Friday, 1 June 2018

'The doctor who gave up drugs', and are 'too many pills are making us sick'?

The wall of silence about the harm that is being caused by pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines is gradually being undermined. The BBC has recently broadcast two hour-long programmes entitled 'The Doctor who gave up Drugs' in which Dr Chris van Tulleken explains why there are better alternatives for children than to taking drugs. This was his second series, the first being broadcast in 2016, both series a rather meek and mild attempt to point out the limited effectiveness of the drugs, and (to a more limited extent) the harm they can cause, and evaluating alternative treatments that are both safer and more effective.

Then there is a new book, James Le Fanu, a doctor and journalist, entitled "Too Many Pills: how too much medicine is endangering our health and what we can do about it", which has been described as an 'eye-opening account of the over-medicalisation of our lives'.

Yet is is quite obvious that the drug-fest continues, regardless. The number of prescriptions issued has increased by 300% over the last fifteen years. The use of painkillers have increased by 25% over the last 5 years, even though they have limited effectiveness, and do not deal with the cause of the pain. Antidepressant drugs, increasingly prescribed for young people, has increased by 50% over the last 7 years, despite van Tulleken pointing out that there is limited evidence of their effectiveness. The over-use of antibiotics will soon mean that they become completely ineffective, and there are concerns about whether conventional medicine will be able to survive without them.

So millions of patients are now taking a cocktail of pharmaceutical drugs for a great variety of illnesses (and non-illnesses like blood pressure, cholesterol, et al). Le Fanu examines how the medicalisation of health now poses a major threat to our health and wellbeing. What he says, according to reviews, is in keeping with what this blog has been saying for the last decade, that the drug fest of the last 70 years is responsible for generating epidemics of drug induced chronic disease. It is, in other words, making us sick.

Yet both of these doctors are out-of-kilter with the wider medical establishment. Pharmaceutical drugs may be harmful, and this may be increasingly recognised, but most patients still find themselves pressured into taking drugs, often when they do not need them, and suffering from their adverse effects, and needing more drugs to deal with them. It is not unusual for patients now to be on 6, 8, 10, 12 and more drugs, and taking these drugs for many years without any noticeable improvement in any of their drug-induced conditions.

Watching the van Tulleken programmes it is clear that this doctor is aware of the problem of drug side effects, but not that these 'side effects' are really serious illnesses and diseases. For instance, he states that too many families are using too much Calpol (a liquid paracetamol drug for children). Yet van Tulleken then admits that he had to give his new baby some Calpol - on the evening that he had received his first vaccination. He said that he had never heard his baby cry like he did that evening, and he had a very high temperature, so he was forced to use it.

As a doctor, either he did not know, or perhaps the BBC did not allow him to say, that these two symptoms are well known, and officially recognised 'side effects' of the DPT vaccination.

I have not read the Le Fanu book, yet, but I do wonder just how much more insightful he will be. He is a doctor, so a member of the conventional medical establishment. He writes for mainstream media, the Telegraph, so he will probably not be allowed to be too critical. 
  • Too many drugs? Yes, saying this is just about permissible. 
  • Drugs are causing serious harm to patients? Probably not.

But Le Fanu does give us this story. In 2007, an Israeli doctor discontinued 320 drugs that were being prescribed for 100 frail nursing-home residents. In the following year, the number of deaths halved and emergency hospital admissions fell by two thirds. The doctor concluded that polypharmacy, the use of multiple drugs, was a disease “with potentially more complications than the illnesses these different drugs are prescribed for”.

I had done something similar in the late 1980's within a residential unit that I was managing at the time. Reducing the drugs round by 50% had no appreciable on the health of the residents, so the inevitable question was - why are they taking these drugs?

The dangers of pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines are well known, even within the conventional medical establishment. Yet patients continue to be over-medicated, and increasingly so.

  • Why have these two doctors said something controversial when what they both say is really uncontroversial?
  • Why don't the multitude of doctors who are giving out harmful drugs to their patients know what is well known?
Answers on a postcard please! Or is it just that have doctors have allowed themselves to become little more than drug salesmen and women?