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How Pharmaceuticals Came To Be The 4th Leading Cause Of Death In America

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lisaPrescription drugs are the 4th leading cause of death in America. (1) People know this to be true, they know it to be appalling, but it’s still seen as incomprehensible and absurd. How could medicine hurt so many people? We all know that side-effects happen, but they are thought to be rare. They must be rare, right? We all know some good, kind, generous, thoughtful doctors who want nothing more for their patients than health and happiness, so they certainly aren’t giving their patients drugs that hurt them, are they? We know that the FDA is a federal bureaucracy, so it must be too restrictive of the pharmaceutical industry, right? And the FDA is supposed to protect consumers, so we’re as safe as we can be, right? And people can sue, so the legal system must be keeping the bad aspects of the medical system in check, right? All of these questions, and many more, bring up some cognitive dissonance for people when they’re faced with the fact that prescription drugs, used as prescribed, kill an inordinate a number of people. It brings up the questions –

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How do prescription drugs get to be the 4th leading cause of death in America? How does that happen?

Here is a tale of how prescription drugs, used as prescribed, kill people.

Kerstin (age 30) comes down with a urinary tract infection. It’s a Saturday so her regular doctor’s office is closed. Urinary tract infections are painful so she knows that she can’t wait ‘til Monday to get treatment. She goes to an Emergency Services Clinic close to her house. She tells them that she has a urinary tract infection and they write her a prescription for Cipro (Ciprofloxacin – a fluoroquinolone antibiotic). They do not culture her urine because they don’t have the time or capacity to do so. It doesn’t matter what kind of bacteria is in her urine though, they know that Cipro will kill it because Cipro is a broad-spectrum antibiotic and it will kill all the offending bacteria in her urinary tract, plus some.

Kerstin is relieved. Her painful urinary tract and bladder are about to be healed.

Kerstin takes two 500 mg. pills of Cipro two times a day for a week. On the 5th day of taking Cipro, Kerstin starts to feel a bit off. Her bladder feels full even when it isn’t, she has dark “floaters” interfering with her vision and she feels anxious. She doesn’t think anything of these things. They’re strange, but not too worrisome. She doesn’t think for a second that they could be due to the antibiotic that she is taking. Kerstin finishes the seven day course of Cipro. Her urinary tract infection is gone and she is pleased about that. Her bladder fullness, floaters and anxiety come and go and she doesn’t think much of them.

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Ten days pass in which Kerstin feels fine. On the eleventh day after she has finished taking Cipro, she starts taking ibuprofen to treat menstrual cramps. On the thirteenth day after she has finished taking the Cipro, it feels as if a bomb goes off in her body. Her hands and feet swell to twice their normal size. It becomes painful for her to walk or to do anything with her hands. Her knees are burning as if every tendon in them is inflamed. She is weak. She develops hives all over her body. Her anxiety levels are sky-high.

Kerstin goes to the doctor. The doctor says that the hives are a result of an allergic reaction and tells her to take Benadryl. Kerstin asks the doctor why she can barely walk when she was going to the gym daily just a few days earlier. The doctor says that she doesn’t know, but that she will run tests.

Kerstin takes Benadryl but it doesn’t seem to help. She goes back to the doctor for something stronger. She is put on prednisone.

The swelling in her hands and feet goes down, but her other symptoms worsen. She develops insomnia. She sprains her wrist while opening a jar. Intermittent pain throughout her body, but especially in her legs, begins. She loses her memory and has trouble concentrating.

Her test results come back. They are all “normal.”

Her pain worsens. She is diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. She asks the doctor who diagnoses her with Fibromyalgia how she could have gone from being healthy and active to being disabled and in pain, now with a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. The doctor mutters something about mysterious diseases and unexplained symptoms. Kerstin asks if her symptoms could be related to any of the medications that she took – Cipro, ibuprofen and prednisone. The doctor says no. More tests are run to see if there are other causes of Kerstin’s symptoms.

Kerstin is put on Lyrica to help her with her Fibromyalgia pain.

The Lyrica seems to help some of her pain but her mental symptoms get worse while she is on it. In addition to her already existing memory and concentration problems, Kerstin develops brain-fog. She feels slow, stupid and like she is living in a dream. She gains 15 pounds in two months. Her hair starts to fall out. She feels suicidal. She is taken off of Lyrica by her doctor.

Kerstin continues to have problems in her joints, especially her wrists, knees and ankles, so she is not surprised when she is diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. She starts seeing a Rheumatologist who puts her on Humira. Humira decreases some of her inflammation symptoms but many of her other symptoms remain. She receives Humira treatments for 2 years.

After two years of Humira treatments, Kerstin is diagnosed with hepatosplenic T-cell lymphoma – cancer. She dies on the operating table when her surgeon attempts to remove the lymph nodes on her neck that had been affected by the cancer. She is 34 years old when she passes away.

Kerstin’s story is fictionalized, but it is far from fantasy. Stories like hers happen every day. A large portion of her story is my own and it was both true and horrifying to experience. Stories that are significantly worse, where a doctor’s injection site turn into a staph or MRSA infection to start the whole process, or where anti-psychotic medications that the patient are put on drive her to homicide or suicide. And I didn’t delve into the PAIN that comes with Fluoroquinolone Toxicity (Cipro is a fluoroquinolone and the others are just as bad, if not worse), so it’s a light fictionalized version – with the hope that you’ll find the horror to be believable, because it is very, very real for too many people.

