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Here's the transcript of the show:

Erica: Hello and welcome to The Health and Wellness Show for March 2nd. I'll be your host today - Erica - and I'm joined in our virtual studio from people all over the world. We have Gaby and Doug...

Gaby: Hello.

Erica: And Tiffany.

Doug: Hello.

Tiffany: Hi everybody.

Erica: Today, we are going to be connecting the dots; Big Pharma is our topic. So, should be an interesting discussion with lots of information to share and I wanted to just take this opportunity and share with you our disclaimer about how our show today is not intended to be medical advice: the views and options expressed in this episode are not intended to constitute medical advice. If you have questions, we encourage you to do your own research and consult your own health care practitioner before you make any medical decisions for yourself or your family.

So, Big Pharma is our topic today and I wanted to just start off sharing with you folks a movie that's available for free for the next three days that we shared on the sott website a little trailer. It's called, Bought. And you can go and watch the movie for free at This movie is about your health and how it's brought to you by Wall Street: The hidden story behind vaccines, Big Pharma and food. This movie was produced by a man named Allen Jones and he was a former investigator for the Office of the Inspector General.

It's a great show. We're going to cover a lot of the topics that are in the show on today's blogtalkradio. So please feel free to check it out and get some more info.

So, we're going to go right into it. I wanted to have Gaby introduce herself and share what she wants to discuss today.

Gaby: Yes. I wanted to introduce this subject with Marcia Angell. She's an American physician and author and she was the first woman to serve as editor in chief of the New England Journal of Medicine. She stepped down as an editor in the year 2000 after serving two decades as editor. She's currently a senior lecturer in the Harvard Medical School at the Global Health and Social Medicine department. And she has very good material; she has written books, and it would be, I guess, not just an introduction to the subject of Big Pharma.

Basically, in the year 2000 when she stepped down as the editor, she wrote an article called Is Academic Medicine for Sale? Between the responses she got, there was this like, "no the current owner is very happy with it", you know? So, she was attempting to give an example of how several clinical trials are performed. She reviewed a clinical trial and she spoke about it. It was about an anti-depressant called Serzone and she explained about how the trial had so many financial ties to drug companies, that a full disclosure statement was basically as long as the article itself - you know, the full disclosure had to be published on the website because it didn't fit in the magazine.

The lead author of that clinical trial was chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Brown University who was paid more than half a million dollars in drug company consultant fees in just one year. And Marcia Angell explains that this situation was hardly unique.

So, reviewing how the situation has changed over the years, she says that the boundaries between academic medicine, medicine schools, teaching hospitals and faculty and the pharmaceutical industry have been dissolving since the 1980's and practically, the boundary is non-existent nowadays, despite several efforts. And that's basically because drug companies are focused on developing profitable drugs and drug companies do not aim to educate doctors except as a means to the primary end of selling drugs. Basically, they don't have education budgets, they have marketing budgets, from which their educational activities are funded.

So, basically, yes; that's for starters, you know?

Right until the mid 1980's, drug companies gave grants to medical centres, and then research initially was initiated by an investigator; that means that sponsors had no part in designing or analysing studies; they did not claim to own the data; and certainly they did not write the papers or control publication. That all changed very quickly and since it has changed corruption of science is really the norm right now.

The pharmaceutical industry acquired enormous power, influence and money, and in contrast, medical centres and the research shrank. Then they became basically like bankers, supplicants to drug companies. Nowadays, drug companies have access to highly influential faculty physicians which are thought leaders and are considered key opinion leaders. These are people who write textbooks; they write medical journal papers; they also issue practice guidelines, which is treatment recommendations and periodicals; they also sit on government associations like the FDA and other government advisory panels and they head professional societies and speak in meetings that take place literally every single day.
They are also in charge of continuing medical education, which basically teaches doctors what to prescribe, when to prescribe it, so the conflict of interest is pretty huge. And although there are rules - like institutional conflict of interest rules, which are designed to control these relationships - the rules remain highly variable, very permissive and loosely or hardly enforced.

So, this is the problem that we're dealing with, and just to give one example - I'm sure we'll have several during this hour - there was a painkiller which belongs to the family of COX-2 and it's called Rofecoxib; the brand-name was Vioxx. It was manufactured by the company Merck and it was removed from the market in 2005 as it increased heart attacks. Well, how many people? It's said between 88,000 and a 140,000 heart attacks. It is estimated that 60,000 people died from this drug.

The outrageous thing is that there were several meetings to discuss the controversy and after a meeting it was decided that the drug outweighed the risks of the heart attack and was still allowed to remain on the market. It was only when the New York Times published an article about it - it was basically discovered that of the people who attended the meeting - there were in total 32 panel-members - ten of them had financial ties to manufacturers.

So it was then that their votes were excluded and that the drug was finally taken off the market. And these type of anti-inflammatory drugs, they remain in the market. There is still one remaining: it has a red label, basically, "Can increase heart attacks", but it's pretty much prescribed very popularly nowadays.

So, yes, this is the situation.

Tiffany: Yeah. It's really a frightening state of affairs. I mean, just some of the information that's coming out (it's clear that) Big Pharma has one goal and it's about making profits no matter what it takes. So, as we spoke about in previous shows, it's a psychopathic corporation that needs to make profits at all costs.

Just in America, Americans make up 5% of the world's population yet they consume 40% of the drugs that are produced. So that's a huge market. Two countries, the US and New Zealand, are the only countries that allow commercials on T.V. and the FDA approved these drug commercials in the US. Big Pharma spent nearly five billion dollars on direct-to-consumer advertising on television. So basically, Americans are being brainwashed into believing that drugs are the panacea for all problems - physical and emotional.

