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Medication as a last resort.
Excerpts of an interview by Dr. Ray Strand, MD

I have been a practicing physician for 31 years. You should take medication as a last resort, not a first choice. Once the FDA approves the medication or drug for use by the general public, they know less than half of the serious adverse drug reactions when that drug is released. The general public is who finds out the rest of the adverse reactions, "the great clinical trial".

When adverse reactions happen less than one percent are reported back ro the FDA because doctors and hospitals are not required to report them. It is voluntary. When they are reported back to the FDA over 99 percent of the time all that happens is a change to the drug label, the package insert, which many people including the doctors don't take the time to read.

Seldane did not come off of the market for 12 years, even though they started to realize that when you combine drugs like erythromycin with Seldane, which will be a common combination because of allergies, colds and sore throats, they had an unusual side effect called sudden death. Commercials and ads for drugs are very effective. Between 70 to 90 percent of the time when a patient comes in to the doctor and asks for a specific drug that he saw he walks out with a prescription for that very drug. The pharmceutical companies spend an average of $10,000 per year, per physician just marketing to the physicians in the United States. I oftentimes saw 10 pharmaceutical reps for each patient that I saw.

I became interested in nutrition because my wife suffered from fibromyalgia for twenty-plus years. In spite of seeing four different specialists and being placed on nine different medications she never improved. At that time someone gave my wife some nutritional supplements. Within weeks she got better and within months she was off all of her medications. Within five to six months she was better than she had been in nine or ten years.

Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, stroke, the list goes on and on, are really closely related and can be prevented by a healthier lifestyle. I have changed my practice to be more about wellness and health and less about drugs. The pharmaceutical industry would like to see all of the nutritional supplements gone. They'd rather see people taking drugs. A lot of people don't realize that in 1992 Congress passed a law called the "user-fee" law, which required pharmaceutical companies to actually pay a user fee so that the FDA could review the drugs. This was a quarter million dollars per new drug application. Well,
that has grown so much by now that the pharmaceutical industry is actually contributing over half of the FDA's budget. So, instead of the FDA being an isolated group that really scrutinizes all of these drugs, they have actually formed a partnership. There is pressure on the FDA now not so much on, "How should this drug be approved?" The attitude has changed to, "How can we get this drug approved?"

The numbers for healthy levels of cholesterol keep dropping so that more and more people can be told that they need to be on cholesterol lowering drugs. This is a real shot in the arm for the pharmaceutical industry because they have got a government agency with at least seven of the nine physicians receiving money from the pharmaceutical industry who are making these recommendations.

The FDA needs to be totally supported by the government with no funding from the pharmaceutical industry. Back in 1960 we had something like 800 drugs on the market. Today we've got 8,000 to 10,000. It's out of control.


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