Monday, 23 April 2018

What has gone wrong with conventional medicine? How can the continuous NHS Crisis be explained?

What has gone wrong with the NHS! 
Why are we getting sicker individually, and as a nation? 
Why are we suffering from increased levels of chronic disease? 
And why do we face a continual resource and funding crisis?

Regular readers of my blog will know my answer to this question. The NHS is dominated by conventional medicine, itself dominated by the pharmaceutical industry, its drugs and vaccines, which are not only ineffective, but cause more sickness and disease through their side effects, adverse drug reactions. In other words, conventional medical treatment is actually causing chronic disease at epidemic levels.

However, throughout the world the conventional medical establishment goes out of its way to deny this. Actually they do not have to 'deny' anything because their is a deafening silence from doctors, governments, and our 'free' press about this possibility. Everyone comes up with other reasons, inadequate reasons that do not, and cannot explain medical failure. The failure of the medical system that dominates health care is never spoken!

The NHS was established in 1948, its aim to provide the best healthcare for everyone in Britain. The same can be said for many other national health systems set up in other countries, most of them dominated by conventional medicine in much the same way.

Everywhere, not just Britain, the excuses for the bankruptingly high costs of medical treatment, the minimal effectiveness of the treatment provided, and the failure to cope with the ever-increased healthcare demands, is the same. Recently I found these eight explanations for the ongoing failure of the NHS in Britain, although I regret to say that I have lost the original source. None of them, singly or taken together, are adequate to explain what is going wrong with our drug-dominated health services.

  • People’s expectations of the service has changed. Growth in demand for healthcare services and treatments overall as people’s expectations of the healthcare services changes

The implication of this explanation is that patient expectations have risen. Yet the expectations in 1948 were high. It was thought then that if people were provided with "the best healthcare available" the cost of the service would actually reduce over time. High expectations indeed! 

So is this an adequate explanation? If it is the fault lies with conventional medical establishment, at least in part. Barely a week goes by without some declaration being made about a new 'wonder' drug, a new 'miracle' cure, a treatment that will 'transform' our experience of one disease or another. Yet all that has happened over the 70 history of the NHS is that almost every chronic disease you wish to mention has grown to unprecedented, epidemic levels!

And the treatments offered have become ever more extreme. Conventional treatment, based on pharmaceutical drugs, cannot deal effectively with joint pain, the drugs used are toxic, so instead of treating a condition, the limb itself ultimately has to be replaced. Limb replacements operations are wonderful technical achievements, but they are necessary only because of medical failure. Similarly, conventional medicine cannot deal with progressive organ failure, so ultimately we now rely on surgeons to get rid of our diseased organs, and replace them with another. Again, brilliant technical achievements, each and every one, but based on medical failure.

So yes, expectations have risen. There are many more examples. Patients are offered, and then demand more of these kind of treatments, at enormous cost to the NHS. But is it good health care, based on an effective medical system?

  • The population of the UK has grown by 5.7 million since 2004.

In 1948, the population of the UK was just over 50 million. In 2004 it was just over 59 million. In 2016 it was about 63.5 million. So, does a 30% rise in population over 70 years explain the exponential growth in NHS expenditure? This growth, averaging about 4% annually, can be seen in this Nuffield Trust webpage, both in terms of expenditure, and proportion of national income. Yet despite large annual increased spending on the NHS, it continually fails to cope with the increased levels of sickness and disease it faces.

  • An ageing population is placing additional demands on services.

This reason is regularly cited by conventional medical spokespersons to explain the reason for NHS failures. I have blogged before about the NHS trying to place the blame for its constant state of crisis on older people. Increased levels of sickness are not confined to older people. And diseases that were once associated with old age, like cancer and dementia, are now affecting much younger people, including children.

  • As the population of the UK has grown,  demand for GP services has increased. Often resulting in long waiting times for patients to see their GP, despite GP numbers increasing by 33% since 2004.

