Studies on the effectiveness of the drug industry’s biggest sellers are frankly shocking, according to researchers.
We—as individual consumers and as taxpayers—are apparently wasting money on expensive drugs that don’t work. And the side effects are often disastrous.
“Every day, millions of people are taking medications that will not help them,” says Nicholas J. Schork, director of human biology at the J. Craig Venter Institute and a professor at UC–San Diego. His article in the journal Nature provides hard data about the effectiveness of the top moneymakers for Big Pharma—and the scorecard is not good. Unfortunately, it affirms what we and many others in the natural health community have been saying for years.
Of the top ten blockbuster drugs, the most effective ones work for only one in four patients. Crestor (a statin) is effective for only one in eighteen patients, and Nexium (an acid blocker) helps only one in twenty-five. That’s a failure rate of 96%! These drugs individually generate between $4 and $8 billion dollars per year, which leads to the inevitable conclusion that patients are wasting mind-boggling sums of money on drugs that simply don’t work.
Adding insult to injury, not only do these drugs fail completely most of the time, they also create a host of terrible side effects, many of which we’ve discussed in previous articles (see here for statins and here for acid blockers). These side effects lead to even higher healthcare costs, because now the side effects must be treated as well—usually with more drugs, which have more side effects!
Let’s break this down. Drugs that don’t work and often harm consumers’ health are hugely profitable. Who is responsible for this absurd drug system? The US Food and Drug Administration, of course.
How much more evidence do we need before our nation realizes that the FDA is in urgent need of reform?
What would reform look like? A good place to start would be to repeal the Kefauver amendments, which charged the FDA with ensuring the effectiveness of drugs in addition to their safety. This caused the cost of approving drugs to soar—currently into the billions—to the detriment of natural medicine (natural products cannot afford the high price of approval by the FDA, since natural substances cannot be patented). The whole premise is flawed, because the government cannot prove effectiveness, even after the waste of billions per drug. As we’ve just seen, the top-selling drugs simply do not work for most people.
One in four Americans over the age of forty-five takes a statin—yet, as Dr. Schork cites in his article, these drugs work for as few as one in fifty people! Does this look like a drug approval system that works?
The FDA must be reshaped and reformed so it sees the public, not the drug companies, as its boss. If not, thousands more will continue to suffer the consequences.
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29 thoughts on “Drugs Don’t Work!”
My drugs work. I took chemo with the drug 5FU which cut my colon cancer tumor from 8 cm down to just traces, which were removed surgically. Would have been a far more extensive operation without the drug. I saw pictures of the tumor site before and after chemo, dramatic difference. The Drug worked very well contrary to your article.
Statins? We eat vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds. Scientist Prof. Jane Goodall of Chimpanzee fame analyzed what the human digestive tract is designed for – leaves, shoots, fruits, roots. Absolutely not for primarily animal foods like carnivores with intestine a fraction of our length and highly acidic stomachs where most digestion takes place. Our cholesterol and weight are just fine, no drugs required.
The drugs work or don’t work? The 5FU might have worked for you but everything said here is about statistics. If a drug has a 90% failure rate we need a better drug. You may be one of the lucky ones a drug worked for. What about the other 9 people it didn’t work for? Statins? If if 5FU is so great maybe statins will be even better and you can just eat whatever you want.
5FU is an anti cancer drug effective for colorectal cancer. After 4 weeks patient is pretty sick and may take 5 weeks to recover. Reduced my cancer 95% surgery got the rest.
The take away from this post is; 5FU works great, but if you eat right you probably wouldn’t get CR cancer in the first place.
It’s great that the chemo drug seems to have worked for you, and that you are aware of the importance of dietary choices. However, maybe you should read the article before assuming your experience is everyone’s. You do know that Chemo has a cure rate well below 10% right? You are one of the lucky ones.
A cure rate below 10%, I’m going to keep that in mind if ever I should develop a cancer. Chemo can kill a cancer, but it can also kill the host in the process.
