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Pills For Profit | A Prescription For Disaster
Breaking Free of Big Pharma Through
Natural Alternative Medicine
By Marina Rose, QDNA®
The Magnificent Human Experience™ | Epigenetics
February 01, 2015
“It’s no understatement to say that we live in an increasingly over-medicated world, and the United States in particular,
is rapidly becoming a dramatically over-medicated nation. Just take a look at the numbers--they are staggering."
Let’s face it, the hustle and bustle of modern life is evident everywhere. We live in a world of fast foods, fast cars, and fast answers. And when it comes to our health, the search for quick fix magic bullet solutions are no exception.
From “Diet Pills” that proclaim to be the fastest and easiest way to shed stubborn belly fat, to the magic “Blue Pills” that add spark and endurance back to our love life--our society is increasingly turning to pharmaceutical drugs as a quick and easy solution to just about everything.
From the utterly benign like shyness, to the utterly obscure like Restless Leg Syndrome, you name it and there is a pill for it. Big Pharma wants you to believe they have the magic pill that will solve all of your problems—in every way—and each year more and more people of all ages and incomes are finding themselves unwittingly hooked on prescription drugs.
It’s no understatement to say that we live in an increasingly over-medicated world, and the United States in particular, is rapidly becoming a dramatically over-medicated nation. Just take a look at the numbers--they are staggering.
The United States has 5% of the world’s population, yet consumes 75% of the world’s prescription drugs. Americans alone spend more than $300 billion on prescription drugs every year, and nearly – half - of all American adults have taken at least one prescription drug in the last thirty days1. Nearly a third of all Americans regularly use two or more physician prescribed drugs--and use of five or more drugs has increased from 6% to 11% in the just the last ten years alone.
American women in particular are far more likely to use prescription drugs than men, according to the a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).2 Prescription deaths have soared amongst women as a result of this, with eighteen women a day dying of prescription drug overdose in the United States, five times more than a decade earlier, a four hundred percent increase between 1999 and 2010.
One out of every five children in the United States is actively on prescription drugs, and more and more medications are now being made chewable with flavors that taste like candy to encourage their use. As a result, kids are increasing rushed to emergency rooms around the country from accidental prescription drug overdose.3 Something rarely occurring just a decade ago.
What’s more, according to a new report issued by the U.S.-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), many of the world’s most unhappy and depressed people live in the United States, where rates of antidepressant use have skyrocketed over the past decade. Suicide rates have not slumped under the onslaught of antidepressants, mood-stabilizers, anxiolytic and anti-psychotic drugs, but rather the jump in suicide rates suggests that just the opposite is true. In some cases, suicide risk skyrockets once the drug treatment begins. The latest available figures reveal that more than 10 percent of adults in the U.S. now pop pills for their depression, a direct result of pharmaceutical companies pushing these drugs as a once stop magical problem solver to gaining happiness.
Prescription drugs now also surpass motor vehicle accidents as the number one cause of accidental death in almost half of the states in the U.S. The evidence is clear, the overuse of prescription drugs not only destroys and takes lives, but it does so by earning enormous profits for Big Pharmaceutical companies in the process.
Although drugs can undoubtedly save lives, our penchant for prescriptions however means that doctors are far too often treating or masking symptoms with drugs—without fixing the root cause of the underlying health issues. Fundamentally, that’s the true difference between modern pharmaceutical based western medicine, and natural alternative holistic healthcare.
Fatal Attraction – America’s Bitter Pill
By far the worst offender of all is the legal prescription of pain medication.
Among the startling statistics, the United States now consumes 80% of the world's opioid pain medications and 99% of the world's hydrocodone (semi-synthetic opioid). Prescription pharmaceuticals have become the newest – and seemingly deadliest – gateway drug we have seen yet. Nearly a third of people aged 12 and over who used drugs "recreationally" for the first time in 2009 began by using a prescription drug non-medically.
Last year, nearly 30,000 Americans died from an prescription drug overdose, with at least half of these deaths related to legally obtained pain medications that were misused, abused, prescribed incorrectly, or simply just in the wrong person's hands.
