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Prescription Drug User Fee Act – when the FDA received no funding from pharmaceutical companies – only eight drugs were withdrawn from the 1950s through 1992.
But withdrawn drugs are just scratching the surface.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:
Daily Supplement Dosage
||milk, cheese, leafy green vegetables, liver, kidneys, legumes, tomatoes, yeast, mushrooms, and almonds
||Good for blood cell formation and cataract prevention.
||roast beef, salmon, peanut butter, lima beans, chicken, sunflower seeds, spinach
||Boosts brain and immune function. Helps prevent cancer.
||milk, eggs, grass-fed beef, chicken, yogurt, trout, salmon, haddock, clams, ham
||Helps digestion and prevents anemia and nerve damage.
||green leafy veggies, calf liver
||Helps cell production and prevents dementia.
||citrus fruits, green pepper, broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts
||At least 500 mg twice a day
||Maintains healthy immune system.
||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.
||wild-caught salmon, grass-fed beef, sacha inchi oil, nuts, leafy green veggies, eggs, avocados
||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