Monday, 16 March 2015

The Precautionary Principle in Medicine, and Pharmaceutical Drug Regulation

Human life can be dangerous. So it is not surprising that mankind has come up with a number of broad, general ideas about making it as safe as possible.

The precautionary principle has been taken on as part of our 'risk management' procedures for a long time. The precautionary principle means is that if it is suspected that an action, or a new policy might risk causing harm to the public, or to the environment, it should not take place. In such a situation we require some proof of safety. Where there is no certainty that an action or policy is safe, the burden of proof that it is safe, and not harmful, is placed upon those who proposing to take the action, or pursue the policy.

Fail Safe Mechanisms are another response to safeguarding the public from harm. Most people driving in a car will wear a seatbelt although not expecting to crash. Similarly, people travelling on a boat will wear a life-belt, or have access to a life-belt, although not expecting the boat to sink. In other words, we will not endanger ourselves when something goes wrong, or fails, however unexpectedly. If a building catches fire a fail safe system would ensure that the doors are open rather than closed to allow exit. To protect us from sudden surges of electrical power, all our electrical devices are fused.

Medicine pays lip service to the precautionary principle. The Hippocratic Oath states that doctors and medical practitioners should "first, do no harm..."

One doctor, Samuel Hahnemann, at the end of the 18th Century, was so worried by the harm he was causing that he stopped practicing, and took time to develop a medical system that would be safe for his patients. This is how the gentle science of Homeopathy started.

Yet conventional medicine has never truly embraced the precautionary principle. It has failed to develop a system of medicine that ensures that its patients are safe from harm. This is demonstrated by statistics produced by Jon Rappoport, in his blog "The Starfield Revelation: medically caused death in America". Here is what he said.

On July 26, 2000, the US medical community received a titanic shock, when one of its most respected public-health experts, Dr. Barbara Starfield, revealed her findings on healthcare in America. Starfield was associated with the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. The Starfield study, "Is US health really the best in the world?", published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, came to the following conclusions - that every year in the US there are:

  • 12,000 deaths from unnecessary surgeries
  • 7,000 deaths from medication errors in hospitals
  • 20,000 deaths from other errors in hospitals
  • 80,000 deaths from infections acquired in hospitals
  • 106,000 deaths from FDA-approved correctly prescribed medicines
  • The total of medically-caused deaths in the US every year is 225,000
  • That's 2.25 MILLION deaths per decade

As Rappoport concludes,

"This makes the medical system the third leading cause of death in the US, behind heart disease and cancer".

So where are the 'fail safe' mechanisms in medicine, what status does the 'precautionary principle' have, within the conventional medical establishment? Where, for example, does Drug Regulation stand in relation to these principles?

As patients we are led to believe that no Pharmaceutical drug is ever allowed to be given to the public without rigorous testing through our Drug Regulations, which seek to ensure that it they are known to be safe before we are given them to take.

Unfortunately, drug regulators throughout the world, whether the FDA in America, the MHRA in Britain, or the EMA  in Europe, consistently and routinely fail to do so.

Indeed, one of the oft-cited principles of conventional medicine is that "no effective drug or vaccine can be entirely safe". Therefore, when a doctor gives us a drug or vaccine, they give no guarantee of safety, and an indication that they can do us harm! 

Of course, the idea that medicine cannot be safe for patients is entirely wrong, as homeopaths, acupuncturists, reflexologists, and other alternative medical practitioners prove every day! 

And it is a principle that no other industry would dare espouse. Consider what might happen to a car manufacturer who told us that no car could ever be safe to drive (even with proper, safe driving). Or a builder who told us that every building might fall down (even given proper maintenance). They would never sell another car, or build another building. They would be pilloried by the media. They would be barrred from selling their wares to the public.

So what about drug regulation? Pharmaceutical drugs are tested, on animals, on people, before they are marketed. Yet, the history of conventional drugs and vaccines has consistently been that, in the fullness of time, they have all proven to unsafe, harmful, dangerous, and as Rappoport's statistics demonstrated, lethal. So what happens to them?
  1. The evidence of harm from initial drug testing is discounted, sometimes kept from the drug regulator, and the drugs are approved.
  2. As more reports of harm are reported, these are also discounted, by doctors, by drug regulators, by the media, and the drug continues to be used. This can sometime continue for several years without any action being taken.
  3. As reports become more widespread, and even more serious, the warnings can no longer be entirely discounted. But rather than the drugs being withdrawn, or banned by Drug Regulators, doctors are given 'guidelines' about when, and to whom they can be prescribed, and/or warnings are printed on drug information leaflets, and/or 'black box' warnings are given on drug packaging.
Yet throughout this process the conventional medical establishment continues to give us with drugs and vaccines they know to be dangerous to our health!

There is no precautionary principle applied - stop prescribing the drug until we are certain they are safe. There is no fail safe mechanism applied - the car can crash without warning - the building can fall down! 

The patient can continue taking the drug or vaccine, regardless of any risk to his/her health, or his/her life.

Day in, day out, patients throughout the world are being prescribed dangerous pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines, and the conventional medical establishment does little or nothing to protect us. It acts as if the 'precautionary principle', and 'fail safe mechanisms' are unnecessary in their sphere of activity. Yet, take another look at Rappoport's statistics, and then agree with them that we don't need protection from them!