Drugs vs. Vitamins:
The Drug Companies vs Supplement Nanufacturers:
Evil Business Vs Good Business
Article by Haniel Adhar
"Until the science of clinical tries can break free from commercial interests, then decisions about our health rest in the hands of big business..." (Quote From the video “The Heart of The Matter: Cholesterol Drug War”)
Ok...so what is the solution? Are you implying that we should just give the power of the decision making of our health to the government?
Yeah, when has that idea ever gone well?
Here's a thought: how about giving more credence to the things that do not require billions of dollars to "prove" works, such as simple nutrition and biochemistry? How is it that supplement companies do all of their own research in addition to the research done by independent organizations, and they don't run into the same problems as these pharmaceutical companies?
The reason is the nature of both industries: Pharmaceutical companies have to *prove* that a foreign substance that was never a natural part of human biochemistry to begin with is "safe" and "has benefit" for a specific condition, while supplement makers just have to prove that whatever it is that is naturally a part of human biochemistry works. Basically, it is biology vs. xeno-biology. This is why the "big business" of pharmaceuticals is by its very nature unethical and fraudulent, because they *must* prove that something that was never a part of human chemistry to begin with actually works with human biochemistry. That leaves the door open for tremendous amounts of fraud and misinformation, especially when the government itself ceases to be “referee” and starts picking winners and losers by protecting pharmaceutical companies from any accountability should their products be found to cause damage to the users, or simply not work. Drug companies have almost no accountability, and they have bought off everyone that would pose as a threat such as people in government or even victims, or they have enacted smear campaigns to silence researchers who contradict the pharmaceutical companies’ agenda (This is known as “Wakefielding”, which is the destruction of a scientists character and credibility if he or she proposes new scientific data or merely questions mainstream industrialized-scientific conventional wisdom, named after British Doctor Andy Wakefield after he posed the question that Autism may be linked to vaccines. His reputation was subsequently destroyed in the media for daring to question the vaccine saviors of mankind…)
On the flip side, it is pretty difficult to prove that Vitamin C is bad for you, especially when it has been proven that vitamin C deficiency is the cause of one of the deadliest diseases known to man: Scurvy. So, they do not have to prove *anything* because it has already been proven that human beings CANNOT live without this vital nutrient. That is easy science, and there is no way that supplement companies can screw that up, unless they make a bad batch or state a ridiculous claim that has nothing to do with the benefit of the vitamin (and usually these claims are shot down by the intelligent clinicians and researchers who actually have integrity and have done the necessary research). But the fact remains that supplement companies have far less to "prove" than big PHarMA, because it is scientific fact that if you take vitamins out of the human diet, people die, PERIOD. The main focus of the industry and the pundits now is on “dosing” and "formulation", which the Pharmaceutical industry is doing everything possible to manipulate. In fact, they have done an excellent job convincing government (or is it the other way around? Governments are pretty powerful you know...there is reason to believe that government is actually behind all of this) that nutrients should be considered toxic substances and MUST be controlled by government regulations, just as drugs are. So, governments, the medical industry, and the Pharmaceutical industry are unilaterally against what they consider “large” doses of vitamins, even if the research and biochemistry proves otherwise. The really ironic thing in this saga is that while Pharmaceuticals have been reported to cause anywhere from 300,000 to ¾ million deaths annually (trying to find accurate, corroborating sources on that number is a nightmare, however, the point is that drugs kill a ton of people), Vitamin Supplements have a comparatively minuscule death toll. There is no evidence that suggests that vitamins such as vitamin C should be held to the same regulations that pharmaceutical companies are held to, nor should the GMP (Good manufacturing practice) rules be considered insufficient for nutritional supplements. There simply is no unbiased, objective evidence that supports otherwise.
The negative press around vitamins and nutritional supplements is so bad that the AARP has even gone on record, as per their recent newsletters, telling their members to not take nutritional supplements because “there is no way of telling what is in them”, while promoting drugs made by such companies as Pfizer, who in 2009 paid $2.3 Billion in fines for deliberately misleading the public and fraudulently promoting the use of Bextra, a painkiller, in doses far exceeding what the FDA determined to be dangerously high. They were also busted in fraud involving 2 other drugs. (Source: DoJ). That seems like a brutally painful case of irony; the AARP has a problem with their members “not knowing what is in a Vitamin pill” but seems to have no problem with multi-billion dollar fraud lawsuits involving pharmaceutical companies and their products. It was estimated that the $2.3billion fine was about 3 months profit, and in 2009, Pfizer made $44billion. Also note that 67% of people over the age of 60 in the USA buy and use nutritional supplements. So, it would appear that the AARP is deliberately trying to sway their members away from buying supplement products, and when a “doctor” from the AARP is saying to not use supplements, people erroneously and blindly listen.