This is a description of the crisis, not an explanation for the crisis!

  • Lack of patient engagement.

I am not sure why this should be an explanation for the continual crisis in NHS funding and performance. I suspect that conventional medicine gains the level of patient engagement that it asks for. Certainly, most alternative medical therapies ask for much more because treatment is considered to be a joint enterprise. Conventional doctors routinely rely on medical testing to diagnose and treat illness, tests that do not require patient engagement.

  • More and more people have become reliant on prescription drugs for a 'quick fix'.

This is certainly true, not least because for decades the conventional medical establishment has implied that good health emanates from a bottle of pills, 'wonder' drugs, and 'miracle' cures.

  • Too many people are relying on the NHS for self-treatable conditions. We no longer believe or understand that often simple changes to diet and lifestyle can have a positive impact on our health and help us take control of our own health.

Good health has always been largely in our own hands, and this is recognised by all alternative medical therapies. It has been the arrogance of conventional medicine alone that has taught people to believe that doctors can cure ill-health. Now, when most of the pills are not working, and/or they are known to be harmful to our health, this understanding is returning - and the medical establishment wants to blame patients!

  • Rising levels of complex chronic diseases and conditions that require long-term management of chronic disease

The rising levels of chronic disease and conditions is the main symptom of conventional medical failure. At least this reason recognises that there has been a significant rise in chronic disease throughout the years of conventional medicine's domination of health care services. 

The tragedy of presenting this as one of the reasons for the continuous failure of the NHS is its failure to recognise that the rise of chronic disease has been caused by conventional medicine, and in particular by the pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines, it has championed. By denying this association the conventional medical establishment abandons any hope, and chance of putting the situation right.

Making these lame excuses for medical failure prevents the conventional medical establishment from investigating and understanding the real reason for medical failure. 

So conventional medicine can, and will never learn! 

Ultimately, conventional medicine is doomed to failure, its only option to continue making demands for more resources, more money, more of everything - for more of the same treatments that have been making us sicker for over 70 years.

It's us OLD PEOPLE who are ruining the NHS! We should all be ashamed of ourselves for being so sick!

The NHS is in crisis. It always needs more resources. And when asked why it cannot manage, why every part of the NHS is failing to cope with patient demand, we are told that it is because of an ageing population. So, all you old people, it is YOU who are to blame! Or are we?

Old People Get Cancer
Yes, I can remember the time when cancer was considered to be a disease of old age. But no longer. Young children now get cancers of all kinds and descriptions. So do adults. It has been reported, for example, that 'young onset' colon cancer has quadrupled in the last 20 years, and in this Natural News article the prediction for the future is worse.

               "These numbers are only expected to get worse; calculations in a 2014 study show colon cancer cases rising by a frightening 90 percent among those aged 20 to 34 by 2030."

Old People get Dementia
Dementia, in all its guises, has been increasing rapidly for generations, and this is another major reason for conventional medicine demanding more and more resources. Yet it is also recognised that this disease is also affecting younger people now, to the extent that it has been described as 'the silent epidemic'. Alzheimers Research UK states that ever-increasing numbers of people, in their 40's, 50's and 60's, who are now contracting 'early onset' dementia.

               "Although often thought of as a disease of older people, around 4% of people with Alzheimer’s are under 65."

The term 'early onset', even 'young onset',  is now widely used within the conventional medical establishment! I did a quick web search and came up quickly with Menopause, Osteoarthritis, Scoliosis, Parkinson's, Intra-Uterine Growth, neonatal group B streptococcal disease, and many more. All these 'early onset' diseases were once thought to affect older people,  but now affect younger people. And each one costs the NHS money and resources. Yet there is rarely, if ever, an adequate explanation for these 'early onset' diseases that were once associated with old age.

Something else must be happening. For instance, do pharmaceutical drugs cause ALL these 'early onset' diseases? Do they cause Osteoporosis? Do they cause Parkinson's? Is it the hugely increased consumption of pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines that is causing increased levels of illness in older people, and now in much younger people?

