BOUGHT OFF: Why You Don’t Hear About Low-Cost Natural Remedies in the News

By Bill Sardi

         The obvious often escapes public recognition. By categorical definition, news media attract public interest with information or entertainment that draws readers, listeners, and viewers in order to sell products and services offered by sponsors. Somehow some of the public mistakenly believes that news reporters are unbiased investigators operating in the public’s interest. In fact, they are front men for commercial entities. 

            Consumers cannot imagine that the whole American shopping experience inside grocery stores, viewing food ads on TV, and going to doctors’ offices are orchestrated to promote over-consumption of processed foods that foments metabolic disease that in turn requires more drugs to be prescribed.

            Most anti-diabetic drugs (save for metformin) induce weight gain.[1] The news media in league with public-health authorities promoted the diabesity (diabetes/obesity) epidemic by advising the public to base their diet on carbohydrates (bread, rice, pasta, refined grains, and cereal) as presented in the infamous food pyramid. Grains were subsidized by the U.S. government and most were used to fatten animals for the feeding pen just prior to slaughter. No one connected the fact we were doing the same for humans. The essential fats and oils needed to quell hunger and produce hormones were feared and non-fat foods became the rage. When Americans were using lard and butter is when they were the leanest.

            In fact, women’s waist size burgeoned from 27.5 inches in 1957 to 34 inches in 2017. The average size clothing for a woman today is size 14 versus size 10 in 1957.[2] Add high fructose corn syrup to the equation beginning in the late 1970s, which spawned an outbreak of vaginal yeast infections in women, and still nobody paid attention. 

Government Failures Go Unreported

            The abandonment of the 5-A-Day plan to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables daily promoted by public-health agencies was not reported in the U.S. When it was realized that five servings of plant foods a day did not lower mortality rates for cancer, this failure was announced in the British Medical Journal, but not by U.S. news or medical sources.[3]

            The most common “vegetable” consumed by Americans is ketchup, which is laced with corn-syrup sugar.  Go figure.

Americans Are Lab Rats Being Fed Junk Food

            If you think your local grocery store isn’t a part of all of this food corruption, just take a look at all of the shelf space devoted to potato chips and ice cream in the store. The American population is being herded like cattle. Food choices involve which brand of frozen pizza is the tastiest, not the most nutritious.

            One wonders just how much disease is naturally occurring and how much is actually fostered by advertising unhealthy foods (“bet you can’t eat just one” is the advertising slogan for one popular brand of potato chip). Many prepared foods are laced with brain-rewarding molecules (example: Oreo cookies) that induce overeating and food addiction, and ads for these products are often the most widely advertised on TV.[4]

            There are no ads for apples, grapes, fish, or nutrient-dense foods. Packaged processed foods appear to be the modern thing. 

            There is concern that government health agencies along with food companies and Big Pharma in league with the news media help keep Americans fat and sick.[5] After all, there is a lot of money to be made by maintaining a level of disease in society. 

As Seen On TV – Just Slightly Better Than Placebo

            In our modern world, Big Pharma has bought off the evening TV news and has penetrated most news sources (even Prevention Magazine) with advertising that creates demand for expensive and problematic drugs that are not even as safe and effective as their older antecedents. 

            As soon as patents wear off, the old reliable drugs are abandoned. About a third of new drugs are no better than older drugs and some are worse.[6]

            One authoritative source claims that 90% of FDA-approved drugs in the last 30 years are no more effective than existing drugs![7] Maybe better than placebo, but not better than older drugs whose patents have expired. Given that prescription drugs are the fourth leading cause of death and induce an estimated 80 million mild-to-severe side effects a year, this is no trivial matter. The pharmaceutical industry, in league with the FDA, has spawned an epidemic of drug side effects larger than any actual prevailing disease.[8]

            Over 771,368 such television ads for drugs were aired in 2016 (2000 per day), says a scathing report in the New York Times.[9] Many of these TV ads are for problems like erectile dysfunction or ineffective flu vaccines, which don’t make Americans any healthier.[10]

            About 33% of consumers say they end up talking to doctors about medicines they saw advertised on TV.[11] The pharmaceutical industry spent $3.7 billion on TV ads in 2018.[12] If you can believe this, consumers are even invited to select their favorite drug ad on TV.[13]

            Doctors don’t mind, as advertising brings new patients to their offices. And to make matters worse, 98% of the ads that appear in medical journals promote prescription drugs.[14] So, medical journals are also captive to drug companies.

The Hidden Secret

            Even though the biological action of most prescription drugs can be duplicated by vitamins, minerals, amino acids, oils and herbals, the doctor only puts his imprimatur on drugs that are designed to allay symptoms but not cure the disease. Virtually every human malady is addressed as if it were a drug deficiency.