“… the human digestive tract is designed for – leaves, shoots, fruits, roots…”
Really? Try pulling leaves off a few random trees and eating them, or eating lawn clippings. You’ll soon discover that our gut is poorly adapted to a herbivorous diet, and we can’t derive nutriment from tree leaves or grass (whereas gorillas, chimpanzees and other primates can). This is because we’re the only primate that can’t digest cellulose. Lefty academics like Jane Goodall only say that we’re adapted for vegetarianism because it’s their political ideology.
An unbiased look at the science shows that we’re actually adapted to a diet fairly similar to that of wolves, who predominantly eat meat but can also derive some nutriment from sweet or starchy plant food sources such as fruit and berries. You just have to look at the way nearly all the large land animals rapidly went extinct everywhere humans colonised (e.g. woolly mammoths, cave bears, the ground sloth Megatherium, New Zealand’s moas), to see that meat formed an important part of Early Man’s diet (the only place large land animals have survived largely intact is Africa, which is because they co-evolved with us there, and learned avoidance behaviour),
So gorillas are 98% our DNA they were dying in zoo with zoo kibble, put them on their 100% plant diet recovered and strong as all get out with no animal food. There is a pic with a big silverback mouth stuffed with leaves and so happy. Do remember humans did live in trees where leaves and fruits and nuts are.
Gorillas are primarily herbivorous, and are adapted to eating leaves, twigs etc. Hence they do best on such a diet. Chimpanzees are more omnivorous, they can eat grass, leaves etc, but prefer meat if they can get it. They often hunt smaller monkeys and sometimes even kill and eat each other (for some reason, nature programs never seem to show that side of chimpanzee behaviour though!). Humans, by contrast, can’t derive nutriment from grass, leaves and other cellulose rich plant matter, due to the fact that we can’t digest cellulose. We’re the only primate that can’t. We are the carnivorous ape, and uniquely among primates, our natural diet revolves primarily around meat rather than plant matter.
Becoming carnivorous is probably the single greatest adaptation that allowed us to develop a much larger brain than any other primate, and to become among the most intelligent of all members of the animal kingdom. Meat both provides far more energy per weight consumed than grass or leaves (very useful when you have an energy-hungry brain), and contains high levels of the essential fatty acids that are necessary for building brain tissue.
The longest living humans eat almost no meat. You can eat meat but it increases your chance of dying young. That’s also what the science says.
You are so right, I’m sure humans are meant to eat meat, that’s why we have “canine” teeth, which are used for tearing meat.
You are being sarcastic I hope, my teeth don’t look like wolf teeth.
I’ve been on synthriod and failed miserably, yet the doctor said this is where he wants me. I stopped and felt 100% better. Now my doctor wants me on statins. My wife has been on statins for 2 years, and her cholesterol is still high. I told the doctor, I’m not a monkey, and if my dog won’t eat it I will not.
My doctor will not try any natural remedy like Armour thyroid. He thinks doctors that prescribe it are quacks. My doctor uses a computer to tell him if I’m ill enough to prescribe meds. The computer program saves money for the insurance company. The meds are made by snake oil salesmen looking to profit when people get sick.
The whole system is nothing but a a parasitic infestation designed to bleed the public of its money while keeping employed a group that should be outsourced due to overcharging for their poor performance.
Buying a life insurance policy makes more sense when I consider the medical treatment I’ve received this past decade!
Find a new doctor.
Massachusett as in other states we pay cash if we go outside the norm with our medical. We have Naturopathic care but I believe their not licensed to practice in MA. One I have been to is licensed in Vermont. Paying cash just means we deduct it on our medical expenses on our taxes, if the $ is great enough. Most cases it’s not!
I like keeping my current Doctor because I want to keep him on his toes, but will and have been to what he considers a quack.
Eat well, stay active mentally and physically, and always question your doctors motive. My doctor says I read to much. In his words,”That’s bad for him”.
He’s correct! 🙂
I agree with Bruce Stewart; find a new doctor like a Naturopath or a Chiropractor. I have never been to a medial doctor and have never taken prescription drugs. I’m 60 years old but look 40 and healthier than anyone I know. You were right when you inferred that it’s all about the money. You see, there is no money in wellness but there’s plenty in sickness and they want to keep you sick and in their control. If you want to get well get away from the MDs. MDs only treat symptoms they don’t treat people.