Conventional Medicine and the medical treatment of older people
So what is the NHS, and conventional medicine around the world, doing to treat older people? Well, we are all getting a lot more pharmaceutical drugs. A Cambridge University study has found that almost half of over-65s in England are taking at least five different drugs every day. This was reported in the Telegraph in November 2017. The study found that this figure had risen from 12% only 20 years ago, whilst the proportion of older people taking no drugs had dropped from about 20% in the late 1990s to just 7% now. 

So why aren't we benefitting from these drugs? If doctors prescribe them to us when we are sick, why aren't we getting better. Isn't that what we take drugs for?

               "Researchers expressed concern at the increasing dependence on prescription and over-the-counter medicines - known as 'polypharmacy'. Studies show polypharmacy can increase the dangers of interactions between different drugs and the risk of frailty in older patients. It's feared many patients are left on medications long-term without thorough or regular GP reviews."

The article went on to express concerns that many of these drugs were (i) unnecessary, (ii) that the dangers of harmful drug interactions was increased, and (iii) there was the increased risk of death. It added that a Spanish study in 2015 had found that older people who were taking six medicines or more daily were nearly three times more likely to die prematurely than those on no drugs at all!

Yet for the NHS, and its continuous financial crisis, it is not 'death' that is the problem!

The crisis arises from the serious illnesses and diseases caused by pharmaceutical drugs, the ones that actually DON'T kill us. It seems that we regularly take 5, or 6, or more drugs, plus an annual flu vaccination. They fail to make us better. But we suffer from their side affects, the adverse drug reactions, and the serious diseases they cause.

The drugs make us sicker, more dependent, less able to live independent lives. So we become a constant drain on NHS resources. 

And the more they care for us with pharmaceutical drugs, the more care we need, and the more resources the NHS needs so they can give us even more care and even more drugs, which make us even sicker, and even more dependent. No wonder old people are a drain on NHS resources.

And the problem is that we just won't die! Moreover, the old people who 'need' medical care, more pharmaceutical drugs, are getting younger, and younger, and younger. Is it any wonder that the NHS needs more resources?

But excuse me if I opt out of this race for more conventional medical care. Allow me to progress through my old age without drugs and vaccines.

Instead, let me stay healthy by saying "No, thanks" to the pharmaceutical industry. They wanted to give me drugs for gastric ulcers, then for migraines, then for heart palpitations. Instead, I used homeopathy, and I no longer suffer from any of these conditions.

Older age has much to recommend it - as long as you stay away from conventional medicine!

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

The Failure of Conventional Medicine. An invitation to read an e-book that explains in detail why conventional medicine is failing, causing so much harm to our health, and yet most people remain entirely unaware

I wrote the first edition of this e-book, 'The Failure of Conventional Medicine' over 10 years ago. This new, revamped and updated version is now available. Go to the link now, and take time to read the full, alarming story.

Over the years this blog has dealt with many aspects of this alarming medical failure, but inevitably it does so in snippets, in small bite-size pieces that alone can never cover the full picture. So the Failure of Conventional Medicine

