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The three artcles below are arranged in order below my World Peace article.If you value your health, invest the time to read them.

In time I'll be able to get them linked, so you can 'call' them up like the Times online article below. For now please scan down the pages to read what you want.


THE DARK HEART OF ALLOPATHIC MEDICINE By 'What Doctors don't tell you'

TAMING THE DRUG MONSTER, by Patrick Holford, The games Pharmaceuticals play with OUR lives

Times Online article - Crouching grannies, hidden tigers
Date: 16 July 2021
Tai Chi... at last getting the approval it so well deserves in the media. A great article showing how Tai Chi helps with balance particularly amongst the elderly. A horrifying statistic is that annually 17,000 people have falls that require hospital treatment in the UK. Read the full article here>>.

By Altair de Almeida, Dec 2004.
This is a document written by me and was submitted to and published by Weekender magazine.

World Peace-Through Inner Peace
By Altair de Almeida, Lic Ac., MBAcC, MRSS(T), DS, MTCUGB, ABTUK

We all want Peace in the World don't we?
OK, rather than jumping to any conclusions, let me ask you-would you like World Peace?
Assuming you're not a terrorist-and even they, in their own peculiar way are trying to create Peace using forceful means- the answer is most likely to be 'Yes!'
If so many people want World Peace, why don't we have it?
If you think about it the answer is very simple:
We believe that the politicians will make Peace and we put that responsibility onto them.
We then get angry when they don't and blame them for creating wars!
We have huge debates as to whether Bush and Blair did the right thing in attacking Iraq or perhaps whether they can stop terrorism by terrorising people elsewhere.
Here is a sad fact:
Since the 1800's there hasn't been one single day when there hasn't been a war going on somewhere in the World.
In the West the politicians have created the fallacy that Nuclear weapons have helped to keep World Peace.
Just because no major Western power has been invaded by another country since the Second World War we assume that there is Peace.
We need to think again.
The US, Britain and France in that order are the largest sellers of Military weapons in the World.
It is a huge business.In fact it is one of the Worlds largest industries.
For all three countries, creating wars makes them rich!
I was on holiday in Greece not long ago when on the CNN news they showed an American missile clearly pass through one building to explode in another - the correct target - in Baghdad.This was applauded as amazing technology by the Americans, which I guess it is, but with horror and disbelief by the Greeks in the shop I was in.
To them, and I guess to any humane being, for one huge country to create mayhem in another just because they can get away with it is barberous.
However, that was one free World wide advertisement for the US military.
All the military personnel-and dictators- the World over would be sitting up to take notice!
The US and Britain would be happy to sell them these weapons of mass destruction.
After all they helped Saddam into power when it suited them, then a few years later decided he wasn't suitable anymore, and proceeded to remove him by force. Now they're attempting to put someone else to take over, but no doubt that will backfire in some years, or even months to come.
I'm only mentioning Iraq because it is in the current news- yet this manipulation goes on all the time. The US and Britain amongst others have engineered changes in government in countries where they have vested interests the World over.
Mark Thatcher (Maggie's son) was only recently caught in the act, in South Africa, but this happens all the time - Haiti, Colombia… the list is endless.
The film, 'The Matrix', enthralled many of us.
If you haven't watched it get down to that video store!
In my opinion the first one is worth watching, because it is the most potent; the following ones are glamourised and lose the Truth of what is actually happening.
The important point is that it is portrayed as happening in the future - the fact is it is already happening!
OK, not the robotic machines that look like humans, because they aren't required!
The majority of people are already hypnotised by the popular media. We're fed what mis-information is required by the powers that be (and I don't necessarily mean the politicians, but the people behind them, the faceless ones that have the real control and money) to keep us in our places, usually by INDUCING FEAR, OF ONE SORT OR ANOTHER. That induced fear could be about the lack of money by hiking up interest rates or whatever.
Until recently it used to be the USSR.
When that collapsed something else had to be found to replace it. Terrorism has been used to replace it.
It has been said that 9-11 was deliberately induced by the powers behind the scenes. Certainly the invasion of Iraq (to find and destroy the non-existent weapons of mass destruction) is now known to have devious motives. Some say it was the US greed for Oil. Others point out the not very well known fact that Saddam Hussein was threatening to change his oil prices to the Euro instead of the hated Dollar. That would have devastating effects on the US economy.
Now that Iran is saying similar things it could be that they're next!
Maybe re-read the book 1984, by George Orwell.
He makes this change of vacillating goodies and baddies so clear.
If you think I'm exaggerating have a read of 'Positive News' a free news paper (see to find where they can be obtained) This just shows how much good news is actually happening…that the newspapers neglect to tell you.
To demonstrate how powerful your hypnosis is - the proof of the pudding - try giving up reading the papers / listening to the news or watching telly, for just one week.
Can you 'unplug' yourself from the Matrix?
Most likely you'll make some excuse, like it's good to be informed.
In fact all us are being informed with someone else's version of what is going on, not the reality.
The Truth is you can't do it, unless you're very disciplined. Most people fear being considered odd or un-informed.
The measure of how plugged (addicted) into the Matrix you are is how easy or difficult you find letting go of the daily 'fix' of media fodder.

