The History Behind Big Pharma

Lately there is so much controversy about Big Pharma; more and more each day, people are being divided over whether or not they should trust Big Pharma. It is saddening to me, the level of almost religious fanaticism which is taking place; placing all “faith” on Big Pharma and the “science” behind it.

Let me make clear Pharmaceutical companies HAVE and DO help millions of people every day; however they are not infallible and they are a business; expressing this does not make me a “conspirator”, for I am only stating out loud a crude reality. It seems many people look at Big Pharma as if they were God; with the same fervor many extremists feel about their faith and by which they are willing to hate and murder others.

Let’s try to take a step back and use rational thinking, for it is irrational to believe the “science” we are shown is infallible and “solid”. In this article I will present a list of drugs approved by the FDA which were later taken out of the market; at the time these drugs were approved, they had “solid” science behind them. The bottom line is this, people err as does technology; for technology is driven by people. Instead, of furiously and irrationally attacking people because they might feel cautious about any new drug, if in disagreement you should exercise your power of choice and respect the right of others. Just because you believe whatever you believe, does not give you the right to mistreat nor label those who choose differently than you. In doing so, it does not only expose your actual lack of humanity but lack of actual knowledge on the subject; for last time I checked neither shady websites, nor YouTube nor the big News channels held the absolute truth, if they did by God our world would not be as it is. So let’s stop taking extremist attitudes and be humane.

It blows my mind to see people talk with certainty because a “doctor” who the media is told to interview said so; sadly there are plenty of other doctors (reputable ones) who do not agree as well as scientists, (thankfully I have relatives and close friends who are doctors, virologists, scientists; whose opinions on some things may differ, regardless, I have never seen them treat each other like dogs nor do they say what is presented by the media is absolute truth). It seems unless one is on the side of whatever it is popular these days, their credentials mean nothing; that only goes to show a great level of dissonance within most of the population. Has social media and TickTock really brainwashed most people? Most people don’t research nor sit to actually listen to professionals from both sides (reputable ones) and then decide; instead they impose.

The drugs which were approved and later on recalled by the FDA, were supported by “doctors” and “scientists” of the time. There were also those who were against it, yet nobody listened. How can we possible consider ourselves more liberal, open minded and rational when we are behaving in such “ignorant” way?

Maybe their new drugs work, maybe they don’t; no matter what, no one has the right to take choice away from a human being, simply based on the fear and fanaticism of the herd. In the big scale of things, the data presented means basically nothing; for as I already mentioned, “data” was presented regarding the drugs that got recalled. Let’ stop being fanatics and respect people’s choices; you have the choice to do whatever you feel it’s necessary to feel healthy and your neighbor has the same right. If they choose differently than you, it does not make them less of a person.

I do not like nor support extremists of any type, that is why this article is not to support one group or the other (and their so called reasons) for that will get us nowhere, rather it is pure history hoping to remind people to keep a level head and to stop the madness of trying to impose their believes on others, for nothing in this world is “solid”.

The word “Pharma” comes from the ancient Greek “Pharmakon”, which meant both remedy and poison. Originally, the Greek word “pharmakos” meant “scapegoat” or what modernly we call “guinea pig” and referred to the victim who would be sacrificed to cleansed or the victim who was going to be the test subject.

Before the 19th century, there was no such thing as pharmaceutical companies; those in charge of preparing and applying remedies to alleviate health problems were predominantly “Herbalists”, there were also healers, alchemists, sorceress, magicians, witches, monks and last but no least doctors (let’s keep into consideration, doctors back then were very much in agreement with herbalists, after all nature has always provided the best medicine).

By the 18th century, doctors started to sever themselves from preparing remedies and left that specific task to “apothecaries” which later on were called pharmacists. As such, medicine and the study and preparation of pharmaceuticals became divided and studied separately.

From the 19th century to present time, it has been common for certain unscrupulous and opportunistic investors to sell people almost miraculous remedies for the healing of many illnesses. One of these unscrupulous salesmen was William Rockefeller, also known as “old bill”; who promoting himself as a renowned cancer specialist, sold bottles of crude oil under the name of “Nujol”–a miraculous elixir, capable of curing cancer or preventing it.

He bought the crude oil from the “Standard Oil Company”, owned by his son, John D. Rockefeller. When the Standard Oil Company saw how exaggeratedly profitable the product was, it introduced some changes to it and marketed it extensively as a treatment against constipation. Sometimes these remedies; which were sold on the streets; were harmless…they did not harm nor cure. However in many cases they were really harmful, as is was the case for Nujol.

As more discoveries within the pharmaceutical and Chemicals branches took place, these investors took it upon themselves to merge with them; giving birth to Pharmaceutical Companies. At the beginning, they were just in charge of preparing and distributing vitamins as well as drugs against pain, but later on they decided they wanted more.

