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A Website Exposing How Much Big Pharma Pays Your Doctor

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A resource that allows you to understand the financial relationship between doctors and pharma companies in the United States. If you click on Search Tool, you have the ability to search by Physician, Teaching Hospital, or Company Making Payment.

  • Reflect On:

    Why is our medical system dominated by pharmaceutical companies? Why do most doctors trust the medications they prescribe without looking into it more? Why don't doctors prescribe health solutions that don't involve drugs?

In 2014, Harvard University stated that prescription drugs are the 4th leading cause of death. North American culture practically worships the pharmaceutical industry and often fails to recognize many of the issues within it. Many Americans are completely unaware that new prescription drugs have a 1 in 5 chance of causing serious reactions, even after being approved.

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In fact, approximately 1.9 million people are hospitalized annually due to properly prescribed medication (not including any overdoses, self-prescriptions, or mis-prescribing). 128,000 people die every year in the U.S. from drugs prescribed to them, so why is this still happening? The reality is, drug companies make a lot of money from selling prescriptions, and they even pay doctors to do it for them.

If you’ve ever questioned this industry and your doctor’s motives, here is some good news: You can now find out how much your doctor is paid annually to prescribe any drug. In addition, you can also search any company name and find out how much they pay doctors in total every year.

The Database That’s Exposing Big Pharma’s Money Trail 

The governmental website Open Payments Data a

The two former options allow you to see how much doctors and hospitals are paid annually by pharmaceutical companies to prescribe drugs. If you search a specific company, on the other hand, you can see a detailed summary of their spendings. There’s specific information outlining which doctors are paid the highest amounts, how many doctors they pay nationwide, the nature of these payments, and then specific details of every single payment they made to doctors that year.

For example, when you type Big Pharma giant Gilead Science Inc. into the tool bar, you can see that the company spent $36,830,535.40 in Total General Payments and $45,394,349.76 in Total Research Payments in the year 2015 alone. 48.4% of payments were classified as “Compensation for services other than consulting, including serving as faculty or as a speaker at a venue other than a continuing education program.” The top paid physician made more than $600,000 in 2015 from simply prescribing drugs manufactured by Gilead Science Inc.

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It doesn’t take much common sense to understand what this could mean, particularly since it’s hardly a secret that pharmaceutical companies essentially buy out the medical industry. Numerous pharmaceutical companies have paid doctors and researchers to understate the dangers of both drugs and their negative side effects, and to falsify research as well.

Arnold Relman, Harvard Professor and former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, put it perfectly when he said, “The medical profession is being bought by the pharmaceutical industry, not only in terms of the practice of medicine, but also in terms of teaching and research. . . . The academic institutions of this country are allowing themselves to be the paid agents of the pharmaceutical industry. I think it’s disgraceful.”

Don’t Be So Quick to Blame Your Doctor…

If you’ve visited Open Payments Data‘s platform and searched your doctor within their database, take a moment to reflect on what you’re really looking at. Just because your doctors receive payments from pharmaceutical companies doesn’t necessarily mean they’re terrible people; it could just mean that they’re doing their jobs.

It’s unlikely your personal doctor designed the current structure of the medical industry. Your doctor may not even understand the complexity of the pharmaceutical industry because MDs aren’t properly educated on these drugs. Many doctors genuinely believe they’re helping people through the use of medication; they don’t see the bigger picture here because it’s not included in their education. Plus, it’s often illegal for MDs to prescribe natural cures instead of pharmaceutical drugs and conventional treatments, particularly when it comes to the cancer industry (check out this CE article that exposes the truth about cancer).

In addition, when you actually think about it, it makes perfect sense that some doctors are being paid by pharmaceutical companies. Of course Big Pharma would require doctors’ help in creating drugs and validating their use; it’s completely legal and should be expected of them. However, there’s clearly a grey area here that cannot be ignored.

Pharmaceutical companies, rather than qualified and unbiased doctors, define a lot of the information that MDs are taught, and Big Pharma often influences medical professors and funds university programs. For example, 1,600 Harvard professors stated that they or a family member have ties to drug companies that could bias their teachings or research. The pharmaceutical industry donated more than $11.5 million to Harvard in 2008 for “research and continuing education classes.” Many Harvard students have expressed concern over this and it even made mainstream news when a student was belittled by his professor for asking about the side effects of a drug his professor was unlawfully promoting in class.

This has also been a prevalent issue within psychiatry. As Dr. Irwin Savodnik of UCLA explains, “The very vocabulary of psychiatry is now defined at all levels by the pharmaceutical industry.” This is partially because the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)the text most psychiatrists in the U.S. refer to to diagnose and treat their patients, is heavily biased toward using pharmaceutical drugs instead of therapy. Read more about this in our CE article here.