The Explanations, Journal Articles and Facts behind Kerstin’s Story

I don’t expect you to accept the story above as fact without some thorough explanation. Here is the information behind my assertions:

The antibiotic that Kerstin took is Cipro (Ciprofloxacin). Cipro is a fluoroquinolone antibiotic, along with Levaquin, Avelox, Floxin and a few other less commonly used drugs in the fluoroquinolone class. Fluoroquinolone antibiotics are the “big guns” of antibiotics. They are broad spectrum antibiotics that will kill all bacteria in their path. (2) They are frequently prescribed to treat urinary tract infections (3) because they penetrate kidney tissue well (4).

Cipro, and all the other fluroquinolones, have terrible side-effects. Many of the awful side-effects that can be experienced, often all at once, are listed on the Cipro Warning Label. However, many things are left off of the warning label, they are listed on http://www.ciproispoison.com/.

Additionally, here are articles backing up Kerstin’s symptoms:

  • Vision Floaters – The JAMA article entitled “Oral Fluoroquinolones and the Risk of Retinal Detachment” notes that fluoroquinolones increase the incidence of Retinal Detachment (5). If the connective tissue in your eye is damaged, visual disturbances, including floaters, can result.
  • Anxiety – The Journal of Neurosciences in Rural Practices’ article entitled “Levofloacin-induced Acute Anxiety and Insomnia” notes that Levofloxacin (another fluoroquinolone – Levaquin) can induce anxiety and insomnia (6) Cipro/Ciprofloxacin can do the same.
  • Bladder fullness – This is a symptom that I experience, along with many other people suffering from Fluoroquinolone Toxicity. I’m not completely sure what it stems from, but here are a couple of possibilities. This article in the Journal of Urology entitled “Role of Mitochondria in Ciprofloxacin Induced Apoptosis in Bladder Cancer Cells” notes that Cipro disturbs the mitochondria in bladder cells and causes apoptosis (cell death) (7). It is also possible that the feeling of bladder fullness is a result of dysglycemia as it is noted in an article in Medscape Medical News that fluoroquinolones increase the risk of severe dysglycemia in diabetics. Additionally, “one fluoroquinolone antibiotic, gatifloxacin (Tequin, Bristol-Myers Squibb), was already withdrawn from the US market in 2006 due to the risk for severe dysglycemia” (8)
  • Pain and swelling in hands and feet – This symptom can be more succinctly described as peripheral neuropathy. The FDA issued an update to the labels for fluoroquinolones noting that PERMANENT Peripheral Neuropathy is a possibility in August, 2013 (9). This neuropathy may stem from destruction of the Myelin caused by the fluoroquinolone.

There are likely other causes and reasons for Peripheral Neuropathy being a result of Fluoroquinolone Toxicity, including the production of neurotoxins caused by the drugs (10) and the fracturing of DNA (11).

  • Skin problems like hives/uticaria/rashes are listed on the warning label
  • Tendon pain/tear/strain/rupture – This adverse effect is so well documented that fluoroquinolones carry a black box warning about the danger of rupturing a tendon on the top of the warning label. An article in Musculoskeletal Medicine entitled “Musculoskeltal Complications of Fluoroquinolones: Guidelines and Precautions for Usage in the Athletic Population” notes that young, healthy, athletic people’s muscles and tendons are adversely effected by fluoroquinolones (12)
  • Fibromyalgia – Mysterious, sometimes intermittent, sometimes constant, pain is common among those with fluoroquinolone toxicity. The information above about peripheral neuropathy should ring a lot of bells for those diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.  Additionally, Carboxylic Acid is attached to the quinolone molecule (13). It is a known neurotoxin. (14 and 15) Also, a quinolone studied in the article “Cytotoxcicity of Quinolones toward Eukaryotic Cells” notes that quinolones “kills cells by converting the (topoisomerase) type II ezyme into a cellular poison.” (16) Cellular poisons can lead to pain.
  • A diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis – Per Toxicologist, Professor Joe King, “when a cell is malfunctioning (due to a mutation caused by a toxin or radiation) the body deems it alien and begins and autoimmune response as a defense mechanism. Thus producing positive autoimmune antibodies in lab tests, but in actuality you don’t really have the disease, it is bad cells. For example I test positive for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), but I don’t have RA, I have Fibrillan Connective Tissue destruction upon biopsy. But the doctor reads the lab report for RA and recommends anti-inflammatory steroids. Bad diagnosis, because the problem is not RA but Fibrillan and steroids will dissolve the Fibrillan faster.” Also per Professor King, “the cells in your tissue, organs, etc. are not functioning correctly, there is a mutation in there somewhere and the body is reacting to this weird cells as alien, thus producing an inflammatory process (which is painful).” Additionally, it should be noted that Cipro was found to cause chromosomal abnormalities in immune system cells. (17)

I mentioned NSAIDs and steroids. Both NSAIDs and steroids are contraindicated with fluoroquinolones (18 and 12). Please note that Kerstin didn’t take NSAIDs or steroids at the same time as the Cipro. Both NSAIDs and steroids are contraindicated for any person who has ever experienced an adverse reaction to a fluoroquinolone, likely because of the production of acyl glucuronides, “which are chemically reactive electrophiles formed by carboxylic acid-containing drugs” (15) and/or because of the depletion of the CPY450 enzymes by quinolones/fluoroquinolones that leave the body unable to metabolize other drugs (19 and 20).

