drug industry

  1. Feds finally own up to statin risks

    Not long ago, those of us who pointed out that cholesterol meds can actually cause diabetes and other serious health problems were dismissed as alarmists.

    Statins, we were told, are so safe they should be given to practically everyone – with some "experts" even pushing to give them out with every Big Mac. (That might sound like something I made up for an easy laugh – but believe it or not, it's actually true.)

    Well, maybe now the push to give everyone statins will start to slow a bit: The FDA has finally admitted that all those side effects the drug industry and its paid--for experts once brushed off are actually very real.

    And now, they want the labels of these meds changed to reflect the increased risk of diabetes, confusion, memory loss, and serious muscle pain.

    The feds say those side effects can hit anyone at anytime. They can strike after a single day on these meds...or they can come on after years of taking them without incident.

    And they can happen to everyone across all age groups.

    So who's the alarmist now?

    Of course, I can't help but find it a little suspicious that this warning comes only after every Big Pharma statin except for one – Crestor – lost its patent protection, with Lipitor going generic just a few months ago.

    It's almost as if the feds were giving their drug company friends a chance to maximize profits before issuing the same warning those of us in natural health delivered years ago.

    But even worse than the risks and the delayed warning is the fact that no one ever needed these meds in the first place.

    In many cases, people taking statins don't even have a cholesterol problem since mainstream LDL targets are set unrealistically low. And even when cholesterol does shoot up to high levels, taking a drug to "cure" it is akin to Homer Simpson putting a piece of tape over the "check engine" light on his car.

    Super high cholesterol is a warning that something's wrong – and lowering it without fixing the underlying issue won't make you healthier any more than that piece of tape will fix Homer's engine.

    If your own levels start climbing too high for comfort, work on lifestyle changes first. Cutting out sugars and sticking to fresh foods will almost always bring cholesterol to where it needs to be.

    If they're still high, don't visit a statin-slinging mainstream doc. Visit a naturopathic physician who can find and fix the real cause without meds.

    And for one easy way to lower your cholesterol naturally, keep reading.

  2. Real or fake, beware of meds

    The drug industry has a warning for you: Stay away from prescription meds. They're too dangerous.

    Not their drugs, of course -- the new warning campaign from Pfizer and the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy is designed to scare you away from buying your meds online.

    And they do have a point: Many online "pharmacies" are shady fly-by-night operations where you'll never know if you're getting the real thing or an even more dangerous substitute.

    But as bad as a phony med might be, could it really be a whole lot worse than the genuine drugs that sicken or kill millions of people around the world every year?

    For example, one of the warnings raised by the new campaign is that meds bought online could be "contaminated" with rat poison.

    That's a hoot -- because "genuine" meds also have rat poison in them, except they don't call them "contaminated." They call them "blood thinners," since warfarin just so happens to double as a rat poison.

    Now, don't rush off to replace your warfarin with actual hardware-store rat poison (although you can feel free to leave your warfarin in a rat trap). I'll get to the real solution in a moment.

    First, the numbers that are supposed to scare you away from online pharmacies: NABP, a professional group that represents pharmacies and pharmacists, says it did a search online for drugs and found 8,000 sites -- but that 96 percent of them didn't appear to be following the laws or even the organization's standards.

    Similarly, Pfizer said its buyers did an online search for Viagra and found 26 sites selling the sex drug -- but all of them were operating illegally and 80 percent were selling counterfeits.

    The company's online mystery shoppers also found phony versions of 40 of its most popular meds -- including Aricept, Celebrex, Lipitor, Norvasc and Zoloft -- for sale in some 100 countries.

    But the drug industry doesn't care about your health -- only your wealth, and when you buy counterfeit meds, they don't get to pocket your cash… and that's the real reason for all this concern.

    After all, the industry created the problem: Sky-high prices have helped pad profits, but they've made meds unobtainable for many. And recent artificial shortages have made some of them difficult to find even for people who have the means.

    But instead of picking bad real meds or worse fake ones, you have another choice: no meds at all.

    A skilled naturopathic physician can work with you to get you off the drugs you don't need. Take, for example, that rat poison I mentioned earlier. As it turns out, fish oil can have the same blood-thinning effect -- just don't expect it to work as well in your rat trap.

  3. Why you should never trust 'doctor's orders'

    In reality, most doctors follow the guidelines issued by the major medical associations -- and that means some of the biggest decisions he makes about you and your health are based on badly biased information.
  4. Rejected diet drug returns from the grave

    A "no" from the FDA never quite means "no" -- not when it comes to the agency's drug-industry pals, anyway. Case in point: The feds said "no" to the diet drug Contrave earlier this year over its potential for heart risk -- even after an FDA panel signed off on it.
  5. How Big Pharma writes the rules

    If it seems like our major medical guidelines were written by the drug industry, it's because they practically were.

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