WHY DO PHARMACEUTICAL DRUGS INJURE AND KILL SO MANY PEOPLE?
Are We the Real "Guinea-pigs"?
Drugs and other Medical Treatments Injure and Kill Millions of People:
In 2004 a team of scientists reported: "A definitive review and close reading of medical peer-review journals, and government health statistics shows that American medicine frequently causes more harm than good... The total number of iatrogenic deaths [deaths from medical treatment]... is 783,936 [people per year in the USA]. It is evident that the American medical system is the leading cause of death and injury in the United States." (Full article here)
Similarly, in 1994 a study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that modern medicine causes 180,000 deaths each year in the USA. (1) Most of these are caused by prescribed pharmaceutical drugs.
A 1998 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association stated that in 1994 in the USA, "2,216,000 hospitalized patients had serious Adverse Drug Reactions and 106,000 had fatal Adverse Drug Reactions, making these reactions between the fourth and sixth leading cause of death." (2)
In other words, modern medicine is officially considered to be a leading cause of death.
These astronomical figures, printed in a conservative medical journal, are in spite of the fact that a large number of pharmaceutical drug damages are never reported or registered.
Since 1961, the total number of "safety-tested" medical preparations marketed worldwide has risen to over 200,000. Approximately 15,000 new preparations are marketed each year, while some 12,000 are withdrawn.(3)
The United States has the greatest annual sickness-care expenditure of any nation; $912 billion in 1993 alone.(4) If money and medical treatment equals health then one would expect the United States to be the healthiest of nations. However, as of 2006 the USA ranks at only number 48 in the world for life expectancy at birth.(5)
Of course, a percentage of drug damages are due to the incorrect administration of drugs by physicians and patients. But how are harmful pharmaceutical drugs allowed onto the market in the first place, and why do we have so much faith in them? Pharmaceutical transnationals defy the intent of laws regulating safety of drugs by bribery, false advertising, unsafe manufacturing processes, smuggling and international law evasion strategies. But most of all they make dangerous drugs appear safe through the use of fraudulent and flexible 'safety-tests', the subject of this article...
Fraud in Clinical Trials - Human Tests.
Drug companies can easily arrange appropriate clinical trials by paying a researcher to produce the desired results that will assist the intended application of the drug. The incentive for researchers to fabricate data is enormous. As much as $1000 per subject is paid by American companies which enables some researchers to earn up to $1 million a year from drug research.(6) And they know all too well that if they don't produce the desired data, the loss of future work is inevitable. Unfortunately, because of secrecy, most fraud in clinical trials is unlikely to be detected.
However, cases of data-fabrication in clinical trials have been uncovered where, for example, "patients who died while on the trial were not reported to the sponsor....Dead people were listed as subjects of testing... People reported as subjects of testing were not in the hospital at the time of tests..." and where "Patient consent forms bore dates indicating they were signed by the subjects after the subjects had died."(7)
Even if data from clinical trials is not falsified, it is often of little worth, because they are not performed appropriately. Trials involve relatively small numbers of people and the subjects taking part usually do not represent those who will use the drug after its approval; so many harmful effects of a new drug appear only when it has been marketed.
Fraud in Vivisection - Animal Tests.
In 2004, the British Medical Journal published an article titled "Where is the evidence that animal research benefits humans?" It states: "the public often consider it axiomatic that animal research has contributed to the treatment of human disease, yet little evidence is available to support this view." (8) After 150 years of animal research, literally billions of animals used, billions of taxpayer dollars spent, and regular articles in the commercial media that claim animal research benefits humans, this revelation might shock you. Let's look at why one of the world's leading medical journal states "yet little evidence is available to support this view"; the view that animal research has contributed to the treatment of human disease.
The problem of inappropriate and flexible testing of drugs and chemicals, that we saw above regards clinical trials, is even more pronounced with the use of so-called animal 'models'; a practice termed vivisection. For instance, the fact that the animal is relatively healthy before the experiment means that disease and or trauma has to be induced by violent and artificial means. This bears no relation to the spontaneous ways in which humans develop illness, often through a faulty lifestyle and diet.
For example, consider the case of osteoarthritis, a human degenerative disease resulting in grotesque and painful deformities of the joints. How do researchers attempt to mimic human lameness in dogs, cats, sheep and pigs? Joints are beaten with hammer blows, injected with irritating liquids, subjected to ionising radiation and/or dislocated. It is obvious that the resulting fractures, haemorrhages, thromboses, contusions and inflammation bear no relation to human osteoarthritis, "which is a local manifestation of a generalised illness of the collagen."(9)
The fact is, if you had a new possible treatment for humans with cancer would it make sense to test it on humans who do not have cancer? No, because there are tremendous differences in metabolism which would produce very different results. The people without cancer will react very differently to the treatment than the people with cancer. It is even more absurd to think that test results from healthy members of one species, or from those with artificially induced symptoms, can be applied to another species. Drugs tested on such artificially diseased non-human animals cannot possibly yield results relevant to a spontaneous, naturally occurring human disease.