Costly Drugs More Affordable Than Dietary Supplements

            The lucrative pharmaceutical dispensing business is dependent upon health insurers covering the cost of drugs which are more affordable than dietary supplements which could serve as alternatives. Even economical nutraceuticals cost more in terms of out-of-pocket costs than do prescription drugs when insurance companies work in league with pharmaceutical companies to lower the co-payment to combat the so-called problem of non-compliance.

            In terms of effectiveness and true costs, dietary supplements and herbs are far more affordable and efficacious than drugs. Yet, unnecessary FDA regulations sharply push up the cost of dietary supplements without correspondingly increasing their safety. And unfortunately lower-income households are less able to afford supplements as a result.

Dietary Supplements Demonized

         The news media is quick to put dietary supplements in a bad light.  News reports exaggerate published studies that showed dietary supplements induce side effects. “Study finds 275,000 calls to poison control centers for dietary supplement exposures.”[15]  However, that was for a 13-year period from 2000 to 2012.[16] Consumers were exposed to but may not have experienced side effects from dietary supplements. What went unreported is that 70% of these exposures involved small children younger than six years old and had nothing to do with the products themselves.[17]

            Over the past several years no deaths have been reported from use of dietary supplements by Poison Control Centers, which is something FDA-approved drugs cannot say.[18]  Furthermore, the study did not report on how many adult consumers may have misused (overdosed) on dietary supplements. Compare this to a report showing 107,000 deaths annually from properly-used, nurse-dispensed drugs in a hospital.[19] This latter death rate is akin to the entire city of Allentown, Pennsylvania being wiped out every year.

Dietary Supplements Claimed “Unproven”

         Yes, but not disproven. How can unapproved dietary supplements be far safer than FDA-approved drugs? Yet time and again news reporters say dietary supplements are not FDA approved and are unproven and do “not prevent, treat or cure any disease,” the caveat the FDA requires on all dietary-supplement labels where a structure-function claim is made. Still, if dietary supplements do in fact quell any disease, they would be categorically classified as drugs. So, they must remain unproven. 

            Labels on dietary supplements are not allowed to say they are effective against any disease, even dietary deficiency diseases such as scurvy (Vitamin C), pernicious anemia (Vitamin B12), and beriberi (Vitamin B1 thiamin), all of which are in resurgence today. 

High-Calorie Malnutrition

            Dr. Derrick Lonsdale calls this high-calorie malnutrition.[20] Refined sugars and carbohydrates along with alcohol block the absorption of Vitamin B1. Thiamin blocks all of the harmful effects of diabetes that induce problems in kidneys (nephropathy), heart (cardiomyopathy), retina (retinopathy), and peripheral nerves (neuropathy).[21]

            It is not uncommon for diabetics to be placed on acid blockers for heartburn, which due to lack of stomach acid worsens the above problems. Diabetics should be prescribed Vitamin B1 across the board. Few are. So, where is the news media to report this?

Treating Nutrient Deficiencies with Drugs

            At any given time millions Americans are deficient in Vitamin C (particularly smokers), Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B1, and magnesium. Yet, the symptoms of these deficiencies are being treated with drugs. The root cause of the problem is not being generally addressed by vitamin supplementation as it could be.

            Nerve problems, for example, are treated with Neurontin, not Vitamin B12. Muscle spasms are treated with Robaxin, not magnesium. Fluttering heart muscle (atrial fibrillation) in the top chambers of the heart are treated with Cordarone or Betapace, not zinc, magnesium and/or Vitamin D.[22] The medical industry is making tons of money off of inappropriately treated nutrient deficiencies.

Drugs Safety: Not Quite

            Some FDA-approved drugs, such as statin cholesterol-lowering drugs, are so bad and produce so many side effects that up to 6 in 10 users abandon them within the first six months[23] following initial prescription, which makes statin drugs falsely appear to be relatively safe even though they are not and are only marginally effective.

            Other approved drugs, such as Vioxx, killed some of its users outright. And, sadly enough, the drug company may have known of its ill effects years before the drug was pulled off the market.[24]

On The FDA We Trust (Not)

            The FDA cannot be trusted to carry out its historic mission to protect the public from potentially harmful and ineffective drugs.  Dietary supplements should not be regulated by the FDA that has conflicts in doing so.