  • defines what 'conventional medicine' is - a form of medical treatment dominated by pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines.
  • provides a brief history of conventional medicine, and why during the 20th century it came to dominate medical practice to the extent that it does now.
  • describes the core of the failure of conventional medicine - that rather than working alongside the body, and its brilliant self-healing mechanism, it declares war on it.
  • outlines how we can witness the failure: the dangerous banned drugs, how they have created illness through their side effects, the epidemic levels of chronic disease, and the continual crises through which modern medicine passes.
  • looks at how the failure of conventional medicine has been kept from us, why it is that we continue to spend £billions on it every year, and still want more of it - that profits of an industry that bought political influence, subverted medical science and drug regulation, and silenced the mainstream media.
  • examines how the modern drug culture has developed, and how this, supported by corruption and fraud, has led to the domination of conventional medicine within national health services around the world.
Sometime in the future, probably the not-too-distant future, the failure of conventional medicine will become clear and obvious, and future generations will wonder how we ever got into the position we now find ourself. 
  • Patients are being made sick in their millions, and are being killed in their thousands, by a form of medicine we take in the belief that it will make us better. 
  • So we spend £billions every year to enable this to happen, so we get sicker, so more money is required, and successive governments are happy to provide it - because we want it and we vote for it! 
  • We are even prepared to work and run and cycle and swim to provide more money for health charities in order to support a medical system that makes us ill.
  • Generally, and as individuals, we are sicker now than we have ever been. After a century of conventional medicine illness and disease of all kinds has never been more rife.
Why? It's a long story, and the book is a long read, but a necessary one if we are not to be overwhelmed with ever-increasing levels of sickness and disease. Start here, take your time, take it all in. Let me know if you think I am wrong. It could be the key to a more healthy future for you and your family.

Monday, 9 April 2018

Autism, Mercury and Vaccines. 80 scientific studies have proven the link. But doctors still insist that the cause of 1 in 36 children being autistic is "unknown"!

The discussion about the association between Autism and Mercury is ongoing. However, it is ongoing only because of the malign influence of the powerful pharmaceutical industry.

I get tired of writing about the evidence that clearly links Autism and Vaccines (not just the MMR vaccine; not just vaccines that contain mercury, but also those that contain aluminium). Eventually, those who are responsible for allowing it to happen must be held to account.

  •  The evidence that links them is either ignored or denied by Big Pharma.
  •  The evidence is censored by the mainstream media. 
  •  National Health Services have been infiltrated and are dominated by conventional medicine.
  •  And politicians and governments know where their financial interests lie!

It is now estimated that 1 in 36 children in the USA are now somewhere on the autistic spectrum, and the figure is not much less now in Britain, Europe, Australasia - anywhere in fact where there is a high level of vaccine updake.

So what is the cause of this epidemic? The conventional medical establishment claims it does not know. It is a complete mystery to them. The British NHS tells us about their perplexity.

               "The exact cause of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is currently unknown. It's a complex condition and may occur as a result of genetic predisposition (a natural tendency), environmental or unknown factors."

So it may come as a surprise to all our conventional doctors, who encourage us to vaccinate, but do not know the cause of autism, that there are now over 80 independent studies that have proven the association between autism and the vaccine preservative, thimerosal. If anyone wants a rather long read these 80 plus studies are all summarised on this World Mercury Project webpage.

Note the word 'independent' here! There are other studies that deny the link, but these have all been funded by the pharmaceutical industry. It would appear that they can always find 'scientists' who can come up with the 'right' result in their 'randomised controlled test (RCT) studies.

So whilst the conventional medical establishment is perplexed, whilst medical science, national health services, politicians and governments, and our news media, are not prepared to accept the evidence that is screaming at them, parents remain in the dark, and will continue to take their children for routine vaccinations - only to discover, soon afterwards, that they become the parents of damaged children. And that conventional medicine is unable to do anything about the damage.

WHERE ELSE WOULD THIS BE ALLOWED TO HAPPEN? Try to buy something, anything that is likely to kill or injure you, or try to do something that is potentially dangerous. Our 'health and safety' regulations will soon appear to protect us. Moreover, the regulations will be there to protect us even when there is the merest suspicion that something might be dangerous. This is based on 'the precautionary principle', and for this to apply there is usually no need for 80 scientific studies. The exception, of course, is when the threat comes from our conventional health system.

Indeed, politicians and governments in parts of the USA, Australia and Europe politicians want to make vaccination mandatory, and force those who recognise the danger to get vaccinated!

In time we will look back at this time, the last 70 years and more, in amazement. How was it possible, why was it allowed to happen, that so many young people were damaged for life, that there was so much scientific evidence about the cause, yet this was all denied by the medical establishment, that it was allowed to go on for so long - because of immensely powerful vested interests.