I'm encouraged that there's a growing trend amongst some younger adults to ignore the media.
Great, they won't be tainted by the political slant, and will be able to make decisions without other people's vested interest.

Back to the Matrix film angle:
In the film, Neo (meaning New) played by Keanu Reaves is made out to be the 'One'.
The Truth is that there is no one person to do the job of healing the world.
The One is you and I.. the Hero who chooses to break free.
We're all created in the image of the Divine (not in looks) but in potential. We all have infinite potential to create what we want to. This may sound contraversial: we have created everything in our lives, mostly unconsciously.
It is possible to change and create what we want to.
Most people are too 'plugged' into the Matrix, living in the past or future. Most are too fearful of breaking free. A cage after all has a certain safety!
When we choose to live in the Now, by reducing the chatter of the mind (and that takes practice and a lot of persistence) the real Magic happens. We become like a child (not childish), in awe of the Earth and it's gifts.
When we make the decision to be Present, we start to live authentically. We become true to 'our inner selves'.
We become Innocent, Honest and Courageous.
We all inwardly aspire to be like that.
That's why films like the Matrix, Braveheart, Dead Poets Society inspire us…we too would like to be like that!
It takes great courage to keep coming back to the Present and the awareness of our Being, the Beauty and Power that wants to express itself.
However, let's not jump too far ahead and trip up!
The first step is to decide if you really want to let go of the cage you're in.
Do you want to change?
It's OK; the fear of doing so is normal.
After all you're stepping into the unknown.
The unknown is often frightening!

As young children we lived much more in the Present. We lived life to the Hilt! No wonder we were full of energy, until we later took on the drudgery of Society and it's rules.

If you sincerely want to change from living a stagnant life and have consciously decided to do so, Life itself will step in and help you along.
You may fall a few times, like you did before you learned to walk!
Useful books to guide you on your journey are: Conversations with God (Book one), by Neale Walsch. Sounds religious, but that it ain't!
You can then progress to the 'Power of Now' by Eckhart Tolle.
A set of 3 CD's by Eckhart called 'Practicing the power of Now' is the best I've come across to help us to understand and make the jump to Being Present.
If you want on-going support and most do when we start, I touch on this in my Tai Chi classes.
If you're happy with your life as it is that's great-keep on trucking!

If we expect our politicians to create Peace, we're being naïve.
We need to look much closer to home to find solutions.
In fact to you and I!
Inner Peace is the rarest occurrence in the world amongst adults. In some remote societies this quality still exists. Think about it- do you know anyone with a deep sense of inner Peace?
You may do, but they are few and far between.
We all want Peace, yet 'we live lives of quiet desperation' to quote a philosopher.
Instead we're all rushing around stressed to the eyeballs ….for what?