How do fluoroquinolone ANTIBIOTICS cause all that harm? The harm that they cause is in the essence of the way they work. They are the “first antibacterial agents that efficiently inhibited DNA replication.” (21) Antibiotics in the penicillin and cephalosporin classes, by comparison, work by disrupting bacterial cell walls, not by doing anything to bacterial, or human, DNA. Fluoroquinolones also form “a poisonous adduct on DNA” (21). Fluoroquinolones cause chromosomal abnormalities in human cells (17) and also have tumor killing qualities (22). While that might sound great on the surface, if you read between the lines you’ll note that if these drugs kill tumor cells, they kill human cells. Fluoroquinolones cause apoptosis, programmed cell death, at a massive rate (23). Patient studies have shown, through a DNA Adduct Mass Spectrogram Analysis, that quinolone molecules have adducted to their DNA. Adducting to and breaking human DNA can cause every single one of the problems that Kerstin experienced, all of the problems listed on the FDA warning label for these drugs, and more. It’s a bad idea to mess with human DNA and chromosomes – a look back at the history of Agent Orange will tell you why this is true.

The consequences of the DNA destruction done by fluoroquinolones is yet to be established. An article was published in Nature in September, 2013 connecting topoisomerase inhibiting drugs (fluoroquinolones inhibit topoisomerases II and IV (24)) with triggering the expression of autism related genes. I wrote about this on CE – http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/09/18/a-horrifying-cause-of-autism-dna-damage-from-synthetic-antibiotics/ Of course, more studies need to be done to determine the implications of this study.

Studies of the DNA make-up of Gulf War Veterans and their children may also be revealing as all 1991 Gulf War Veterans were given Cipro prophylactically because of fear of anthrax (25). Likewise, in 2001 United States Postal Workers who took Cipro prophylactically, also to prevent anthrax, and any ensuing health issues that they have (57% reported side-effects –26) may be related to their exposure to fluoroquinolones.

Fluoroquinolone antibiotics are dangerous drugs that have been used recklessly since their introduction to the market as a first-choice broad-spectrum antibiotic. They are likely responsible for many of the “mysterious” illnesses that have been on the rise since the early 1980s when Cipro was patented by Bayer and Levaquin was patented by Johnson & Johnson. Everyone who has Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Thyroid Dysfunction, any Autoimmune Disease, Gulf War Syndrome, Leaky Gut Syndrome, Dysautonomia, etc. should look at their medical records to see if they have ever taken a fluoroquinolone. If a fluoroquinolone is in your past, fractured genes may have resulted, and thus your pain and suffering. Please note that adverse reactions to fluoroquinolones are often delayed for weeks or sometimes months or years after administration of the drugs has stopped and there is a tolerance threshold for metabolism of these drugs (20) so most people do not react to their first dose.

Lyrica and Humira

Here is the warning label for Lyrica – (link – Source 27) Please note that suicidal ideation is one of the acknowledged adverse effects caused by this drug. Weight gain, difficulty concentrating, etc. are also listed on the warning label. Patient reports (these people aren’t lying) can be found on askapatient.com – Lyrica.

Humira, Enbrel and other TNF inhibiting drugs CAUSE CANCER. This is well documented and known. The warning labels for both Humira and Enbrel state in a big black box warning that various cancers are associated with use of those drugs. In case it needs to be spelled out, cancer can be deadly.

Here is an excellent blog post about how Humira can kill, and how it is marketed – http://davidhealy.org/welcome-to-the-humiraverse/

Conclusions

It is often noted as people are bemoaning the unwillingness of the pharmaceutical industry to create more antibiotics, that there isn’t enough money to be made from antibiotics to encourage their production. (28) While there may not be much money to be made in selling antibiotics directly, there is a whole lot of money to be made in treating autoimmune diseases. Humira reached $7.9 Billion in sales (29) in 2011 despite the undisputed fact that it causes cancer. If a class of antibiotics can cause the body to react as it would if it had an autoimmune disease for an extended period of time (the ill effects of fluorouquinolones can be permanent but they typically last from 6 to 36 months), and therefore a person gets diagnosed and treated for an autoimmune disease, though they don’t actually have the autoimmune disease, they actually have an autoimmune reaction to a poisonous drug, the pharmaceutical industry has effectively taken an acute problem, an infection, and converted it into a chronic problem, an autoimmune disease. Chronic conditions mean repeat customers and the pharmaceutical industry makes billions. (I doubt that this process is a conspiracy or even planned on the parts of the people in the pharmaceutical industry. Rather, I think that it is caused by willful ignorance among those in the medical professions, encouraged by greed and a complete lack of checks and balances on the pharmaceutical companies, those that have the most to gain in creating repeat customers.)

People are being hurt by their medicine and it is unacceptable. If harm is impossible to avoid completely, it should be minimized. There is zero effort on the part of Doctors, Pharmacists, the FDA or anyone else to minimize adverse effects of drugs. If an effort were being made, we would not be in the tragic situation that we’re in, with the pharmaceutical industry being the 4th leading cause of death of Americans.

The mantra of “all drugs have side-effects” has been so ingrained into the collective consciousness that we have come to think of it as acceptable that drugs have side-effects, and for drug side-effects to be devastating. In accepting this “better someone else than me” / “it can’t happen to me” attitude, we have given permission to the FDA to be inept, incompetent and lazy. In their ineptitude, they have ignored 15 years of research noting that commonly prescribed ANTIBIOTICS are damaging our DNA. We can only hope that this oversight caused by laziness and incompetence is not consequential to us all. Because I can accept the possibility that it may be worth it for society for me to be sacrificed so that we can have powerful antibiotics, but no drug of any sort, no matter what good it does, is worth sacrificing our collective DNA.

