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Over 100,000 Americans Died From FDA Approved Prescription Drugs Last Year

Last year, over half a million Americans were hurt by prescription drugs. And 100,000 of them died.

How did that happen? If some prescription drugs are that dangerous, how are they getting approved?

The answer is not simple. There are good people involved in the process. But the incentive in the system has become distorted.

Here’s how it happened…

The FDA now regulates $2.5 trillion worth of food, drugs and medical devices. That’s 25 percent of all U.S. consumer spending.

Plus, over the last two decades, America’s appetite for prescription drugs exploded. The FDA, struggling to keep up, needed to get drugs approved faster.

But the bureaucracy has grown so big that it’s not very efficient. So the FDA tried to shortcut the time for drug approval by getting the drug companies themselves to pay for the research.

In 1992, Congress passed the Prescription Drug User Fee Act to give the FDA more desperately needed funds. The law allows drug companies to pay the FDA to approve their drugs.

This funding is called “user fees,” which this year will equal nearly one-third – $920 million – of the FDA’s budget.

The fees make sense for the drug companies because delayed drug approval means millions in lost revenue. So, paying “user fees” to the FDA gets drugs approved fast. In fact, this funding boost has made the FDA the fastest drug approval agency in the world.

But that turned out to make a bad situation worse. Now you have government employees and supervisors very sensitive to what the drug companies think of them because they’re dependent on the companies for funding.

The FDA’s own scientists even admit to this. Scientists like David Graham. He’s played a key role in getting 12 drugs removed from the market, including Vioxx. Take a look at what he said after the FDA made Merck pull Vioxx from the market because of the risk of heart attacks:

“As currently configured, the FDA is not able to adequately protect the American public. It’s more interested in protecting the interests of industry. It views industry as its client, and the client is someone whose interest you represent. Unfortunately, that’s the way the FDA is currently structured.”

How does this affect you? Because as a result of this current structure, more than 20 approved drugs have been recalled since 1992.

Before the Prescription Drug User Fee Act – when the FDA received no funding from pharmaceutical companies – only eight drugs were withdrawn from the 1950s through 1992.

But withdrawn drugs are just scratching the surface. There are countless dangerous – even deadly – drugs that remain on the market. Drugs like statins and powerful NSAIDs. Not to mention recalls due to contamination and other manufacturing problems.

A few potentially deadly drugs that were approved for prescription include:

  • Avandia: 83,000 heart attacks, 304 deaths and thousands of reports to the FDA, and 10 separate studies say it increases the risk of heart attack by up to 80 percent… and it’s still being prescribed to thousands of diabetes patients.
  • Baycol: This statin drug caused a rare but sometimes fatal muscle ailment. There were 31 reported deaths directly linked to it before Baycol was pulled from the market.
  • Vioxx: Prescribed 105 million times … it killed 57,000 people before its maker finally stopped selling it.

That in no way means there aren’t life-saving drugs developed by responsible people that have helped millions of Americans. But one brand new study by the American Sociological Association found that 85 percent of new drugs cause more harm than good.9 And Celebrex, a pain reliever similar to Vioxx, has caused hundreds of heart attacks, but is still prescribed.

That can certainly make you wonder if we don’t need to slow down a little bit, and take a closer look at what drugs get approved, and how fast.

Whether that happens or not, there’s good news.

You Have the Power to Make Your Own Decisions

There are forces out there that aren’t working to your advantage. Despite the smart people doing hard work and all the helpful science, not everyone’s incentive is your health. But don’t worry. You have plenty of help, and you can make your own choices.

You’d never hear that from a big company because showing you how to keep yourself well isn’t half as profitable as treating symptoms with drugs. But there are natural remedies and preventatives that can keep you away from the pharmacy for good.

My 100%-Natural Plan:
9 Keys for Avoiding Chronic Illnesses
and the Dangerous Drugs That Treat Them…

1. Eat like our ancestors. Our ancestors ate what they could hunt and gather. And that was natural meats and eggs, veggies, unmodified fruits and nuts, and olives. They ate a lot raw natural food with fewer carbs – and no processed foods or food cooked with vegetable oils. As a result, their archaeological records show virtually no heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis or obesity.

2. Enjoy the food you were born to eat. I’m talking about fat. Eating fat does not make you fat and unhealthy. But eating the wrong kinds of fat will. Our bodies need fat to absorb vitamins. In fact, vitamins A, D, E, K, and CoQ10 can’t even be absorbed without fat. What’s more, when you deprive yourself of fat, you eat more carbs. And an excess of them can put you at risk of weight gain, heart problems, diabetes and stroke. The best fat sources are foods loaded with Omega-3s (such as walnuts, almonds, cod liver oil and wild-caught salmon). But stay away from bad fats, like processed foods and vegetable oils. And don’t even go near potato chips, cookies and salad dressing. They’re loaded with the very worst fats – trans fats.