The major killers in Western society are Heart attacks, Cancer and Strokes in that order. All are linked to stress levels. The more stressed you are the more likely you are to 'attract' one of these diseases. Even the word dis-ease gives the game away (out of ease).
Yet inner Peace is our birthright. We all were born with that quality, assuming our bodily needs were taken care of, and we weren't ill.
That's why adults love to gaze at babies - even ugly ones - because they have something that mesmerises us. We often don't label it as Peace, but that is what it is…innocence (inner sense), quietness of Mind, Joy etc
This is often short lived, as we excite the baby, tickle them etc
We had this done to us too. We got 'programmed' away from Peacefulness into excitement.
We then began to link excitement and attention from others as 'love' (which it mostly isn't) and for the rest of our lives we look for love through other people's attention towards us.
It may fulfil us for a short while, for example when we first fall in love, but it quickly fades as you know, and the problems start again.
Some people even make a regular habit of it, falling in and out of love - it's like a drug - that has a 'high' but the 'low' is guaranteed to follow.
Does this sound depressing?
Is the Truth of this hitting home?
We're all in the same boat!
Don't worry; there is a way out!
Divine Wisdom put Peace, Joy, Love where it is always accessible within each of us.
Wasn't that smart?
'Oh yeah,' you may say,' if that's true how do we access it?'
Putting it at it's simplest these qualities we all seek are only really present when our Minds calm down… when the constant chattering of the mind is reduced.
That's very rare these days as our whole society is designed to do the opposite - create excitement through adverts, films, sit-coms, newspapers etc
Everything is sensationalised.
Society in the media is portrayed as being at least ten times as violent as it really is.
No wonder we get scared.
All this gets the mind churning, the emotions flare up and away we go on the merry-go-round of excitement, depression, and excitement….
There are many simple things that will return you to your Inner Self, Inner Sense, Innocence.
Walking in the countryside, looking at nature, taking it easy are some simple steps.
Looking, really looking at the splendour of a flower, or the magnificence of a starlit sky, help us re-awaken the awe, the wonder of Life.
For many our minds are so sped up and we're so stressed that to take that time to observe nature in itself is difficult.
For me learning Tai Chi helped a great deal in this process of calming the mind.
When the mind quietens Peace automatically is present.
I often use the analogy of the Sun.
The Sun is always shining. The clouds, which hide the Sun, are like our thoughts. When the clouds (thoughts) lighten up and disappear, the Sun (Inner Peace) reappears.
The Inner Peace is always there, but is usually masked by our incessant thinking patterns.
When we delve into the Inner Peace, we get in touch with what I call our 'Inner Dance' or Spiritual Way, which is unique and subtly different for each person.
When we're connected to this 'Inner Being', Humility is a natural spin-off. We realise that to deliberately harm someone else is to harm ourselves, so we refrain from such things, and replace it with helping others.
The original or Inner Teaching of all the Masters that walked this Earth said the same thing, in different ways, for example, ' Be still and know that I am God.'
However in time those teachings are dogmatised, the Mind sets in making rules that will create fear and the religions and religious wars are born …the Matrix
The way to Inner Peace and Joy is simple.
Live in the moment.
Yes, I know it's easier said then done; yet it can be done.
It takes great discipline.
It gets easier the more we practice.
The rewards are enormous- Joy, Peace, Love, Beauty, Wisdom, Grace….

The mistake most of us make is to look for love, joy, and peace through being with someone or something else.
The Truth is that all those qualities lies within us.
The other person is only a reflection of your own love. The more we connect with our own Peace, Joy, Love the greater will the reflection be from others, it is self-perpetuating.
By the same token the more we indulge in the incessant chatter of the Mind the more we will find anger, guilt, shame, jealousy and the rest keeping us company.
There is a saying, 'If we spent as much time looking at ourselves (i.e. keeping our mind calm) as we do looking at others, the whole world would be looking at us'.
When we decide to switch habits - and that's all it is - from seeking excitement and mind chattering to centering ourselves, becoming fully aware of where we are, what we're doing, Inner Peace happens.

This then spreads to our loved ones, our community etc
When enough of us switch habits, World Peace will automatically happen.
The politicians themselves would have no choice but to follow the lead of the Peaceful society.
Is this just a pipe dream?
No, it's already happening yet it also depends on you and me.
So don't hold your breath waiting for World Peace, create it for yourself.
I guarantee you one thing, when you change, the world changes (or your perception of it, and it won't trouble you as it does now).
All it takes is a decision followed by persistence…. The depth of Inner Peace is limitless!!!
Good Luck!