The only question is - how much human damage is the pharmaceutical industry going to be allowed to do before they are stopped, and the corruption that underlies it uncovered?

Friday, 6 April 2018

Patient Outcomes. The most important test for patients in choosing a medical treatment for their illness is that they get better, and get better quickly.

The most important consideration any sick patient has, when seeking medical treatment for their illness, is that they get better, and to get better safely, without being harmed.

It almost seems too trite to make such an obvious remark, but whenever patients seek medical treatment they not only have choices to make, those choices vary in terms of both effectiveness, and safety of the treatments available. Yet it is important to do so. Too often patients are told that conventional medicine provides the best treatment, the only 'scientifically proven' treatment. And even when conventional medicine has no treatment, and admits that it has no treatment for an illness, it routinely fails to mention that there are alternative medical therapies. This is so even when the illness is known to be terminal.

So how can patients determine what is the best treatment for them. The first prerequisite is to understand that when doctors say "there is no treatment" for a condition what they mean is that there is no conventional treatment! The second is that the patient should understand that conventional medicine normally does not mention any alternative treatment offered by an alternative therapy! The third is to understand how conventional medicine, and homeopathy, test their treatments for both effectiveness and safety.

Randomised Controlled Tests (RCT's)
Conventional medicine uses these tests to ascertain whether its drugs and vaccines are effective an safe. They describe these tests as 'the gold standard' of science. All pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines have been tested using RCT procedures, now required by all drug regulator agencies around the world.

Yet even some members of the conventional medical establishment now recognise the limitations of RCT's. For instance, Sir Michael Rawlings, for many years chair of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, criticised, and pointed out their limitations when giving the Harveian Oration to the Royal College of Physicians in 2008

Ben Goldacre has gone further, in his book "Bad Pharma" where he wrote about how the results of RCT's can be manipulated and skewed by a variety of factors, including dishonesty and fraud in the science of drug testing.

Yet the main problem of RCT's is that they have been unable to prevent both ineffective and dangerous pharmaceutical drugs being used with patients. This is best demonstrated by the large number of pharmaceutical drugs that have been banned and withdrawn over recent years, after being put through the process of randomised controlled tests

IF RCT's are really the 'gold standard' in drug testing, why is it that they have consistently failed to discover that pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines are both ineffective and unsafe for patients?

Yet this continues to be what is claimed for them by the conventional medical establishment, and it is the basis of their criticism of homeopathy, which uses a different process for determining the effectiveness of a remedy, and a sure-safe way of ensuring that all its remedies are safe.

Homeopathic Provings
Homeopathy does not use RCT's. Homeopathy works on the principle of  'Like curing Like', that is, a substance known to cause the  symptoms of illness in a fit and healthy individual can cure those same symptoms in a sick person. As a result, over the last 220 years, homeopathy has undertaken what it calls 'provings' on the many thousands substances that form the basis for its remedies. In these provings, a substance is given to fit and healthy volunteers, who note the symptoms the substance produce.

Moreover, because homeopathy has discovered that the therapeutic action of a substance in increased by diluting and succussing them, a process known as potentisation, it means that they can be given to patients in dilutions, or potencies, that do not harm them. Indeed, the potentisation process means that remedies are usually given to patients without there being any 'chemically active' ingredient left which makes them entirely safe for patients to take. There are, in other words, no side effects to homeopathic treatment.

Although homeopathy has no need to RCT test their remedies for either safety or effectiveness, there has to date been nearly 500  scientific studies into the effectiveness of homeopathy, many of them using RCT procedures, undertaken because they are a means of ensuring patients can recognise that homeopathy is effective using the techniques of conventional medicine.

