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Big Pharma sponsored media attacks on supplements


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#1 osris

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Posted 24 November 2023 - 05:14 PM

From "The Real Niacin Story" by Andrew Saul


About half of the population of the United States and Canada takes vitamin supplements, even though the press often publishes some rather lurid accounts of how “dangerous” they can be. Note they do not write “will be,” because there are no dead bodies strewn all over the landscape, as one might expect from such irresponsible news releases.


Negative vitamin reporting is too often based on shoddy and almost fraudulent reports in medical journals, which are heavily subsidized by the pharmaceutical industry. It has been said that 80 percent of the studies in medical journals are wrong. Is this an underestimate? What about negative medical journal vitamin studies? No mere estimates are involved here—there is clear evidence that the major medical journals are heavily influenced by their advertisers.


A 2008 study showed that journals with the most pharmaceutical ads have the most negative reports about vitamins. The authors wrote that:


“In major medical journals, more pharmaceutical advertising is associated with publishing fewer articles about dietary supplements. And journals with more pharmaceutical advertising had more articles with negative conclusions about dietary supplement safety."


The following journals were specifically named as having the most pharmaceutical ads and the most negative articles about vitamins: Journal of the American Medical Association, New England Journal of Medicine, British Medical Journal, Canadian Medical Association Journal, Annals of Internal Medicine, Archives of Internal Medicine, Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, Pediatrics and Pediatric Research, and American Family Physician.


The results were statistically significant. Medical journals with the most pharmaceutical ads published no clinical trials or cohort studies about supplements. The percentage of major articles concluding that supplements were unsafe was higher in journals that had the most pharmaceutical ads. The impact of advertising on publications is real, and a matter of great public concern.


The flip side of this problem is that medical research and the very data it generates is biased by pharmaceutical advertising cash. The American Journal of Psychiatry said: “In 90.0% of [drug] studies, the reported overall outcome was in favor of the sponsor’s drug. Even the former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine agrees. Dr. Marcia Angell says


“Is there some way [drug] companies can rig clinical trials to make their drugs look better than they are?Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Trials can be rigged in a dozen ways, and it happens all the time."



This bias extends deeply into the medical schools themselves. Too many of tomorrow’s doctors are bought and paid for with drug company money. Dr. Angell writes:


“Columbia University, which patented the technology used in the manufacture of Epogen and Cerezyme, collected nearly $300 million in royalties in 17 years. The patent was based on NIH-funded research.” 


And, Dr. Angell adds:


“In Harvard Medical School’s Dean’s Report for 2003-4, the list of benefactors included about a dozen of the largest drug companies. The combined profits for the ten drug companies in the Fortune 500 were more than the profits for all the other 490 businesses put together.”


The Washington Post said:


“When the federal government recently compared a broader range of drugs in typical schizophrenia patients in a lengthy trial, the two medications that stood out were cheaper drugs not under patent.”


Vitamins are cheap, safe and effective. Modern "wonder drugs" are none of those. But they do make money. Especially when the drug makers control the research, the advertising, and the doctors. 


There is a recurrent problem with vitamins being perceived as “too useful.” Frederick R. Klenner, M.D., found vitamin C to be an effective and nearly all-purpose antitoxin, antibiotic, and antiviral. One vitamin curing polio, pneumonia, measles, strep, snakebite, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever? Laypeople and professionals alike certainly struggle with that, and more so with the fact that Klenner also reported success with nearly four dozen other diseases. How did he do it? The explanation may be as simple as this: the reason that one nutrient can cure so many different illnesses is because a deficiency of one nutrient can cause many different illnesses.


This has led to something of a vitamin public relations problem. When pharmaceuticals are versatile, they are called “broad spectrum” and “wonder drugs.” When vitamins are versatile, they are called “faddish” and “cures in search of a disease.” Such a double standard needs to be exposed and opposed at every turn.





Edited by osris, 24 November 2023 - 05:30 PM.

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#2 Hip

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Posted 28 November 2023 - 09:43 PM

"Vitamins are cheap, safe and effective. Modern "wonder drugs" are none of those." — Andrew Saul.


Andrew Saul has obviously lived with his head in the sand his entire life. Presumably he has never come across the fact that thyroxine fixes hypothyroidism, insulin fixes diabetes, antibiotics save millions of lives each year when people have bacterial infections, antiretrovirals prevent death by HIV, and so forth. 


I am a fan of alternative medicine, and take many vitamins and supplements. I also use many pharmaceutical drugs. 


It's sad to see biased an ignorant people promote alternative medicine, but bash conventional medicine, or vice versa.



I've never really understood why you get some people who viscerally hate conventional scientific medicine; or conversely, hate supplements and vitamins. 

For me, the most important thing is to improve health and wellbeing, and I look across all fields of medicine for treatments that can help. I am not concerned whether it is a pharmaceutical or a supplement which helps my health, as long as it works. 

Edited by Hip, 28 November 2023 - 09:58 PM.

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#3 Dorian Grey

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Posted 30 November 2023 - 07:22 PM

"Vitamins are cheap, safe and effective. Modern "wonder drugs" are none of those." — Andrew Saul.


Don't know if Mr Saul was thinking of cheap generics, but perhaps their new & improved, very expensive on-patent drugs.  Perhaps I'm paranoid, but I seem to notice many drugs in widespread use often get bumped into obscurity by new & improved versions the pharmaceutical companies own research has shown to be just a tad better than the old drug.  Supplements too get laughed at and mocked.  "We've got drugs now...  Throw those stupid supps away!"


When my sister had a cardiac stent put in 10 or so years ago, her doc prescribed "New & Improved" Eliquis for her anti-clotting med.  When my sister saw the price, her eyes about popped out of her head as she didn't have prescription coverage.  She begged the doc to prescribe an alternate med, but her doc said Eliquis had been shown to be a bit safer than all the generic meds, so he had to go with this to avoid getting sued if she had a problem.  I had to loan her money to help pay her bills.  


That's how Big Pharma rolls.  Even when a plague breaks out, & research done after a similar outbreak indicated chloroquine meds (or perhaps quinine if you prefer supplement form) were a likely therapeutic, but NO!  After over half a century of remarkably safe outpatient use, these were suddenly FAR too dangerous for outpatient use.  Government policy makers couldn't even bring themselves to admit optimizing Vitamin-D, or Zinc probably wouldn't hurt, and just might help?  NO!  Just hang tight & we'll cook up something better!  A million died in the US, alone and afraid, while Big Pharm hatched their new billion dollar babies.  Both the vaccines and Paxlovid really aren't all that impressive to me. 



Paxlovid Effectiveness Exaggerated?




I actually switched from hydroxychloroquine to quinine for my second 'round with 'rona. 


Help Me Obi-Wan: Zinc Ionophores




Ma-ma-ma-my Corona




I lived on junk food, cigarettes & beer for about a quarter century of my young life, and yes I took supplements.  Might they have helped ameliorate any transient (or chronic!) deficiencies I might have had?  Yep, I think they probably did!  Oh, and sorry Fauci, but I'm taking Vitamin-D, & zinc when I get sick (along with my quinine!).  Oh, quinine another Over The Counter cheap generic that vanished in the US in 2007.  Too dangerous, and Big Pharma has alternatives (that don't work as well).  Fortunately still available from overseas pharmacy.  




Personally, I love 20th Century pharma, but have grown to loath what has evolved in the 21st Century.  Down & dirty extortion, & heartless rope-a-dope while hundreds of thousands died to preserve their precious EUAs.  


We can do better...  We must keep trying!  

Edited by Dorian Grey, 30 November 2023 - 08:06 PM.

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