3. Stay away from simple carbohydrates. Starchy, high-carb foods spike your blood sugar. And that triggers the release of insulin. Over time, this can put you at risk of insulin resistance. And when that happens, you’ll be on the fast track to obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Always eat foods with a low glycemic index and glycemic load.

4. Go organic whenever possible. Pesticides and insecticides can harm the nervous system, immune system and major organs, like the liver and kidneys. They also can cause problems with growth and neurological development in children. Organic farmers don’t use these chemicals. And that makes organic food much safer and healthier.

5. Rid your body of toxins. The world we were designed to live in millions of years ago has changed drastically. And our bodies haven’t adapted quickly enough to flush out the countless pollutants that are now a big part of our everyday lives. The easiest way to rid your system of toxins is to drink plenty of filtered water, and to eat fruit and fibrous vegetables for 21 – 30 days. Getting rid of chemicals and heavy metals in your body will help you live a longer, disease-free life.

6. Don’t fear the sun. Your body needs exposure to the sun to produce vitamin D – which helps you maintain strong, healthy bones and fight disease. Contrary to what you’ve been told, the sun isn’t bad for you – it’s nature’s cancer fighter. Just by getting a little sunlight every day (about 20 minutes for fair-skinned people and two to four times that much for those with dark skin) could reduce your risk of 16 types of cancer. Of course, I’m not telling you to go outside without sunscreen – but if you need it just make sure it’s chemical-free.

7. Supplement your diet (if necessary). The best way to get the nutrients you need is through a healthy organic diet. But if you don’t feel like you’re taking in enough, you can also safely supplement. And I emphasize “safely” because unlike prescription drugs, people are not dropping dead from dietary supplements (vitamins, amino acids, herbals and homeopathics).

Here are the vitamins and nutrients I suggest taking daily:

Vitamin/Nutrient
Food Source
Daily Supplement Dosage
Benefits
B2 milk, cheese, leafy green vegetables, liver, kidneys, legumes, tomatoes, yeast, mushrooms, and almonds 40 mg Good for blood cell formation and cataract prevention.
B6 roast beef, salmon, peanut butter, lima beans, chicken, sunflower seeds, spinach 50 mg Boosts brain and immune function. Helps prevent cancer.
B12 milk, eggs, grass-fed beef, chicken, yogurt, trout, salmon, haddock, clams, ham 500 mcg Helps digestion and prevents anemia and nerve damage.
Folic Acid green leafy veggies, calf liver 800 mcg Helps cell production and prevents dementia.
Vitamin C citrus fruits, green pepper, broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts At least 500 mg twice a day Boosts immunity.
Zinc steak, oysters 30 mg Maintains healthy immune system.
Vitamin D cod liver oil, eggs, milk and orange juice fortified with vitamin D, sardines, tuna, beef liver, Swiss cheese, ham 2,000 I.U. If your levels test low, take 5,000-10,000 I.U. from a variety of sources. Calcium absorption for healthy, strong bones. Prevents osteoporosis, hypertension, cancer and several autoimmune diseases.
Ubiquinol form of CoQ10 pork, beef, chicken 50 mg (increase your dosage to 100 mg per day if you have high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, gingivitis, age-related memory loss, chronic fatigue or are a vegetarian) Destroys free radicals in the cell membranes. Treats heart disease, high-blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Omega-3s wild-caught salmon, grass-fed beef, sacha inchi oil, nuts, leafy green veggies, eggs, avocados 18-24 grams Prevents heart disease, cancer – even strokes.
Lowers blood pressure and triglycerides (blood fat). Boosts memory and brain power.

Akilah M. El, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor and board-certified Master Herbalist with a private practice in Atlanta Georgia and Berlin Germany. Join Dr Akilah El on Facebook and Twitter

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Why Being A Female Equals BIG BUCKS For The Medical Society

Female Patients Translate into Huge Possibilities for Medical Doctors

Women stand the greatest risk of receiving an unnecessary medical procedure. If you are a female living in the US, when it comes to healthcare, you might as well have a target on your back.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that one-third of American women have had a hysterectomy by age 60; and half of them have had one by age 65. Yet 85 percent of these surgeries are unnecessary, according to Ernst Bartsich, a clinical associate professor at Weill Cornell Medical College.

This adds up to more than $17 billion a year on direct doctor and hospital charges for hysterectomies.