While this is mostly true, I actually have an MD who has yet to prescribe me any medication. He admits he is considered a “weirdo” by his fellow physicians, because he doesn’t rely on the computer to tell him what will work for a given patient. He actually told me to avoid statin drugs for my heartburn and to focus on diet and look for natural way to relieve it. Most of the time he gives me diet advice, and actually told me I was smart to go to a homeopath in my area (who he knows and likes). He is also certified in acupuncture treatment, though I haven’t tried this yet. Of course, this is extremely rare for and MD, but I just wanted to point out that they do exist, just not easy to find.
You are indeed fortunate and in times to come we will have Integrative Medicine and more doctors like this who will use non-toxic modalities first, and leave the toxic Allopathic drugs and the surgical scalpel to the very last and only if absolutely necessary.
Medical Doctors like you describe do exist but are as rare as hens teeth.
You have heartburn not because you have too much acid but because you have too little acid and are unable to digest your food properly. Try unfiltered apple cider vinegar, like Bragg’s, but there are other brands too. Put one tablespoon of raw vinegar in about a half cup of water and drink it. It’s kinda sweet and not at all unpleasant. Google it or look it up on YouTube. If you Google “natural remedy for XYZ” (your particular ailment) you’ll find all kinds of healthy ways to take care of yourself.
I have tried Bragg’s in the past, and it made it worse for me. I have a hiatal hernia so that is a factor. My chiropractor has been able to help with that issue somewhat, and along with aloe juice and ginger root tea (and focusing on whole foods) I’ve been able to keep it under control. Believe me, after taking proton pump inhibitors briefly 10 years ago (prescribed by my previous, much more typical, M.D.), I realized I needed to address the cause and not the symptoms. Thanks!
Stephen – if I felt like you about theses things I wouldn’t take them or just skip doctors. Grow a garden and do something for your neighbors instead of spreading negativity.
Try Dr John McDouga
l or Dr Fuhrman both have extensive websites.
You are absolutely right, I take levothyroxine, and I’m about to stop, because I don’t think I ever needed it in the first place, but my doctor did, because that would keep me coming back, vicious cycle, he’s the only one that profits, not me.
First let me say it is wonderful that your tumor responded and surgery was successfully performed. Sadly, there is no statistically significant survival advantage with the drug 5fu in the treatment of colon cancer. Response, which you described, has virtually no relationship to survival. Most of us know that most drugs do not help most people.
My oncologist has a whole pile of success patients. Just because statins don’t work for many, antibiotic drugs saved my life from severe and worsening pneumonia.
Profits and greed trump your health or life. Plain and simple.
Why has the FDA not limit the amount of sugar being shoved down our throats? Why in an attempt to preserve the shelf life of food is the food industry allowed to poison us with preservatives? why are we irradiating our food supply to kill off the bad bacteria when we know the good bacteria is also destroyed? A generation ago few people needed probiotics, Now we here stories of candida overgrowth and gluten intolerance, not mention thyroid problems, adrenal issues and diabetes. If these problems don’t affect you, maybe industrial pollution and water supply will get to you soon enough? How about the numerous side effect from prescription drugs?
I beginning to think that being off the grid is best for my health. To bad the government is forcing us to pay for our health insurance. Due to the mistakes they, the food industry, medical industry, and the industrial revolution has made, we should be seeking monitory satisfaction from them. Instead, we pay for the mistakes of others…
People pop pills because their doctor tells them to, despite the fact that all Allopathic drugs are toxic and all have side effects and all simply repress symptoms which may drive disease into deeper form, but increasingly research is saying many of them don’t work anyway. So, a toxic cocktail every day which is ineffective and working like a placebo, if it does work.
There is no quick fix to health and consuming synthetic versions of natural herbs, which are designed to manipulate body function to act unnaturally, must be doing even more harm, even if symptoms diminish.
The cholesterol theory is pure fantasy. Statins are completely unnecessary and so indeed are most drugs.
Seeing symptoms as a language the body uses to speak and express and re-balance and working with the body through non-toxic medical modalities like Homeopathy, Nutritional and Herbal Medicine, Acupuncture, Reiki, and eating well, exercising a little, meditating if it suits you, will all contribute to better health and to cure than any drug.