We Are Seriously Doomed

Bette Dowdell

Dr. Steve Nissen, president of the American College of Cardiology, along with ten other prominent physicians, offered an outstanding proposal that would immeasurably improve medical care in this country.

And what is this great idea? Take control of medicine back from Big Pharma, who have all but destroyed it, and let doctors practice medicine with excellence.

See, a most admirable idea. So excellent an idea, in fact, that it doesn’t stand a chance. Zip, zero, nada, as they say.

Let me explain, from a thyroid patient’s point of view.

Big Pharma endows medical schools. In deference to that huge rush of money, med schools teach what Big Pharma wants taught.

As a result, most of the 40% of people in this country who have thyroid problems will never feel well again. Med schools teach their students that thyroid problems are easy to diagnose and easy treat, neither of which is true.

And they teach that the only medicine doctors should ever prescribe for hypothyroid people is the synthetic Synthroid–or its generic lookalike, levothyroxine. Neither version works worth spit, which concerns them not a whit.

What works are natural thyroid replacement medications, such as Armour. Med schools malign and dismiss Armour. Eager med students buy into the lie they’re taught, believing it to be truth.

Based on this most unscientific training, they prescribe only Synthroid or levothyroxine to hypothyroid patients. Patients faithfully take the medicine, expecting to feel better. But no. And when they complain about not feeling better, doctors wave blood test results at them, saying the tests prove the patient feels just fine, haggard appearance and pleas for help notwithstanding.

Doctors don’t know, having never been taught and apparently not caring enough to learn, that thyroid tests also aren’t worth spit. Synthroid and levothyroxine make the blood test normal, but not the patient. Patients continue to gain weight, lose hair, wonder why their brains don’t work, and on, and on–dragging through life not knowing where to turn for help.

Meanwhile, an army of reps, usually young and female, frequent doctors’ offices to reinforce the message begun in med school. They bring goodies intended to keep their company’s name front and center in doctors’ minds.

Big Pharma also offers complimentary continuing education courses at fine resorts–the better to pound the message home again. Between rounds of free golf.

And Big Pharma funds “studies” that get into major medical journals. The “studies” uniformly prove, by hook or by crook, the point they were set up to prove, and gullible people line up to buy the latest prescription poison with enthusiasm. And too often live to regret it. If they live.

Big Pharma controls some state medical boards, too. In those states, doctors risk losing their license–and the wherewithal to pay off a mountain of student loans–if they recommend vitamins and other nutritional supplements to patients. Perhaps you wondered why your doctor reacted to your vitamin questions so harshly?

And there’s the media.You should also know when a magazine carries ads for pharmaceuticals, nothing in the magazine will ever, ever disagree with Big Pharma’s advertising claims. Which raises the question: If magazines are that willing to sell out, why should we believe anything they say?

And so it goes. We’re talking very deep pockets and a willingness to pass around as much as it takes. In response to Dr. Nissen and his cohorts, Big Pharma will simply funnel ever more money to media, politicians, the FDA, medical schools, medical associations, doctors and anybody else who looks like an easy mark, to beat back the proposal.

So I salute Dr. Nissen. He must care about patients and about good medicine. I wonder if he realizes how unusual that makes him.




About the author: Bette Dowdell is not a doctor, nor does she purport to be one. She’s a patient who’s been studying and successfully handling her own endocrine problems for more than 30 years. She offers introductory teleseminars and an in-depth12-month subscription program, “Moving to Health” about dealing with endocrine issues. She explains how things work–or don’t, discusses what things to avoid as well as the things that help, and she provides a lot of well-researched nutritional information. Subscribe to her free e-zine at Information is power.