Big Pharma Advertising

Drugs are used to treat illnesses ranging from the common cold to terminal illnesses, e.g., cancer, diabetes, heart, and cardiovascular disease.  Drugs are prescribed by licensed doctors not selected by patients with illnesses.  Why then are drugs advertised on television?

In 2018 Big Pharma spent $2.8 Billion advertising pharmaceuticals to consumers, called Direct to Consumer (DTC) (1).  “187 television commercials for about 70 prescription medications have collectively aired almost half a million times since the start of 2018 (1).”  This offers zero value to the effectiveness of the drugs and the costs are passed on to the end user.  This is the reason that a pill that sells for $1 in Canada, sells for $10 in the USA.  “Studies have confirmed — the ads promote the use of costly, but not necessarily the most effective, drugs. Generics rarely get advertised (2).”

“Investment in DTC advertising for prescription cancer medications more than tripled from $163 million in 2015 to $505 million in 2017 (2).” “Americans pay more for drugs and medical devices than any other country. Big Pharma follows potential patients everywhere — on TV, in print and online (3).” The USA and the island of New Zealand are the only countries in the world that allow DTC advertising by pharmaceutical companies (3).

According to Nielsen, the bulk of these DTC ads appear on television at a rate of 80 ads per hour of programming (3).  These ads drive up prescription drug prices and also erode the patient-doctor relationship, as patients are telling doctors what drugs they want.  The costs of DTC advertising exceed the amount of money spent on research and development (3).

“Big Pharma has paid billions of dollars in criminal and civil settlements over the years because of marketing fraud that cost taxpayers billions and left others with debilitating medical conditions (3).”  For example, The Department of Justice accused Johnson & Johnson of spending billions to target children and the elderly for unapproved drug uses, exposing them to serious side effects, including death (3).

The American Medical Association has asked for a ban on DTC advertising (4).  “(AMA) Physicians cited concerns that a growing proliferation of ads is driving demand for expensive treatments despite the clinical effectiveness of less costly alternatives … an advertising ban reflects concerns among physicians about the negative impact of commercially-driven promotions, and the role that marketing costs play in fueling escalating drug prices … DTC advertising also inflates demand for new and more expensive drugs, even when these drugs may not be appropriate (4).”

The top four television networks: CBS, ABC, NBC, and Fox take the majority of the advertising budget with CBS at the top of the list at $511 million (3).  “Ads for erectile dysfunction, arthritis pain, and blood thinners are dominate (3).”  The average CBS viewer is age 59, the target age for most of these prescription drugs (3).

The result is the sick, infirm, disabled. elderly, and dying are paying a great deal more for their medicines while Big Pharma continues to raise prices and increase profits (5).  Tell others about this problem.  Post this article on social media and send it to your elected representatives.   By Larry Kuka

Source:

1 https://www.biopharmadive.com/news/pharma-ad-dtc-marketing-2018-spend-TV-congress/533319/

Web accessed 7/5/19

2 https://www.biopharmadive.com/news/oncology-direct-to-consumer-dtc-drug-marketing-controversy-spend/523104/  web accessed 7/5/19

3 https://www.drugwatch.com/featured/big-pharma-marketing/  web accessed 7/5/19

4 https://www.ama-assn.org/press-center/press-releases/ama-calls-ban-dtc-ads-prescription-drugs-and-medical-devices  web accessed 7/8/19

5 https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnlamattina/2018/01/23/about-those-soaring-pharma-profits/#6a51481a3f9d  web accessed 7/8/19