Tiffany: Well, it works for the drug companies because in the US and New Zealand - the only two countries that allow direct-to-consumer marketing - the drugs that are advertised sell 9% more than the drugs that are not. So it's a benefit to the drug companies to advertise, but it's a detriment to all of us.

Doug: Yeah, They totally know what they're doing in that respect, and it goes into what Gaby was saying about how there isn't an education program - there's just a marketing program; that's basically it. You know, these doctors, they get their information from pharmaceutical reps who aren't doctors; they aren't scientists; most of them come from some kind of liberal arts background or something like that; and that's their contact for what's actually told to them about the drugs and about the side-effects and all the different problems that might occur with the drugs.

And a lot of these drugs are being dispensed exactly because of this direct-to-consumer marketing. I mean, all those ads say, "Ask your doctor if this drug is right for you." So, obviously, you know, they see all the happy, smiley people in these ads and the consumer goes to their doctor and says, "I want this; give me this." And, to shut them up, the doctor gives them the drug. They don't have the information they need, whether or not this drug is actually right for them. So it's a terrible situation.

Gaby: Yeah.

Erica: Exactly. In that movie, Bought, they have a man discussing it and he says that we've gone from looking at things scientifically to looking at things that are best for the industry; industry is too powerful and we need to keep our eyes and ears open. What we see today is frightening and everybody needs to wake up. They even went as far as calling this whole vaccine issue that we've discussed over the last couple of weeks as "medical tyranny".

Tiffany: Yeah, even up higher in the pyramid, there's no watchdog. The FDA's supposed to be the watchdog for these drug companies, but the drug companies have to pay a fee to the FDA; they provide up to 60% of the funding for drug reviews when they submit a new drug to the FDA. A whistleblower said that the FDA is paid by the drug companies outright for new drug approval. So the FDA, doesn't do any independent testing; the drug companies do the testing and then the FDA reviewers come in to review the studies and more often than not, they approve the drugs. The drug companies are essentially paying the FDA to approve the drugs and the FDA's supposed to be looking out for our best interest, but they are in bed with the drug companies.

Doug: Yeah, it goes pretty deep there too. There was a recent article published February 29th on Slate (.com), and it was called, Are Your Medications Safe? And it was basically a journalism professor in the states... sorry, I forget what school he was at, but he actually had his students spend a semester digging into the FDA and why, when there's studies that show detrimental effects, or more often when there's fraud in these studies, why that information still ends up being used to promote the drug and still gets published in medical journals and those sorts of things. It's an incredibly revealing article.

Basically, it talks about how these studies might be falsified and even if they are caught by the FDA reviewers, they still get published and there's no mention of the fraud in their publication. So a drug might show up on the shelf that says, "This is very good for ADHD" or something like that, it's very good for showing that, even though the studies that actually found that were found to be fraudulent. So it's a pretty corrupt situation.

Tiffany: Yeah, and another thing about the corruption is this revolving door between pharmaceutical companies and the FDA. Say that there is an FDA doctor, he works at the FDA to approve drugs, and he stays at his job for a little while; and then he gets a job at a pharmaceutical company, but while he was at the FDA he was making legislation that was favourable for pharmaceutical companies.

Doug: Yeah, unbelievable.

Gaby: The worst thing also is that with most clinical trials we're talking about here, the FDA approves one drug - usually it's compared against a placebo - and most people out there - most who take prescription drugs - they usually take four, six, even twelve prescription drugs at a time.

Tiffany: Or more.

Gaby: And no studies really prove the safety of the whole combination of the cocktail, you know? Or even MORE, yes.

And it's the same issue with vaccines, for example; not only vaccines are not tested against a placebo, but we have a situation right now where kids get, I don't know, forty plus shots or something in their childhood and that's never been tested. It's the same issue.

Doug: And they know how to fudge the numbers there, too. In that movie, Bought - I was watching that last night - and they talked about how there was one vaccine that they were testing against a "placebo" and this vaccine happens to have a lot of aluminum in it. But then, instead of testing the people against an actual placebo, they tested them against an injection of aluminum - the same amount of aluminum that was in the vaccine - and then they said, "Well, look, all the detrimental effects from the vaccine were found to be the same in the placebo". Well, DUH; there's aluminum in both of them. So they know what they're doing; they know how to make these little shifts and things in the studies to get the results that they want to get.

Tiffany: Yeah, it's outright fraud.

Erica: Exactly.

Tiffany: They even have ghost writers; people who work for pharmaceutical companies that write these so-called medical studies, and then they just have a doctor put his name on it as if he did it.

Doug: Yeah.

Tiffany: So, they're criminals and they're in charge of our health.

Gaby: Yeah, ghost writing.

Doug: Yeah, ghost writing; exactly. And those people who are doing that writing are more often than not just professional writers; they're not actual doctors. But then, they get a doctor to sign off on it as if he or she was the one who wrote it. Unbelievable.

Gaby: Just to give an idea of the money involved with pharmaceutical companies, we have the numbers for the largest criminal fine in history - IN HISTORY.

In 2009, Pfizer, which is the pharmaceutical industry famous for its Viagra, they plead guilty and agreed to pay 2.3 billion dollars to settle criminal and civil charges for marketing drugs for off-label use. And this was in 2009 and the fines - well it's like, the largest in history - it's still dwarfed by the profits generated by these activities; for them, it's just like a slap in the face or something; "That's it. Let's move on".

Tiffany: Yeah; that's called "the cost of doing business" for these drug companies. But Pfizer, they got busted again for illegal marketing of Geodon, which is an anti-psychotic. They were saying that it was okay for depression, bipolar, anxiety and dementia, and obsessive compulsive disorder, and they ended up having to pay 301 million dollars for that one.