While the use of many street drugs is on a slight decline in the U.S., abuse of prescription painkillers is growing. The CDC study showed that enough prescription painkillers were prescribed in 2010 alone to medicate – every single American adult - every four hours - for one entire month, and that a staggering 52 million people in the U.S. age 12+ had used these prescription drugs non-medically at least once in their lifetime, 6.2 million in just the past month.
Again, women demonstrate a disproportionately alarming increase in their use.
Today, prescription painkillers are a drug of choice among women, in part because women are more likely to suffer from chronic pain, the CDC study confirms. And women are more often prescribed painkillers by doctors, and for longer periods of time than men. In fact, women are 50 percent more likely than men to leave their doctor's office with a prescription in hand, even if they have the same condition as a man who visited the same doctor for treatment.
According to Foundation for a Drug-Free World, a U.S. based non-profit drug education advocacy group, among teens, prescription drugs are the most commonly used drugs next to cannabis, which is legal for medical use in many states in the U.S., and which also has a long list of scientifically proven health benefits when used medicinally. Nearly half of the teens surveyed that were abusing prescription drugs were in fact taking prescription painkillers.
So why are so many young people turning to prescription drugs to get high?
By survey, almost 50% of teens believe that taking prescription drugs is much safer than using illegal street drugs.4 Whereas heroin or cocaine use carries a stigma, prescription painkillers have an air of safety and legitimacy. People assume that if it's legal and prescribed by a doctor, it must be safe. What many people do not realize is that prescription opiates are almost indistinguishable pharmacologically from the same opiate substance found in heroin. Yet the one is an illegal Schedule I federally controlled substance in the United States, whose suppliers face severe criminal prosecution and prison, and the other is a broad array of countless entirely legal substances prescribed in the comfort of a doctor’s office every day.
Pharmaceutical PR – The Ultimate Prescription For Profit
Over-prescription is rampant, according to experts. New research finds that U.S. doctors are massively overprescribing drugs, and what’s more, they are too quick to prescribe, often giving little thought to side effects and non-drug alternatives.
Many doctors are quick to prescribe a drug, partly because they have limited time to deal with individual patients or because their patients actually request the drugs, having been bombarded with ads from the pharmaceutical industry. The United States and New Zealand are the only two countries in the world which allow direct to consumer advertising for pharmaceutical drugs. Most other countries say the ads are too misleading.
Direct-to-consumer advertising of drugs has been legal in the USA since 1985, but it skyrocketed in 1997 when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) eased up on a rule requiring companies to offer a detailed list of side-effects. Since then the industry has poured money into commercial ads, spending just under $5 billion last year alone. The enormous profits at stake are clearly undeniable.
Doctors themselves are routinely bombarded with PR blitzes from pharmaceutical companies, and the reality is that doctors are often given huge financial incentives to prescribe and give favor to certain drugs.
Case in point is OxyContin, one the most misused and addictive opioid pharmaceuticals on the market today.
Prior to the 1990s, strong opioid medications were not routinely given for miscellaneous or chronic, moderately painful conditions, but Purdue Pharma, a Stamford, Connecticut-based pharmaceutical company and the industry leader in pain medication, patented OxyContin with a 12 hour time release method for delivering its active ingredient, oxycodone. They also immediately went on a PR blitz to tout the pain killer as a miracle pill, because of the time-release element, which they claimed made it nearly impossible to abuse.
To cement the brand’s reputation among doctors, Purdue conducted more than 40 national pain-management and speaker-training conferences at luxury resorts in Florida, Arizona, and California between 1996 and 2001. They invited over 5,000 physicians, pharmacists, and nurses to these all-expenses-paid conferences, where many were then later recruited and trained for Purdue’s national speaker bureau.
Along with this, they offered free 7-30 day trials of their medication to reel consumers in, and then went on a massive multi-million dollar advertising spree to promote the drug. Not surprising, OxyContin became an instant hit amongst doctors, many of whom saw it as a wonder drug in the battle against the debilitating effects of chronic pain, and a hit amongst consumers as well, who walked into doctor’s offices to request it by name.