Post Script:  The author’s web site, with more information about fluoroquinolones, is www.floxiehope.com

Sources:

1.Donald W. Light, “Risky Drugs: Why the FDA Cannot be Trusted,” Harvard University, The Lab @ Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics. http://www.ethics.harvard.edu/lab/blog/312-risky-drugs?layout=default#stay-informed

  1. Jane E. Brody, “Popular Antibiotics May Carry Serious Side Effects,” New York Times, September 10, 2012. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/10/popular-antibiotics-may-carry-serious-side-effects/?_r=1
  2. Web MD, Antibiotics for Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/antibiotics-for-urinary-tract-infections-utis
  3. DANA E. KING, M.D., ROBB MALONE, PHARM.D., and SANDRA H. LILLEY, PHARM.D., East Carolina University School of Medicine, Greenville, North Carolina, “New Classification and Update on the Quinolone Antibiotics” American Family Physician http://www.aafp.org/afp/2000/0501/p2741.html
  4. Mahyar Etminan, et. al., “Oral Fluoroquinolones and the Risk of Retinal Detachment” JAMA, April 4, 2012—Vol 307, No. 13 http://211.144.68.84:9998/91keshi/Public/File/40/307-13/pdf/joc25028_1414_1419.pdf
  5. Arun Kandasamy and D Srinath, “Levofloxacin-induced acute anxiety and insomnia” J Neurosci Rural Pract. 2012 May-Aug; 3(2): 212–214. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3410005/
  6. OLIVIA ARANHA, et. al., “ROLE OF MITOCHONDRIA IN CIPROFLOXACIN INDUCED APOPTOSIS IN BLADDER CANCER CELLS” The Journal of Urology
Volume 167, Issue 3, Pages 1288-1294, March 2002 http://www.jurology.com/article/S0022-5347(05)65283-4/abstract
  7. Lisa Nainggolan, “Fluoroquinolones Up Risk for Severe Dysglycemia in Diabetes” Medscape Medical News, http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/809442 Based on this article http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/07/23/cid.cit439.abstract
  8. 08/15/2013 FDA Drug Safety Communication: FDA requires label changes to warn of risk for possibly permanent nerve damage from antibacterial fluoroquinolone drugs taken by mouth or by injection http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm365050.htm
  9. David A. Jernigan, “Lyme Toxins The Primary Cause of Your Symptoms” Townsend Letter. April, 2007. http://www.benbrew.com/lb/lyme5.pdf
  10. G. Palu, et. al., “Quinolone binding to DNA is mediated by magnesium ions” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA Vol. 89, pp. 9671-9675, October 1992 Biochemistry http://www.pnas.org/content/89/20/9671.full.pdf
  11. Mederic M. Hall, MD, Jonathan T. Finnoff, DO, Jay Smith, MD, “Musculoskeletal Complications of Fluoroquinolones: Guidelines and Precautions for Usage in the Athletic Population” 2011 by the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Vol. 3, 132-142, February 2011 http://www.levaquinadversesideeffect.com/wp-content/uploads/Documents/Hall-2011.pdf
  12. NAI-XUN CHIN AND HAROLD C. NEU, “Ciprofloxacin, a Quinolone Carboxylic Acid Compound Active Against Aerobic and Anaerobic Bacteria” ANTIMICROBIAL AGENTS AND CHEMOTHERAPY, Mar. 1984, p. 319-326, 1984, American Society for Microbiology http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC185508/pdf/aac00192-0027.pdf
  13. José Antonio Vázquez, et. al. “Evaluation of toxic effects of several carboxylic acids on bacterial growth by toxicodynamic modelling” Microbial Cell Factories2011,10:100 http://www.microbialcellfactories.com/content/10/1/100
  14. Urs A. Boelsterli, “Acyl Glucuronides: Mechanistic Role in Drug Toxicity?” Current Drug Metabolism (v.12, #3) p. 213-214 http://www.chemweb.com/journals/journals?type=issue&jid=13892002&iid=12003
  15. Sarah H. Elsea, et. Al, “Cytotoxicity of Quinolones toward Eukaryotic Cells: IDENTIFICATION OF TOPOISOMERASE I1 AS THE PRIMARY CELLULAR TARGET FOR THE QUINOLONE CP-115,953 IN YEAST,” The Journal of Biological Chemistry, Vol. 267, No. 19, Issue of July 5, pp. 13150-13153 http://www.jbc.org/content/267/19/13150.full.pdf+html
  16. PS Ambulkar, et. Al, “Genotoxic and cytotoxic effects of antibacterial drug, ciprofloxacin, on human lymphocytes in vitro” Nepal Med Coll J 2009; 11(3): 147-151 http://www.nmcth.edu/images/gallery/Editorial/xRZVmps_ambulkar.pdf
  17. S. Mannino, et. al., “NSAIDs, Quinolones and Convulsions: An Epidemiologic Approach” Post Marketing Survellance 1992 p. 119-128 http://213.4.18.135:48080/10.pdf
  18. HJ Xie, et. al., “Alteration of pharmacokinetics of cyclophosphamide and suppression of the cytochrome P450 genes by ciprofloxacin” Bone Marrow Transplantation (2003) 31,197–203. http://www.nature.com/bmt/journal/v31/n3/abs/1703815a.html
  19. Dean P. Jones, et. al., “Mechanisms of Pathogenesis in Drug Hepatotoxicity Putting the Stress on Mitochondria” Mol Interv. 2010 April;10(2): 98–111. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2895369/
  20. Arkady B. Khodurskyand Nicholas R. Cozzarelli, “The Mechanism of Inhibition of Topoisomerase IV by Quinolone Antibacterials” October 16, 1998 The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 273, p. 27668-27677.http://www.jbc.org/content/273/42/27668.full
  21. Yi Xia, et. al., “Recent Advances in the Discovery and Development of Quinolones and Analogs As Antitumor Agents” Current Medicinal Chemistry, 1999, p. 179-194 http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=SJoxUN91vK4C&oi=fnd&pg=PA179#v=onepage&q&f=true
  22. V Talla and PR Veerareddy, “Oxidative Stress Induced by Fluoroquinolones on Treatment for Complicated Urinary Tract Infections in Indian Patients” J Young Pharm. 2011 Oct-Dec; 3(4): 304–309. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3249743/?report=printable
  23. 2013 FDA Warning Label for Ciprofloxacin (Cipro) – http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2013/019537s082,020780s040lbl.pdf
  24. Patricia Kime, “New FDA warnings on Cipro may tie into Gulf War illness” Air Force Times, November 1, 2013. http://www.airforcetimes.com/article/20131101/NEWS/311010018/New-FDA-warnings-Cipro-may-tie-into-Gulf-War-illness
  25. “Postal Workers Sue Bayer Over Cipro” http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/title/postal-workers-sue-bayer-over-cipro
  26. Lyrica Label http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2009/021446s013s014lbl.pdf
  27. Garcia Rey-C, “The role of the pharmaceutical industry. Why aren’t new antibiotics being marketed?”  2010 Nov;28 Suppl 4:45-9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21458701
  28. Ben Comer, “Brand of the Year: Humira” PharmExec.com February 1, 2012 http://www.pharmexec.com/pharmexec/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=757392