My point here is that you have two separate forms of private business that are doing the exact opposite thing, even though they both benefit tremendously from sales and profit margins. It is the *nature* of both entities that determines the behavior: Pharmaceutical companies must convince the government, medical community, and the population that a foreign substance (a xenobiotic) has greater benefit to human biology than it does harm, while supplement companies (which are all privately owned and receive practically NO money, if any at all, from government to conduct research) already have the biology on their side, because these substances, such as vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids (we are not discussing compounds that come from herbs that have drug-like effects, such as Ma Huang), are essential to the human body, meaning, that if one does not get these nutrients, a normal, healthy person becomes deathly ill. It is true that some sick people cannot survive without a drug they need, however, a healthy person would not benefit from said drug and may even be hurt from such-n-such drug if they do not need it, while everyone who takes a vitamin benefits from it because ALL people need vitamins to survive; not everyone needs a particular drug. The worst that can happen from taking most vitamin supplements is, well, nothing. However, every single major pharmaceutical manufacturer has paid out massive fines in the past 5 years, such as: Merck $950m (2004, Vioxx); GalaxoSmithKline $3Billion in fines and civil liabilities (2012); The aforementioned Pfizer $2.3Billion, the largest fraud settlement in history; Sanofi-Aventis $109m (2012) for encouraging Doctors to use one of their drugs and for giving kickbacks to doctors for prescribing it; Johnson and Johnson$2.2billion (2013)for promoting drugs for uses not approved by the FDA; Eli Lilly (2009) $1.42billion for off label promotion of an antipsychotic drug.; Abbot (2012) $1.5billion for illegally promoting Depakote, an antipsychotic…The list goes on and on…and this only goes back to 2009. By comparison, the supplement industry as a whole is a $30billion industry, while Pfizer makes more than that in a year, and also by comparison, supplement companies have never dealt with the legal fallout that the pharmaceutical industry has.
Supplements with Nutrients that are in the naturally bioactive form present competition for the Pharmaceutical manufacturers. The reason is that Drug companies will take a naturally occurring nutrient, such as the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA (gamma amino butyric acid), which is essential for neurological health (it has been called things like "nature's valium"), and manipulate the molecular structure so that they can have the patent on it. This is what "Gabapentin" (Neurontin) is, a synthetic version of GABA, and has terrible side effects. (Neurontin is a structural analogue of the inhibitory neurotransmitter Gama-Amino Butyric Acid). Gabapentin/Neurontin has been reported to have side effects such as sexual dysfunction, loss of libido, weight gain, fatigue, and the DFA issued a warning in 2009 that it increases suicidal ideation and it increases depression, and a warning insert was added to the labeling. And 90% of all Gabapentin prescriptions have been for “off label” cases, meaning, it was prescribed for things it wasn’t tested for, GABA has no known side effects, and there have been reports and studies that at doses over 1G per day, it passes through the blood brain barrier and assists with anxiety, stress, convulsions, joint pain, sleep, and any other issue connected to neurological excitability. It typically runs about $10 per 100 capsule bottles, while Gabapentin is around $1.17 per pill, or $117 for 100 pills. So, it is easy to see why a pharmaceutical company would be pleased to see GABA off the OTC market.
Also note that "5-LMTHF", also known as "5 L-methyl-tetra-hydro-folate", the converted form of folate that is the bio-active form of Folic Acid, has been patented by the drug company "Merck", as the trade name "Metafolin". Isn't that strange, eh? There are other companies making similar molecules, such as Quadrafolate, however, it is a little twisted that a giant pharmaceutical company can literally patent a nutrient in an attempt to control the market. The human body takes dietary folic acid and converts it 5 times to create the bioactive 5-LMTHF; some people have issues in such a conversion process and need the supplement. Merck OWNS this nutrient and they SELL it to supplement companies at a premium. Merck is the same company that was sued by two of their own researchers stating that the company defrauded data that the MMR vaccine was more effective than it really was in order for the company to maintain its government contract. Merck is an evil company that jumped into the supplement market, not because supplements don’t work, not because they are “dangerous”, but because they wanted to control the supplement market, and as of right now they have a huge share of the prenatal vitamin market due to their patent of Metafolin, which, admittedly, is an amazing nutrient and the company deserves due credit for developing it. However, their motives for developing this supplement have less to do with simply creating a great product and selling it at a profit; they want to control the entire supplement industry, which would eliminate the competition for their much more expensive pharmaceutical products.
As you can see, the issue here is not "all private businesses are bad", which is the narrative that is promoted now, because here we have a perfect example of good business practices by an industry that has really nothing to hide, and generally does everything ethically (and is totally nailed to the wall for the slightest transgression), and a perfect example of dreadful business practices in an industry that is based on clandestine back door deals, ties to government and the agencies responsible for overseeing the industry, and skewed research that favors the bottom line over science that is given the equivalent of a slap on the wrist for illegal practices that wind up hurting a lot of people. This is about good business vs. bad businesses.
We all know what the problem is...it is the nature of the drug industry, so putting "funding" in the control of the government will NOT CHANGE A DAMNED THING; in fact, it can only make it worse. What needs to change is this gross fixation that we have as a society on drugs, prescription or otherwise, and we need to shift our focus to actual nutritional biochemistry as the primary form of medical science and treatment. When you take into consideration that sick people and unhealthy people typically have nutrient deficiencies that border on or shift to full-blown nutrient dependencies, and quite often a concurrent food allergy, then the most sensible thing to do is to make that approach the primary, first line focus on medical treatments, then drugs as-needed thereafter. I can't see anyway way where this is not the most logical approach, except if you consider the drug company profits, because if this pro-nutritional biochemistry approach is taken, then you can watch their obese, insane, absurd sales of drugs that cure nothing drop considerably. And the drug companies will do anything to stop that from happening, even if it means becoming supplement manufacturers themselves.