Direct-to-the-consumer drug advertising

October 6th, 2006 at 4:44 am by David Farrar

The Government is looking to ban Direct-to-the-consumer drug advertising.

In a society which values free speech, any ban on advertising has to meet a high threshold to be justified. the burden of proof has to be on the Government to justify that the level of harm from not banning such advertising is so great as to warrant a ban. This is a vital point – the onus is not on drug companies to prove they should be allowed to advertise, the onus must be on the Government to justify a ban.

Unlike No Right Turn, I don’t see any evidence to support a total ban. There are standards of advertising which require adverts to be truthful. There are health standards any drugs advertised must meet. One could even develop a more rigorous advertising code for drug advertising.

Banning advertising is an assault on free speech. Now free speech is not without limit – the classic example being no right to shout Fire in a crowded theatre. But a ban on advertising should be the last resort.

The trend in recent years has been empowering health consumers so they have more information on which to make decisions – not just relying on health practitioners. Again restricting information should be done very very reluctantly.

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47 Responses to “Direct-to-the-consumer drug advertising”

  1. Gooner () says:

    4:44am! WTF?

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  2. battler () says:

    The fact is that the drug co’s and the doctor’s are in cahoots.

    If consumers really knew how to be healthy they wouldn’t need drugs or “doctors”.

    Modern day conventional “Doctors” are nothing more than booking agents for surgeons, and sales agents for drug companies.

    Meantime the dairy industry in cahoots with the socialist government continues to prevent through legislation the sale of raw dairy products on a retail basis, denying consumers the right freely purchase from the producers of their choice, and therefore depriving consumers of life giving medicine food.

    Whole foods create health.

    Drugs mask symptoms while people’s health continues to rot.

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  3. Bernard Darnton () says:

    The only justifiable reason to ban these advertisements would be if they were making false claims – the same as for any other advertisement. If you were going to ban them because they created a desire for something people might not need you should probably ban all advertising.
    This (and all other advertising restrictions) are a breach of the potential advertisers’ right to free speech. They come absolutely nowhere near the “clear and present danger” test that the “falsely shouting fire in a theatre” example illustrated.
    Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes’s words:
    The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.
    Of course, in New Zealand, Parliament has the “right” to whatever the hell it likes but realise that here the supposed danger is that people will ask their doctors for a particular drug. Is people asking their doctors for a particular dug something you’d ban?

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  4. belt () says:

    Drugs mask symptoms while people’s health continues to rot.

    Hear hear.

    I was on meds for about 6 years and made a decision to come off them because I seemed to be getting worse the more meds I put in my body. And you know what? I’ve been much healthier since.

    Turned up to the doc for my free flu shot some years ago, as asthmatics get free shots. Was told to go away as I wasn’t classed as an asthmatic. Huh? Mind checking my medical history please Doc? No Sir, bugger off, you’re so much on top of your symptoms due to the use of no medication at all, you are no longer classed as one.

    Bugger me. It’s a miracle. No meds + healthy eating + moderate exercise = health? What a revelation!

    My advice through experience and empirical observation: meds have side effects, which frequently beget more meds.. which have side effects. If anyone suggests meds as part of a long term treatments, you need to convince yourself that the “cure” is better than the illness, because this whack-the-mole game modern medicine plays with symptom suppression through medication is part of a business. And we all know the objective of a business with respect to your health: sell you more medicine.

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  5. phil u () says:

    dpf said..

    “..There are standards of advertising which require adverts to be truthful…”

    thanks for the early morning belly-laugh..eh..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  6. tim barclay () says:

    They want to ban this. They want to severely restrict public participation in the political process because they think people are too dumb to make up their own monds. If she had her way she would just get rid of elections altogether. Just let them try.

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  7. Bill Day () says:

    The problem with health generaly is that the person who consumes the product does not actually pay for it. Therefore the normal disciplines of the free market don’t apply. The concern is that the advertising is designed to promote overconsumption in this distorted market. I agree that we should always be very reluctant to restrict free speech but there may very well be some justification in this particular case.

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  8. iiq374 () says:

    Bill – I have to agree in part, in terms of the problem to do with the consumer not paying directly for the product. However this actually depends on the product and its Pharmac classification.