Clinical Outcomes
So which is best proof or safety and effectiveness, RCT's or homeopathic provings? To answer this properly it is important to return to what patients want, described at the top of the page. What patients want is a good outcome, that is, they get better, and they get better safely, undamaged by the treatment. Neither RCT's or Homeopathic Provings can determine which is best as they both test drugs / remedies before they are given to patients.

What is needed to determine this are properly conducted comparative studies, studies that look into the patient outcomes of various medical therapies. Such studies have been too rarely done within most national health services, which are dominated by conventional drug-based medicine. 

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Patients love Homeopathy! Big Pharma, the Conventional Medical Monopoly, and the NHS hate it!

Patients love homeopathy, when they are able to access it. This has been demonstrated over and over again in clinical outcome trials, and observational studies, conducted around the world. In these patients were asked whether they enjoyed and/or benefitted from the experience of being treated with homeopathy for their illness. Here are just a few of the studies.

2005. Bristol Homeopathic Hospital, England
The aim of this study was to assess health changes seen in routine homeopathic care for patients
with a wide range of chronic conditions . It was was a 6-year outpatient study. Over 70% of patients with chronic diseases, often of many years duration, said they had improved with the homeopathic treatment. 6,544 patients were involved in the study and 70.7% reported positive health changes with 50.7% recording their improvement as better or much better.

2005. Sheffield
Sheffield's National Health Service community menopause clinic ran a homeopathy service from 1998. The service provided alternative treatment option for those women who cannot take hormone replacement therapy (HRT), did not want it, found it ineffective, or were advised to stop it. Patients received homeopathic treatment for up to six sessions, and patients referred between 2001 and 2003 were involved in this study. Patients reported 'significant benefit' from the service, with the greatest benefit seen in patients reporting headaches, vasomotor symptoms, emotional/psychological symptoms and tiredness/fatigue as their primary symptoms.

2005. Norway
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the patient reported effects of homeopathic care 6 months after first consultations. It found that 7 out of 10 patients visiting a Norwegian homeopath reported "a meaningful improvement" in their main complaint 6 months after the initial consultation.

2006. UK NHS Research
Over a 6 month period, 14 homeopathic physicians collected clinical and outcomes data in their practice setting. Almost 80% of the 958 patients who had two or more appointments reported  a 'positive outcome'.

2008. Germany and Switzerland
In a multi-centre study, information was collected from 3,079 first-time patients from 103 different centres across Germany and Switzerland. The patients were observed over an 8 year period, and it was found that

  • On average, disease severity decreased dramatically and improvements were sustained
  • Those who were sickest at the beginning of the study often noticed the greatest improvement
  • Three in ten patients stopped treatment because of major improvement
  • Mental and physical quality of life scores increased substantially
  • Children improved more rapidly than adults

The conclusion of the study was that the findings demonstrated that patients who seek homeopathic treatment were likely to improve considerably, although this effect must not be attributed to homeopathic treatment alone, and that the effects persisted for 8 years.

2008. Switzerland
This study was conducted by the Swiss government. It main objective was to investigate patient satisfaction and perception of side effects in homeopathy compared with conventional care in a primary care setting. The conclusion reached was that overall patient satisfaction was significantly higher in homeopathic than in conventional care. Homeopathic treatments were perceived as a low-risk therapy with two to three times fewer side effects than conventional care

2008. Northern Ireland
This was a study undertaken by the Northern Ireland Government following a pilot study in which patients were allowed access to a variety of CAM therapies. The study involved 713 patients and found that alternative and complementary therapies offered significant health benefits for patients, and savings in government healthcare costs. Many therapies, such as acupuncture, chiropractic, osteopathy, reflexology, massage and aromatherapy were used, but homeopathy did the best of all.

2008. British Homeopathic Hospitals
In a pilot study published in 2008, data from 1,602 follow-up patient appointments at all five NHS homeopathic hospitals were collected together over a one month period. At just their second homeopathic appointment, 34% of follow-up patients reported an improvement that affected their daily living. For patients at their sixth appointment, the corresponding improvement rate was 59%.