Altair de Almeida has been involved in Natural Medicine since 1975.
He is a registered Acupuncturist, Shiatsu Teacher / Practitioner, Tai Chi and Biodanza Teacher. He founded the Inner Dance school of Tai Chi and Qigong in 1988 and teaches in Malvern and Worcester.
Further details:
Email: [email protected]
Tel 01684 562528
(C) 2003

1. 75% of Britons are chronically dehydrated.
2. In 37% of Britons, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger.
3. Even MILD dehydration will slow down one's metabolism as much as 3%.
4. One glass of water will shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters studied in a University of Washington study.
5. Lack of water, the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue.
6. Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.
7. A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a printed page.
8. Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%, and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer.
9.Drink fresh Spring water if you can.There is no substitute for it!
Our bodies, evolved over a million years ago, was not designed to drink tap water, despite what the Water authorities propaganda tells you.
There are billions of prescriptions for medical drugs annually.Where do you think they go? They are filtered out by our bodies through the urine and into the sewers. They never filter these drugs out, so if you drink tap water, you get a multitude of unwanted effects from other peoples drugs!
Bottled water is a better source.However, sitting in plastic bottles doesn't help, as water is the most soluble substance on Earth.So the plastics dissolve in bottled water.
If you don't have access to fresh spring water, invest in a good filter.
I don't mean Brita water filters either, despite their good selling techniques.
Next to Air, Water is the next most valuable fuel.
Will you compromise on that?
If you do, you compromise your health. Very simple really!
If you want the best filtered energised water, just as your body was designed to drink, contact me.
Water is Life.It's PRECIOUS!
Ring Altair: 01684 562528
Email: [email protected]


Dear Friends, Romans, Countrymen,
Lend me your eyes!
Let me ask you a question.
If you could find a simple way to make this world a better place would you do it?
Or would you, like many, decide you'd prefer to live the way you've always lived: complain about the mess the politicians make and continue to live without doing anything to change the status quo?

I've known about the information in this article for several years.
However I've never seen it put as succinctly as it is here.
Those of you who know me know that I am passionate about health.
To me Health doesn't just mean a healthy body.
It means Peace of mind too, and love for ourselves, others and for this Beautiful Earth.
I humbly ask you to pass this onto as many people as you can.
It is copywrite free.
Personally I do not subscribe to the magazine and I'm not about to
Whether you do or don't is up to you.
More important than that is the info contained in this article, which is why I'm up at this unearthly hour making sure I send this today!
The Pharmacutical companies, amongst others, have vested interests in keeping people in fear and ignorance.
It's time for us to change that by understanding some of what is really going on behind the scenes.

Maggie Thatcher in the 80's usurped the power of one trade union after another in the UK.
One union that she backed down from attacking was the British Medical Association, that protects the interests of the doctors in the UK.
She was going to, but 6 of the largest pharmaceuticals called for a meeting with her.
They warned her that they would move their assets etc to Europe if she went after the BMA. This would involve millions of dollars of lost revenue to the UK government.
The Iron Lady backed down!
Since those days the Pharmaceuticals have grown far more powerful and more lucrative.
They can and do control governments world wide.
It doesn't matter which party is in power.
That is why this information is so important to share.
When the public vote with their feet, no one can control them.
However the public need to know what is happening.
You can help.
Sorry if I've been long winded.
It needs perpective!
Instead of fowarding it on, please cut and paste it.That way it stays intact, otherwise there will be many gaps in the words,making it more difficult to read when you pass it on.
Also ideally use the Bcc tab when sending emails to many of your friends simultaneously, as this reduces the possibility of viruses being passed on by keeping their emails unseen and keeping their emails private.
If you don't know how to do that do ask me.
Good Health, Wealth and Wisdom to you all!
Love and Joy,
PS My brother is a doctor.So are several of my patients, students and friends.
I have enormous respect fpr those dedicated doctors who do anything to help their patients.This is about those who put profit before patients.

Subject: A doctor tells you why you can't trust your doctor again

Your doctor is merely a pawn in a multi-billion dollar industry- while your health and well-being are a poor, distant second

When you visit the doctor, it's probably with a sense of trust and hope. You're at your most vulnerable, but you trust the doctor, and you know he wants to do the best for you.

Unfortunately, the relationship isn't quite so straightforward for the doctor. Of course he wants to do the best for you, and that's why he joined the profession in the first place.

But increasingly he is being pulled by powerful forces that affect his decisions and the way you will be treated.