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Alternative News

The Medical Journals’ Sell-Out—Getting Paid to Play

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[Note: This is Part IX in a series of articles adapted from the second Children’s Health Defense eBook: Conflicts of Interest Undermine Children’s Health. The first eBook, The Sickest Generation: The Facts Behind the Children’s Health Crisis and Why It Needs to End, described how children’s health began to worsen dramatically in the late 1980s following fateful changes in the childhood vaccine schedule.]

The vaccine industry and its government and scientific partners routinely block meaningful science and fabricate misleading studies about vaccines. They could not do so, however, without having enticed medical journals into a mutually beneficial bargain. Pharmaceutical companies supply journals with needed income, and in return, journals play a key role in suppressing studies that raise critical questions about vaccine risks—which would endanger profits.

Journals are willing to accept even the most highly misleading advertisements. The FDA has flagged numerous instances of advertising violations, including ads that overstated a drug’s effectiveness or minimized its risks.

An exclusive and dependent relationship

Advertising is one of the most obviously beneficial ways that medical journals’ “exclusive and dependent relationship” with the pharmaceutical industry plays out. According to a 2006 analysis in PLOS Medicinedrugs and medical devices are the only products for which medical journals accept advertisements. Studies show that journal advertising generates “the highest return on investment of all promotional strategies employed by pharmaceutical companies.” The pharmaceutical industry puts a particularly “high value on advertising its products in print journals” because journals reach doctors—the “gatekeeper between drug companies and patients.” Almost nine in ten drug advertising dollars are directed at physicians.

In the U.S. in 2012, drug companies spent $24 billion marketing to physicians, with only $3 billion spent on direct-to-consumer advertising. By 2015, however, consumer-targeted advertising had jumped to $5.2 billion, a 60% increase that has reaped bountiful rewards. In 2015, Pfizer’s Prevnar-13 vaccine was the nation’s eighth most heavily advertised drug; after the launch of the intensive advertising campaign, Prevnar “awareness” increased by over 1,500% in eight months, and “44% of targeted consumers were talking to their physicians about getting vaccinated specifically with Prevnar.” Slick ad campaigns have also helped boost uptake of “unpopular” vaccines like Gardasil.

Advertising is such an established part of journals’ modus operandi that high-end journals such as The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) boldly invite medical marketers to “make NEJM the cornerstone of their advertising programs,” promising “no greater assurance that your ad will be seen, read, and acted upon.” In addition, medical journals benefit from pharmaceutical companies’ bulk purchases of thousands of journal reprints and industry’s sponsorship of journal subscriptions and journal supplements.

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In 2003, an editor at The BMJ wrote about the numerous ways in which drug company advertising can bias medical journals (and the practice of medicine)—all of which still hold true today. For example:

  • Advertising monies enable prestigious journals to get thousands of copies into doctors’ hands for free, which “almost certainly” goes on to affect prescribing.
  • Journals are willing to accept even the most highly misleading advertisements. The FDA has flagged numerous instances of advertising violations, including ads that overstated a drug’s effectiveness or minimized its risks.
  • Journals will guarantee favorable editorial mentions of a product in order to earn a company’s advertising dollars.
  • Journals can earn substantial fees for publishing supplements even when they are written by “paid industry hacks”—and the more favorable the supplement content is to the company that is funding it, the bigger the profit for the journal.

Discussing clinical trials, the BMJ editor added: “Major trials are very good for journals in that doctors around the world want to see them and so are more likely to subscribe to journals that publish them. Such trials also create lots of publicity, and journals like publicity. Finally, companies purchase large numbers of reprints of these trials…and the profit margin to the publisher is huge. These reprints are then used to market the drugs to doctors, and the journal’s name on the reprint is a vital part of that sell.”

… however, even these poor-quality studies—when funded by the pharmaceutical industry—got far more attention than equivalent studies not funded by industry.

Industry-funded bias

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), nearly three-fourths of all funding for clinical trials in the U.S.—presumably including vaccine trials—came from corporate sponsors as of the early 2000s. The pharmaceutical industry’s funding of studies (and investigators) is a factor that helps determine which studies get published, and where. As a Johns Hopkins University researcher has acknowledged, funding can lead to bias—and while the potential exists for governmental or departmental funding to produce bias, “the worst source of bias is industry-funded.”