    This is actually part of the reason that some drug companies do so much advertising. As unless their particular drug is the golden one chosen by Pharmac to be fully subsidised for a particular condition, then they will need to independently drum up enough specific demand from the community at large to overcome their part-charges (or worse…) to have any chance of selling anything. Even if they are just as effective (or more so) than the funded generic in the specific case at hand.

    This actually isn’t just an overconsumption issue but also a diverted consumption issue.

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  9. Linda () says:

    I agree with David. Nanny state is again trying to ‘protect’ us poor weak voters from ourselves.

    Access to prescription drugs is controlled by doctors. I can’t just go and buy the stuff advertised, but it might send me to the doctor in search of answers – and particularly in the case of men, this can be a good thing.

    Advertising has to be truthful and prepared with a due sense of social responsibility. If you think an advert is dishonest or bad for society, you can complain for free by writing to or emailing the Advertising Standards Authority. If the ad is found to be in breach of the rules it is withdrawn. A free and easy to use system envied by many other countries.

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  10. anonoymouse () says:

    The more interesting twist to this will be *if* they ban medicinal advertising, and the proposed joint Therapuetic Drugs agency between Australia and NZ is set up,(which Australia have insisted is required before any further CER improvements) will this see an end to endless quakery that is the advertising of supplements and vitamins in NZ…..

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  11. Jen Campbell () says:

    Call me cynical, but I can’t help thinking this is a plot to keep the public in the dark about new,often life-changing drugs that are available, but will never be funded.

    I think Pharmac is a national disgrace. The mere fact that the bigwigs of that Corporation trumpet proudly that they manage to come in UNDER budget is disgusting.

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  12. Kent Parker () says:

    NZ and the US are the only countries in the world that allow direct to consumer advertising. NZ is only coming into line with all the other left and right wing governments the world over.

    The reason for the ban is that drugs can get into wide a use before the true nature of side effects can be found out. Imagine if thalidomyde had been advertised direct to consumers.

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  13. linda () says:

    Kent – the drugs being advertised are passed as safe* by all the relevant authorities. Consumers cannot access them without a doctor’s prescription. The advertising raises awareness of health issues and sends people to see their doctor. Are you suggesting doctors are wimps who roll over and write prescriptions just because their patient asked for it? I’ve never had a doctor like that.

    *Safe is a relative term, and there are possible side effects for any drug – hence the restriction and being over-the-counter. Part of the consideration before prescribing any drug would be the risk/benefit analysis a doctor carries out.

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  14. Linda () says:

    That should read “hence the restriction and being not over-the-counter”.

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  15. side show bob () says:

    If a product is deemed legal by the state then the producers have every right to advertise. The same should also apply to tobacco and alcohol as these are legal products. Of course people will abuse these products but you don’t see the government banning said products or turning down their huge tax take, bloody hipocrites.

    I agree totatly with Belt and Battler, you can’t keep stuffing your body with drugs. Most drugs only treat the symptoms but not the cause of disease, whole foods are a large part of remaining healthy. As for the dairy industry been in cahoots with government, sadly I would have to agree but alot of the pressure comes for the markets that farmers supply.But there is now more choice, the likes of organic milk etc,but way to expensive. I would be happy to get half the value of a product like milk that is sold over the counter, I would indeed have a tax problem.

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  16. Ben Wilson () says:

    It certainly is a free speech issue. I think the whole ‘this will kill the industry’ hysteria is crap, everyone will still use drugs suggested to them by their doctor. But slick campaigns with expensive advertising won’t get an advantage over their competitors that is, by and large, only something that distorts truth on what’s a good drug. The extraordinary success of advertising in selling consumable toxins like nicotine is a testament to that. No doctor would prescribe it. That doesn’t mean I think it should be banned, or that you should need a prescription, I’m just saying that advertising hasn’t made us more informed about nicotine, quite the opposite is true.

    I’m inclined to think direct to consumer advertising of prescription medicine is pretty harmless, since any doctor worth their salt will respond to the request to get, say, viagra, with a posing of all the alternatives, and his/her understanding of the risks and costs. It’s then not an uninformed choice at all.

    The only real effect of advertising in that situation is creating a demand or an awareness, where there wasn’t one before. You may not haver realized your impotence had the Viagra solution. This is not really a harmful effect, so long as it’s filtered through the doctor.

    And non-prescription medicines should be allowed to advertise all they like – they’re non-prescription because they’re safe!

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  17. anon () says:

    Linda – “Are you suggesting doctors are wimps who roll over and write prescriptions just because their patient asked for it?”