'The dark heart of medicine'
These unspoken pressures are so strong that they've been described as the 'dark heart of medicine' - not our expression, but that of a doctor who has been practising medicine for the past 20 years.
Finally, after watching his beloved profession being manipulated to such an extent that the patient comes second, he felt he had to write down his feelings in an extraordinary letter that arrived at our offices a few days ago.

After years of exposing the dangers and shortcomings of medicine in our monthly journal What Doctors Don't Tell You, for the first time in more than 16 years it was a case of 'what doctors DO tell us'.

'Doctors are becoming pawns of a system'
The doctor, who we'll refer to as 'Dr D', which is the first letter of his last name, wrote it because he wants you - someone who may visit his doctor in all good faith - to understand what's happening.

"I believe it is time that more people were made aware of this dark heart of current medicine which is turning doctors into pawns of a system that dumbs down the real issues to a bewildering degree", Dr D writes.

This dark heart has been created by the pharmaceutical industry,which sees the doctor as nothing more than the deliverer of its expensive, and sometimes dangerous, drugs. To get the doctor to prescribe their drug, which may not be appropriate for you, the drug salesmen will cajole, bribe - and even threaten - the doctor.
Threaten? Yes, and we'll explain how a little later.

Doctors form a pressure group against drug companies
This state of affairs has now got so bad that Dr Bob Goodman, an internist in New York, and Dr Des Spence, a general practitioner in Glasgow, have formed themselves into an action group they're calling 'No Free Lunch'. Like our doctor who wrote to us, they have become sick and tired of the way that medicine's ambitions have become distorted by drug company pressures. They want to put a stop to the overt, and covert, ways that drug companies pressurize doctors into prescribing their drugs.

As Goodman and Spence point out, drug companies are even paying for staff canteens at hospitals - and their colleagues aren't even batting an eyelid. Sadly, most doctors view these subtle forms of'support' as their right, and one that doesn't need to be questioned.

Of course, this support goes way beyond the free lunch. There's the 'educational' trip to the Caribbean, the free computer that's an important 'information aid', and the sizeable 'research funds'that are paid to doctors who are prepared to put patients on a new drug - just to see what happens. And then there are the free lunches.
We reported one such free lunch for cancer specialists in Australia where $1,000 bottles of wine were being served with the equally expensive food.

Those are some of the overt ways that drug companies encourage
doctors to prescribe a particular drug to you.

How drug companies know about every drug you take.

But the covert ways are rather more sinister. Very few people realise that the details of the prescription that the doctor writes out for you are passed on to the regulators. They, in turn, sell on the information to commercial data companies that,in their turn, sell it on to. . .the drug companies.

And it's big business. In the States, the American Medical Association earned $44m for the sales of prescriptions information last year alone. It was sold on to companies such as IMS Health,which, in turn, sold on the same information to the pharmaceutical
industry for $1.75bn, making a profit of $284m on the sales last year.

This means that within months the drug company representative knows exactly what drugs any particular doctor has prescribed.
Yes, that doctor who came along with his wife to the 'conference'in the Caribbean, and yet didn't write one single prescription for the new arthritis drug the salesman had been pushing so hard.
Now, if that doctor wants to come to the Caribbean again next year, guess what he's got to do?

Such are the covert ways of the drug industry.

How drug companies control the patients' groups.

Well, you might think, if I can't trust my doctor as an impartial source, I can go to the patient support groups. If so, it's time to introduce you to the techniques known as 'astroturfing'. This is a term coined by drug companies to describe methods they use to influence seemingly impartial and independent support groups that supply helpful information and advice on specific diseases, such as arthritis and asthma.

The drug giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) was recently caught out 'astroturfing' a patients group called Ekbom Support Group, which helps advise people with restless legs syndrome. GSK had helped the group set up its website - and the group was actively
promoting GSK's drug for restless legs syndrome, Adartrel.
Unfortunately for everyone concerned, GSK was promoting the drug up to eight months before it had been approved.

The GSK case is far from being an isolated incident. When the British Medical Journal investigated 28 other support groups, they found that 27 were being funded by drug companies, and were presenting information that was, at best, 'partial'. They all seemed to be pushing specific drugs for treating the condition, and were downplaying the risks, the journal found.

