedies were not terribly expensive, certainly not profitable.
Contrast that with allopathic medicine, where surgery, pharmaceuticals, and other various intensive treatments are utilized to “fix” some particular aspect of the person. The patient is more machine than human in allopathy.
In an ideal world, in this writer’s opinion, both would have their place in health and medicine, as competing and sometimes complementary therapies.
However, more than 100 years ago, medicine was decided for us by powerful families such as the Rockefeller and Rothschild clans.
“The number of medical schools had increased from 90 in 1880 to 154 in 1903.
“As an official AMA history by James Gordon Burrow puts it, the ‘frightening competition’ showed a need for ‘education reform,’ i.e., cartelization… Joseph N. McCormack (secretary of the Kentucky State Board of Health) spent a decade in agitprop among the doctors of more than 2,000 cities and towns, inspiring them with such speeches as ‘The Danger to the Public From an Unorganized and Underpaid Medical Profession.’
“Like medical ethicists before and since, he denounced advertising (letting customers know services and prices in advance) and quackery (unapproved competition). Join our union, he said, and we will raise your pay. By 1910, about 70,000 doctors belonged to the AMA, an eight-fold increase over the previous decade.”
The infamous “Flexner Report” in 1910 helped solidify the allopathic control of medicine.
Mullins points out interesting facts not found in sanitized accounts such as the connection between the Flexner family, Louis Brandeis and others whose fingerprints extended to geopolitics.
Mullins claims he happened upon curious connections of powerful interests in the medical and pharmaceutical complex during his stellar research on the Federal Reserve and world politics.
The Flexner Report was a Rockefeller-funded project the goal of which was to eliminate competition and make allopathic medicine the only therapy allowed by imposing heavy requirements for medical school education.
“The Flexner program set up requirements for four years of undergraduate college, and a further four years of medical school.
“His report also set up complex requirements for the medical schools; to make medical education so elitist and expensive, and so drawn out, that most students would be prohibited from even considering a medical career.
“By the end of World War I, the number of medical schools had been reduced to a mere 50. The number of annual graduates had been reduced from 7,500 to 2,500.
“The enactment of the Flexner restrictions virtually guaranteed that the medical monopoly in the United States would result in a small group of elitist students from well-to-do families, and that this small group would be subjected to intense controls.”
Competition, not “quackery,” was damned.
In 1906 the Pure Food and Drug Act was passed as part of the “progressive” reform.
Major amendments occurred in 1938 and 1962, which are now responsible for a revolving-door relationship between Big Pharma and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that results in drug approval costs hitting $2.4 billion, according to the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development.
Tufts stated the cost was $800 million in 2001. If you wonder who could compete with that — or why anyone would invest that much money to get a natural substance “approved” — you fully understand that the high drug-approval costs are welcomed by government and industry.
Considering side effects of Big Pharma, as disclosed by pharmaceutical executive turned whistleblower John Virapen, the actual “science” behind popular drugs is sketchy.
In Virapen’s book, Side Effects: Death — Confessions of a Pharma Insider, he detailed the corruption in the pharmaceutical industry — from rank payoffs to how illnesses are made up by the pharmaceutical industry and specifically marketed to enhance sales and market shares.
The medical profession and Big Pharma were born from powerful interests that shaped the public mind and laws to conform to further their own profits. The notion that science or professionalism brought us to what we have now is bunk.
No living person has experienced a truly free market in American medicine.
From the licensure of medical professionals to FDA approval for medications and procedures, every aspect of health and medicine is the result of hyper-regulation, which virtually eliminates any meaningful choice about what therapies to use.
Many Americans pay twice — for “private” insurance (which even before Obamacare was still regulated at the state level) and Medicare, a compulsory program for allopathic therapies we may not want.
Ideally, we, as free Americans, would be able to choose from differing therapies — homeopathic, allopathic or whatever — that compete against each other in an unfettered marketplace.