Other drug companies, they've been fined too. GlaxoSmithKline had to pay three billion dollars and plead guilty to three counts of criminal misdemeanour's and other civil liabilities for off-label promotion of Paxil and Wellbutrin.Johnson & Johnson had to pay 2.2 billion dollars for illegally marketing Risperdal.Eli Lilly had to pay 1.4 billion dollars for illegally marketing Zyprexa.And Bristol-Myers Squibb got fined 515 million dollars for marketing Abilify to children, and Abilify is an anti-psychotic as well, so... that's a lot of money.

Doug: Geeze.

Erica: Yeah, it's quite frightening.

Gaby: It IS frightening; it is.

Erica: Well, going on that note, here in the US, now the whole new market is children - drugging children. And Federal and State governments are working in concert with Big Pharma to promote the use of psychiatric drugs in children. They've developed so-called "Mental Health Screenings for Children" and basically, if your child is screened and given a diagnosis like ADHD or ADD or in teens they now have a diagnosis called ODD - Oppositional Defiant Disorder - and basically, now, nearly nine million children in America are taking prescribed psychiatric meds.

Tiffany: These medicines haven't even been approved for children, have they?

Erica: No; exactly. Most of the drugs prescribed to treat ADD are Ritalin, Adderall and Concerta; they're amphetamine based stimulants for the central nervous system - so basically the same as cocaine - and they're very addictive with severe side-effects. And in one of the articles that, if you're interested in reading more on this topic that was carried on SOTT back in 2013, it's called, Protect Your Children From Psychiatric Medication, by Steven Hotze, he talks about how these psychiatric diagnosis of children are purely subjective. The big reason that pharma companies want to expand the psych-drug market to children is because children are more compliant in taking the drugs than adults.
In 2008 the sales in the US of psychiatric drugs was $40.3 billion - with a 'b'. Over Nine Billion of this was spent on psychiatric drugs just for children. So, yeah; it's frightening. Also, for people that are interested in further reading about this, there's an excellent book written by Robert Whitaker in 2010 called The Anatomy of an Epidemic: (Magic Bullets), Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America.
On the medicating of our kids, there's another great article that was just carried in 2014: A New Perspective on ADHD by doctor Kelly Brogan. She's a psychiatrist and is featured pretty extensively in that Bought documentary. She was saying from 1994 to 2003 there was an eight thousand percent increase in children ages zero to nineteen treated for bipolar disorder. Critics are citing drug ads for this new diagnosis and the off-labelling prescribing of these medications; they're calling it a "Bipolar Boom".

One out of fifty children, a four hundred percent rise in the use of anti-psychotic medication in teens. And as Tiffany has mentioned, Risperdol created by Johnson & Johnson, is one of those drugs that they give oppositional defiant teens. Basically, it's a chemical lobotomy, it blocks the frontal lobe and consciousness.

What Whitaker was saying in his Anatomy of an Epidemic, is that it's basically what makes a person human: love, emotions, all these things. This drug, Risperdol, is blocking those things in children. So, it's just frightening in so many ways.

Tiffany: Speaking of anatomy and Risperdol, it's not been approved in children and there's been studies on children. Recently, there was an article that came out - I don't know if it's on SOTT yet - but there was this man who started taking Risperdol when he was a child; he has autism. And he sued the makers of Risperdol for $2.5 billion dollars because he grew breasts up to size 46 DD. And Risperdol has been found to cause gynaecomastia in children.

Gaby: I hadn't read about that.

Doug: Do you know anything about this operational defiance disorder? It sounds like they're just basically diagnosing rebellious teens; a normal state of being a teenager, and they give it a medical classification so that they can then diagnose it and drug these teens.

Erica: Yeah, exactly. There was a really good SOTT podcast called Good Science, Bad Science - Psychology and Psychiatry and I called in because I do have personal experience with a teen that was given this oppositional defiant disorder diagnosis. It's been a very interesting experience because I have never really had much experience with drugs or the psychiatric portion of medical services in the United States, so I started doing some research on it. There is a great article on Signs called How Teenage Rebellion Has Become a Mental Health Illness, by Bruce Levine; and it is truly shocking that they would take your teen that's obviously going through disruptive behaviours or rebellion and they would give them this Risperdol, an anti-psychotic medication. And when you say "No", then they go down the list of all these other things that they want to give to these children.

What happens once they get this diagnosis, it sticks with them for life. So they become life-time users of these powerful drugs that are tranquillising. It basically makes kids into zombies.

Gaby: I don't know if it's a consolation or not, but I have to correct my data, because actually it was in 2012 where GlaxoSmithKline pleaded guilty and paid three billion dollars to resolve litigations and failure to report safety data. This is considered the largest payment ever made by a drug company - instead of $2.3 billion dollars, it was $3 billion dollars.

Hardly consolation, but I have to say it was for the drugs Paxil and Wellbutrin, which is used in psychiatric patients - A LOT - and non-psychiatric patients, too.

Doug: Geeze. Wow.

Erica: Yeah, so again, just trying to get the information out there and trying to share with people the complete control that this market has. It's very similar to Big Ag. Like Tiffany was saying, the FDA approving GMO foods without safety testing, and you see the same things in the drug companies, as Gaby had shared.

Doug: Yeah. Actually, I'd like to share an article that was run on The Daily Beast a couple of weeks ago, by Daniella Drake, and it was called, Big Pharma is America's New Mafia. We covered that on SOTT as well, so you can find it on there.

She basically makes a point to look at how the doctors have been bought off with state dinners, luxury hotels and reps coming in who are basically supermodels, selling these ideas of drugs; is it really getting to the main problem that's going on here? She talks about how - I don't know if people saw it - but there was a video that had gone viral where John Oliver was taking shots at this whole thing.