    Just to talk to any Pharmacist (my father is one) and they will tell you that those doctors do exist, although I hope that they are in the minority.

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  18. Andrew Bannister () says:

    The trend in recent years has been empowering health consumers so they have more information on which to make decisions – not just relying on health practitioners.

    I completely agree and that is extremely important. However, I do not see that advertising is the way to do that. Given that drug information is very complex, this cannot be presented in a flashy 30 second TV advertisement. The general population do not have the skill/knowledge base to evaluate that information. And before someone accuses me of underestimating the general population, I have one word for you:

    Homeopathy!!

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  19. Andrew Bannister () says:

    Drugs mask symptoms while people’s health continues to rot

    I rest my case!

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  20. battler () says:

    There are a number of issues being raised here:

    Bernard – a lot of the drugs do make false claims in the sense that they masquerade as “cures” when really all they do is MASK symptoms, while people’s health continues to rot. My Grandfather was diagnosed with “Parkinsons Disease” and every morning he is effectively force fed a whole cocktail of drugs by his rest home nurses. His health continutes to go downhill. The taxpayer is paying in a large part for his resthome care and drug subsidies via Pharmac. It is outrageous. The taxpayer is being forced to pay for his care, which is proving totally ineffective. I believe he would be far healthier today if he had shunned the symptom masking drugs, adopted a whole foods diet, exercise and stress management regieme.

    As for patients asking about particular drugs. This is not really the case. My mother has worked as a general practice nurse and tells me that GP’s offices receive constant streams of sales calls from Drug company sales reps peddling all kinds of perks for the GP’s offices and then giving the pressure/hard sell to promote their branded drug products to patients.

    Belt – I can totally agree with what you’re saying. I’ve had some health issues that in the past I had received prescription drugs and creams for which only temporarily masked the symptoms. I have since ditched them and started taking foods like RAW MILK and KEFIR along with other whole foods, and these have massively improved my health. I don’t bother even seeing a doctor now as they are merely sales agents for the ‘legal’ drug lords.

    Tim – I see your point. The problem is that over $500,000,000 p.a. is forced off taxpayers to fund PHARMAC to give kick back subsidies to the highly profitable legal drug lords so they can peddle their ware’s through GP’s to unsuspecting patients. If it was a true free market where the tax & subsidy system was dropped and people spent their own money, the drug co’s, doctors, alternate therapists etc could all offer their services, and the people could choose what works and shun what proves to be snake oil . As it stands vested interests have the Pollies over a barrell and the taxpayer suffers twice – once through paying the subsidies via their taxes, and again through the poor health that results from being beholden to these drug lords.

    Linda- you really appear quite naive – the “relevant authorities” are taxpayer funded pen pushers who depend on all the regulations being created to justify their positions and salaries.

    Jen – Pharmac IS a national disgrace – but not for the reason you suggest. It is a national disgrace because it sucks up $500m of taxpayer money and spends on whichever drug co can lobby them the hardest. The money should be back in the hands of those who earn’t it to make a free choice in a free market.

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  21. Kent Parker () says:

    I agree with battler and the drug lord hypothesis. The recent $200 million spent trying to spurn a meningacocal ‘epidemic’ which consisted entirely of a vaccine is a graphic example. A balanced approach to countering this virus which I can’t spell properly would also target a certain part of the population and include education on hygiene and other methods of prevention as well as providing the vaccine on a voluntary (non coercive) basis.

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  22. Timbw () says:

    By banning advertising, what is being said is that the doctors are too weak and spineless to say to a patient that “no, this is not the best drug for you”.

    There are doctors out there like this, I know, but surely this is more of a reflection on the way our medical schools are training their student doctors. When a doctor is taking advice from an untrained patient about the best medications for them, then this doctor is not fit to be treating patients.

    And I know that the point has been raised a number of times about the “perks” that the drug companies give to the doctors who peddle their drugs, but I am someone who is just beginning in the field of medicine and I can honestly say that I do not know a single doctor who does not see the drug reps as what they are – representatives of a business trying to make money, not someone there to help them out.

    As a number of people have said, taking a cocktail of drugs is often not the best way to treat an illness as it is just making symptoms, and that healthy living is often just as beneficial. I know that in my training (admittedly I am doing it in Australia, but I know all of my friends at home were taught the same thing) we are constantly being taught this – and are taught how to relay this fact to a patient. We are definately being encouraged to shift away from solely a drug based approach to more of a whole body/person view.

