Manual Scientific American (April 2006)

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Ultimately, an American who was 40 years old in and an American who was 40 years old in has a similar chance of living to 80 years old today. Big Pharma, Big Bucks, and the Guise of Science Adherents of conventional medicine have consistently asserted that its methods are scientifically verified, and they have ridiculed other methods that are suggested to have therapeutic or curative effects.

In fact, conventional physicians have consistently worked to disallow competitors, even viciously attacking those in their own profession who have questioned conventional treatments or provided alternative modalities.

More recently, medical organizations simply work with insurance companies to help them determine what should and shouldn't get reimbursed, a clever way to kill competition bloodlessly. And yet, strangely enough, whatever has been in vogue in conventional medicine in one decade has been declared ineffective, dangerous and sometimes barbaric in the ensuing decades.

Surprisingly, despite this pattern in history, proponents and defenders of "scientific medicine" tend to have little or no humility, continually asserting that today's cure is truly effective The good news about conventional medicine and one of its remarkable features for which it should be honored is its history of consistently and repeatedly disproving its own treatments. The fact that only a handful of conventional drugs have survived 30 or more years is strong testament to the fact that conventional medicine is honorable enough to acknowledge its mistakes.

But then again, because drug patents only last for a certain limited period of time, there are real substantial benefits when drugs have a relatively short lifespan.

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Big Pharma can charge big money during this time-frame, and then, let go of it when it goes off-patent, at which time a new, high-priced drug is conveniently developed to replace it. Like the fashion industry, medical fashion changes with rapidity, supporting a powerful economic arms race.

The only reason these drug companies did not maintain this shocking financial advantage is that the oil companies' profits have increased considerably with the Iraq War, thus raising the non-drug companies' profits slightly higher. But then again, one would assume that the profits of of the largest companies in the world would be substantially more than just 10 companies in one commercial field.

This economic information is important, even essential, because learning how to separate the "science" of medicine from the business of medicine has never been more difficult. The combined efforts of the drug companies and the medical profession, which together may be called the "medical-industrial complex," have been wonderfully effective in convincing consumers worldwide that modern medicine is the most scientific discipline that has ever existed.

Physicians today rarely run drug companies.

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The Shocking Truth: The Scientific American Poll on Climate Change

Instead, businessmen run them. Over the past two decades the pharmaceutical industry has moved very far from its original high purpose of discovering and producing useful new drugs Now primarily a marketing machine to sell drugs of dubious benefit, this industry uses its wealth and power to co-opt every institution that might stand in its way, including the US Congress, the FDA, academic medical centers, and the medical profession itself. Levi, There is big big money to be made in drug sales, and brilliant marketing has led too many of us to ignore or excuse this bully side of medicine.

It seems to be time to stop calling them "drug companies" and call them "drug pushers. Yes, a gorilla is in the house, but anyone who refers to him as a gorilla is usually called a quack or a crank. This gorilla was not born yesterday; he has been growing for generations. A part of his self-defense propensities is to eliminate competing forces, whether the other side seeks cooperation or not.

Any competitive force is frequently and soundly attacked. The history of homeopathy shows this dark side of medicine.

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?* |

From to the early 20th century, the AMA had a consultation clause in its code of ethics that members were not allowed to consult with a medical doctor who practiced homeopathy and weren't even allowed to treat a homeopath's patients. At a time in medical history when doctors bloodlet their patients to death and regularly prescribed mercury and various caustic agents to sick people, the only action that the AMA considered reprehensible and actionable was the "crime" of consulting with a homeopath.

In fact, the entire Medical Society of New York was kicked out of the AMA in simply because this state's medical organization admitted into its membership any medical doctors who utilized homeopathic medicines, no matter what their academic credentials were. They only rejoined the AMA 25 years later Walsh, , This King Kong, however, is not a monster to everyone.

In fact, this big gorilla is wonderfully generous to executives, to large sales and marketing forces, to supportive politicians and to the media from whom he buys substantial amounts of advertising and thus, an incredible amount of positive media coverage. And this gorilla is wonderfully generous to stockholders. While it may seem inappropriate to criticize profits, it is important and appropriate to do so when profits are unbelievably excessive, when long-term efficacy hasn't stood the test of time, and when common use of more than one drug at a time is rarely if ever scientifically tested for efficacy.

Although these observations just mentioned may seem harsh and offensive to some people, they are made with the concurrent acknowledgment that most of us know someone whose life was saved or at least whose health was significantly restored by conventional medical treatments.

I myself am the son of a fabulous father who was a physician and insulin-dependent diabetic.


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Can't wait till we start moving forward rather than backward. About 4 days ago from soniashah's Twitter via Twitter Web App. I don't know, but I don't like it. I won't even mention the bit at the end where the Obamas and the filmmakers meet for a canned "discussion" at an abandoned coffee shop while cradling large mugs filled with nothing at all.


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I recognize that the storytelling in this AmericanFactory is complex and multi-layered. But the film sends the same message.

Publications by Brian Hayes

Yellow peril depictions in the 19th cent led to racist crackdowns on Asian immigration. Chinese people could not become citizens. Even if legally resident, they could not travel freely. This is why we have so many Chinese restaurants. During the midth century yellowperil scare, e. Whether by choice or not, the film recalled pop culture portrayals of Asians that date back to the midth century, when white Americans started to fear that Asian immigrants might displace them with their strange foreign culture.

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