Moreover, there is no true correlation between different species. For example, arsenic kills humans but is harmless to guinea-pigs, chickens and monkeys; Digitalis which is used to lower blood pressure in humans dangerously raises the blood pressure of dogs; Penicillin kills guinea-pigs; Chloramphenicol damages the blood-producing bone marrow in humans, but in no other animal: Many common laboratory animals such as dogs, cats, rats, hamsters and mice, do not require dietary intake of vitamin C. This is because their bodies produce it of their own accord. However, if you deprive humans, guinea-pigs and some primates of dietary vitamin C they will die of scurvy.
There are enough of these species differences to fill a book.(10) In the words of former animal researcher Professor Pietro Croce, "No substance is toxic in itself, but only according to the species."(11)
Not only are there differences between species, but even individuals of the same species react differently to a substance. For example, research carried out at the University of Bremen, published in a paper titled "Problems of activity threshold in pharmacology and toxicology" found:
1. In ionising radiation -- young animals react differently from older ones. In reactions to Tranquillisers -- again, young and old animals react differently.
2. In the common method of testing pharmaceuticals and chemicals, the Lethal Dose 50% test, it was found that in the experiments carried out in the evening almost all the rats died: in those carried out in the morning all of them survived. In the tests carried out in winter, survival rates were doubled in contrast to those carried out in summer. In tests carried out on mice overcrowded together in cages, nearly all of them died, while those carried out on mice in normal conditions, all the mice survived.
The authors of this research, themselves animal researchers, concluded: "If such trifling environmental conditions bring about such widely differing and unforeseeable results, this means that animal experimentation cannot be relied upon in assessing a chemical substance and it is all the more absurd to extrapolate to problems of human health results which are intrinsically wrong."(12)
Numerous medical historians such as Hans Ruesch and Dr. Robert Sharpe, have documented that the true medical progress of the past was achieved through scientific and ethical study of the real world of natural human disease, and not from the artificial world of the experimental animal laboratory.(13) For some medical history, see these articles by Dr Beddow Bayly, by Dr Charles Bell and Hans Ruesch.
How Many Pharmaceutical Drugs Do We Really Need?
Why do drug companies rely on such unreliable and dubious methods for testing drugs? The answer is simple. If drugs were tested properly using true scientific methods, such as in vitro cultures of human cells and properly carried out human clinical trials, the vast majority of them would not be approved for marketing because their harmfulness and ineffectiveness would be all too apparent.
For instance, in 1981 the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO), published a list of a mere 26 drugs, from the 205,000 marketed drugs, that were considered "indispensable", with 9 being more indispensable than the others.(14) Other medical commissions in Chile 1972, and Sri Lanka 1978, came to similar findings, that there are not more than a few dozen drugs worth keeping. Interestingly, both governments were ousted shortly thereafter by US backed forces. They were replaced with administrations open to American trade and the products of the chemical-pharmaceutical industry.(15)
This should cause anyone who thinks that we need more drugs to reconsider their opinion. It is plain to see that inconsequential and ambiguous methods of drug-testing are essential to protect the astronomical profits of the pharmaceutical industry.
Drug Companies Make These Admissions!
If you have difficulty accepting this explanation then consider the following statement from Eli Lilly's August 1993 Prozac 20 Consumer Product Information pamphlet:
"There can be no such thing as absolute safety with prescription medicines. Individual patients sometimes react differently to the same dose of the same medicine and it is possible that some unwanted side effects will not be known until a medicine has been widely prescribed for a number of years."
If they admit that even individuals of the same species react differently to an identical product, then why test on other species?
Dr Herbert Gundersheimer, one of many doctors against vivisection, explains:
"Results from animal tests are not transferable between species and therefore cannot guarantee product safety for humans... In reality these tests do not provide protection for consumers from unsafe products, but rather are used to protect corporations from legal liability." (16)
When people are damaged by unsafe products (such as pharmaceutical drugs, industrial and household chemicals, cosmetics ...etc.) and attempt to take legal action, manufacturers can claim to have adhered to "safety" tests and are thus absolved of having consciously marketed a harmful product.
Thalidomide: A Case Example