If you haven’t yet been exposed to this side of the U.S. medical industry, I can understand that there may be some confusion. Why would pharmaceutical companies and some doctors conspire to over-prescribe or mis-prescribe people when their sole purpose should be to help their patients? The simple answer is profit.

The main reason we take so many drugs is that drug companies don t sell drugs, they sell lies about drugs. This is what makes drugs so different from anything else in life… Virtually everything we know about drugs is what the companies have chosen to tell us and our doctors… the reason patients trust their medicine is that they extrapolate the trust they have in their doctors into the medicines they prescribe.

The patients don’t realize that, although their doctors may know a lot about diseases and human physiology and psychology, they know very, very little about drugs that’ve been carefully concocted and dressed up by the drug industry… If you don t think the system is out of control, please email me and explain why drugs are the third leading cause of death… If such a hugely lethal epidemic had been caused by a new bacterium or a virus, or even one-hundredth of it, we would have done everything we could to get it under control. – Dr. Peter Gotzsche, co-founder of the Cochrane Collaboration (source)

Why Big Pharma Wants You To Take Pills

This may be obvious to many of you, but, just to be clear: The entire medical industry is focused around profit. It’s similar to any other industry in that every service it provides you with, or item it convinces you to purchase, makes someone else a lot of many. In the case of a pharmaceutical company, they can only make money if you’re sick.

So, it wouldn’t really be in the best interest of Big Pharma to sell drugs without any negative side effects. If they produced drugs that actually 100% cured people, how would they continue to profit off our illnesses?

This is precisely why Big Pharma does not get involved with all-natural medicines; there is no profit to be made in plants. Anyone can grow a plant with the right climate and it’s much cheaper to manufacture than synthetic drugs. It’s also easier to make pills in larger quantities than plants. and then when you consider the economies of scale, Big Pharma is able to generate an even greater profit.

Big Pharma has infiltrated pharmaceutical drugs into other industries too. If you eat animal products, then you’re inadvertently ingesting the hormones, antibiotics, and other pharmaceutical drugs given to those animals. Antibiotics, birth control pills, painkillers, and other pharmaceutical drugs can be found in tap water as well.

Let’s take a moment to look at the bigger picture: Most industries are currently driven by money, not passion. It seems strange, but this is precisely the issue within the medical industry. I’m sure many doctors choose their occupation because they’re passionate about helping people. However, until Big Pharma stops playing such a crucial role in creating their job descriptions, it will be difficult for MDs to actually help people without simultaneously hurting them.

It’s clear that we need a systemic change in values. Until we start to work “for the people” rather than “for the profit,” we cannot expect these outcomes to change. It’s hardly surprising that Big Pharma wants you to be sick because they’re not just in the business to cure people — they also need to make a profit.

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Awareness

Johnson & Johnson Found To Have Knowingly Allowed Asbestos In Their Baby Powder

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Johnson and Johnson have recently lost lawsuits for negligence in knowingly allowing carcinogenic substances in their talc-based hygiene products.

  • Reflect On:

    Are we starting to turn the page on an era where human health and safety are not the prime considerations in the manufacturing of consumer products?

We are starting to awaken to the fact that it seems to be the rule, and not the exception, that large Western corporations put profits above human health considerations. The only time they seem to give any regard to human health concerns is when their forecasts of potential lawsuits down the road would likely exceed the cost measures needed to ensure the safety of their product.

Johnson & Johnson is just one of a long line of corporate perpetrators who believed that covering up and lying about known health concerns would make better business sense than taking the time and resources to actually address those health concerns within their products.

Contaminated Baby Powder: The Height Of Indignity

One would think, regardless of an understanding that the bottom line is a priority for most private companies, that the health and safety of a nursing mother and her newborn child would be sacrosanct for any industry. The reality is that this is simply not the case, even though J&J could have mitigated this problem from the start.

Companies that mine talc are required to take extra steps to ensure the absence of asbestos in their talc. Instead, J&J allegedly went to great lengths to fake it.

Not only did the company know about the asbestos contamination, evidence suggests, but J&J also failed to warn its customers about the link between Baby Powder and cancer or replace its talc with a safer alternative. As a result, J&J guaranteed its customers’ exposure to asbestos.

And regardless of their size or numbers, asbestos fibers are lethal at any capacity. As the World Health Organization (WHO) has stressed repeatedly, there is no safe level of exposure. (source)

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The Testimony of Scientist James Webber

Baby Powder’s contamination with asbestos (a mineral that naturally occurs near talc) has long been the subject of lawsuits. But only in recent years has evidence begun to unravel J&J’s defense – that the company had no idea – and threatened its success in lawsuits to come.