In 2009, researchers published a systematic review of several hundred influenza vaccine trials. Noting “growing doubts about the validity of the scientific evidence underpinning [influenza vaccine] policy recommendations,” the authors showed that the vaccine-favorable studies were “of significantly lower methodological quality”; however, even these poor-quality studies—when funded by the pharmaceutical industry—got far more attention than equivalent studies not funded by industry. The authors commented:

[Studies] sponsored by industry had greater visibility as they were more likely to be published by high impact factor journals and were likely to be given higher prominence by the international scientific and lay media, despite their apparent equivalent methodological quality and size compared with studies with other funders.

In their discussion, the authors also described how the industry’s vast resources enable lavish and strategic dissemination of favorable results. For example, companies often distribute “expensively bound” abstracts and reprints (translated into various languages) to “decision makers, their advisors, and local researchers,” while also systematically plugging their studies at symposia and conferences.

The World Health Organization’s standards describe reporting of clinical trial results as a “scientific, ethical, and moral responsibility.” However, it appears that as many as half of all clinical trial results go unreported—particularly when their results are negative. A European official involved in drug assessment has described the problem as “widespread,” citing as an example GSK’s suppression of results from four clinical trials for an anti-anxiety drug when those results showed a possible increased risk of suicide in children and adolescents. Experts warn that “unreported studies leave an incomplete and potentially misleading picture of the risks and benefits of treatments.”

Many vaccine studies flagrantly illustrate biases and selective reporting that produce skewed write-ups that are more marketing than science.

Debased and biased results

The “significant association between funding sources and pro-industry conclusions” can play out in many different ways, notably through methodological bias and debasement of study designs and analytic strategies. Bias may be present in the form of inadequate sample sizes, short follow-up periods, inappropriate placebos or comparisons, use of improper surrogate endpoints, unsuitable statistical analyses or “misleading presentation of data.”

Occasionally, high-level journal insiders blow the whistle on the corruption of published science. In a widely circulated quote, Dr. Marcia Angell, former editor-in-chief of NEJM, acknowledged that “It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines.” Dr. Angell added that she “[took] no pleasure in this conclusion, which [she] reached slowly and reluctantly” over two decades at the prestigious journal.

Many vaccine studies flagrantly illustrate biases and selective reporting that produce skewed write-ups that are more marketing than science. In formulaic articles that medical journals are only too happy to publish, the conclusion is almost always the same, no matter the vaccine: “We did not identify any new or unexpected safety concerns.” As an example of the use of inappropriate statistical techniques to exaggerate vaccine benefits, an influenza vaccine study reported a “69% efficacy rate” even though the vaccine failed “nearly all who [took] it.” As explained by Dr. David Brownstein, the study’s authors used a technique called relative risk analysis to derive their 69% statistic because it can make “a poorly performing drug or therapy look better than it actually is.” However, the absolute risk difference between the vaccine and the placebo group was 2.27%, meaning that the vaccine “was nearly 98% ineffective in preventing the flu.”

… the reviewers had done an incomplete job and had ignored important evidence of bias.

Trusted evidence?

In 2018, the Cochrane Collaboration—which bills its systematic reviews as the international gold standard for high-quality, “trusted” evidence—furnished conclusions about the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine that clearly signaled industry bias. In May of that year, Cochrane’s highly favorable review improbably declared the vaccine to have no increased risk of serious adverse effects and judged deaths observed in HPV studies “not to be related to the vaccine.” Cochrane claims to be free of conflicts of interest, but its roster of funders includes national governmental bodies and international organizations pushing for HPV vaccine mandates as well as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation—both of which are staunch funders and supporters of HPV vaccination. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s president is a former top CDC official who served as acting CDC director during the H1N1 “false pandemic” in 2009 that ensured millions in windfall profits for vaccine manufacturers.

Two months after publication of Cochrane’s HPV review, researchers affiliated with the Nordic Cochrane Centre (one of Cochrane’s member centers) published an exhaustive critique, declaring that the reviewers had done an incomplete job and had “ignored important evidence of bias.” The critics itemized numerous methodological and ethical missteps on the part of the Cochrane reviewers, including failure to count nearly half of the eligible HPV vaccine trials, incomplete assessment of serious and systemic adverse events and failure to note that many of the reviewed studies were industry-funded. They also upbraided the Cochrane reviewers for not paying attention to key design flaws in the original clinical trials, including the failure to use true placebos and the use of surrogate outcomes for cervical cancer.

In response to the criticisms, the editor-in-chief of the Cochrane Library initially stated that a team of editors would investigate the claims “as a matter of urgency.” Instead, however, Cochrane’s Governing Board quickly expelled one of the critique’s authors, Danish physician-researcher Peter Gøtzsche, who helped found Cochrane and was the head of the Nordic Cochrane Centre. Gøtzsche has been a vocal critic of Cochrane’s “increasingly commercial business model,” which he suggests is resulting in “stronger and stronger resistance to say anything that could bother pharmaceutical industry interests.” Adding insult to injury, Gøtzsche’s direct employer, the Rigshospitalet hospital in Denmark, then fired Gøtzsche. In response, Dr. Gøtzsche stated, “Firing me sends the unfortunate signal that if your research results are inconvenient and cause public turmoil, or threaten the pharmaceutical industry’s earnings, …you will be sacked.” In March 2019, Gøtzsche launched an independent Institute for Scientific Freedom.

In 2019, the editor-in-chief and research editor of BMJ Evidence Based Medicine—the journal that published the critique of Cochrane’s biased review—jointly defended the critique as having “provoke[d] healthy debate and pose[d] important questions,” affirming the value of publishing articles that “hold organisations to account.” They added that “Academic freedom means communicating ideas, facts and criticism without being censored, targeted or reprimanded” and urged publishers not to “shrink from offering criticisms that may be considered inconvenient.”