    I believe that the drugs do actually have a place as they are a good way of raising awareness of different illnesses and encouraging people to get medical treatment that they otherwise may have not got.

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  23. battler () says:

    Hi Tim

    It is encouraging to hear of a move in training towards whole-of-body approach, as the body really is an integrated system, and masking specific symptoms of ill health is not helpful and doesn’t solve the problem.

    It would be like if your car engine was so poorly neglected the exhaust was pouring out blue smoke, so you put a filter over the exhaust to make the blue smoke stop pouring out in public view. The symptom is papered over while the ‘system’ contines to get worse and worse. Yet that’s what has been going on in modern medicine.

    Practices that look after the body as a system have been written off as too simplistic while complex drugs are hailed as a gift to man kind.

    Ancient arts and practices such as full body massage which helps maintain blood circulation and release muscle tension, sauna which assists the body to sweat out heavy metals and toxins, weight lifting which strenghtes bones and muscles, consumption of whole foods such as raw milk, kefir, fresh organic fruits and vegetables, sour dough bread etc etc which gives the body the proper food it needs are all things which can really build and maintain all areas overall health, from strength in the skeletal system, flow in the circulation system, muscle strength, digestive health, immune system etc etc.

    Your food should be your medicine and the fridge should be your medicine cabinet.

    We have become so fixated on the Germ theory of disease that we get all up in arms and spend millions investigating “outbreaks” of E-coli, Salmonella etc and we demand that everything from Milk to Beer & Wine be pasteurized and prescribe anti biotics at the first hint of “bacteria”.

    It’s all back to front. We should be building up our immune systems from pre-birth with the Mother consuming lot’s of nutrient dense whole foods to nourish her baby, through to breast-feeding for a good 2 to 4 years and then the young child adopting a lifestyle of eating whole foods.

    Instead we put baby onto toxic infant formula and feed young children cordial, coke, pastuerized milk, processed cereal grains and canned food, then when their immune system fails we ram a whole pile of anti-biotics down their throats, and then we wonder why degenerative disease sets in from the early 50’s onwards.

    Go figure.

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  24. Andrew Bannister () says:

    …and the people could choose what works and shun what proves to be snake oil

    But people don’t have access to that information. They don’t know when something ‘works’ and when something is ‘snake oil’.

    I spend most of my days with my nose firmly planted in the pages of medical journals. I have a very solid background in medical research and research methodology. I write and review for a numerous medical journals and I can tell you that the findings from drug and alternative medicine trials aren’t always that straight forward.

    I feel like I’m caught between the evil-drug-company-brigade and the people-should-be-free-to-make-their-own-health-decisions-mob. You are both saying the same thing (i.e. that people should make up their own minds) but it just isn’t that simple. As an example, how many people on this blog can tell me if they should use cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors, and why or why not. You have been given a lot of information about this drug through the MSM, so go … (by the way, the answer is not as straight forward as you might think)

    As for:

    I believe he would be far healthier today if he had shunned the symptom masking drugs, adopted a whole foods diet, exercise and stress management regieme (sic).

    And I believe in fairies.

    Trust me when I tell you that when you are diagnosed with certain kinds of cancer, a cocktail of nasty drugs is going to be much more useful to you, than a glass of organic whole milk, raw vegetables and plenty of fresh air and exercise.

    I am all for preventive medicine, but that is an entirely different issue!!

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  25. David Farrar () says:

    Andrew B – if you are unsure you consult a health professional.

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  26. err.. () says:

    Ultimately it has to be asked why you’re allowed to advertise something to people who aren’t legally allowed to make the decision as to whether they should have it or not.

    Advertising to put your message across to people who’re:
    a) legally allowed to decide; and
    b) trained and informed enough to make a decision

    … is one thing. Advertising to people who have neither the legal power to decide what they should get OR the proper training to be able to accurately compare alternatives should, in theory, be a waste of money. Ultimately this is just another one of these “pester power” advertising methods that ultimately only acts to put pressure on the people who’re properly designated to be the responsible decision makers.

    Let doctors decide – they have to sign their name to the decision.

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  27. battler () says:

    “I spend most of my days with my nose firmly planted in the pages of medical journals. I have a very solid background in medical research and research methodology. I write and review for a numerous medical journals and I can tell you that the findings from drug and alternative medicine trials aren’t always that straight forward.”