In March, a California jury awarded $29 million to Terry Leavitt, a woman who said that asbestos in Johnson & Johnson’s talcum-powder-based products caused her terminal mesothelioma. Environmental scientist James Webber testified in her high-profile California trial and made these observations:

During several hours on the stand, Webber explained how he ran tests that showed “clear” evidence of asbestos contamination in the mines from which J&J sourced talc.

“The testing I have seen [shows] that it was present at least as early as 1971 and up through the late 1990s,” said Webber, who ran an asbestos laboratory in New York state.

Despite denying it publicly, J&J had observed this contamination in internal memos. Its notes dismissed the amount of asbestos in its talc as “but a trace,” Webber alleged. But that was just an optimistic interpretation of superficial testing, he said: the tests used methods too weak to detect microscopic asbestos fibers. Webber insisted the actual tests results revealed there could be millions of asbestos fibers per gram of talc.

And J&J’s inaccurate reports were allegedly only the tip of the iceberg. In some instances, Webber said, photos attached to J&J’s reports revealed that “they had been seeing it and not reporting it.”  (source)

And It’s Getting Worse

The $29 million verdict, in California Superior Court in Oakland, was the latest defeat for the healthcare conglomerate facing more than 13,000 talc-related lawsuits nationwide. And things may be getting even worse for J&J, according to ZeroHedge:

Johnson & Johnson shares are down over 5% after Bloomberg reports that, according to people with knowledge of the matter, the U.S. Justice Department is pursuing a criminal investigation into whether Johnson & Johnson lied to the public about the possible cancer risks of its talcum powder…

Now, a grand jury in Washington is examining documents related to what company officials knew about any carcinogens in their products, the people said.

The Takeaway

It seems as though corporations have long been willing to take the calculated risk of short-cuts and denials instead of ensuring that their products are safe for public use. My suspicion is that a part of our collective awakening process will be issuing in a new business paradigm in which human health and safety become paramount.

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Awareness

Prescription Infant Formulas Found To Be Contaminated With Aluminum

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Multiple brands of prescription infant formula were found to contain high levels of aluminum.

  • Reflect On:

    Should we be questioning the quality of products that come from pharmaceutical production? Do we veer away from natural methods of raising children more than we should? At what cost?

You may not think aluminum is a big deal, but it is. For anybody who has looked into aluminum toxicology, it’s quite clear and apparent that it has no place inside of any living biological organism. Putting it simply, it wreaks havoc on our biology. High amounts of aluminum have been found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease, with experts in the field believing that aluminum brain accumulation may be one of the main causes of Alzheimer’s disease.

It’s also been discovered within the brains of MS patients, and some of the highest aluminum content ever recorded in brain tissue has also been discovered in people with autism. Aluminum is associated with several diseases. But an adult body can do a great job of flushing out aluminum.

Despite the fact that aluminum has no place within earth’s biota, it’s still present in many of our medications, our food, and even in the water that we drink due to contamination since the industrial revolution. Aluminum inside the body is a new phenomenon and still understudied. Again, there is a threshold, and aluminum that is injected via vaccines doesn’t exit the body–there is strong evidence that it remains inside the body and ends up in distant organs and eventually inside of the brain. If you want to access more studies on that topic, you can read this article I published that provides them and goes into more detail. You can also watch this interview with Christopher Exley, where he also points to that fact.

A new study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health has shown that multiple popular infant prescriptions are contaminated with aluminum. You may be asking how much aluminum, but the authors make it a point to stress that there are no safe amounts of aluminum levels that can be inside of a human body, let alone a newborn baby. That being said, the amounts found are listed within the abstract of the study:

Historical and recent data demonstrate that off-the-shelf infant formulas are heavily contaminated with aluminium. The origin of this contamination remains to be elucidated though may be imported via ingredients, packaging and processing. Specialised infant formulas exist to address health issues, such as low birth weight, allergy or intolerance and medical conditions, such as renal insufficiency. The aluminium content of these prescription infant formulas is measured here for the first time. We obtained 24 prescription infant formulas through a paediatric clinic and measured their total aluminium content by transversely heated graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry following microwave assisted acid/peroxide digestion. The aluminium content of ready-to-drink formulas ranged from 49.9 (33.7) to 1956.3 (111.0) μg/L. The most heavily contaminated products were those designed as nutritional supplements for infants struggling to gain weight. The aluminium content of powdered formulas ranged from 0.27 (0.04) to 3.27 (0.19) μg/g. The most heavily contaminated products tended to be those addressing allergies and intolerance. Prescription infant formulas are contaminated with aluminium.

Another very important point made right off the bat by the authors:

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Human exposure to aluminium is a serious health concern. Aluminium exposure in infants is understandably a burgeoning issue. While infant exposure to aluminium continues to be documented, its consequences, immediate and in the future, have received only scant attention and research is required to understand the biological availability of aluminium through formula feeding. For example, how much aluminium is absorbed across the neonate gut and its subsequent fate, including excretion.