Towards the middle and end of the 19th century, several of these new and expansive drug manufacturing companies tried to ally themselves with universities and schools of medicine and pharmacy; that way their drugs would be known and prescribed by the new doctors. However, many of these institutions relied on natural remedies and traditional methods which did not have as many side effects. Other similar institutions had no desire to collaborate with people whose primary concern were sales.

At the end of the 19th century, things changed due to the severity of the circumstances at the time. The birth of “germ theory”; which spread throughout Europe and gained followers thanks to the prestige of its defenders and proponents such as the French researcher Luis Pasto became a game changer. That is when John D. Rockefeller saw another opportunity and decided to get involved.

Germ theory maintains diseases are produced by the action of small pathogenic germs which can be fought and even prevented by the action of pharmaceutical products; even though many of the experiments failed to demonstrate it, thanks to political and commercial contacts, little by little it was imposed. This theory was the one which eventually sustained the production of a long list of commercially successful drugs. Please don’t hear me say, antibiotics don’t work; I am simply stating the percentage of products that actually work is far less than the percentage of products which are unsuccessful, so let’s not take extremes but keep in mind the “data”.

Since most people back then were uneducated, they readily accepted anything that would mean they would stop being plagued by “evil spirits”, as such they easily accepted the theory of germs.

Other theories of the time, such as the one proposed by Antoine Bechamp, demanded a higher level of education to be understood; for his was based on complex biological dynamics which required a balancing of all aspects of self (physical, mental, spiritual) and which did primarily use plant medicine. For pharmaceutical companies, it was imperative for germ theory to be imposed because that way they could sell their products. That theory was the winning ace pharmaceutical companies needed for schools of medicine to start opening their doors to them; eventually leaving behind plant medicine in exchange for the quick solutions pharmaceuticals offered them.

When John D. Rockefeller and his son learned that pharmaceutical and chemical researchers were able to produce pharmaceuticals based on petroleum derivatives, they quickly realized the benefit of “patents” which would guarantee their monetary success; health was not the priority. They set out to take advantage of this emerging industry, expanding their marketing extensively and taking control of the health system. As part of their strategy to get universities and schools to accept alliances with pharmaceutical companies, they decided to make large donations in exchange for their instructors to promote the exclusive use of their pharmaceutical products. This later limited doctors from doing their own research, having to place all their trust on the research provided by Big Pharma; to top it off doctors and medical offices are offered huge bonuses based on the amount of prescriptions written.

The Rockefellers facilitated and sponsored the creation of the American Medical Association, making sure the new curriculums for medical students would be homogenized and adjusted to their standards.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the steel magnate Andrew Carnegie; who was a friend of the Rockefellers; and whom also wanted to participate in the business, sent one of his men named Abraham Flexner, to evaluate all medical schools in the United States in order to find out which ones they should fund. Flexner issued a report, the famous “Flexner Report”, in which he obviously qualified as non-scientific or quacks, those medical schools that still studied plants and natural methods. Flexner established it was necessary to standardize all medical education according to the methods and curriculum of the medical schools which taught the theory of germs; this would solidify the pharmaceutical industry. The Flexner Report became the official marker of before and after, regarding the medical industry.

By 1939 the Rockefellers allied with the German IG Farben consortium, of which various pharmaceutical and chemical companies were part; for example Bayer. This consortium was “dismantled” after the second world war for war crimesAuschwitz concentration camp belonged to them. Do you still think it is more about health, than profits? This massive monster resurfaced as various “separate” corporations yet they still maintained their alliance to the Rockefeller.

Over time, through political lobbying and direct threats, both the Rockefellers and the increasingly large and powerful drug companies, made sure to leave out any medical or scientific researcher who would disprove or challenge germ theory or the necessity, convenience and safety of industrial pharmaceutical products; many of these researchers were treated as charlatans and discredited.

Over time, the heavy investments by the Rockefeller Group in the creation of health and research centers and other foundations helped consolidate a monopoly on the pharmaceutical system. Needless to say all those research centers have to adhere to their guidelines.

Currently, the Rockefellers together with JP Morgan Chase own more than half of the pharmaceutical interests (this does not count anything outside the United States). Through their foundations, they continue to finance the research and control the results of universities and laboratories; this has assured them control over the health system as well as being seen as benefactors of humanity.

As far as pharmaceutical companies go, they are Titan Coorporations and they are considered one of the most powerful worldwide; they manage budgets of tens of billions of dollars and make abysmal profits. Because of their connections and the amount of money invested to control the health system, they have easily gotten off the hook for law suits against some of their products.