    Which Medical Journals? Is there advertising in the pages of these journals and if so who are the advertisers? Who is comissioning and paying for the research you are reading? Who stands to benefit and who stands to loose from the outcome of the “research findings” ?

    “And I believe in fairies.

    Trust me when I tell you that when you are diagnosed with certain kinds of cancer, a cocktail of nasty drugs is going to be much more useful to you, than a glass of organic whole milk, raw vegetables and plenty of fresh air and exercise.”

    Err, no thanks. I prefer to enjoy the bounty of nature and the health it produces than put my trust in nasty drugs and line the pockets of the drug lords who lobby the government to appropriate my taxes for the purpose of addicting me to drug-based medicine.

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  28. battler () says:

    “Let doctors decide – they have to sign their name to the decision.”

    Doctors also get paid to prescribe morphein to dull the pain that years of poor health and toxic drugs have caused.

    They then get paid to sign your death certificate when you finally die.

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  29. Andrew Bannister () says:

    Andrew B – if you are unsure you consult a health professional.

    I agree.

    Unfortunately a lot of people are sure about things that are just wrong. My point is that advertising is not going to help in this respect.

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  30. err.. () says:

    “Doctors also get paid to prescribe morphein to dull the pain that years of poor health and toxic drugs have caused.”

    Yeah, and mechanics get paid to fix the sub-standard work of other mechanics. That doesn’t mean I want a dentist fixing my car for me.

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  31. Andrew Bannister () says:

    Err, no thanks. I prefer to enjoy the bounty of nature and the health it produces than put my trust in nasty drugs and line the pockets of the drug lords who lobby the government to appropriate my taxes for the purpose of addicting me to drug-based medicine.

    Oh for goodness’ sake, every time you post you confirm what I am saying.
    I suppose I should thank you.

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  32. Jen Campbell () says:

    Battler, healthy lifestyles and healthy use of prescription drugs are not mutually exclusive.

    Your fridge may well be your medicine cabinet, but the fact is there are now many, many drugs available that can give chronically ill people a much better quality of life. I am firmly in the camp that it is better for for the indivual to be able to lead a constuctive life supported medicinally, than it is to pinch pennies on drug subsidies and confine many people to a life of pain and/or misery.

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  33. battler () says:

    Andrew, as soon as people wake up to reality, your reasearch grants will be down the toilet and you’ll have to get a real job like the rest of us.

    Jen, if you don’t want to pinch pennies on drug subsidies, I invite you to offer a subsidy service from your own income, rather than forcing others to subsidise Pharmac who in turn pay kick backs to the loudest lobbyists who’s bottom line goal is profit for the drug lords, not yours and my health.

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  34. Jen Campbell () says:

    Battler, I do ‘subsidise’.

    It’s called income tax……

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  35. battler () says:

    Jen

    Pharmac already spends $500m of our tax money subsidising the drug lords profitable businesses.

    If you want any more spent can I suggest you and like minded people should fork out of your own wallets instead of squaking from the sidelines that the rest of us should throw even more good money after bad subsidising these legal drug lords.

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  36. Andrew Bannister () says:

    Battler, if you read my posts properly you’ll notice that I have my reservations about direct-to-the-consumer drug advertising.

    When, as you say people wake up, they’ll stop lining the pockets of the snake-oil salesmen and magnet merchants.

    Look, I agree that there is no substitute for a healthy lifestyle, but healthy lifestyles can only do so much. A healthy lifestyle cannot completely prevent serious illness. It may postpone it, but ultimately you are going to need medical intervention of some sort. I don’t know what illness-free utopia you live in, but I am willing to bet that before you pass to the other side, you will want to take evil drugs. If not, you will be an exception and if so, good luck to you. If you have children, I hope you won’t make that same decision for them.

    By the way, what is my job? Where do my research grants come from? And tell me, what is your real job.

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  37. battler () says:

    Andrew

    How are “Healthy Lifestyle” and “Serious Illness” compatible?

    Surely if you are healthy you are not seriously ill, and if you have a serious illness you are not healthy?

    This is my point. The body is an integrated system. If the whole system is healthy, it can fight and ward off disease. If you have diseases that are requiring ‘medical intervention’, then that demonstrates your body is not operating as a healthy system.