         By drug companies paying user fees to the FDA for it to process their drug applications, essentially the FDA’s clients are pharmaceutical companies that the FDA relies upon for income. The FDA is a captured regulatory agency. Public Citizen calls FDA user fees bad medicine.[25]

Treating Non-Disease

            Modern medicine expands treatment thresholds to pre-disease states that only lower numbers (like an expansion of the number of patients who need to be treated with medicines for blood pressure or cholesterol). New diseases are also being born, such as “attention deficit disorder,” in what is called disease mongering.[26]

Inappropriate Rx

            Many drugs never address the cause of a disease. Blood-pressure drugs lower a number by slowing the heart rate (beta blockers) or by inducing excretion of water (diuretics or so-called water pills), but these aren’t the primary causes of hypertension. There is no single drug that brings high blood pressure under control. For many, one daily magnesium pill will do as well as any blood-pressure medication.[27]

            Doctors and pharmaceutical companies don’t make as much money curing or preventing disease as they do in ineffectively treating their symptoms, which requires repeated use of drugs. Public naivety and patients who are loyal to their doctors to a fault comprise some of the underlying factors that are part of this massive problem. 

Bought Off At Every Level

            Complain to Congress, you say? It is bought off. A reported army of 1440 lobbyists for the pharmaceutical industry is in Washington, D.C. The pharmaceutical industry spent $280 million on lobbying Congress in 2018.[28] That amounts to a half-million dollars per member of Congress.

            Congress will grandstand public hearings and invoke meaningless multi-million-dollar fines against offending drug companies that made billions in their fraud. These well-advertised fines are just to get government off the hook. Regulatory agencies and drug companies are winking at each other. 

         And only the U.S. allows drug companies to charge what they like and raise prices annually without regard for value.[29]

         America is bought off at every level: government, news media, medical journals, doctors. And yet people plead for more of the same. We now hear the call for “Medicare for all” as we slide into the alligator pit we call modern medicine.

            Want to get well? Turn off the television set. Go for a midday walk and get some sunshine Vitamin D. Buy fresh foods at farmer’s markets. Throw your drugs out the proverbial window and those tin-foil, packaged TV dinners too!  Familiarize yourself with vitamin and dietary supplements.  If they remain unaware how to create true health, fire your doctor.[30] Find natural alternatives to drugs.[31]  Don’t be so gullible (gullible is derived from the verb “to swallow”). Certainly modern medicine is the bitterest pill to swallow. Here are the words used to describe people who are easily tricked: Dupe, sucker, chump, sap, and sitting duck. Don’t be any of these.  Oh, I can hear you now.  “But my doctor is a Mayo Clinic trained physician and he said if I stop taking these pills…… ”

            Modern medicine spreads fear, which overcomes reason. It is their tactic. If you haven’t the nerve to do this, what more evidence do you need?

© 2019 Bill Sardi

[1] Provilus A, Abdallah M, McFarlane SI, “Weight Gain Associated With Antidiabetic Medications,” Therapy, 8(2), pp. 113-120 (2011), at https://www.openaccessjournals.com/articles/weight-gain-associated-with-antidiabetic-medications.pdf.

[2] Linda Rodgers, “This Was the Average Body in the 1950s,” Woman’s World, April 30, 2018, at https://www.womansworld.com/posts/bluebella-average-woman-in-1950s-vs-today-128174/photos/celebrity-measurments-raquel-welch-180762.

[3] Anna Sayburn, “Study Finds That Anticancer Effect of ‘5 a Day’ is Less Than Expected,” British Medical Journal, 340 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c1944 (08 April 2010), at https://www.bmj.com/content/340/bmj.c1944.extract?sid=04a8a10a-784a-4b8e-8dfa-ea03c721d1ae.

[4] Alice G. Walton, “Why Oreos Are As Addictive As Cocaine To Your Brain,” Forbes, Oct 16, 2013, at https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2013/10/16/why-your-brain-treats-oreos-like-a-drug/#5cb0ab2bab00.

[5] Dr. Wolfson, “How Governments, Food Companies, Big Pharma, Media and Healthcare Operators Keep Us Fat and Sick,” TDW, updated July 14, 2017, at https://thedrswolfson.com/governments-food-companies-big-pharma-media-healthcare-operators-keep-us-fat-sick/.

[6] Darrow JJ & Kesselheim AS, “Nearly One-Third Of New Drugs Are No Better Than Older Drugs, And Some Are Worse,” Health Affairs, Oct 6, 2017, at https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/hblog20171021.268271/full/.

[7] John LaMattina, “Are 90% Of FDA Drugs Approved In Last 30 Years No More Effective Than Existing Drugs? Forbes, July 30, 2013, at https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnlamattina/2013/07/30/are-90-of-fda-drugs-approved-in-last-30-years-no-more-effective-than-existing-drugs/#3e19e8a2e709.

[8] Light DW, Lexchin J, Darrow JJ, “Institutional Corruption of Pharmaceuticals and the Myth of Safe and Effective Drugs,” Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics, 2013, Vol. 14, No. 3, pp 590-610, at https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2282014.

[9] Joanne Kaufman, “Think You’re Seeing More Drug Ads on TV? You Are, and Here’s Why,” The New York Times, Dec 24, 2017, at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/24/business/media/prescription-drugs-advertising-tv.html.

[10] Dr. Wolfson, supra.