As the good news spread, sales of the drug mushroomed, rising from $40 million in 1996 to more than $1 billion in 2001, outstripping even Viagra, one of the world’s best selling prescription drugs. Meanwhile, Purdue’s highly strategic marketing campaign even managed to extend the use of this powerful narcotic to more benign and ordinary ailments—for which such strong narcotics had never before been prescribed.
The marketing of the drug proved so highly successful that by 2003, over half of the OxyContin prescriptions written in the United States were written by a primary care physician for patients reporting routine ailments. This easy availability lead to widespread addiction and the rampant misuse of the drug for non-medical recreational use, and resulted in a large spike in overdose related deaths in the ten years that followed its release. This caused an outcry from Drug Safety advocacy groups and forced the manufacturer to reformulate the drug to make it “safer” and harder to abuse.
Even after a barrage of criticism over its marketing and promotion, Purdue Pharma continued to fund large advertising campaigns in the form of a “public service announcements called “Partners Against Pain”, aimed at targeting consumers with virtues of the drug, guaranteeing that the very strong opioid would continue to be requested by name as prescription pain medication for even mildest of ailments.
With the public’s ever growing distrust of drug companies, a radical transformation of pharmaceutical marketing is taking place—and not at all in a good way.
“The era of Big Pharma and the marketing of the magic of a pill is gone,” says Kate Cronin, global managing director at Ogilvy CommonHealth PR, a healthcare and pharmaceutical industry advertising and marketing group. “Now, Pharma brands are about everything that surrounds a pill, including services, disease awareness, education and prevention.”
Drug makers are transitioning from pushing pills to branding themselves into our daily lives—to the point consumers could feel them getting a little too close for comfort. They’re filling their bags of marketing tricks with health and lifestyle content, cool mobile apps and educational outreach to give them a new fresh wholesome appeal.
The biggest target for this next-gen branding approach is patients dealing with the dangerous trio in the United States today—obesity, diabetes and heart disease—and there is serious ad spending going into the effort.
Big Pharma marketers laid out more than $2.7 billion USD on consumer marketing in the U.S. last year, per Nielsen, a leading global information and measurement company, provides market research, insights and data about what people watch and what people buy. Pharmaceutical total advertising spending last year on consumer and business-to-business marketing and sales hovered just over $11 billion. Now that’s a lot of money to sway public opinion. No wonder the attention of most Americans get shifted to evils of street drugs and legal pharmaceuticals continue to flourish and fly under the drug enforcement radar.
Patents & Profit - The Forgotten War On Drugs
Illegal controlled substances are highly regulated by the Drug Enforcement Agency in the United States, yet highly additive legal prescription drugs fall dangerously through the cracks. Many would say that it all amounts to one word: Money. The pharmaceutical industry makes over one trillion dollars from selling drugs—yes that’s trillion with a –T–. Most are derived from free natural plant sources, but are now protected by highly lucrative patents, which prevent the drug from being manufactured in generic form at lower costs. And the exorbitant prices for many of these patented drugs hardly reflect the current state of supply and demand, but rather the current state of patents and profits. According to the World Health Organization, medicines derived from plants play a major role in the health care of 80 percent of the world's population. Western medicine has synthesized many of these low cost or free natural medicines into synthetic versions that are then patented for sale. And because of the incredible profits at stake, there is a constant and never ending search to uncover even more pharmaceuticals within the biodiversity of the world's natural forests, putting a strain on both the environment and the culture and economies of the people who live there. Each year Big Phrama finds new and improved drugs to market to the public that will earn enormous profits, and many of these drugs offer little real cure for the patient and are laden with harmful side-effects. This has fueled a medical system that offers little in the way of healing, disease prevention and non-drug alternatives, and has become merely a system drugs, sickness and illness. Just as one drug falls out of favor, is recalled for toxic effects, or its profit producing patent is set to expire, a new and improved drug quickly appears to replace it.
Recently, a coalition of more than forty healthcare, consumer and addiction treatment groups urged the Food and Drug Administration to revoke approval of the prescription drug Zohydro, set for a 2014 spring release.