    Parkinsons, Cancer, Arthritis, Heart Disease, Irritable bowel, asthma, fungal rash, osteoporosis, tooth cavitities, etc etc etc are not ‘situation normal’ for the human body and taking a drug to mask the symptom does not fix the system.

    My Granddad being prescrbibed the various drugs he is on has simply made him worse off. He get’s side effects, and then more drugs are prescribed to deal with the side effects and on it spirals down to soon he will die. The reality is the drug lords are playing around with the human body and doing things they have no idea of the long term effects of, all to create massive profits at the expense of the taxpayer and the patients.

    You ask questions about your job and your research grants, perhaps you are best placed to answer those questions directly yourself.

    As for my “real” job, I involve myself in both self employed & employee situations at various times in industries including International Freight Forwarding, Customs & Distribution, Real Estate, Tourism & Hospitality, Finance and related industries with side interests in a number of other matters one of which is health.

    Rgds.

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  38. Andrew Bannister () says:

    How are “Healthy Lifestyle” and “Serious Illness” compatible?

    Did you not read what I said?

    As for:

    This is my point. The body is an integrated system. If the whole system is healthy, it can fight and ward off disease. If you have diseases that are requiring ‘medical intervention’, then that demonstrates your body is not operating as a healthy system.

    That’s just stupid. If you are going to use nonsense logic like that, then this debate is over.

    Parkinsons, Cancer, Arthritis, Heart Disease, Irritable bowel, asthma, fungal rash, osteoporosis, tooth cavitities, etc etc etc are not ‘situation normal’ for the human body.

    Actually, that is far too simplistic.

    Cancer is the norm. Our immune system is constantly killing cancerous cells (look, I said cancerous in the right context) and sometimes the division of those cells happens at a faster rate than our immune systems can process. Sometimes that may be because of unhealthy lifestyles, but not always (at least not in the sense that you can actually do something about it). There are women who are almost guaranteed to get breast-cancer. A healthy lifestyle is not going to make that go away. Same for men and prostate cancer.

    As for asthma, well, we’re not too sure, but there are some hypotheses. One is that we are so bloody clean that our immune systems are ‘looking’ for stuff to attack. Since our airways are constantly exposed to foreign bodies, this is a good place to go looking. Maybe if we didn’t live such hygienic lives we wouldn’t get asthma, but then we’ll probably die from other illnesses.

    I’m not even going to touch your fungal rash.

    A lot of disease happens because we are living longer now than we have before. Heart disease, tooth decay, arthritis, osteoporosis happen because we get old. Yes, lifestyle can slow the onset, but you can’t avoid disease. Unless you believe we can live forever, you will be struck down by a disease at some time (if not an accident or in a fight because you pissed someone off).

    Oh this is pointless. Every time I read your post I find more and more wrong with it.

    Keep this last thing in mind. Most people who work in drug labs are doing so because they believe they can help people. You are welcome to stay drug free, but when you get sick, you might want to re-evaluate your position.

    Sun’s out, I’m going to drink beer and grow melanomas.

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  39. battler () says:

    “That’s just stupid. If you are going to use nonsense logic like that, then this debate is over.”

    How about answering the substance of the issue. Saying “That’s just stupid” doesn’t actually prove or answer anything.

    “Cancer is the norm.”

    That’s what the people who make money out of drugs and chemo therapy would like us to believe.

    “There are women who are almost guaranteed to get breast-cancer.”

    And rates of that have increased since the “birth control pill” and the fall in breast-feeding rates.

    “A healthy lifestyle is not going to make that go away. ”

    The high rates are actually a relatively recent occurance. Why weren’t the rates so high previously? Why have rates been rising?

    “Heart disease, tooth decay, arthritis, osteoporosis happen because we get old”

    No – Tooth decay, arthritis and osteoporosis happen because we feed infants artificial forumla instead of natural human breast milk, and because we drink pastuerized skim milk instead of raw whole milk and kefir. And because people are less physically active and don’t do enough strength training to keep their bones and muscles strong.

    “As for asthma, well, we’re not too sure, but there are some hypotheses. One is that we are so bloody clean that our immune systems are ‘looking’ for stuff to attack. Since our airways are constantly exposed to foreign bodies, this is a good place to go looking. Maybe if we didn’t live such hygienic lives we wouldn’t get asthma, but then we’ll probably die from other illnesses. ”

    Now on this point I do agree with you. In our rush to become “hygenic” our bodies are not used to fighting off harmful bacterica etc as a matter of course and so when they are hit they are not prepared.