She said that the real problem was actually the drugs themselves and makes the point that 70% of Americans are taking Pharma drugs, yet they have the worst health outcomes in the world. So, they're taking the most drugs but they are also the sickest. She cites widespread fraud in the FDA, that studies may be falsified and even if they're caught by the FDA, the studies still get published with no mention of the fraud and are used to back up what's on the labels.

So everybody is basically bought from the ground up. A good example is that in 2004 the cholesterol guidelines were written by doctors and eight out of nine of them had received money from statin manufacturers. The Harvard doctor who was credited with hyping the ADHD phenomenon received $1.6 million dollars from stimulant producers. And she says... I'll just quote her here:

"Prestigious medical journals, the ones that often define medical guidelines, allow physicians consulting for pharmaceutical companies or paid medical writers to extol the virtues of the drugs they are selling".

Doctors are really influenced by these guidelines and opinion pieces that appear in these journals - much more so than the state dinners or the deli platters or the supermodel reps. And Doctor Marcia Angell, the doctor who Gaby was talking about, states that it is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published or to rely on the judgement of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines.
That's quite common right there - the fact that you can't trust them anymore.

Gaby: Yeah. Even the experts on the cholesterol panel don't even agree with each other on the guidelines. These are the experts making the guidelines. The studies play a lot with the statistics; we all know this. Just to give an example of the statin industry, which is the cholesterol lowering drug: they popularise terms around 'relative risk reduction' but there is also 'absolute risk reduction'.

For example: If a hundred people are treated with statin medications to offer one person benefit, then the change from two percent to one percent heart attack rate is billed as a fifty percent reduction rather than a one percent improvement. So, they play with numbers. It's actually one person benefits for each hundred. And then they say that your heart attack is reduced by fifty percent when it's just only one percent. This is a drug that has over three hundred adverse health effects including cancer and it's speculated to give heart failure as well.

Doug: Yeah, and these adverse effects are well documented, too. This isn't just the odd person shouting out that these kinds of things are happening; these are in studies, they are published. It's well documented that there are so many adverse side-effects from these statin medications, yet they're still Big Pharma's number one sellers.

Gaby: About the 'model' issue; my first experience with a pharmaceutical rep was in Italy; it was a woman, she looked like a model from the cover of Vogue magazine - only that she was not photo-shopped. That's the way that she really looked! It made all the doctors nervous. This is the kind of people they choose as representatives of their products. Of course. I don't know where they get them; former cheerleaders, I don't know. But I remember this woman; I was like, "Wow, she's not even photoshopped!"

Tiffany: Yeah, they come really loaded down with food. In the few places that I've worked, especially psychiatric wards, they come in and they bring this big, elaborate lunch - and this was back in the days when I would eat anything - and the food was delicious! They'd have the coffee cups and the pens with Risperdol or Zyprexa on them and you think that little stuff doesn't matter, but they work just like commercials: if you see it, it's going to be in the back of your mind somewhere and when you go to write your prescription, you're going to think of Zyprexa or you're going to think of Risperdol.

Doug: You're going to think of that awesome lunch you had.

Erica: Yeah. It's just an excellent example of Big Dollars and Big Industry. You know what I mean? Compromising your health and your basic human rights and everything is being bought and sold. It's not about health and well-being; it's about money - Big Business.

Doug: Yeah, totally! I just wanted to get back to the article here, by Daniella Drake. She quotes Doctor Peter Gøtzsche, Director of the Nordic Cochrane Centre. The Cochrane Centre actually does a pretty good service; they try to distil all the different studies that come out because doctors really aren't able to keep up with them at all. There's a statistic that there's eight hundred thousand studies published per year and doctors simply don't have the time to go through them and look at them carefully. So, they do a pretty good service by actually trying to distil a lot of these studies.
He wrote a book and I think the title just says it all. The book's called Deadly Medicine and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Health-Care. In a recent interview, he's quoted as saying, "Much of what the drug industry does fulfils the criteria for organised crime in US law. And they behave in many ways like the Mafia does. They corrupt everyone they can corrupt. They have bought every type of person, even including Ministers of Health in some countries. The drug industry buys the professors first, then the chiefs of departments, then the chief physicians and so on; they don't buy the junior doctors." You know, the junior doctors get bought by the reps with their state dinners and taco platters. He didn't say that, sorry; I said that.

Erica: It's all these conflicts of interest too as we see in this on-going controversy with the CDC and the whistleblower, Thompson, and this whole vaccine issue and the debate that's raging about that right now. In 2005, the total revenue for the global vaccine market was $10 billion dollars and they're projecting that by 2015 it will be $41 billion dollars. So there's a lot of money at stake. Doug, maybe you want to share the recent article that we put on SOTT and how we noticed this trend of amping up negativity towards people who choose not to participate or who forgo vaccines for their children, based on concerned, informed information.

Doug: Yeah, it's basically exactly that. The pharmaceutical companies have controlling interests in the media and that's not really hidden; you can do a little bit of research and you can find that out. When it comes to the media, they know who's paying the bills. So obviously, their editorial line isn't going to go against that, or at least not explicitly. They might throw little crumbs out here and there, but for the most part they take an editorial line that is very much in line with who's funding them.

So you've got these pharmaceutical companies putting forth this idea that there is absolutely no danger whatsoever in vaccinating - which is completely untrue. There are plenty of studies out there. In the article, we linked to a database on Greenmedinfo that documents a hundred different studies that show adverse effects from vaccines. All you have to do is read the package insert on these vaccines and you'll see all the different possible negative effects of them.