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Back Pain

Twenty-seven million adults in America experience chronic back pain. In an
effort to alleviate pain, close to 600,000 Americans choose back surgeries each
year. But for many, surgery is not effective. A new study in the journal Spine
shows that in many cases surgery can leave patients with increased pain (1).
Researchers reviewed records from 1,450 patients in the Ohio Bureau of
Workers’ Compensation database. These patients had diagnoses of disc degeneration, disc herniation or radiculopathy, a nerve condition causing tingling and
weakness of the limbs. Half of the patients had surgery to fuse two or more
vertebrae in hopes of curing low back pain. The other half had no surgery, even
though they had comparable diagnoses. After two years, 26 percent of the
patients who had surgery returned to work. 67 percent of patients who didn’t
have surgery returned to work. Researchers also found that there was a 41 %
increase in the use of pain medicines, i.e., opiates, in those who had surgery (1).
The study shows evidence that for many patients, fusion surgeries designed to alleviate pain from degenerating discs don’t work. For most back-pain sufferers there is no easy solution (1).
Yoga and intensive stretching have been found to be the most effective back
pain reliever. It strengthens the muscles in the lower back and abdomen.
However, many back-pain sufferers avoid exercise or yoga as a treatment.
Yoga is most effective if begun before the pain starts or soon after. A study
in the Archives of Internal Medicine shows that practicing yoga or intensive
stretching may improve chronic lower back pain and reduce the need for pain
medications (2). 12 weeks of weekly yoga classes improved back function
and reduced pain symptoms in people with chronic lower back pain and the
pain reduction continued six months after the classes began (2). The greatest relief is available to those that continue yoga or stretching for a lifetime.
Chiropractic and physical therapy are effective at relieving pain after
extensive pain sets in. Massage may also be an effective tool.
Chiropractors use hands-on spinal manipulation and other alternative treatments, to properly align the spine which will enable the body to heal itself without
surgery or medication. Chiropractic is primarily used as a pain relief alternative and
is sometimes used in conjunction with conventional medicine (3).  by Larry Kuka
References:
1 http://www.nbcnews.com/id/39658423/ns/health-pain_center/t/back-surgery-may-backfire-patients-pain/#.
XPU9OtRKhdg web accessed 6/3/19
2 https://www.webmd.com/back-pain/news/20111025/yoga-stretching-may-ease-lower-back-pain#1 web
accessed 6/3/19
3 https://www.webmd.com/pain-ma

Tribute to Mothers

Mothers take care of us when we are too young to care for ourselves. Our initial life revolves around her.  She feeds us, nourishes us, tucks us in at night and picks us up when we fall down. She cares for us when we are sick and prays us well. She takes us to school and prepares us for life. We owe a debt of gratitude to our mothers that we will never be able to repay. William G. Brown said, “The sweetest sounds to mortals
given, are heard in Mother, Home, and Heaven.” To mothers who sacrifice the additional income and worldly glory from working outside the home in order to raise proper children, the world, our culture, and our society owe them something that we can never pay them; for these “homemade children” grow up with a security and steadfastness that propels them forward in society. Joaquin Miller wrote in his poem Motherhood:

The bravest battle that ever was fought!
Shall I tell you where and when?
On the maps of the world you will find it not;
It was fought by the mothers of men.
Nay not with the cannon or battle-shot,
With a sword or nobler pen;
Nay, not with eloquent word or thought
From the mouths of wonderful men!
But deep in a walled-up woman’s heart –
Of a woman that would not yield,
But bravely, silently bore her part –
Lo, there is that battlefield!
No marshaling troops, no bivouac song,
No banner to gleam and wave;
But oh! these battles, they last so long –
From babyhood to the grave.
Yet, faithful still as a bridge of stars,
She fights in her walled-up town –
Fights on and on in her endless wars,
Then silent, unseen, goes down.

Love vs Hate

It seems that we live in a world of growing hatred. Hatred is spread by people, the media, social media, socialist politicians and religious groups, e.g., Islam. Hatred is so
prominent, we wonder where we can go to escape it. When love breaks down, discouragement, fear, anxiety and hatred appear. Often, the result is broken homes, with the loss of love and affection. The most harmful effect is on children. When those harmed children grow up, they tend to repeat the same mistakes. Then the family begins a downward spiral. From there, hatred grows and spreads its tentacles into society. It grows in our society, culture, politics and the very fabric of our lives.
Jesus of Nazareth taught us a better way to live. The New Testament teaches the importance of love. Love, or charity, is the pure love of Christ. The words love and charity were both translated from the Greek word, agape, so they are interchangeable. Jesus taught, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples if ye have love one to another (1).” True disciples of Jesus Christ are not swayed by distorted messages that convey hatred and falsehood. True followers of the Savior do not follow the world. Paul wrote about the virtues, “The greatest of these is charity (2).” John said, “Let us love one another; for love is of God…he that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love…if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another (3).” “We have a loving, giving Father who set aside His own self-interest to reveal the full measure of His love through His Son Jesus. God’s generosity is the dynamic by which we treat others as we would like to be treated. We love and give to others because He first loved us (1 John 4: 19) (4)”. John 3: 16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Two thousand years later that message is echoed throughout Christian churches around the world. The big question is, how is that message received? Love begins at home,
with those that we are closest to. It begins as children love their parents and siblings. Love continues to grow when we marry and have children. From there, love continues to
blossom, as we reach out to others, in love, to assist them with their needs. This is the natural development of love and it can continue as long as we let it. Gordon B. Hinckley
wrote, “One of the greatest challenges we face in our hurried, self-centered lives is to follow the counsel of the Master, to take the time and make the effort to care for others, to develop and exercise the one quality that would enable us to change the lives of others (5).”  Naturally liking someone makes it easier to love them (6). It is harder to love someone that is different, e.g., a different race, ethnicity, language, religion or lifestyle. The story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10: 30-37 sets an example for us. Here a Samaritan helped a Jew, two groups that were socially, religiously and politically in opposition to each other. Let us let the story of the Good Samaritan be our example. By Larry Kuka
1. John13:34 New Testament KJV
2. 1 Cor. 13:13 New Testament KYV
3. 1 John 4:7-11 New Testamanet
4. Roper, David Our Daily Bread Devotional for Day 28 Grand Rapids, MI
5. Hinckley, Gordon B. (2000) Standing for Something Crown Publishers New York, NY
6. Lewis, C.S. Mere Christianity (1952) Harper Collins  New York, NY