Here are some of the drugs that were approved and then recalled by the FDA; even though at the time they had “solid” data regarding its safety. I am also writing down the reason why they were recalled…

Acutane 1982-2001: increased risk of birth defects, miscarriages, and premature births when used by pregnant women; inflammatory bowel disease; suicidal tendencies. Over 7,000 lawsuits were filed against the manufacturer over the side effects including a $10.5 million verdict and two $9 million verdicts.

Baycol (Cerivastatin) 1998-2001: Habdomyolysis (breakdown of muscle fibers that results in myoglobin being released into the bloodstream) which led to kidney failure; 52 deaths (31 in the US) worldwide; 385 nonfatal cases with most requiring hospitalization; 12 of the deaths were related to taking this drug in combination with gemfibrozil (Lopid)

Bextra (valdecoxib) Nov 20, 2001-April 7, 2005: serious cardiovascular adverse events (like death, MI, stroke); increased risk of serious skin reactions (like toxic epidermal necrolysis, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, erythema multiforme); gastrointestinal bleeding. The FDA determined that Bextra showed no advantage over other NSAID pain relievers on the market.

Cylert 1975-2010: Liver toxicity. The FDA added a box warning to Cylert in 1999, alerting doctors and patients to the potential of liver damage.

Darvon & Darvocet (Propoxyphene) 1955-2010: Serious toxicity to the heart; between 1981 and 1999 there were over 2,110 deaths reported.  The UK banned Darvon and Darvocet in 2005. The FDA was petitioned in 1978 and again in 2006 to ban the drug by the group Public Citizen.

DBI (Phenformin) 1959-1978: Lactic acidosis (low pH in body tissues and blood and a buildup of lactate) in patients with diabetes.

DES (Diethylstibestrol) 1940-1971: Clear cell adenocarcinoma (cancer of the cervix and vagina), birth defects, and other developmental abnormalities in children born to women who took the drug while pregnant; increased risk of breast cancer, higher risk of death from breast cancer; risk of cancer in children of mothers taking the drug including raised risk of breast cancer after age 40; increased risk of fertility and pregnancy complications, early menopause, testicular abnormalities; potential risks for third generation children (the grandchildren of women who took the drug) but they are unclear as studies are just beginning. Studies in the 1950s showed the drug was not effective at preventing miscarriages, premature labor, or other pregnancy complications.

Duract (Bromfenact) 1997-1998: In that short period of time, 4 deaths; 8 patients requiring liver transplants; 12 patients with severe liver damage. Duract was labeled for maximum use of 10 days but patients often received/took more than 10 days worth of pills; all cases of death and liver damage involved patients taking pills for longer than 10 days.

Ergamisol (Levamisole) 1989-2000: Neutropenia (a type of low white blood cell count), agranulocytosis (a type of low white blood cell count), and thrombotic vasculopathy (blood clots in blood vessels) which results in retiform purpura (a purple discoloration of the skin that can sometimes require reconstructive surgery)
Levamisole is still used to treat animals with worm infestations in the US. It is also being found in street cocaine as an adulterant to increase euphoric qualities.

Hismanal (Astemizole) 1988-1999: Slowed potassium channels in the heart that could cause torsade de pointes (TdP; a heart condition marked by a rotation of the heart’s electrical axis) or long QT syndrome (LQTS; prolonged QT intervals)

The list is quite long but here are other drugs which were recalled by the FDA. If you are in doubt, talk to your doctor, do your research, it is legitimate and matter of public record, just not what the media likes to parade: Lotronex, Meridia, Merital & Alival, Micturin, Mylotarg, Omniflox, Palladone, Permax, Pondimin, Posicor, Propulsid, PTZ & Metrazol, Quaalude, Raplon, Raptiva, Raxar, Redux, Rezulin, Selacryn, Seldane, Trasylol, Vioxx, Xigris, Zelmid, Zelnorm.

All of the above were taken off the market but were in the market for years before the FDA decided to recalled them.

This article is not meant to scare you, it is to simply to inform you and to help you put into perspective one very cold hearted fact, Big Pharma is a BUSINESS, and like most Colossal Businesses, their concern is profit and expansion. Like many business they owe allegiance foremost to their investors, not to the general public.

You have the right to decide what you put in your body; that is your choice and no one should take it away. You don’t have the moral right to push or support a system to strip its citizens of the right to choose; that is no longer concern but bullying.

“The FDA protects the big drug companies and subsequently rewarded, and using the government’s police powers, they attack those who threaten the big drug companies. People think that the FDA is protecting them. It isn’t. What the FDA is doing and what the public thinks it is doing are as different as night and day”
-Dr. Herbert Ley-

American Physician and the 10th commissioner and head of the US food and drug administration

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By Sofia Falcone

I passionately believe one person can make a difference. I write from my own experiences and interests. It is my greatest hope that by writing about my own challenges, victories, hopes and learnings, others may feel inspired to believe more in their inner power and to fully embrace themselves!

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