The whole party line that's being put forward in the media is just ridiculous. The idea that there is absolutely no danger and all these people who are against vaccination - or even people who are questioning vaccination - are nutcases; they're conspiracy theorists; they're naive; it's basically a whitewashing.

What we noted in the article is this pro-vaccine hysteria; even though they like to say that the anti-vaxxers are the hysterical ones, it really is a pro-vaccine hysteria. It's even gotten to the point where there's been bomb threats against people who are speaking out against vaccines. Doctor Sherri Tenpenny and another doctor whose name I forget at the moment were going to do a tour of different cities in Australia, talking about their research into vaccines and how people should be questioning these things, and they received bomb threats. They ended up having to actually cancel the tour because of these bomb threats. If that's not hysterical I don't know what is.

Gaby: I have a very good example on the vaccine research. It involves again Merck, famous for its Vioxx drugs which I mentioned earlier. In 2007 they published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine claiming that Gardasil, which is the vaccine against HPV virus, is 98% effective at preventing high-grade cervical lesions - pre-cancerous lesions. But when they really looked at the research, they showed that Gardasil was only seventeen percent effective. And its definition of 'effective' still rests on unfounded assumptions.

This is a vaccine that is the most dangerous vaccine that there probably is on the market and that's saying little considering that there's a lot of adverse events with all of them. For example, there is a website that reports adverse events - the VAERS system. And it shows that the rate of serious adverse reactions reported on this website was 2.5 times higher than the current age-standardised death-rate from cervical cancer.
It has collected nearly thirty thousand adverse effects since Gardasil was in the market in June 2006, and this is just one example: over a hundred people have died related this Gardasil vaccine.

Doug: And the crazy thing is that it's a completely unnecessary vaccine, too. They were talking about it in the Bought movie, they said that if it was effective in protecting against HPV then they would be able to put on the label that it prevents cervical cancer and the FDA agreed to that. They've actually marketed it as an anti-cancer vaccine, which in actual fact it's not. The hype has been so strong on this one, basically they're marketing it as a way for women to empower themselves, stand up for their womanhood and all this kind of thing. It's so ridiculous; it's putting people in completely unnecessary harm's way.

Tiffany: Yeah. Most cases of HPV clear up on their own anyway. I think 90% of them? So, their campaign is "One Less". But I keep thinking, well if you go ahead with the vaccine, you might have one less daughter, instead of one less case of HPV.

Doug: Yeah! Because one of the adverse effects, is death.

Tiffany: Yes.

Erica: It's the most expensive vaccine on the market as well. So again, it's back to this whole profit-driven industry.

Tiffany: Well, if we want to get into a little bit of death, since we mentioned it, in America there are approximately 106,000 people a year who die from properly prescribed, improperly administered drugs. So, they're just taking it the way their doctor tells them to and they end up dying anyway.
Just from side-effects, studies show that prescription drugs are far more dangerous than illegal, recreational drugs. So the only thing, really, that defines whether a drug is legal or illegal is whether or not Big Pharma can profit from it.

There's more people killed by opioids - which are pain medications like morphine, codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, methadone - more people are killed by these opioids than heroin and cocaine combined. There's been three million deaths related to prescription drugs between 1984 and 2011 and now drug deaths outnumber deaths in traffic accidents.

Doug: Jesus.

Tiffany: In the UK, there's more people addicted to painkillers and tranquillisers - more people are addicted to those than are addicted to illegal drugs. And the problem with these drugs is the painkillers - opioids - suppress your respiratory function and sometimes people make the mistake of combining these painkillers with alcohol. In some of these deaths, people just went to sleep and they didn't wake up. Sometimes people are prescribed the wrong dose by their doctor; like for example if you take too much or too little of a blood thinner like Plavix or Coumadin - which they use to poison rats, by the way - that can lead to uncontrolled bleeding or blood clots. Fifteen thousand people in nursing homes die every year from medications. So, there's a pretty high death toll with Big Pharma.

Erica: Yes, the addiction situation that you mentioned, Tiffany, is really frightening. A couple of weeks ago, we carried an article on the Signs page called Klonopin: The Deadliest Prescription Drug in America, and the website is The Fix - it's a great website for drugs and addiction information - and the author Christopher Bryant, says, "When it comes to prescription drugs, it's hard to beat or top benzodiazepines - also known as benzos. It's been more lethal to millions of Americans than any popular prescription drug. Klonopin's dubious distinction is second only to opioid painkillers like Oxycontin as our nation's most widely abused class of drug."

"Originally, it was prescribed in the 1950's and '60's for a range of neurological disorders, epilepsy, anxiety disorders and insomnia, and over time, a loophole in Federal drug control laws, known as 'The Practice of Medicine Exemption' has permitted psychiatrists and physicians to prescribe the drug for any perceived disorder or symptom imaginable - from panic attacks to weight control".

So again, this idea of off-label prescribing, right?"Klonopin is most likely to be used during drug and alcohol detox," so if people go into a treatment program, they're trying to get off drugs or alcohol, they use this Klonopin to prevent seizures and control symptoms of acute withdrawal. "The drug label on Klonopin clearly specifies 'Short-term use, for only seven to ten days.'"

In this article, they talk about the experience of singer Stevie Nicks. She was a cocaine addict, she went into treatment, they gave her Klonopin and her life completely fell apart; you can read her story in that article. Also in this class of benzodiazepines, they've made the top-ranks as the world's worst and most widely abused drug.

So there's three different classes. One of them is Alprazolam - or Xanax - and it counts for as many as sixty percent of all hospital admissions for drug addiction. Another one was Temazepam, sometimes referred to as the 'date-rape drug' and it is the drug that's most related to crimes of violence. And then, one last one - and this was really frightening information - is Lorazepam, and its commercial name is Ativan, it's an anti-anxiety drug. In 2008, news reports revealed that Ativan was being used by US Customs Service to keep suspected terrorists sedated while deporting them to detention facilities abroad. This is really frightening stuff; it's approved and being given to people willy-nilly, that off-label prescribing, and people's lives are being severely destroyed in many ways.

