The pharmaceutical industry, often referred to as “Big Pharma,” might be closer to “Big Brother” than you think, particularly in terms of its control over health care. Consider that pharmaceutical companies spend billions of dollars annually on direct-to-consumer advertising and make billions more from the drugs they manufacture and distribute – via medical doctors, pharmacies and the like – to millions of consumers.
Living the American profit dream isn’t necessarily a problem; the problem is that Big Pharma does it essentially by telling people drugs are the answer to all their ills. From a chiropractic perspective, that’s not the whole story. What’s more, from an ethical / consumer-safety perspective, Big Pharma has a poor track record, to say the least, when it comes to informing the public of the potential dangers of the medications they make and/or accurately (read: truthfully) stating the benefits vs. risks of the drugs.
The latest case in point: Pharmaceutical giant Johnson and Johnson has been fined more than $1.2 billion for deceptive marketing of its antipsychotic drug, Risperdal. The ruling, one of 11 lawsuits Johnson and Johnson has faced in the past several years in connection with Risperdal alone, comes on the heels of two 2011 rulings that cost J & J an additional $158 million (Texas lawsuit) and $327 million (Arkansas lawsuit; currently under appeal).
The take-home message is that you have a choice; you’re not bound by the pharmaceutical industry, forced to fill your medicine cabinet with drug after drug that in most cases, treat symptoms, not causes, and may be more dangerous than their worth. The next time you see a pharmaceutical advertisement on TV, listen closely to the side effects mentioned. It’s usually a long list of potential health consequences ranging from mild to severe. Pretty scary stuff. Then realize that, like Johnson and Johnson, the ad might not even be telling the truth. The reality could be much, much worse.
Talk to your doctor of chiropractic to learn more about the dangers of prescription and over-the-counter medication, and the drug-free alternative: chiropractic care.