[11] Staff Writer, “Prevention Magazine Finds Consumers Believe Pharmaceutical Advertising in Magazines and TV is Fair and Balanced—But Less So Online via 13th Annual “Consumer Reaction to DTC Advertising of Prescription Drugs,” Business Writer, July 15, 2010, at https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20100715006235/en/Prevention-Magazine-Finds-Consumers-Pharmaceutical-Advertising-Magazines.

[12] Beth Bulik, “In another record year for pharma TV ads, spending soars to $3.7B in 2018,” Fierce Pharma, Jan 2, 2019, at https://www.fiercepharma.com/marketing/another-record-year-for-pharma-tv-ads-spending-tops-3-7-billion-2018.

[13] Staff Writer, “Pharmaceutical & Medical TV Commercials,” iSpot.tv, undated, at https://www.ispot.tv/browse/7k/pharmaceutical-and-medical.

[14] Staff Writer, “Doctored: New Documentary Reveals Medical and Big Pharma Conspiracy Against Natural Health,” Activist Post, Nov 11, 2012, at https://www.activistpost.com/2012/11/doctored-new-documentary-reveals.html.

[15] Kingston RL, Wong AW, Khan I, “Comment on “An Increase in Dietary Supplement Exposures Reported to US Poison Control Centers,” J Med Toxicol, 2018 Mar;14(1):108-109; doi: 10.1007/s13181-017-0638-0; Epub 2017 Nov 28, at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29185195.

[16] Nationwide Children’s Hospital, “Study finds 275,000 calls to poison control centers for dietary supplement exposures from 2000 through 2012,” Medical Express, July 24, 2017, at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-07-poison-centers-dietary-supplement-exposures.html.

[17] Hank Schultz, “Experts file comment questioning conclusions drawn from poison control center data,” Nutraingredients-USA, Dec 11, 2017, at https://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Article/2017/12/11/Experts-file-comment-questioning-conclusions-drawn-from-poison-control-center-data.

[18] Staff Writer, “Zero Deaths from Vitamins, Minerals, Amino Acids or Herbs,” Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, Jan 5, 2011, at http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v07n01.shtml.

[19] “Dangerous Prescription Drugs,” undated, at http://dangerousprescriptiondrugs.weebly.com/death-by-medicine.html.

[20] Derrick Lonsdale, “The Role of Thiamin in High-Calorie Malnutrition,” Austin J Nutri Food Sci, 2015;3(2): 1061, at https://www.austinpublishinggroup.com/nutrition-food-sciences/fulltext/ajnfs-v3-id1061.php.

[21] Luong KVQ & Nguyen LTH, “The Impact of Thiamine Treatment in the Diabetes Mellitus,” J Clin Med Res, 2012 Jun; 4(3): 153–160; PMID: 22719800, at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3376872/.

[22] Bill Sardi, “Is This the Cause of Your Heart Palpitations?” Knowledge of Health, March 5, 2013, at https://knowledgeofhealth.com/is-this-cause-heart-palpitations/.

[23] Liberopoulos EN, Florentin M, Mikhailidis DP, Elisaf MS, “Compliance with lipid-lowering therapy and its impact on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality,” Expert Opin Drug Saf, 2008 Nov;7(6):717-25; doi: 10.1517/14740330802396984, at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18983218.

[24] Jim Giles, “Drug giant Merck accused of deaths cover-up,” New Scientist, April 15, 2008, at https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn13685-drug-giant-merck-accused-of-deaths-cover-up/.

[25] Larry D. Sasich, “Testimony on Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA),” Public Citizen, Sept 15, 2000, at https://www.citizen.org/article/testimony-on-prescription-drug-user-fee-act-pdufa/.

[26] Howard Wolinsky, “Disease Mongering and Drug Marketing,” EMBO Rep, 2005 Jul; 6(7): 612-614, at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1369125/.

[27] Houston M, “The role of magnesium in hypertension and cardiovascular disease,” J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich), 2011 Nov;13(11):843-7; doi: 10.1111/j.1751-7176.2011.00538.x; Epub 2011 Sep 26, at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22051430.

[28] Staff Writer, “Pharmaceuticals/Health Products Industry Profile: Summary, 2019,” Open Secrets, undated, at https://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/indusclient.php?id=H04.

[29] Donald W. Light, “Risky Drugs: Why the FDA Cannot be Trusted,” Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics,” July 17, 2013, at https://ethics.harvard.edu/blog/risky-drugs-why-fda-cannot-be-trusted.

[30] Andrew W. Saul, Fire Your Doctor! How to be Independently Healthy, Basic Health Publications (Nov 2005).

[31] Abram Hoffer, Orthomolecular Medicine for Everyone: Megavitamin Therapeutics for Families and Physicians, Basic Health Publications (Nov 2008).