Friday, 24 May 2013

Conventional Medicine - is it too expensive (as well as being ineffective and unsafe)?

Healthcare spending in the UK, as with most other developed nations, has grown unchecked for over 60 years. They have been bonanza years for the Big Pharma drug companies. Yet, as described in the first chapter of my e-book, "The Failure of Conventional Medicine", the more we spend on our drug-dominated National Health Service, the sicker we become. Here are some of the statistics on health spending, taken from an article by Delny Britton, PhD, RSHom, in 'Homeopathy in Practice' the journal of the Alliance of Registered Homeopaths, Autumn 2012.

As a proportion of GDP spending on 'health' has risen from 3.5% in 1948 to 8.3% today (ukpublicspending.co.uk) and is predicted to rise above 13% by 2020 (Walayat 2010), We currently spend over £100 billion on the NHS, and so it has contributed massively to the national debt. The IMF has warned several G7 nations, including the UK, to curb spending on health-care, or risk dire economic consequences (Cotareli and Schaeter, 2010).

          "The trend is the same for pharmaceuticals, with both the volume of drugs prescribed (or bought over the counter) and their total cost increasing exponentially worldwide. The NHS now spends around £30 million a day on drugs (Boseley, 2008). In 2008 more than 50 million prescriptions were written for cholesterol-reducing statins and 36 million for antidepressants. UK sales in 2007 of the painkiller Anadin totalled nearly 27 million packs, a number which - according to its maker, Wyeth Healthcare - would reach over 56 times the height of Mount Everest if stacked on top of each other (Naish, 2008)".

So what is the result of this massive spending spree on Big Pharma drugs? If we consider the massive disease-inducing-effects (DIE's) of these drugs, the outcome is not, perhaps, surprising. Increasing ill-health, increasing demand for more health resources, and an NHS that cannot cope with the demands placed upon it.

Consider Statin drugs, mentioned in the quotation above from Britton's HIP article. The DIEs of Statin drugs are enormous, see here for a fuller explanation. Although our GP's have told us for years they are are safe, or "well tolerated" it is becoming increasingly obvious that they are not. They cause more disease, and thus, more demand of health services. As do most conventional drugs and vaccines. And so the cycle continues, with more spending leading to more illness.

The tragedy is that no politician, to date, has had the wit to understand this process!

This is why more than 250,000 people are admitted to UK hospitals each year suffering from 'adverse drug reactions, and around 10,000 actually die from this cause, according to a study published in the BMJ (Pirmohamed, 2004). This is the conclusion reached by the study.

          "The burden of ADRs on the NHS is high, accounting for considerable morbidity, mortality, and extra costs. Although many of the implicated drugs have proved benefit, measures need to be put into place to reduce the burden of ADRs and thereby further improve the benefit:harm ratio of the drugs".

As Britton says, adverse drug reactions are thought to cost the NHS £2 billion per year (Boseley, 2008), and if deaths from hospital acquired infections and surgical and medical errors are added to the equation, the toll, and the cost, is much higher.

Demands for increased spending on the NHS have been with us since 1948, and with each election, politicians have promised us more and more - on the basis that this is what we want, and therefore, this is what we should have. It has brought down government after government.

But spending more of our resources on the same failed medical system is like pouring money down a bottomless pit. The more we spend, the more we have to spend to overcome the adverse drug reactions, and the ill-health they cause.

The conventional medical establishment, which dominates the NHS, is committed to drug-based medicine. But pharmaceutical drugs, time after time, have proven themselves to be both ineffective and unsafe. But they are not only failing to create health. They are bankrupting us at the same time.