In recent years, a number of journals have invented bogus excuses to withdraw or retract articles critical of risky vaccine ingredients, even when written by top international scientists.

The censorship tsunami

Another favored tactic is to keep vaccine-critical studies out of medical journals altogether, either by refusing to publish them (even if peer reviewers recommend their publication) or by concocting excuses to pull articles after publication. In recent years, a number of journals have invented bogus excuses to withdraw or retract articles critical of risky vaccine ingredients, even when written by top international scientists. To cite just three examples:

  • The journal Vaccine withdrew a study that questioned the safety of the aluminum adjuvantused in Gardasil.
  • The journal Science and Engineering Ethics retracted an article that made a case for greater transparency regarding the link between mercury and autism.
  • Pharmacological Research withdrew a published veterinary article that implicated aluminum-containing vaccines in a mystery illness decimating sheep, citing “concerns” from an anonymous reader.

Elsevier, which publishes two of these journals, has a track record of setting up fake journals to market Merck’s drugs, and Springer, which publishes the third journal as well as influential publications like Nature and Scientific American, has been only too willing to accommodate censorship requests. However, even these forms of censorship may soon seem quaint in comparison to the censorship of vaccine-critical information now being implemented across social media and other platforms. This concerted campaign to prevent dissemination of vaccine content that does not toe the party line will make it harder than ever for American families to do their due diligence with regard to vaccine risks and benefits.


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Awareness

60% of Kale Samples Contaminated With Cancer Causing Pesticide – Organic Is Key!

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A new analysis by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has found a high level of Dacthal in non-organic Kale.

  • Reflect On:

    Why do we justify the spraying of poison on our food? How does this make any sense? These substances have been linked to several diseases, how are they approved and marketed as safe in many countries? Why are they banned in so many others?

Do you still think organic is not necessary? A recent study published in the journal Environmental Research examined four families who eat conventional diets. Pesticide levels were measured via urine before switching to an organic diet for 6 days. A dramatic drop in pesticide levels was found. Another study conducted by researchers from RMIT University, published in the journal Environmental Research, found that eating an organic diet for just one week significantly reduced pesticide (commonly used in conventional food production) exposure in adults. This study found a dramatic 90 percent drop in pesticide levels. Both studies used urine samples to measure pesticide accumulation. You can access those studies and read more about them here and here.

A lot of these agents were initially developed as nerve gases for chemical warfare, so we do know that they have toxic effects on the nervous system at high doses. Conventional food production commonly uses organophosphate pesticides, among many others, which are neurotoxins that act on the nervous systems of humans by blocking an important enzyme. Recent studies have raised concerns for health effects of these chemicals even at relatively low levels.

There is no question or doubt about it, organic food not sprayed with pesticides is much better for our health, and eating organic is a great way to prevent multiple diseases, including cancer. Despite all of the publications and research on this subject, it’s confusing how cancer awareness initiatives continue to focus on raising money without ever addressing the root causes of the disease, one of which is clearly exposure to herbicides and pesticides.

This is why the Environmental Working Group (EWG) advocates buying organic products. Since its inception in 1993, EWG has fought for consumers’ rights to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. EWG’s very first report in 1993, “Pesticides in Children’s Foods,” played a pivotal role in Congress passing the Food Quality Protection Act two years later. They are a well known group of scientists and activists doing great work.

Recently, they discovered that approximately 60 percent of kale samples sold in the United States were contaminated with another carcinogenic pesticide, according to the  EWG’s analysis of the 2017 Department of Agriculture’s test data.

The pesticide is called DCPA, often marketed as Dacthal,  and it’s a substance that the EPA classified as a possible carcinogen in 1995. In 2005, its major manufacturer voluntarily terminated its registration for use on several U.S. crops, including artichokes, beans and cucumbers, after studies found that its breakdown products were highly persistent in the environment and could contaminate drinking water sources. This is why in 2009, the European Union prohibited all uses of Dacthal, enforcing a complete ban on it. With all this being said, the fact remains that it is still used in the U.S. on crops including kale, broccoli, sweet potatoes, eggplant, turnips, and who knows what else.

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Even as kale’s popularity as a health food rich in vitamins and antioxidants has soared in recent years, the level and type of pesticide residues on kale has expanded significantly. EWG’s new analysis places it third on the 2019 Dirty Dozen™, our annual ranking of the fruits and vegetables with the most pesticide residues. Recent EWG-commissioned tests of kale from grocery stores found that on two of eight samples, Dacthal residues were comparable to the average level reported by the USDA.

The USDA has not tested kale for pesticides since 2009, when it ranked eighth on the Dirty Dozen. Between 2007 and 2012, the acres of kale harvested in the U.S. grew by more than 56 percent, with more than 2.5 times as many commercial farms growing it.

Conventional kale farming relies heavily on the use of several synthetic pesticides, including Dacthal. The EPA’s 1995 classification of it as a possible carcinogen noted increases in liver and thyroid tumors. Dacthal can also cause other kinds of harm to the lungs, liver, kidney and thyroid.

According to U.S. Geological Survey data from 2016, about 500,000 pounds of Dacthal was sprayed in the U.S., mostly in California and Washington state. In California, the only state where all pesticide use must be reported, nearly 200,000 pounds were sprayed in 2016.

In states with high Dacthal use, concerns have grown about the capacity of its breakdown products to contaminate surface and groundwater. Not only can Dacthal contaminate areas near its use, but studies indicate it can also travel long distances in the atmosphere as well. (EWG)

You can read more from EWG on the subject here.

