Big Pharma — Is Suspicion Justified?

Steven Peters of is admittedly biased — the name of his website kind of tips his hand. If any doubt remains, here is a quotation about Big Pharma:

If this were a terrorist group causing death and destruction like we’ve never seen in any other time in history, the US would be bombing every last one of them out of existence.

In any given year, in U.S. hospitals, more than two million patients are afflicted by ADRs (adverse drug reactions) caused by prescribed drugs. That seems like a lot. Now, imagine how many non-hospitalized people are walking around suffering from adverse reactions to their prescriptions. We can only guess, because ambulatory patients are not kept tabs on by any central agency. Over 100,000 Americans die in a year from adverse drug reactions, a statistic that comes with a price tag of $12 billion.

Granted, people are all different, and some react differently than others to substances concocted in laboratories. Some have previously undiscovered allergies and sensitivities. Some undermine themselves by not revealing what else they are taking when the doctor asks. Many emergency-admission patients are in no condition to provide comprehensive medical histories, or have no one at their side to help.

Plenty of medications need to be titrated, or carefully measured out, until the optimal dosage is established. With so many variables, all meds are not going to work perfectly for everyone all the time. Also, a big part of the problem lies with the protocols by which pharmaceuticals are tried out on healthy people who are not taking other major meds. Peters writes,

But when these new drugs are declared “safe” and enter the drug prescription books, they are naturally going to be used by people who are on a variety of other medications and have a lot of other health problems.

In other words, drugs “generally recognized as safe” have a way of being unleashed upon the public with less than stellar results. This makes patient vulnerable to the same disadvantage as the “end user” who buys a next-generation computer. Too often, a product is released before all the bugs are worked out, and the end-users (in this analogy, the patients) are pressed into service as beta testers.

In the industry, this is known as the post-approval stage of information gathering, another phase in which medical ethics might give way to a conflict of interests. Peters calls on stats from the General Accounting Office showing that for a nine-year period (1976-85), half of all newly released drugs had “serious post-approval risks,” and actually were responsible for heart failure, respiratory arrest, anaphylaxis, seizures, blindness, birth defects, and more.

Selling drugs

Readers, please excuse a personal intrusion from the blog author. In the several orthopedics practices I worked in, the doctors were always men. The offices were often visited by reps from the pharmaceutical corporations, who almost invariably were very personable, model-level gorgeous young women. Coincidence?

Not to put too fine a point on it, drugs are prescribed for many different reasons, some of them having to do with doctors being treated to over $2 billion worth of hospitality annually, at 314,000 events per year sponsored by Big Pharma.

Next, we will discuss weight-loss drugs specifically.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “How Big Pharma Scam Patients, and Manipulate Doctors and Scientists,”, 10/08/17
Photo credit: aronbaker2 on Visualhunt/CC BY

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Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
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Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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