How you don't have to be a pawn in their game

This headlong dash by drug companies to make ever bigger profits has a tragic consequence, one that Professor Ian Roberts at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine recently described as 'industry slaughter'. Every year an estimated 100,000 Americans and 30,000 Britons die from an adverse reaction to a drug prescribed by their doctor - and those are the deaths that are identified as being the result of a drug. A lot more die as a result of surgery.
We know the true figure is far, far worse, but we will probably never know just how bad it really is.

What the public don't realise is that the Pharmaceuticals do their own research on the drugs they produce.
What this means is that they have vested interests to say it works just
Don't become just another medical statistic - take up our FREE
offer Today!. . . . .
But it was because someone had to be there for you - and to give you the real facts about medicine - that we created the monthly health journal 'What Doctors Don't Tell You' (WDDTY). There's not a day that goes by when we don't receive a letter from someone who is thankful that we did.

Our recent files contain around 5,000 letters from subscribers to our journal whose lives have been improved because they have read something in WDDTY that has made a positive difference. They nclude people who were confined to wheelchairs, others who were to have a leg amputated, others still whose lives were destroyed
by a particular drug.

Today each and every one of them is alive and very well because
they acted on the impartial, well-researched information they read

We'd like you to do the same (and we think Dr D would, as well -
he's one of our loyal subscribers, by the way). As a little
'thank you' for your support, we've put together a special
information pack that we're calling the 'Medical Insider Pack'.
It contains the 49-page Pharmaceutical Report (which tells you
everything you need to know about drug companies and their tactics), the 73-page Hospital Survival Guide (which tells you the secrets of a safe hospital stay), and a special report on the selling of the new cancer 'wonder' drug Herceptin.
You can get The Medical Insider Pack FREE (normal price £17.99) when you take out a new subscription to What Doctors Don't TellYou.

To claim your FREE pack, click here

Simply add it to your basket when you subscribe and we'll send it to you completely free of charge.

Alternatively, to order your pack today for just £17.99 and to
start making improvements to your health - click here

Together, with the monthly journal, you will be an informed
consumer, and not a pawn in their game.

We look forward to welcoming you to the 'What Doctors Don't Tell
You' community.



A major shake down is brewing for the pharmaceutical industry following increasing reports of manipulating drug trial data, doctors and the government to increase sales and profits. A recent issue of the New England Journal of Medicine published a correction on a study it published on Rofecoxib (Vioxx) - the now withdrawn pain-killer that is estimated to have damaged or killed up to 140,000 Americans - stating that increased cardiovascular risks were visible as early as four months into treatment, rather than the 18 months that Merck had claimed.