"This could be the next OxyContin," says a petition on Change.org asking the FDA to reconsider.
"In the midst of a severe drug epidemic fueled by overprescribing of opioids, the very last thing the country needs is a new, dangerous, high-dose opioid," the coalition wrote in a letter to FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg. "Too many people have already become addicted to similar opioid medications, and too many lives have been lost." Critics say Zohydro, in its current approved form, could be crushed and snorted, which addicts have done to other drugs, especially Oxycontin, to attain a faster and stronger high.
One addiction expert who signed the letter was more forthright.
"It's a whopping dose of hydrocodone packed in an easy-to-crush capsule," said Dr. Andrew Kolodny, president of the advocacy group Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing. "It will kill people as soon as it's released."
Now that’s a power statement for a legal drug to be sold as medicine.
The controversy over Zohydro, which the FDA approved last October despite its clinician advisory panel voting 11-2 against it, clearly points to the power and influence Big Pharma has on the policy of profit, which has little to do in the way of protecting the public’s health or providing heathcare. And as highly addictive and potentially deadly pharmaceuticals gain FDA approval with ease, meanwhile, low-cost natural medicinals such as Cannabis are still being criminalized, despite strong scientific studies showing their remarkable healing benefits.
More and more we are beginning to understand that marijuana is far more than a street-level ‘drug’. In fact, research shows that it’s a healing plant when it is used medicinally.
One of the latest methods of reaping its benefits is juicing raw cannabis, which allows all of the beneficial qualities of the Cannabidiols (CBD) in the plant materials to be acquired, without activating the qualities of the TCH, the psychoactive compound responsible for getting you high. A recent study conducted by the Institute of Molecular Psychiatry at the University of Bonn in Germany just discovered that the activation of the brain’s Cannabinoid system triggers the release of antioxidants that act as a cleansing mechanism. This process is known to remove damaged cells and improve the efficiency of mitochondria. Mitochondria is the energy sources that powers cells. The study was published in the Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society.8 One of the most remarkable case studies of the use of medicinal Cannabis is that of Kristen Peskuski, who was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at age 16. She also had systemic lupus, endometriosis, and a host of other conditions. In a video release to the public, Peskuski details how raw cannabis helped her get rid of a prescription drug regimen that included over forty different drugs. Also in the video, she discusses the case of a 2-year old child who was able to combat brain tumors with raw cannabis juice. This video features the work of Dr. William Courtney, MD and the Cannabis International Foundation, an organization that conducts and presents scientific studies on the Endogenous Cannabinoid System and Phytocannabinoids. CI’s special interest and research focuses on the medicinal use of fresh, raw cannabis. CI works to preserve strains with unique medicinal profiles and educate patients, health professionals, courts, and elected officials, and to ”restore safe access to cannabis worldwide in the name of public health”. “There’s a tendency to discount claims when something appears to be good for everything, but there’s a reason this is the case,” says Dr. Ethan Russo of Seattle in speaking how raw Cannabis could benefit immune, nervous, and skeletal systems. “The endogenous Cannabinoid system acts as a modulator in fine-tuning a lot of these systems, and if something is deranged biochemically in a person’s body, it may well be that a Cannabinoid system can bring things back into balance.” Undoubtedly more research demonstrating the effective use of Cannabis as a safe and powerful medicinal will become increasingly become available as the herb continues to be deregulated at the state level throughout the county.
Natural Alternative Medicine – The Art of Healing
The evidence is clear, the overuse of prescription drugs not only destroys and takes lives, but it does so by earning enormous profits for Big Pharmaceutical companies in the process.
The business of being a doctor in this country has been reduced from being a healer to being a prescriber of drugs, force fed to us by a multi-billion dollar drug business whose primary mission seems to be making a profit—a profit earned by keeping patients sick and dependent on more drugs, rather than providing true health and healing. Drugs can undoubtedly save lives, but our penchant for prescriptions means that doctors are far too often treating or masking symptoms with drugs—without fixing the root cause of the underlying health issues. Fundamentally, that’s the true difference between modern pharmaceutical based western medicine, and natural alternative holistic heathcare. However the good news is that even many traditional physicians are catching on:
“There are natural therapies available that are much safer, often more effective, and cost much less,” says Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, author of the book Real Cause, Real Cure.
