Marcia Angell, M.D., formerly editor in chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, provided convincing evidence that the pharmaceutical industry has become a highly profitable marketing machine for drugs with dubious benefits for the public in “The Truth About The Drug Companies”. She notes that in 2002 the ten drug companies in the Fortune 500 made $35.9 billion in profits, $2.2 billion more than the combined profits of the other 490 companies. She notes that while those companies claim that the high costs of their products is caused by the need for expensive research, in fact the cost of their research is small in relation to expenditures for marketing and administration. Furthermore the great majority of “new” drugs are just variants of older ones. Nevertheless, by developing and marketing new drugs, the industry is an important component of America’s health care system. Dr. Angell proposes fundamental reforms of the industry, the FDA and the medical profession. She notes that these will require government action backed by strong public pressure. Since drug companies have the largest lobby in Washington and provide much support for reelection campaigns, their influence among legislators is substantial and effecting change will be difficult. But legislators need votes more than contributions. An aroused and informed public that realizes that it is not getting what it is paying for can be effective.
Most of us agree with Dr. Angell’s conclusion that the pharmaceutical industry’s power needs to be curtailed and that fundamental reforms are needed in both the governmental and professional control of medical services. However, these actions cannot be expected to have much effect on the overall yearly costs of medical services which now exceed $2 trillion. To substantially reduce costs it will be necessary to open the way for competition from suppressed medical technologies. This will require action to insure freedom of choice in medical care for patients and practitioners. Enactment of Benjamin Rush Amendments to State Constitutions will facilitate a renaissance in American medical care far less costly and of better quality than we have now.
For example, without interference from the AMA and the FDA, injections of sodium ascorbate (a form of vitamin C), a very inexpensive material, could be used to prevent, alleviate or cure a myriad of diseases ranging from colds and influenza to poliomyelitis and cancer. “Vitamin C Infectious Diseases and Toxins” by Thomas Levy, M.D. J.D. notes that Frederick Klenner, B.S., M.S., M.D. cured 60 polio patients with injections of vitamin C and published his observations in “Southern Medicine and Surgery” in July 1949. He also reported his successful cures of polio with vitamin C at a meeting of the AMA which was recorded in its Journal in 1949. It should be noted that, despite Klenner’s achievement, polio is still considered to be an incurable disease and people still die from the disease which may be acquired from polio vaccines. Twelve cases, attributed to vaccine- derived polio virus type 1, were reported in the Dominican Republic in 2001.
It will also be necessary to correct misinformation that the National Academy of Sciences and the FDA have been providing about needs for food supplements for a very long time. For example the daily requirement for vitamin C at 60 milligrams is sufficient to prevent the terminal disease scurvy but is too low to provide for the needs of a healthy person. Based on the scaled up requirement for rats, Klenner prescribed 5 to 15 grams per day for his patients. Considering the fact that goats are said to be able to produce up to 13 grams of vitamin C internally when not under stress and as much as 100 grams per day when stressed, it should be obvious that humans, unable to manufacture this substance internally, need much more than milligram amounts of it. The fact that recommended allowances for primates include much more vitamin C than 60 milligrams is also significant. It is reasonable to believe that if everyone took gram quantities of vitamin C every day, they would live healthier lives.
It is not in
our best interests to have medical care controlled by an
undercover medical monopoly. We have experienced the effects of
100 years of monopoly. But change will not be easy and it will
require the cooperation of large numbers of people. In the 1830s
American from all walks of life combined their efforts to
eliminate medical licensing laws because of the poor performance
of their physicians. They demonstrated that entrenched medical
practices can be changed. What was accomplished in the
19th century can be accomplished again in the
21st century. Work for Rush State Amendments in 2013.
JACK PHILLIPS – 2 October 2011