Tiffany: Yeah. And all the patients I've worked with, I don't know any of them that only took it for a short-term; they were on it for years, and they're handed out like candy in nursing homes for people with dementia, just to sedate them and make their care easier. So, it's really a sad, sad situation.

Gaby: It is.

Erica: Yeah. What's frightening about these is that you can buy these drugs - they call them 'feel-good drugs' - without a doctor's signature by simply typing the name into an internet search engine. You'll be presented with dozens of websites, both foreign and domestic, where you can make a purchase - no prescription necessary. Most of the websites accept all major credit cards.

Doug: Huh; how convenient.

Gaby: Well, in the marketing, they say "Oh, you will never get addicted to these drugs. It's just a little aid for troubled times", and then there's literally nobody who can get off these prescription drugs without severe withdrawal symptoms. Most people don't even make it; they just remain on the drug and that's it.

Doug: It's crazy.

Erica: So, on that note, we really recommend the Bought movie to get more information; lots of statistics, lots of information to think about. And again, this idea of medical tyranny, where are your choices? How do you inform yourself? How do you inform other people about what kind of choices that they can make? And options - as we shared in shows previously; diet, exercise and not looking to Big Pharma to save you, because they do not have your best interests at heart at all.

Doug: Yeah. I think what's important on that point is the whole idea of having empathy for the people who are in this situation where they are on multiple pharmaceutical drugs. It's really tempting to want to shake them and say, "What are you doing?! This is crazy! You've got to get off those things!" But I think not everybody wants those options; they are looking for an easy answer and we have to respect their freewill to a certain extent and really be careful with what we're recommending. Maybe it's a lot better to use yourself as a model. Say, "Oh, geeze, I'm not on any prescription drugs; I actually find that I can control all my symptoms pretty easily with diet." Just plant the seeds in the mind and don't start beating people over the head with these types of ideas.

Tiffany: Yeah, and as with everything, it's really your choice whether or not you want to take prescription drugs. I do want to caution people: these drugs are very powerful, they're very strong; they have some serious side-effects; they have serious withdrawal effects so you should not just stop taking the medication without consulting with your doctor. If you do decide that you want to try to get off the medication, they should be slowly tapered down. You shouldn't just stop cold turkey because that can lead to some serious consequences.

Doug: Yeah, definitely.

Gaby: It reminds me of the documentary, The Corporation. This documentary analysed corporations and how they met the psychopathy traits, like lack of remorse or guilt and pathological lying. It just reminds me of this and how the pharmaceutical industry just meets psychopathic traits.

Doug: Yeah. I agree, and I think it's because psychopaths are really adept at getting themselves up the ladder because they don't have the same kind of sense of remorse; they have no issue with screwing people over and doing whatever it takes to get power. I think that filters down; it encourages that kind of environment in these big, giant corporations like Big Pharma, Big Ag, all these kinds of places. It's really no wonder that you see these kinds of actions being taken. The corporation itself takes actions that are in and of themselves psychopathic. They aren't informed by conscience at all; they don't care. You know, the whole idea of 'the cost of doing business', "Yeah, we can market this drug even though there's all these side-effects and all these deaths that happen because we know that in our lawsuits it'll cost us $3 billion, while we'll make $44 billion off the drug itself." It's like that's okay, it's completely psychopathic; there is absolutely no conscience there. Actually, from that same article I was talking about before on the medical Mafia, in the Vioxx class action suit that was brought against Merck, a lot of the company emails are being released, and they reveal that Merck employees had planned to neutralise and discredit doctors that criticised the drug. One employee was quoted as saying, "We may need to seek them out and destroy them where they live." So it just goes to show the kind of psychopathic environment that's bred in these corporations.

Erica: I would have never have guessed that it was like that until, as I shared, I experienced it first hand in dealing with the psychiatry industry and how every day it was a new drug, it was a new option. At one point, I made the statement, "I'm not sure which part of 'no' you don't understand." And then the psychiatrist said to me, "I don't want you to get the impression that I'm a drug pusher." My response was, "Well stop pushing drugs." And I even went as far as - Gaby helped me in this area - giving information to the psychiatrist about how you can use health and vitamin supplementation, removing gluten, removing dairy, to get similar benefits; that my child didn't need to be put on Risperdol, an anti-psychotic medication, for a normal behavioural slipup in my child.

Tiffany: Well, I've had a similar experience with some of the people that I've worked with, they see psychiatrists as drug pushers. Really, they're right, because what else are they going to do? Psychiatrists, they don't do therapy - you don't sit on the couch and tell them your life story and get counselling and advice for what you should do about everyday problems or anything like that. You go in, you're in there for maybe thirty minutes for your first visit, and then after that it's five, ten, fifteen minutes just to see how you're doing with the drugs, if you're having any side-effects. A lot of times you come out with a new medication. So, that is what they do; it's a pretty sweet job if you can handle the fact that you're not really helping anybody.

Erica: And it is the largest corporation in the world, right? So, again, as Gaby was saying, back to that idea of profit above and beyond anything else.

Gaby: Psychopathic.

Erica: So, we wanted to take this opportunity to shift just for a moment and share with you folks Zoya's pet health segment today. And we'll come back after that.

Tiffany: Well, before we get to the pet health segment, I just thought this was funny - I read this today. A drug company has made an anti-depressant for dogs. It's called Reconcile.

Gaby: I didn't know that!