There are now an estimated 10,000 court cases outstanding against Vioxx manufacturer Merck - 400 of which are brought by patients in the UK who claim to have been damaged by the drug and not properly warned about the risks. The cost of legal actions to Merck has been put at between $5 and $50 billion. [1] As of April 2006, just six cases had been heard. In three, the plaintiffs were awarded damages running into millions of dollars. We don't hear so much about this in the UK because plaintiffs here have been refused legal aid and insurers will not fund no-win, no-fee cases, so no cases can be brought.
This might sound like old news but this kind of manipulation of data is finally sounding big alarm bells within the medical profession. After all, commercial drug testing centres, funded by the company making the drug, are four times more likely to come up with favourable results than independent ones. [2] How can doctors know the science they're being sold is free from spin?
Another shocking example recently emerged on a trial of the anti-depressant Seroxat. The summary at the start of the research paper, which is the only part most doctors read, claimed that Seroxat was 'well tolerated and effective'.[3] But when a team of independent scientists looked at the whole paper, they found this: 'Out of 93 children given Seroxat, 11 had serious ADRs [adverse drug reactions] compared with 2 in the placebo group'. [4] Just how serious? 'Seven of these children were admitted to hospital during treatment.'
This kind of deceptive reporting in what are supposed to be objective research reports is making the medical profession increasingly nervous. After all, this is what they rely on to practice safe medicine. On 8 July 2006, the British Medical Journal ran an editorial suggesting that drug companies should not be allowed to evaluate their own products. Instead, to get their drugs tested and licensed they would contribute to a central pot for independent, publicly-funded clinical trials.
But, of course, it doesn't stop there. Clinical practice guidelines advise doctors on the drugs to use for various conditions. However, 80 per cent of the academics who write them have financial links with the companies whose products they are recommending. [5] [6] Then, of course, there's the wining and dining of doctors. Drug companies in America spend around $15 billion a year on marketing, which is about half the amount they spend on research and development. [7] A big chunk of this is spent selling drugs to doctors who have to clock up a certain number of days of 'continuing medical education', paid for, you guessed it, largely by the pharmaceutical industry. A recent article in the American Medical Association's journal of ethics wants to put an end to this. 'Only continuing medical education activities that are entirely free of pharmaceutical industry funding should qualify as education,' they write. Continuing education should be funded by doctors, not drug companies, say the authors. And just in case you think these companies behave differently elsewhere, in the UK for instance, this is what the 2005 Parliamentary health committee investigation, The Influence of the Pharmaceutical Industry, found: '[it] buys influence over doctors, charities, patient groups, journalists and politicians, whose regulation is sometimes weak or ambiguous.'
In the wake of the Vioxx scandal, the US FDA, the agency charged with protecting the public from the dangers of drugs, has been heavily criticised for not responding fast enough to problems with drugs, for being too close to the drug companies and for not devoting enough attention and resources to safety once a drug had been licensed. In May, a report by the US government's General Accounting Office made damning criticisms of the FDA, saying that the agency 'did not to have clear policies for addressing drug safety issues and that it sometimes excludes its best safety experts from important meetings'. Not only was it slow to respond but 'the agency's entire system for reviewing the safety of drugs already on the market is too limited and broadly flawed'. [8]
The pharmaceutical industry begs to differ. A spokesman from the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry explicitly referred to the existing state of affairs between all the parties concerned - except for patients - and implied that as far as they were concerned, it was working fine. 'The challenge is to acknowledge there is a contract between industry, regulators and health service which recognises that there is a trade-off between risks and benefits.' [9]
With an estimated death toll of over 10,000 Britons every year from adverse drug reactions, and over 40,000 made seriously ill enough to require hospitalisation, that's one hell of a trade off. [10]
'Full spectrum dominance' is the stated aim of the American military. It involves being ready 'to defeat any adversary and control any situation across the range of military operations'. Not a bad description of what the pharmaceutical industry has achieved across the whole field of prescription drugs, from creating to selling. Besides dominating the clinical trials production line, the drug companies have also found ways of exerting control over researchers, medical journals, doctors and even patient groups. The industry's strategy for maintaining their full spectrum dominance all the way down the drug chain is very simple - they pay for it.
'Something is very wrong,' writes Dr John Abramson of Harvard University in his brilliant and disturbing book Overdosed America,'with a system that leads patients to demand and doctors to prescribe a drug that provides no better relief and causes significantly more side effects'.
These recent and growing recommendations to sever the financial and information stranglehold big pharma has on medicine may, at last, provide a more level playing field in which it will become increasingly obvious that, for most chronic diseases, nutrition works better than drugs. It's time we stopped swallowing what the drug industry tells us.

Patrick Holford

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1. A Jack, 'Master or servant: the US drugs regulator is put under scrutiny', Financial Times, 7 January 2005.
2. J Lexchin et al, Pharmaceutical industry sponsorship and research outcome and quality, British Medical Journal (2003), vol 326, pp 1167-70.
3. E Marshall, 'Antidepressants and children: buried data can be hazardous to a company's health', Science (2004), vol 304 (5677), pp 1576-1577.
4. J N Jureidini et al, 'Efficacy and safety of antidepressants for children and adolescents', British Medical Journal (2004), vol 328 pp 879-83.
5. K Niteesh et al, 'Relationships between authors of clinical practice guidelines and the pharmaceutical industry', Journal of the American Medical Association (2202), vol 287, pp 612-617.
6. R Taylor and J Giles, 'Cash interests taint drug advice', Nature (2005), vol 437, pp 1070.
7. Spin Doctored: How drug companies keep tabs on physicians, online journal Slate, 31 May 2005.
8. M Kaufman, 'FDA Is criticized over drugs' safety problems; response to approved medications cited', The Washington Post, 24 April 2006.
9. The Independent, 23 August 2005.
10. M Pirmohamed et al, Adverse drug reactions as cause of admission to hospital: prospective analysis of 18,820 patients, British Medical Journal (2004), vol 329, pp 15-


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