2011. Germany
This postal survey was sent to parents in 2004 in collaboration with ... the German Childhood Cancer Registry). The study included all parents in Germany with a child under the age of 15 years diagnosed in 2001 with one of the diseases registered and systematically recorded by the GCCR. The conclusion of the study was that homeopathy is the most frequently used complementary therapy in pediatric oncology in Germany, that most parents had used homeopathy before the cancer, and would further recommend homeopathy to others in a similar situation.

2012. Dorset NHS, England
A study at the Dorset NHS Community Homeopathy Clinic led to 84% of patients experiencing an improvement in their health with 81% saying it was due to the homeopathy. A wide variety of conditions were seen, the greatest in incidence being depression, anxiety and grief. iii

2014. Lanarkshire NHS, Scotland
This was a public consultation exercise following a proposal to stop referring patients to the Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital. In response to the question “Should NHS Lanarkshire refer patients to the Centre for Integrative Care (Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital), 80.6% of the responses of nearly 6,000 people was 'Yes'. It was an overwhelming vote in support of homeopathy.

The decision, typical of the conventional medical establishment, was to stop referring patients to the Homeopathic hospital!

2018. India
This study was conducted in Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, New Delhi and Kolkata. It found that 90% of people perceived homeopathy as a trusted form of treatment, and its usage is higher than any other form of treatment. Among homeopathy users, 91% were satisfied with the treatment and 93% were willing to recommend homeopathy to others.

There are many, many more of these studies. Whenever it is offered, wherever it is available, patients like homeopathy, and benefit from it. Yet everywhere homeopathy is under attack, not only from the conventional medical establishment, but from the mainstream media too. Wherever public money is being spent on homeopathy within national health service provision there are moves to stop it, regardless of whether patients want it or not.

What this demonstrates is that it is only the conventional medical establishment, and the powerful pharmaceutical lobby that dislikes homeopathy, and want desperately to restrict our access to it. You don't really need to ask why, do you? They are protecting their vested interests, their dominance in national health services in Britain, the USA, Australia, and most other countries around the world.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Opioid Addiction. The disastrous failure of painkilling drugs

Opioid Addiction in the USA if rife, and there are concerns that a similar situation may arise in Britain, and other countries where conventional medicine, with its reliance on painkillers, dominates health care. The addiction kills - drug overdose, arising from addiction, is now a leading cause of 'accidental' death.

Opioids drugs are made from opium, and 'work' by stimulating the brain's opiate receptors. In other words, they trigger 'pleasure receptors' in the brain, which makes them drugs to which people can easily become addicted, and in time requiring more powerful drugs as the body begins to tolerate them.

In the US alone, 42,000 people have died from opioid addiction, and another 2.1 million became addicts, in 2016. Opioid drugs are prescribed by conventional medical doctors under names such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, buprenorphine, with more commonly as fentanyl, codeine, morphine, and tramadol.

Conventional medicine is dependent on these opioid drugs in palliative care, after major surgery, and serious accidents. But they are also used frequently for more common conditions - as painkillers for back pain and similar.

The problem for doctors is that whilst they might know how dangerous they are, they have nothing safer to prescribe They know that they should not be used on a long-term basis (for any more than a few days) but they do. Faced with a patient in chronic pain, when there is nothing else in their medicine cupboard, doctors feel obliged to prescribe them. Other painkilling drugs, like NSAIDs, are not so 'effective' in killing pain, and in any case they too come with serious side effects that patients are not told about. So doctors continue to prescribe them, and patients become addicted to them. Or alternatively, doctor's refuse to prescribe them and addicted patients go on to obtain heroin, illegally, on the black market.

Opioid prescription has soared in recent decades, and alongside this the rates of addiction and death by overdose have increased proportionately. The statistics coming out of the USA are devastating.  Overdose deaths caused by painkillers have risen by more than 300% since 1999, and it is estimated that more than 12 million Americans used prescription drugs for 'non-medical' reasons in 2010. In just three years, deaths from opioid drugs have risen from 3,000 to over 20,000 in just three years, and this carnage is expected to continue, devastating the lives of huge numbers of people and their families.