Doug: Geeze.

Tiffany: It's basically Prozac for dogs. It's to treat separation anxiety in dogs and you can give it to your cat too to keep your cat from urine marking.

Gaby: Gosh!

Tiffany: Not to leave the pets out of this whole thing, there's Prozac for your pets.

Gaby: Oh God; a sign of the times if I ever heard one!

Doug: Yeah. I actually have a depressed goldfish; do you think it would work on him, too?

Tiffany: Hmm, maybe! Watch him for suicidal ideology, though.

Gaby: Oh, God; this is so sad.

Erica: Oh yes. So, we'll take this opportunity to transition and play Zoya's piece.

Zoya: Hello and welcome to the natural Pet Health Segment of The Health and Wellness Show.

Last week, we talked a bit about what you could do for your pets if there was an emergency and you couldn't take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible. Hopefully, this information was useful for you, especially since it's probable that not all of the mentioned substances can be found in North America or Europe - like potassium permanganate solution; or maybe they can be found under a different name or used for a different purpose.

As for techniques like treatment of burns that was mentioned in the previous show or giving your dog a sweet tea, they may also sound strange to some people, or even veterinarians. So just to reiterate, all of the advice that was offered was for emergency cases plus inability to reach a veterinarian quickly enough. You could say that all the advice is useful in case of the so-called 'field conditions'. But if you have the ability to reach a veterinarian, it's always better to do this first.

Okay, so today we are going to finish talking about emergency cases and I'm going to give you a list of necessary items you should have in your special 'My Pet's Emergency Bag' or box. You will notice that many of these items can be used on humans too, so there's a double good reason to stock those supplies, and they are usually not particularly expensive. And just for the sake of clarity, I made a search and looked for substances that are available both in North America and Europe.

So here it goes.

One first item that you should have in your first aid-kit is a muzzle, or a collar or a leash. It's important, I understand, that maybe your pet may be stressed, may be in bad condition and is already frightened, so basically putting a muzzle may be seen as something cruel, but you must understand that it's not only for their protection; it's also to protect the humans handling and caring for the animal. Some animals become aggressive when they are afraid or in pain, so you should keep that in mind.

You should keep a pair of tweezers for splinter or tic removal; nail trimmer or clipper; a pair of blunt, cheap scissors to trim hair away from a wound or to clip out foreign material caught in your pet's fir.

In North America, or maybe in Europe, instead of iodine solution, maybe you can find pro-soaked pads to clean out cuts, wounds or abrasions and bottled water. The wound should be flushed with water after using pre-soaked pads.

Instead of permanganate solution, you can find and use saline solution. Regular human contact lens saline drops can be used to flush out dirt, sand or other irritants from your pet's eye. It can also be used to flush away debris from a cut or scrape.

Antibiotic ointment to apply to a wound after it has been cleaned with iodine solution and flushed with water to prevent accumulation of all kinds of potentially harmful micro-organisms.

There are all kinds of lubricating gels for example, around your pet's eye if you need to use soap or iodine solution to clean a wound close to the eyes.

You can keep in the emergency box, sterile, non-stick pads to cover a wound before bandaging. Other bandage material - either elastic bandages or gauze - to hold a non-stick pad in place over a wound.And you can keep hydrogen peroxide; it's a 3% solution.

Now, there is a controversy regarding hydrogen peroxide and using it to clean a wound. Some veterinarians say that it actually slows the healing process. I made my research and basically, I can't tell you for sure, one hundred percent, who's correct here; because some sources say that it doesn't affect the healing process in any way. But some, like Doctor Karen Becker says that it does slow the healing process. So, maybe it does, but it is useful, for example, to remove blood or all kinds of clotted and dirty and dry sticky stuff on the wound. So you can use that to basically make it a bit moist. And also, hydrogen peroxide can induce vomiting, but use it only after you talk to a veterinarian and he's said that it's okay to do it, because each case is specific, so you always need to check this beforehand.

Another item is a clean cotton towel that can serve multiple purposes - from a pressure bandage, to a blanket, to a sling to lift a larger pet that isn't able to walk.

And you can also have a flashlight; sometimes a bright light source can help you more readily identify the thorn in your pet's paw or the tiny tic in between her toes, and also you can use it maybe to check the eye, the ears, so basically, it's a useful item, also for humans to have it in emergency kit.

Other items: you may include cotton balls and swabs and also Benadryl for allergic reactions; Bach Rescue Remedies for stress; homeopathic Aconitum for shock; and you can also use a thermometer - for example, if you can't reach the veterinarian but you can talk to him or her over the phone, so you can basically take a temperature by yourself using a rectal check of the body temperature and then tell them over the phone the results.

Now, make sure to keep your kit in an easily accessible location and let everyone in the family know where it is. If you're travelling with your pet, it's a good idea to either bring the kit along or prepare a second kit for the car.And remember that administering first aid to a sick or injured pet is just the first step and you still need to get to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

Now this is it for this part about emergencies, but now let's talk about a different, but no less important topic, which is also related to the general topic of today's show.

A week ago, I received a question from a listener. The question was about an obese twelve years old little dog which was just diagnosed with Cushing Disease and prescribed two specific drugs that are very expensive. The cost is two hundred dollars a month for the rest of the dog's life, and the listener wanted to know if she should do the treatment especially since the vet also told her that she could choose not to do the treatment and just let things progress as they are.

