Why this pharmacist is as mad as hell and why you should be too
Three things from the medical establishment made me as mad as hell this week.
First up is the fascinating new syndrome called Diagnosis Creep.
Like tax creep (where we all pay except for the very rich), it is designed to make us all feel ill.
Years ago, It was the job of GPs to protect patients from the unnecessary diagnosis of disease.
Now, new criteria developed by panels of “experts” (sponsored by — guess who? — major drug suppliers) are lowering thresholds so that many more people now believe they are sick.
Chronic kidney disease, gestational diabetes, ADHD, depression, hypertension, Alzheimer’s disease and many more, have now widened their definition of disease. So we now have pre-CKD, pre-diabetes, pre-depression, pre-dementia, pre-hypertension and pre-ADHD. In ADHD’s case, perhaps before its sufferers were even born.
If this is isn’t bad enough, these “expert” panels have been investigated, and all have links to drug companies.
One example is that in 2003 the panel that created “pre-hypertension” consisted of 80 per cent members who had ties to companies that sold drugs for hypertension.
Other panels were similar, all with ties to drug companies.
Some of the doctors and researchers benefited financially, and others toed the drug company’s line and benefited in other ways.
We now have many people who are unnecessarily labelled as sick.
Doctors are quite happily adhering to these “expert” panels, without realising they have been infiltrated by countless Gordon Geckos, all parroting, “Greed is good”.
The next item that made me as mad as hell was to be found on Radio National.
Amanda Vanstone, the ABC’s idea of a right-wing Phillip Adams, was interviewing a cardiologist (very poorly). He was a British researcher into the role of statins in human heart disease.
He said there was no evidence that statins increased life expectancy. They had many, sometimes serious, side-effects, they were expensive and a giant con.
He said saturated fats were an essential part of our diet, and that he eats butter slathered on his toast.
He also mentioned that the ABC’s Catalyst program on statins was a great show and had led overseas researchers into revising their beliefs about statins and saturated fat.
Howls of protest from eminent local cardiologists, however, had the effect of the Catalyst episode being removed from the ABC’s website. Medical orthodoxy at its worst.
The third thing that made me mad was the news that antibiotic-resistant bacteria are now flourishing in all corners of the globe.
This is due to doctors’ over-prescribing and farm practices where animals are pumped full of steroids and antibiotics to make them grow faster.
Waterways all over the world — where drugs ingested by humans and animals finish — are polluted. That’s where the resistance occurs and bacteria are now changing very quickly to a resistant form. They were always good at it, and now they are excellent.
It’s worth noting that bacteria are some billions of years older than humans, and they will be here long after our species is gone.
Big Pharma’s answer to this problem? Ignore it because there are no profits to be made by creating new antibiotics against these new forms of bacteria.
A few university-funded researchers are trying to develop new antibiotics, but this will take time.
In the meantime, don’t get sick and don’t go to hospital where the resistant bacteria are running wild.
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About the author
Robert Gosstray is a retired pharmacist and the resident health writer for Midlifexpress. He is the author of The Pharmacist's Secrets: Drugs, lies and money.