The Takeaway

Again, multiple agents can be found on non-organic produce, but this article just outlines one. At the end of the day, the choice is up to you whether or not you buy your fruits and vegetables organic. If you can afford conventional produce, you can afford organically grown produce as well. One helpful tip is to cut out junk food from your purchases if you have any, and that can make room for organic produce. Another way to look at it is spending the extra few bucks to invest in your health.

It’s unfortunate that organic food is more expensive, especially when organic food in general could be provided to the entire world if we actually utilized our fullest potential. It’s actually cheaper to produces, it’s just that governments subsidize convention farmers, not organic ones. At the end of the day, kale is extremely nutritious. It’s high in vitamins A, K and iron, and consumption of leafy greens is associated with reduced risk of various diseases. It’s best if we keep it that way by only growing organic kale.

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Awareness

A List of Children’s Foods That Are Contaminated With Monsanto’s Roundup Herbicide

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Glyphosate, the active ingredient in the Roundup herbicide that was manufactured by Monsanto, has been found in multiple foods that've been marketed to children. You can view the list below.

  • Reflect On:

    With countless scientific publications and examples of fraud clearly showing that glyphosate is a major health and environmental hazard, how is it still on the market in multiple countries? Why? What is going on here?

It’s very confusing as to why poison is still being sprayed in our environment, and how anybody could ever justify the use of these poisons. Justification has come from mass brainwashing, marketing campaigns, and just downright deception. There are many examples of deception when it comes to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. A great example comes from Europe, where the product was recently re-licensed and approved by European Parliament. However, MEPs found the science given to them was plagiarized, full of industry science written by Monsanto. You can read more about that here.  Another example would be the corruption that plagues our federal health regulatory agencies, which have been completely compromised by big corporations. There are several other great examples that illustrate this point, in fact there are decades of examples. One of the best would be the SPIDER papers. A group called the CDC Scientists Preserving Integrity, Diligence and Ethics in Research, or CDC SPIDER, put a list of complaints in a letter to the CDC Chief of Staff and provided a copy of the letter to the public watchdog organization U.S. Right to Know (USRTK).

We are a group of scientists at CDC that are very concerned about the current state of ethics at our agency.  It appears that our mission is being influenced and shaped by outside parties and rogue interests. It seems that our mission and Congressional intent for our agency is being circumvented by some of our leaders. What concerns us most, is that it is becoming the norm and not the rare exception. Some senior management officials at CDC are clearly aware and even condone these behaviors.

When it comes to glyphosate, there are currently more than 10,000 pending cases with regards to ailments it’s caused people, and we are now starting to see cancer cases go through courts of law. One of the latest examples would be school groundskeeper Dewyane Johnson, who was awarded a victory after a jury found Bayer (Monsanto) to be guilty of causing/contributing to his terminal cancer. You can read more about that story here.

This is why it’s a bit concerning that this substance is ending up in our food, and that includes food that’s being marketed to children.

For example, Moms Across America, a National Coalition of Unstoppable Moms, recently discovered glyphosate in multiple brands of popular orange juice. You can read more about that hereThe full report can be seen here. The testing methodology was “Glyphosate and AMPA Detection by UPLC-MS/MS.”

Furthermore:

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Major food companies like General Mills continue to sell popular children’s breakfast cereals and other foods contaminated with troubling levels of glyphosate, the cancer-causing ingredient in the herbicide Roundup. The weedkiller, produced by Bayer-Monsanto, was detected in all 21 oat-based cereal and snack products sampled in a new round of testing commissioned by the Environmental Working Group. All but four products contained levels of glyphosate higher than what EWG scientists consider protective for children’s health with a sufficient margin of safety.

The new tests confirm and amplify EWG’s findings from tests in July and October of last year, with levels of glyphosate consistently above EWG’s children’s health benchmark. The two highest levels of glyphosate were found in Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch, with 833 parts per billion, or ppb, and Cheerios, with 729 ppb. The EWG children’s health benchmark is 160 ppb. –  Olga Naidenko, Ph.D., senior science advisor, and Alexis Temkin, Ph.D., Toxicologist for the Environmental Working Group (EWG)(source)

The EWG recently purchased a number of products via online retail sites, and then they packed and shipped approximately 300 grams of each of the products they purchased (listed in the chart below) to Anresco Laboratories in San Francisco. Glyphosate levels were analyzed using a liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry method described here.

The Takeaway

Glyphosate is used mostly as a weedkiller on genetically modified corn and soybean crops. But it is also sprayed on oats just before harvest as a drying agent or desiccant. It kills the crop, drying it out so it can be harvested sooner, which increases the likelihood that glyphosate ends up in the foods children love to eat. It’s present almost everywhere and it’s a great example of how we don’t really live in a democracy, and how big corporations are operating without any concern for human health or the health of our planet. So far, more than 236,000 people have signed a petition directed at these food companies, calling on them to take action to protect consumers’ health.

The best way for you to combat something like this is to help share information like this in any way you can and go organic. Multiple studies have shown that pesticide exposure dramatically drops from consuming organic food. Just one week of eating an organic diet can drop pesticide levels in the body up to 90 percent in both children and adults. You can read more about that study here.

There are more concerns here, as it’s not just glyphosate, but also pesticides like organophosphates, which are sprayed on our food and have been linked to multiple diseases. A lot of these agents were originally developed as nerve agents for warfare.

Change starts with you, so you can go organic and spread awareness. Just five years ago not many people would have even known what glyphosate is, so things are definitely changing for the better.

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We plan to investigate the telecom industry, it’s ties to politics, and expose its efforts to push 5G while ignoring the dangers and without proper safety testing, but we can't do it without your support.

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