Well, since I'm not a doctor yet, I can't really give a definite answer, but what I know about drugs that are prescribed in case of Cushing's Disease, which is a condition that has several reasons and is characterised by an excess of the steroid hormone cortisol in the blood, that most of them have serious side-effects. In fact, these drugs are not for treating the disease, but for maintenance only - it helps to control the symptoms. That's why they should be taken for the rest of the dog's life. It's exactly like chemotherapy for life. It's true that newer drugs are better when it comes to side-effects, but they are also more expensive, so in the end, it doesn't matter how you look at it - there is lots of suffering in any of these cases; and that's what I wanted to talk about: about the grip Big Pharma has on veterinary science and how often veterinary students are being taught not to think, but instead asked to memorise all the necessary treatment protocols and their dosage.

Let's take this poor little obese dog with Cushing's as an example to demonstrate the point. In most affected dogs with Cushing's, the cause is a small, benign pituitary tumour. It happens mostly with middle-aged or older dogs and there are several breeds that have a predisposition to the development of this kind of tumour.

Okay. So, if it's a tumour, then what, it's like the universe's 'Russian Roulette'? Some dogs lose and some dogs win? Wrong! Predisposition to any disease, including a development of cancer, means just that: a possibility; meaning that if there won't be any contributing factors, your dogs can live happily all their lives without developing anything of this kind. And contributing factors can be starting from stress, bad diet - like feeding your dog dry food - and giving him all kinds of medications - especially steroids. And here we come to the biggest conundrum - both of veterinary medicine and human medicine.

You see, despite my studying in a low-budget university and not having access to super-advanced and cool veterinary equipment, they were able to give a couple of the most important principles of being a veterinarian. Besides the principle of 'doing no harm', they also told us that a good veterinarian is a veterinarian with nothing to do - meaning disease prevention is much more important than treating the disease. And if this is kept in mind, then it's easy to see why proper upkeep or proper living conditions and species appropriate diet are all the animal needs to have a good and long life. And what is left are emergency situations - including emergency surgery in case of accident.

So in both human and veterinary medicine, there is this absurd situation where more and more fancy and advance techniques and drugs are being developed, new treatment protocols, better diagnosis techniques, better everything. Right now in the US and Europe, there are all kinds of veterinary clinics that can give your pet the best diagnosis and treatment in the world; veterinarians are very proud of their profession - and rightly so - but then, in many cases, they are being misguided or taught to believe and accept things that are very wrong - just like in human medicine.
Okay, so this little obese dog's owner still has to decide if she's willing to pay two hundred dollars a month. This may ease not only her dog's symptoms, but also her conscience, that she did something for her little baby. But then, who knows, if she would have fed her dog a species appropriate diet since childhood - if she was told by her veterinarian years ago that diet and stress have major effect on hormonal system - maybe she would have made sure to feed her dog properly and give him a stress free environment as much as possible. But then, what interest does Big Pharma and other similar Greed-Monkeys have in educating the public? No interest at all.

And that's why both medical and veterinary fields are in a constant state of a so-called 'advancement' while it is really an illusion and we are just getting further and further away from what is real and natural. I think that's enough for today, and thank you for listening. Have a great day.

Erica: Well that was a very helpful segment from Zoya and she was right on with her statement that the same principles apply as they do in humans; that we are in charge of our health and wellness while we have this freedom to choose and educate ourselves. I think it's very important that we use all tools necessary, do the research, find the information and make decisions for ourselves and our family that are informed. We shouldn't get caught up in all the hysteria and hype through media, and Big Pharma profiting and manipulation of information. So, I wanted to leave it to Doug for a little bit of closing before we take the opportunity to give our recipe for the day.

Doug: Yeah. Well, you just covered a lot of what I was going to say, Erica. I think that with this whole discussion on Big Pharma where we've been pointing out all these negatives, at the end of the day, it's very important for individuals to educate themselves.

You know, it's important to know that your doctor is coming from a specific point of view and that they have a specific interest. And I think that it's very easy to get caught up because they are an authority figure - they've got that white lab-coat on - and we're programmed to think that they're right about everything. But, it is up to the individual to empower themselves, to do the research; look in to the drug that's being recommended; look at what the side-effects are; see if there are any alternatives - especially when it comes to nutrition and diet and some alternative medications like homoeopathy or herbalism or something along those lines; maybe think about seeing an alternative practitioner.

There are options out there even though it's made to seem like there aren't. So, do the research; read the Signs (SOTT) Health and Wellness section - there's lots of great articles on there - and empower yourself as far as health is concerned.

Erica: I agree. So, we're going to have our recipe for today; a little uplifter - a nice little sweet treat: it's Avocado Chocolate Mousse.
Yes, this is safe for a keto-diet: avocados, nice and high in saturated fat. For this Avocado Chocolate Mousse, start with four avocados - and they can be a little bit browned or bruised; that's okay. You use a rounded teaspoon of Stevia or if you like, Xylitol or Erythritol. A tablespoon of vanilla extract. One cup of organic cocoa or carob powder if you like that. One-fourth cup of oil - preferably coconut oil but if need be you can use an olive oil or even a grapeseed oil. And if you like the taste of coconut, you can add one-fourth cup of coconut milk. The recipe is super-easy.
You just scoop out the avocados, chop them into small pieces and put everything in a blender or a food processor or even a magic bullet or a hand mixer. Mix them all together until they're a creamy consistency and it will turn a little bit brownish because of the cocoa powder; and it takes about ten minutes to make.

So that's our recipe for today. Try it out and see how you like it.

Doug: Mmm mm. Great.

Gaby: Sounds good.

Erica: So, I think if nobody else has anything left to add, obviously this is very intense information, lots of discussion to be brought up and we didn't have the chance to cover all aspects of it, but I'm sure we'll come back to Big Pharma in shows coming up in the future.
So thank you all for listening, and please visit the Signs of the Times website and come back again to SOTT blogtalkradio.

Doug: Bye bye.

Gaby: Bye everyone.

Tiffany: Bye.