    “A lot of disease happens because we are living longer now than we have before. Heart disease, tooth decay, arthritis, osteoporosis happen because we get old.”

    How do you explain that some people can live to 100 and beyond without any major degenerative diseases, while others are almost curling over dead in their 50’s – 70’s ? Is it really just a matter of “Because we get old” or could there be other reasons?

    “Oh this is pointless. Every time I read your post I find more and more wrong with it”

    Then why don’t you actually provide some arguments instead of saying “That’s stupid” or “this is pointless”.

    You still haven’t told us who the advertisers are in your beloved Medical Journals or where the research funding is coming from….

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  40. muppo () says:

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  41. Andrew Bannister () says:

    How about answering the substance of the issue. Saying “That’s just stupid” doesn’t actually prove or answer anything.

    Alright. The reality is that I just couldn’t be bothered addressing all your errors, but here goes.

    You said:
    If the whole system is healthy, it can fight and ward off disease. If you have diseases that are requiring ‘medical intervention’, then that demonstrates your body is not operating as a healthy system.

    My answer:
    If the who body is healthy it tries to ward off disease. Getting a disease is not a marker for poor health. Some pathogens cannot be fought off. If you are exposed to Ebola, you will die. That is not because your body is not operating as a healthy system, but because the pathogenic nature of Ebola is really really nasty. Yes, once you have contracted Ebola you are no longer healthy, but that is not the same thing.

    If you live in an area where malaria is common, and you don’t use some form of prophylactic, YOU WILL GET MALARIA. Not because you are unhealthy, but because malaria is a tough bastard.

    I said:
    Cancer is the norm. with a bit more qualifying information.

    Your response was:
    That’s what the people who make money out of drugs and chemo therapy would like us to believe.

    That is a belief you have. Fine, stick with that belief. I can’t argue against faith. However, they don’t give chemo to healthy people as a preventive medicine. Chemo is a nasty fucker that you don’t want to take if you don’t have to.

    I said:
    There are women who are almost guaranteed to get breast-cancer

    Your response was:
    And rates of that have increased since the “birth control pill” and the fall in breast-feeding rates.

    I am talking about genetics. You are conflating issues.

    You followed that up with:
    The high rates are actually a relatively recent occurance (sic). Why weren’t the rates so high previously? Why have rates been rising?

    I am not denying situation factors, but as I said before, that is a different issue.

    I said:
    “Heart disease, tooth decay, arthritis, osteoporosis happen because we get old”

    You said:
    No – Tooth decay, arthritis and osteoporosis happen because we feed infants artificial forumla instead of natural human breast milk, and because we drink pastuerized skim milk instead of raw whole milk and kefir. And because people are less physically active and don’t do enough strength training to keep their bones and muscles strong.

    Yes, that may be partly true, but not the only reason. You can slow the onset of those diseases with good diet and regular exercise. I have clearly stated that. However, you can’t entirely prevent these illnesses. Bone density decreases with age. It just does.

    We agree about asthma, although I said that was one hypothesis, while you claim it as fact. Even if it is a fact, what is your point? Are you saying that the drug companies are insisting on hygiene so that we all get asthma, meaning they can peddle their inhalers? Seems unlikely.

    You also said:
    How do you explain that some people can live to 100 and beyond without any major degenerative diseases, while others are almost curling over dead in their 50’s – 70’s ? Is it really just a matter of “Because we get old” or could there be other reasons?

    Of course there are other reasons. Some people lead healthier lifestyles, and are genetically lucky. Again, I don’t see you point here. I have clearly stated that a healthy lifestyle will benefit you. Can you tell me why people generally don’t live much past 100? What is killing them? Are the drug companies behind that?

    I said:
    Oh this is pointless. Every time I read your post I find more and more wrong with it

    I still think that.

    You said:
    Then why don’t you actually provide some arguments instead of saying “That’s stupid” or “this is pointless”

    Tada! Unfortunately that takes a lot of time and to do it properly I need to spend a lot more time. If you lived in Dunedin I would be happy to discuss this over a beer with you.

    You said:
    You still haven’t told us who the advertisers are in your beloved Medical Journals or where the research funding is coming from…

    That is because I don’t know who the advertisers are. I generally don’t look at the ads and most of the papers I read I get online. They don’t have adverts in them. However, as I said before, I actually have concerns about drug advertising. That was my first post in this thread.

