Let's Ban Pharmaceutical Drugs Advertising
While in Canada preparing for the UCI Master's Mountain Bike World Championships, we got to see a lot of American television. What really struck us was the wall-to-wall drugs advertising. At times it was so sickening to the point where I felt I needed to see a doctor!
Along with the USA, New Zealand is one of the few countries that allow direct-to-consumer advertising of drugs. Pharmaceutical drugs sales have soared in our once healthy and almost drug-free society. We are less healthy despite the now-massive expenditure on drugs that threatens to bankrupt our health system.
We need a massive, seismic paradigm shift in how we promote and manage health.
Please take a few minutes now to watch the video below:
Here is what one viewer has to say about drugs advertising on American television:
"Do you breath air, drink water and sometimes need to poop? Then you have a serious medical condition called Naivewillbuyanythingbecausewesaidsoitis. But there is a cure. It's called Randomcrapwethrewtogether but your doctor knows it as Curescamix. Ask your doctor today. --- Curescamix may result in death like symptoms, genital herpes, cancer, death of rare animal species and invisible freckles. DO NOT USE if you breath air, drink water and sometimes need to poop. Avoid operating heavy machinery while performing sexual activities."
Hilarious but so true!
Direct-to-consumer advertising risks making the "normal" ups and downs of life, including ageing-related decline, burdensome diseases that demand treatment with powerful, expensive and side-effects-riddled patent medicines. All subsidised by you and me the long-suffering tax-payer.
The vast majority of drugs "manage" ailments. Few drugs ever address the "root causes" of ill-health and seldom do they "cure".
All drugs come with side effects that often result in the addition of more drugs which cause more problems that require more drugs. What set in is a viscous, overwhelming downwards spiral downwards that only ends with death. It is a wonderful commercial model that is catastrophic for the patient.
Bear in mind that less than 10% of drugs side-effects ever get onto an official database. Some sceptics argue that the real reporting rate is closer to 1%!
The burgeoning cost of of patent medicines and the problems they cause are draining our nation's coffers of precious funds.
Dis-empowering our general practice doctors
If I was a GP doctor and a patient came to me and said, "I think I have this condition and how about giving me this drug that I saw on television?", I would be feeling very annoyed. I would be very unhappy in my job which threatens, in its extreme, to become little more than being a mindless dispenser of drugs.
Direct-to-consumer advertising dis-empowers our best medical professionals - our GP's. We should leave the job of diagnosing real health problems and deciding what is the best treatment to the professionals - the doctors who have spent the best part of a decade learning how to do this.
The vast majority of doctors got into general practice medicine with the best of intentions. Drugs advertising is not helping them in any way. It is undermining our GP's. It is undermining you and me - their patients.
It is time to hit the red reset button to focus our health system on treating the ROOT CAUSES of ill-health
Our health system, as it is now, devotes 99% of its precious resources reacting to symptoms and the aftermath of disease. There is nothing left for true prevention. In fact, the near total dominance of our health system by Big Pharma (patent drugs), Big Medicine (over-specialisation and surgery) and Big Machinery (screening, imaging machinery etc) benefit from promoting the current disease-mongering model. For all of these powerful interests, real health promotion is not good for business.
The big money comes from ensuring that people are made ill from birth to death. Healthy people are very bad for business.
Is screening for disease really "prevention"?
Screening for prostate, breast or colon cancer, is not "prevention" - it is "early detection". Prevention is a stage much earlier. Earlier detection is great for the incumbent powers because it means the patient is then loaded onto the medical conveyor belt of more and more invasive and costly medical treatment, including surgery, drugs, radiation and so on.
If, for example, a screening test detects a "minor" abnormality the patient is given little or no advice of benefit other than to go home, "wait and see" and be booked in for another screen in a year from now. They may be given some ineffective advice about diet and told to exercise more. In other words, do nothing other than wait until it has progressed to being a disease that justifies, drugging, cutting and burning! This is crazy stuff and totally unacceptable when it is coming from a health professional.
True prevention begins with asking: "what comes before the disease?"
We know what comes before at least 80% of all diseases but these are being ignored, nor are there any available resources of significance because the need to fund more drugs, surgery and so on is sucking up the lot while screaming out for even more. It is crazy ambulance at the bottom to the cliff stuff. Prevention has been squeezed out by the big incumbent players. Actually, prevention is being progressively snuffed out through oppressive means such as censorship, legislation, ridicule and the starvation by directing 99% of funding into the disease-mongering industries.
As we spend more and more on drugs, the less healthy we are becoming as a society.
Issues that must be addressed if we are to become a healthy and vibrant society
Damp and overcrowded housing.
Depleted and sugar-laden foods.
Physical activity - lack of and excess of.
Ubiquitous caffeine use and related forms of "speed".
Smoking and vaping.
Declining access to dental services and affordability.
Toxins including food additives, treated timber, agri-chemicals, fluoridated water.
Shift work causing disturbance of biorhythms.
Vitamin D deficiency and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and rickets, the inevitable consequences of the Cancer Society's well-intentioned but misguided "Sunsmart Programme".
Stress, rushing, insufficient rest. Being worked harder for less reward.
Pressure to comply and to succeed.
Loneliness, not belonging, uncertainty and lack of purpose in life.
Overwhelmed and under-funded mental health services.
Agencies such as ACC confusing "file closure" with "rehabilitation".
Domination of Aged Care by commercial businesses that do not have incentives to invest in real healthy elder care including investing in their carers/staff.
Medicine-induced disease (drugs side-effects, surgery complications, super-bugs).
Advertising that normalises ill-health, manufacture fictitious diseases and give false hope that the cure comes from a pill.
Promoting the myth of donating money for the search for the miracle "cure" while ignoring what can be done right now to "prevent" and, therefore, do away with the need for the "cure".
Just imagine what New Zealand would be like if we took effective measures to eliminate 80% of all of the diseases that are burdening us right now! Think of the billions that will be saved. Think of the billions to be made from productivity gains, simply by being healthier and happier people!
The 20% of disease left to be treated can then be treated with the best medicine that money can buy. No longer will there be delays in treatment, the queues will be gone, the miracle drug can be purchased without hesitation. There will be no more of patients having to go begging, cap in hand, for life-saving treatment.
Suicide (as an example)
A young man is taken to hospital after attempting suicide - a desperate cry for help. He is seen by a trainee doctor, given a prescription for anxiety meds and sent home in a taxi to his lonely and dingy flat. Not even his family is notified. The next attempt is fatal.
Instead, the better action is to immediately wrap this distressed person in loving and caring support services. Dream on is you think this is going to consistently happen today!
What can you do to bring about positive change?
Lobby politicians to ban the direct-to-consumer advertising of medicines.
District Health Board elections are almost upon us again. Please talk to your candidates and share my health issues list with them. They do not have to agree with every point, but they must convince you that they understand and are really committed to addressing the root causes of ill health. If you are convinced, tell them that they have your vote. If they don't, make sure you tell them that you are voting for someone else.