FTC Censorship Delays Big Pharma’s Inevitable Failure to Dominate our Health

It doesn’t take more than an evening of watching television or reading a few magazines to see that Big Pharma is trying to promote the mindset that there’s a pill for everything. But despite billions of dollars spent on consumer advertising, Washington lobbying, and the wooing or bribing of doctors right from the beginning of med school, the industry has some serious problems with credibility that may just eventually bring it down.

Do these credibility problems have anything to do with the FDA and FTC censorship and crackdowns on natural health options like vitamin and mineral supplements, enzymes, amino acids, herbs and even our food?

The industry’s challenges increase every year: 

• Hundreds of millions of dollars spent annually on sometimes well-publicized annual settlements of lawsuits for injuries and deaths caused by their products

• An ever-increasing public awareness that the benefits of drugs frequently do not actually outweigh the risks – the premise upon which all the side effects and damage caused by drugs is justified.

• The growing desire among both medical professionals and consumers to identify and address the underlying cause of illness rather than masking symptoms – the natural communication system used by the body to let us know that something is amiss.

But nothing gets to the core of Big Pharma’s credibility like the recent disclosures that even the validity of the industry’s own evidenced-based standard – double-blind placebo controlled trials – by which the efficacy of a drug is proven and wins FDA approval, is on very shaky ground.

big pharma pills

What’s wrong with these trials?

Witness the facts in three recently published articles and studies:

1. The premise behind placebo-controlled trials is that some people are given the drug and some are given basically nothing – an inert substance that creates no effect, i.e. a placebo. But a paper entitled “What’s In Placebos: Who Knows?”, published in the October 19 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, exposes the fact that placebos are not ‘nothing’. Here’s what the paper’s author, Beatrice Golomb, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, had to say on the subject:

“There isn’t anything actually known to be physiologically inert. On top of that, there are no regulations about what goes into placebos, and what is in them is often determined by the makers of the drug being studied, who have a vested interest in the outcome. And there has been no expectation that placebos’ composition be disclosed. At least then readers of the study might make up their own mind about whether the ingredients in the placebo might affect the interpretation of the study.

A positive or negative effect of the placebo can lead to the misleading appearance of a negative or positive effect of the drug. These concerns aren’t just theoretical. Where the composition has been disclosed, the ingredients of the placebo have in some instances had a likely impact on the result of the study — in either direction (obscuring a real effect, or creating a spurious one). In the cases we know about, this is not because of any willful manipulation, but because it can in fact be difficult to come up with a placebo that does not have some kind of problem.”

2. There have been many studies showing that placebos work as well as, almost as well as, or sometimes better than the side-effect-riddled drugs eventually unleashed on an unsuspecting public. But a new study by scientists from Harvard, the Institutes of Medicine, and Hull University in the UK shows that placebos are effective even when the person taking them knows they are placebos.

In this study, 80 patients with painful irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) were randomly divided into two groups. All were educated on the ‘placebo effect’ and were told a placebo pill would be used in the study.

They were told that the placebo effect is powerful, that the body can automatically respond to taking placebo pills like Pavlov’s dogs who salivated when they heard a bell, that a positive attitude helps but is not necessary, and that taking the pills faithfully and as directed was critical.

One group then received no treatment whatever, and the other received placebos.

However, the group receiving the placebos was also told that placebos “have been shown in clinical studies to produce significant improvement in IBS symptoms through mind-body self-healing processes”. Which was not true.

The result? An astounding 59 percent of the placebo group showed improvement – a higher percentage than those who improved taking real drugs in other recent IBS drug trials.

3. A new study in Science Translational Medicine documents the reaction to painkillers. While on an IV drip, study participants had heat applied to their legs to cause pain. When told that painkillers had been added to their IV, the pain lessened, as expected. When they were subsequently told that the painkillers were stopped, their pain went back to the non-medicated levels. However, unbeknownst to the subjects, the painkillers were still being dripped through the IV.

So, maybe it’s true that there’s a pill for everything – as the pharmaceutical industry would have us believe – but that pill may be a tiny little ball of sugar. That could seriously cut into the billions of dollars in profits the industry currently enjoys.

Will FTC censorship of natural supplements be able to prop up Big Pharma? Eventually, the industry will be forced to get back on track and revert to what it does best – saving lives in true emergency situations. It may even have the time and money to do more of that. A much more worthy endeavor than using subterfuge to convince us that we can’t even get through the day without their drugs.

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Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Wellness Truth Network and a clickable link back to this page.