Whilst doctors have little else to offer, and in any case most of them are too busy attacking alternative medical therapies to find safer and more effective treatment, the evidence is that pharmaceutical companies have not only profited from selling them, but promoted them aggressively. They said that the addictive properties of opioid drugs were not really as bad as believed, so they could be used more widely, and for longer periods.

In other words, Big Pharma used their normal marketing strategy - minimising the risks of their drugs addiction - and exaggerating their benefits.

So we have the rather strange situation of a society that bemoans the use of 'illegal' drugs, and the human devastation caused, but allows drug companies to advertise, promote and profit from 'legal' drugs that are indistinguishable from them! Drug pushers who do not have a conventional  medical qualification are pursued and prosecuted, but pharmaceutical companies are allowed to push similar drugs because they are used for 'medical' purposes. The outcome of both is human tragedy.

Yet perhaps the tide is turning, there are now moves to prosecute the pharmaceutical pushers. One Natural News article states that "Settlement talks have begun in opioid lawsuits against Big Pharma with over 250 cases have been brought against multiple companies". This would certainly be well deserved, but the drug companies will probably pay their way out of this legal crisis - they usually do. We will see.

The conventional medical establishment is aware of the problem. An article in The Lancet, 24 February 2018, outlines the seriousness of the situation. Yet there is no proportionate response forthcoming. If road deaths, and accidents at work, were killing as many people as opioid drugs (as well as other pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines) health and safety measures would swing into effect. Decisive action would be expected, demanded, and the public authorities would be obliged to respond. But not in health, not if it affects the pharmaceutical industry. The Lancet article does not ask for action, there has been no call to ban these drugs, just their more responsible prescribing behaviour by doctors.

If the precautionary principle were to be applied to this situation pharmaceutical drugs would be immediately banned.

So will the USA opioid crisis be exported to Britain? The MIMS magazine clearly thinks so, in its article "Long-term opioid prescribing increasing despite questionable efficacy", which states that opioid prescribing in England increased from 2010 to 2014 despite these drugs have been shown, in a study published by the British Journal of General Practice, to be "ineffective in the treatment of chronic non-cancer pain". So the devastation caused by opioid drugs continues - even though doctors have been told that the drugs are of 'questionable efficacy'.

Patient Harm without any corresponding Patient Benefit!

Yet there is worse. Pharmaceutical companies have actually been paying (bribing) doctors to prescribe opioid drugs. This was reported by CNN, a USA news agency that is usually very friendly towards conventional medicine. Alongside Harvard University they found that opioid manufacturers, the drug companies, have been paying doctors huge sums of money to prescribe the drugs, and the more opioids a doctor prescribed, the more money he or she makes!

               "In 2014 and 2015, opioid manufacturers paid hundreds of doctors across the country six-figure sums for speaking, consulting and other services. Thousands of other doctors were paid over $25,000 during that time. Physicians who prescribed particularly large amounts of the drugs were the most likely to get paid."

In a What Doctors Don't Tell You (WDDTY) article another suggestion is made, that the opioid epidemic has been fuelled by doctors "who have forgotten just how many prescriptions they have written out to patients"! It states that around 65% of doctors working in hospital emergency units are under-estimating the number of prescriptions they are writing, that emergency unit doctors write up to 10% of all opioid prescriptions, and researchers think a similar under-estimation could be seen among other doctors as well. These findings cam from a year-long survey whose lead researcher is quoted as say that
               "Most believe they are doing the right thing, but we need to directly address this thinking to be sure they are not part of the problem"

So we are left with a conundrum. 
Do doctors know what they are doing and get paid for doing it? Or are they just rather forgetful? 

Either way, as usual, it is the patient who submits to conventional medicine who suffers!