If you’ve had a complete hysterectomy, meaning you’ve also had your ovaries and cervix removed, you don’t need a Pap test, which examines cells scraped from your cervix. Yet, a study in 2004 showed that 10 million women a year who don’t have a cervix are still getting Pap tests consisting of a scraping of cells from their vaginal walls – when no professional organization recommends this screening for women without a cervix!

For younger women who are in their child-bearing years, the health profession has found a different way to make money off you, to the tune of an extra $3 billion a year.

Spontaneous deliveries – waiting for a baby to come on its own – can be time-consuming for modern doctors, and can test your patience if you’re the mom-to-be. That’s why today 32 percent of American births today are through Caesarean sections (C-sections).

According to Intermountain Healthcare, C-sections are costly in more ways than one:

  • They are the most common surgical procedure performed in America, increasing more than 50 percent since the 1990s.
  • They cost an average of $16,671, compared to $9,428 for a vaginal delivery.
  • Many are being done after a pre-term, elective induction that hasn’t proceeded quickly enough.

Additionally, a New England Journal of Medicine study showed women have up to four times the risk of complications with a C-section than a vaginal birth, ranging between $2,000 and $200,000 in additional costs.

And the complications can be serious, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, putting the babies at increased risk of brain, liver, and lung development problems. Caesarean-delivered babies are also more likely to need CPR, and to have significantly higher rates of respiratory distress, sepsis and hypoglycemia.

So why are C-sections so prevalent?

It’s largely a desire for control on the part of families, physicians and hospitals, the WSJ reported.

And according to USA Today, there’s another reason: “economic incentives” for doctors and hospitals to use these procedures, including bonuses for labor inductions which add costs and increase the risks for C-sections (surprise!).

So there you have it: for the sake of economic incentives, convenience, and control over what day and even time of day the birth occurs, babies’ lives are being put in danger – at an additional annual cost of $3 billion to the U.S. health care system.

From birth through teenage years, our current health care system has a goal of maximizing each new little profit center we usher into their business model. Because that’s what the system is designed to do, put profits first at the expense of everything else, including the health of our babies.

What chance do YOU have against this system?

Educating yourself and your family to their business model and their seemingly endless tricks to maximize profits. Because an educated and healthy consumer is the worst enemy of our current “sick care” model that passes for health care in the US.

Wait a Minute, Isn’t This Outrageous?

The drug and medical industry’s mounting greed IS outrageous, especially when you consider in this specific instance of C-sections the National Institutes of Health (NIH) says that 33 to 75 percent of C-sections are totally unnecessary! What’s really maddening is that a study done between 2005 and 2006 showed that the cost of hospital charges for maternal and newborn care rose from $79 billion to $86 billion in just one year, with $2.5 billion of it as a result of unnecessary C-sections. In fact, delivering babies is the #1 profit center in hospitals, and rising every year.

Some points to ponder:

  • In 2008 (latest data available) facility charges billed for “mother’s pregnancy and delivery ” and “newborn infants” ($98 billion) far exceeded charges for any other hospital condition in the United States.
  • “Mother’s pregnancy and delivery” and “newborn infants” were the two most expensive conditions billed to Medicaid in 2008, involving 26 percent of hospital charges to Medicaid, or $46 billion.
  • Nineteen other countries in the world have lower C-section rates than the U.S.; 29 nations have lower maternal mortality rates; 35 have lower early neonatal mortality rates; and 33 have lower neonatal mortality rates.

How pregnant women are big bucks to the medical doctors.This last statistic is particularly concerning, because despite outspending every nation on the planet on healthcare, there are 29 or more countries ahead of the US in key childbirth related mortality rates. Simply stated, the US spends more money to have more mothers and both pre-term and full-term children die than just about 30 other nations.

But I’d venture a guess that our profit margins for corporations contributing to these staggeringly bad mortality numbers is NOT below those in the other 30 nations that are safer places to have a baby.

And if there were stockholders who held shares in something called the “public health” corporation, they would be in absolute revolt over these numbers and boards of directors of this corporation would be under pressure to resign. Wait a minute, isn’t the US Government the head of something much akin to a “public health” corporation?

So where is the outrage in the shareholders (you)?

Some Top-Selling Drugs Cause More Harm than Good

I don’t even need to say the word Vioxx to explain how some drugs do more harm than good. From anti-psychotics to pain-killers, cancer drugs and statins, many top-selling drugs are nothing more than ways to make drug companies and drug prescribers simply richer.