STRESS

The human body is designed to experience stress and react to it. Stress
can be positive, e.g., getting a job promotion. or keeping us alert.. Stress
becomes negative when a person faces continuous challenges without relaxation or breaks. As a result, stress-related tension builds. Stress can lead to health symptoms, e.g., headaches, upset stomach, high blood pressure, chest pains, and inadequate sleep. Research suggests that stress can create or worsen diseases. Stress becomes most harmful when people use alcohol, tobacco, or drugs in an attempt to relieve their stress. Instead of relieving the stress and returning the body to a relaxed state, these
substances tend to keep the body in a stressed state. Look at these stats:
43% of all adults suffer health effects from stress.
75-90% of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related diseases and ailments.

Stress can play a part in problems such as headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, stomach problems, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, insomnia, depression, and anxiety.

Some ways to reduce stress are meditation, prayer, forgiveness, yoga, deep breathing, walking, running, swimming, physical exercise, socializing and hobbies. Nature is a great stress reliever.

Source: www.webmd.com

Common Cold

    Colds are an inflammation of the mucous membranes of the respiratory
passages.  Symptoms include fever, watery eyes, headaches, chills, stuffy
nose and sore throat.  There may be muscle aches, but these are more
common with the flu.  The cold is not a disease, but a cleansing of the
body and a cure from pre-diseased conditions.  The cold requires people
to rest that otherwise would develop debilitating diseases.
     As soon as a cold develops, get bed rest and drink fresh lemon
juice in water.  Some helpful vitamins are Vitamin C, A, B6, E and F.
Helpul herbs are echinacea, ginger, and teas made from licorice root,
ginger, elderberry flowers, raspberry leaf and goldenseal.
     If feverish, abstain from eating and drink fresh fruit and 
vegetable juices, diluted with water, and herbal teas.  Avoid aspirin.
When the fever subsides, add raw vegetables and fruit to the diet.
     For further information on colds order:
                The Natural Remedies Encyclopedia
                   with 11.000 Home Remedies
                        7,000 Cross References   
                    For 730 Diseases & Ailments
       Call Heidi McFarland at 423-261-2786 or 423-284-4612 
Not Intended as medical advice.  For informational purposes only.


 

Don’t Let Your Vision Deteriorate

Eat foods with these vitamins and minerals to prevent decline of your vision. Try avocados, liver, carrots, tomatoes, cayenne peppers, paprika, cayenne, chili pepper, cantaloupes, dried apricots and dark leafy greens. All are a rich source of vitamin A, or beta-carotene, which helps protect the surface of your eyes. Vitamin C helps the collagen in your cornea as well as the small blood vessels in the retina. Eat citrus, oranges and grapefruit, kiwi fruit, mangoes, spinach, tomatoes and broccoli. If you take the mineral selenium with vitamins A and C, you can help stave off macular degeneration, which happens more frequently in people over 60. Selenium is in brown rice, crab and shrimp. Erase bad vision with vitamin E. Vitamin E is rich in antioxidants and may help reduce your risk of developing cataracts. These foods are high in vitamin E: whole grain breads and cereals ( not those with added sugar or high fructose corn syrup), almonds, tomatoes and sunflower seeds. Omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce macular degeneration, the loss of central vision and dry eyes. The best source is ground flaxseed. Other sources are chia seed, walnuts, salmon, tuna, sardines, beef, soybeans and leafy greens. Lutein, is a powerful antioxidant which gives fruits and veggies a yellow color, helps protect your eyes from damaging light. Try some tomatoes, kale, spinach and collard greens for a boost of lutein in your diet. When taken with vitamins E and C, zinc has been shown to slow the process of macular degeneration and reduce visual acuity loss. To get your zinc, try oysters, yogurt, beef or lobster. Eat more of these foods and see better with fewer changes in your eye glass prescriptions.  When outdoors wear sunglasses and a hat to protect your eyes from UV rays.  Not intended for medical purposes.  For informational purposes only.