What’s more, unlike pharmaceutical drugs, herbs promote an improvement in overall health when combined with a natural organic healthily diet, regular exercise and other mind-body-energy lifestyle techniques such Yoga and Meditation.
People often have a hard time believing that the simple choices that they make in their lives each day—what they eat, how they respond to stress, whether or not they smoke, how much they exercise and the quality of their relationships—can have such a powerful difference in their health and well-being, but the reality is that that these key aspects of our life truly matter. Awareness is the first step in healing. When we become more aware of how powerful our choices in diet and lifestyle are in affecting us—for better and for worse—then we can make a shift and make more improved choices in our lives. Helping others find a clear path to improved health and wellbeing was one the key principles in my decision to develop QDNA®, Quantum DNA Acceleration®.
There is an old saying, “Listen to your body when it whispers and you won’t have to let it scream.”
Whether to improve health and treat illness, or to develop the practice of living a balanced holistic healthy lifestyle, Quantum DNA Acceleration® can assist in clearing the negative effects of poor diet and nutrition and help to build a nurturing lifestyle that leads to a better, happier, more fulfilling life. Through QDNA®, Quantum DNA Acceleration® I offer a broad range of instructional programs, seminars and a complete line of organic products to support health and healthy living. I have also developed a special QDNA® program specifically for business, designed to assist in decoding, reconstructing, and recoding patterns of belief, to literally re-wire the brain for success, improving creativity, innovation, and productivity. These combined personal and professional Quantum DNA Acceleration® programs offer a unique opportunity to recondition the mind, body and spirit for far reaching and lasting results.
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Copyright© Written by Marina Rose
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Marina Rose is the founder and developer of QDNA®, Quantum DNA Acceleration®, a revolutionary new technique for quantum growth in life and business. QDNA® uses the latest cutting edge science in Neuroplasticity and DNA Reprogramming to develop plans of action that activate solutions for you and your business needs. It compounds Quantum Field principles, Positive Psychology, and Epigenetics, in a powerful new technique to assist you to achieve desired results. Accelerate your life and business now.
This article was written and appears as part of the blog series The Magnificent Human Experience™ | Explorations of Consciousness And The Human Body.
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Marina Rose, QDNA® Founder Activator, Actuator and Advisor™
Marina Rose is an alternative health pioneer who employs cutting edge techniques that sit squarely at the intersection of the most leading edge scientific research and the ancient arts of traditional mind-body-energy medicine. She is the founder and developer of QDNA®, Quantum DNA Acceleration®, a revolutionary new technique for quantum growth in life and business. She offers seminars, programs, lectures, and private sessions in QDNA® that accelerate personal and professional transformation.
Marina has been an alternative healing arts and wellness facilitator for the past twenty-one years and holds certifications in more than twenty-four healing modalities. She is a highly respected facilitator, educator and lecturer in the field, with private practice based in Venice, California. Marina is the author of numerous articles on health and wellness, and is the author of The Magnificent Human Experience: Explorations In Consciousness and The Human Body, a weekly blog dedicated to far ranging topics that bridge the worlds science, health and spirituality.
Marina Rose has clients in 60 countries and all over the United States. She is based in Los Angeles, CA and lectures and practices QDNA® in locations worldwide.
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About | Marina Rose, QDNA®
Marina strongly believes that there is nothing that cannot be healed or transformed when the mind, body and emotions are in balance. From over two decades of professional experience, Marina has developed a broad range of instructional programs, seminars and a complete line of organic products to support health and healthy living.
Marina has also developed highly customized QDNA® Business Programs designed to assist in decoding, reconstructing, and recoding patterns of belief, to literally re-wire the brain for success, improving creativity, innovation, and productivity. These combined personal and professional QDNA® programs offer a unique opportunity to recondition the mind, body and spirit for far reaching and lasting results.Read More >