As an example, I’m offering this short list of drugs that, like Vioxx, have shown they can cause harm. But be aware: This is just a sampling. The list of all the drugs that belong in this category is so long it’s not possible to include them all here:

  • Avandia, the diabetes drug for which its maker, GlaxoSmithKline, has agreed to pay $250 million to settle 5,500 claims, can cause heart attacks and kill users. GSK said in January it planned to set aside $6.4 billion for costs relating to litigation on this drug. LINE BREAK Avandia was recently pulled off the market in Europe due to its health risks. A 2007 study linked it to a 43 percent increased risk of heart attack and a 64 percent higher risk of cardiovascular death than patients treated with other methods. More than 80,000 diabetics have suffered lethal heart attacks from this dangerous drug.
  • 11 cholesterol drugs, commonly known as statins, are linked with serious side effects. Statins are HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, acting by blocking the enzyme in your liver that is responsible for making cholesterol (HMG-CoA reductase). The fact that statin drugs cause side effects is well established—there are now 900 studies proving their adverse effects, which run the gamut from muscle problems to increased cancer risk
  • The birth control pills Yaz and Yasmin were touted to be safer than any other pill on the market when they first came out. But it wasn’t long before a flurry of lawsuits began claiming that they cause numerous health problems including deep vein thrombosis (blood clots in the deep veins), strokes, heart attacks and gallbladder disease.
  • Levaquin, a powerful antibiotic, has been linked to tendon ruptures of the Achilles, shoulders, biceps, hands and thumb, and is the target of multiple lawsuits.
  • Accutane, a drug that was used to treat acne for many years, is also the center of multiple lawsuits. It was pulled off the market in 2009 after users reported side effects that included severe gastrointestinal problems including Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Elevated risk of birth defects in the children of pregnant women also were reported.

Other dangerous drugs that have either been pulled off the market or are the center of lawsuits (even as they are still sold) include the smoking cessation drug Chantix, the pain killer Darvocet, the “bone-strengthening” drug Fosamax, which is made up of bisphosphonate compounds that have been found to actually contribute to bone death, the statin drug Crestor, the serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI) drug Paxil, which has been linked to suicides and suicidal thoughts, and many, many others.

At this point I would be remiss not to mention vaccines, which can wreak havoc on your immune system.

The truth is vaccines are just another way that Big Pharma makes money by selling something that might make you sick – or sicker. Just one example is the flu vaccine: officials now know that the seasonal flu vaccine in 2008-2009 did absolutely nothing to prevent flu in children – and actually increased their risk of getting H1N1!

Yet, with the help of the rulings by the World Health Organization (WHO), the CDC, the FDA and individual states’ mandated vaccination schedules, vaccine makers have a guaranteed bank roll in the form of your children.

In stark contrast to times past when vaccines weren’t such an attractive market, they’re now such a guaranteed profit center that Wall Street investors are being told to bank, bank, bank on vaccines.

Take Control of Your Own Health

We know nearly 26 million Americans now have diabetes, and over one in four of all Americans have either diabetes or pre-diabetes. We know the cost to treat heart disease in the U.S. is expected to triple by 2030, and that high blood pressure and cholesterol are “out of control” in the U.S.

We know the U.S. is the most obese country in the world, which has contributed to skyrocketing rates of diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

We also know the U.S. spends more on health care than any other industrialized country. Yet, despite all this spending, the U.S. ranks 14th in mortality rates worldwide – meaning 13 other countries have a lower preventable death rate than the U.S. despite spending less money on health care, and two of these countries are the now nearly bankrupt nations of Greece and Ireland!

But the question is — why?

Take Back Control Of Your HealthSome analysts say this poor showing is linked to declining rates of insured persons in the U.S. Others claim the figures are just plain skewed. But I suspect the high U.S. mortality rates have more to do with our obesity rates, lifestyle patterns, and our seriously flawed health care paradigm (“sick care”) than it has to do with insurance coverage or skewed numbers.

The current US “healthcare” paradigm is the one that defines preventive care as ingesting drugs to treat symptoms, not addressing lifestyle changes that can actually create wellness.

It’s a paradigm that’s being perpetuated today, even as our federal health officials tout prevention measures.

Don’t believe me? Look at the Surgeon General’s current “preventive” health plan, Healthy People 2020. While the goals of Healthy People are stated as reduced illness, disability, and death, what the plan actually stresses are assessments, diagnostic criteria, disease monitoring, and data collection.

The plan acknowledges behavior modification with dietary and lifestyle changes are important to reaching the Healthy People goals, but aside from a few sample awareness programs, the main “preventive” strategies are screening, screening, and more screening for diseases and illnesses you already have.

A “blueprint” for reformed health care compiled by the Center for American Progress and the Institute on Medicine as a Profession also has ideas for improving health care but doesn’t mention promoting wellness. The fact is no one seems to be discussing changing the paradigm of “managing sickness” that the U.S. is currently stuck in.

No one, that is, except the U.S. military.

This article is courtesy of Natural News

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