    I use a little book called the New Ethicals. I find that a funny name, because it does have drug advertising in it. If you are familiar with it, you’ll know that doctors use it to get info about specific drugs. Personally, I would like them to remove the advertising, but it is an already expensive little book. Especially given that they need to be updated regularly. If you want all the names of all the products advertised in it, I’ll be here till Christmas.

    As for my funding – not drug companies. I am not going to list the funding sources to you. If you think I am trying to hide things from you, fine, believe that. I report my funding sources when I publish my papers. It is called transparency in research. There is no great conspiracy.

    I hope that answered your questions.

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  42. Kimble () says:

    “The reality is the drug lords are playing around with the human body and doing things they have no idea of the long term effects of, all to create massive profits at the expense of the taxpayer and the patients.”

    Well to be fair, it isnt the ‘drug lords’ (remember the good old days when that term refered to scary little men in the jungles of Sth America?) that are getting the tax payer involved.

    The massive profits are required for these companies to take the massive risk of developing drugs. No profit, no risk, no drugs. Then the tax payer really WOULD have to get involved.

    You may be right about the long term effect of the drugs. I have written to a dozen sick people and asked them if they would please give up the drugs that are keeping them alive right now until we can complete the 80-year lab trial.

    Pharmaceuticals save many more people than they kill. And that proportion increases even more when you take human error in administration out of the equation.

    The people in the labs developing the drugs are doing so because they think it will help people, and they are in a better position to know than most people.

    Will you be taking your grandad off his drug regime? If it is the drugs that are killing him then surely you would. Or are you just looking for someone to blame because you feel so guilty about wishing you grandad would just hurry up and die?

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  43. battler () says:

    “Well to be fair, it isnt the ‘drug lords’ (remember the good old days when that term refered to scary little men in the jungles of Sth America?) that are getting the tax payer involved.”

    They do lobby and pressure Pharmac to fund their drugs. To me the whole thing lacks transperency. We the taxpayer don’t get to choose how the government runs it’s budget on a year to year basis. We only get to vote once every three years, and let’s face it unless “Libertarianz” were the majority in Parliament, then it is likely that PHARMAC or some other similar outfit would be in place. This outfit gets to spend over $500m of our money paying kick-backs to drug co’s. And they have a one drug-one supplier policy. Unelected pen pushers make the funding decisions and we that are funding this thing have no real say over it.

    “The massive profits are required for these companies to take the massive risk of developing drugs. No profit, no risk, no drugs. Then the tax payer really WOULD have to get involved.”

    Umm, for a start the taxpayer already is involved – over half a billion dollars of taxpayer subsidy goes into drugs every year in NZ.

    As for the massive profits- if the drugs are so great, why do they have to be force-subsidised by the taxpayer. Why can’t they stand on their own merits in a free-market?

    “Pharmaceuticals save many more people than they kill. ”

    I would like to see a real study done on this as I’m not convinced. I would suggest that Pharmaceuticals give the appearance in the short term of saving people, but I would suggest it is possible this is merely masking a symptom or relieving pain and discomfort on a short term basis, while the real overall health of the patients is actually in decline and they live shorter lives than they would had other measures been taken.

    “The people in the labs developing the drugs are doing so because they think it will help people, and they are in a better position to know than most people.”

    I’m quite sure there are many sincere and dedicated people working in labs. My concern is that many of them probably can’t see the forest for the trees, and in reality they are puppets for their pay masters the drug lords.

    “Will you be taking your grandad off his drug regime? If it is the drugs that are killing him then surely you would.”

    Unfortunately in this situation I’m not the one with Power of Attorney so I don’t have any real power over the decisions regarding his care. I do know that for years he has tried to resist being prescribed drugs for various things but everytime my grandmother and their GP would basically rail-road him and put him on drugs.

    ” Or are you just looking for someone to blame because you feel so guilty about wishing you grandad would just hurry up and die?”

    No I’m not looking for someone to blame and I don’t wish he would hurry up and die. I love my Granddad very much and it saddens my heart to see how he deteriorates and to look back over the years of how his GP and my grandmother have basically rail-roaded him on the drugs issue and I was too young at the time when all this started to stand up and help him defend against the madness of prescribing all the drugs and now it’s almost too late and I really don’t have the power to change the situation as I don’t have Power of Attorney.

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