There is already too much aluminium in infant formulas and herein we have measured its content in a large number of prescription formulas, products which are fed to vulnerable infants in their first months of life. Many of these products are heavily contaminated with aluminium.

As for the specific infant formulas, you can refer to the study. The researchers obtained 24 prescription infant formulas via the Paediatric Clinic of Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley, United Kingdom. The ready-to-drink and powdered products were new, ready-to-be used and unopened samples. These formulas are for babies with some sort of growth restriction, like for preterm infants or infants who have poor weight gain. There were also powdered formulas for allergies and intolerances and powdered formulas with additional amino acids.

The authors contacted each manufacturer and expressed that they denied knowing that there was any aluminum in their products, which means it’s still a mystery as to their source. The authors hypothesize on a number of ways that aluminum could be entering into the formulas.

In their conclusion, the authors emphasize that:

Where possible, breast milk feeding should be prioritised, as the aluminium content of breast milk is invariably an order of magnitude lower than in formula feeds. Where infant formulas are the only source of nutrition for many infants in their first weeks and months of life, aluminium ingested in formula feeds will be the major contributor to their body burden of aluminium. The last thing that vulnerable infants fed specialised formulas for their specific nutritional/medicinal need is additional aluminium in their diet.

Detoxing

There is a lot of information out there on how a person can detox from aluminum and other heavy metals. There are multiple studies, and based on what I’ve looked into, water with high amounts of Silica are effective in draining aluminum out of your body and brain. Herbs like cilantro and substances like chlorella and spirulina are also great for removing some metals. The information is out there, so be sure to do your research.

The Takeaway

It’s concerning to think about what these corporations are doing. Again, aluminum should hold no place in our society, it should’ve remained well below our surface as part of the Earth’s crust for a reason. It wasn’t until humans began digging it out and using it for a number of things, irresponsibly I might add, that we started to see the health implications which still go largely ignored by the medical community.

In fact, heavy metal accumulation and detoxification of aluminum haven’t been addressed at all, which is odd given the fact that heavy metal accumulation is linked to a variety of diseases.

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Awareness

9 Studies You Should Be Aware of Before Trying The Ketogenic Diet

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The Ketogenic diet is a popular fad diet that promotes quick weight loss and symptom management for bodies that are dealing with poor lymph, kidney and digestion health.

  • Reflect On:

    Based on the studies that are emerging, is our desire for quick weight loss more important than living a long and healthy life? Are we learning about these diets primarily through those with strong ties to upholding these diets?

The ketogenic diet has popped up as a popular approach to weight loss in the last few years. Is it successful at that? Sure, it is. I’ve experimented with the diet myself years ago when I was looking to lose some belly fat. I was entering into ketosis in a different way than most, as I was not eating any animal products, but it does in fact work.

But like any animal product based diet, what are the consequences of eating so much food that does not truly jive with our human bodies? Not only that, is fast weight loss more important than keeping our morality rate down?

In the last few years, we’ve reported a lot on the Keto diet and the various ways it can be done. We have explored the studies, the results and in some ways, we supported it. But lately, I have been thinking about how supporting this could actually be encouraging people to jump into these diets, including the paleo diet, when in reality these diets increase mortality rates and are not healthy for the human body.

It became a thought in the back of my mind, I have always strived to put the best information out that I can through this platform to promote good health. And so we must look at that, even if that means upsetting some people who currently are on paleo or keto and are seeing some good weight loss or symptom management. The truth is, like the many people I’ve seen crash on these diets after a few years, I want people to know the truth of what’s going on out there. And how we can get beyond diets that symptom manage, and instead get onto diets that truly heal.

Anytime we have fad diets, which paleo and keto are, we see products and bias pop up all over the place to support the continuation of these trends. It becomes less about health and more about upholding an identity or a business.

So as I recently looked into what experts are saying about these diets, I came upon two important videos I think everyone should check out. Both have been embedded below. Remember, it’s not that I care what you choose in your own life, or that I feel there is a right or wrong, it’s that I believe we should be informed and I wish to use this platform to promote as best a message as I can.

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The Videos

Thanks to Plant-Based News for creating such a good channel and resource of information on YouTube.

In this video, several plant-based health experts talk through 9 nutrition studies that would be of interest to low carb keto diet proponents. To read the 9 studies, click here.

Next up, Dr. Kim Williams (past President of the American College of Cardiology) shares his insights about the ketogenic.

Related Articles

Diabetic Shares Why He Quit ‘The Ketogenic Diet’

Doctor Explains Why She Never Recommends The ‘Ketogenic Diet’

The Biggest Misconception About The ‘Ketogenic Diet’…You Don’t Actually Have To Follow It

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