National’s newest MP Maureen Pugh has a secret she hasn’t even told her colleagues – the former Westland Mayor doesn’t believe in pharmaceutical drugs.
Pharmaceutical drugs are like physics – they’re not something you believe in or don’t believe in. Religion is something you can or can not believe in. But pharmaceutical drugs have been shown to be effective through thousands and thousands of trials, and have saved millions of lives.
The wife, mother of three adult children and grandmother to six, says she avoids using terminology such as “alternative medicine” because it “conjures up an image of crystal-waving, unshaven women”.
But one issue she has a particular interest in is health that falls outside “mainstream health” and doesn’t involve pharmaceuticals.
There are many good health measures that do not involve pharmaceuticals. But they are complementary not substitutes.
Up until now she’s kept her family’s health choices to herself, which includes only ever giving her children chiropractic care.
And what if one of them broke their leg? Or got cancer?
“They’ve never been on antibiotics. They have a really healthy immune system – there’s nothing wrong with getting a cold or getting a flu – if you have a healthy immune system you can deal with it.”
I’m one of those who will try not to use drugs. Not through a belief they don’t work, but general male reluctance to accept help. So I often delay using drugs until I’m really really sick. And that’s fine. But I will use them when I need to, and they make a difference when I do use them.
There is a difference between not rushing to use drugs, and refusing to use.
Pugh, who doesn’t take any kind of medication, says nature delivers whatever people need and she’d like to see the Government take a more holistic approach to how it allocates health funding.
This sounds like something you expect from Green MP Steffan Browning, not a National MP. Nature does not deliver whatever people need. Nature delivers Ebola for example. Nature used to have most people live until around age 40 instead of 75.
“If I had a dream it would be to have a pilot programme run somewhere or to have a bigger look at some of the way the funding follows the patient.”
“I think there’s a real opportunity for us to save the country millions of dollars in pharmaceuticals by treating the whole person and the environment they live in, which is all about healthy eating and healthy living.”
The two are not substitutes. Health living and eating are important. I’ve turned my health around by making better living and food choices over the last few years. But that doesn’t mean pharmaceuticals are not needed and I still get my flu vaccine.