Editorial Issue 167 Print
As controversy swirls, not for the first time, around President Barack Obama's healthcare reforms in the USA, we publish a review in this Feb 2010 Issue 167 of Death by Medicine[1] by Gary Null PhD and co-authors Martin Felman MD, Debora Rasio MD and Carolyn Dean MD ND.
This authoritative book cites published research demonstrating that  the American medicine system is the leading cause of death and injury in the US – 800,000 deaths annually, compared with heart disease – 652,091 deaths annually and cancer – 559,312 deaths annually. Astonishingly, the authors' ten-year projected total of 7.95 million iatrogenic deaths is more than all the casualties from all the wars fought by the US throughout its entire history. www.positivehealth.com/book-view.php?reviewid=242  

The contents of this highly authoritative book reveal shocking statistics, including:
  • 2.2 million US hospital patients experience adverse drugs reactions (ADRs) to prescribed medications, causing over 106,000 deaths annually;
  • In addition, 350,000 ADRs occur in US nursing homes each year;
  • About 90 million antibiotic prescriptions are written; about half are either unnecessary or inappropriate;
  • About 7.5 million unnecessary medical and surgical procedures are performed annually in the USA; 8.9 million Americans are hospitalized unnecessarily;
  • Nearly 100,000 patients die in hospitals each year due to medically errors, three times more than the number who die on the highways;
  • Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) account for an estimated 1.7 million infections and 99,000 associated deaths per year;
  • The overall contribution of curative and adjuvant cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adults was estimated to be merely 2.1% in the USA;
  • The dose of radiation to the lung or stomach from a single full-body CT scan is estimated to be 14-21 milligrays, corresponding to a dose region of about 1.5 miles from the blast of an atomic bomb, equal to 100 chest X-rays or 100 mammograms;
  • In 1981 the drug industry "gave $292 million to colleges and universities for research. By 1991, the figure had risen to $2.1 billion". The far-reaching arm of the pharmaceutical company's influence even extends to the falsification of nutrient studies; there is currently a systematic program to defame natural vitamins, supplements and health foods throughout the world.
One would have to ask how earnest doctors, researchers, scientific journals, even government bodies such as the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) could acquiesce to a medical system which is clearly killing people and allegedly doing more harm than good. This is down to a complex, interwoven set of circumstances in which there is manipulation and deception of the funding, reporting and even misreporting of drug studies, payment of vast amounts to doctors, researchers, journals and journalists. Roadblocks and various obstacles are set in place to obfuscate and make almost impossible publication of negative results, there are powerful disincentives for exposure of negative and harmful results, and punishment for whistle blowers. At the same time, campaigns are mounted to denigrate nutritional and alternative medicine products whose actions are aimed at prevention.
I guess that many PH readers have been asking themselves over the years how it is that the pharmaceutical companies can get away with promoting their medicines in face of their serious side effects, and how doctors can keep prescribing medicines and regimes which appear at times to do more harm than good. As cited above, the calculated contribution of chemotherapy to 5-year cancer survival in adults is just over 2%. And how is it that there is always a campaign against nutrients and other supplements and against the majority of prominent complementary and alternative practitioners? We have always been able to surmise how this could be happening; Gary Null and co-authors have now put the figures and research into print, even calculating the amounts of money they spend on doctors, journals, universities. Even the Office of Technology Assessment, the USA government's own independent overseeing watchdog on healthcare was disbanded by the Congress after releasing a report which demonstrated how entrenched financial interests manipulate healthcare practice in the USA

It is an almighty tragedy and expensive fiasco that healthcare can't combine the best of all worlds and all treatment approaches. Why can't physicians treat conditions integrating many of the approaches published in this Feb Issue, including Herbal Medicine, Nutritional Medicine, Energy Medicine, Light Therapy, Hydrotherapy, Bodywork and Cranio-Sacral Therapy. Using Water as Medicine, illustrated, demonstrates to us approaches that we all used to apply several decades ago, but are slowly being forgotten and being confined to the annals of history. www.positivehealth.com/articleview.php?articleid=2744  

While politicians on both sides of the pond debate the niceties of healthcare insurance, it is a pity that they don't also consider the low-tech, tried and tested therapies which have already stood the test of time.

With regard to practitioner regulation models, it has also been most enlightening to read about the debate and immense reflection which has been ongoing for some considerable time amongst Craniosacral Therapy practitioners. The issue, which has been of considerable consequence among various other groups of practitioners including the Aromatherapists, Reflexologists and Reiki practitioners who set up and formed the General Regulatory Council for Complementary Therapies (GRCCT) and currently have about 7,000 members, and the so-called Federal model of the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) which currently has about 1,400 members from Massage, Nutritional therapy, Reflexology and Aromatherapy, Shiatsu, Alexander and Yoga. As excerpted in a Letter from Roger James, Secretary of the CranialSacral Therapy Association (CSTA)  Somewhere along the line, the concept of willing professions joining a federation they have decided in favour of has been lost in the heat of controversy. The picture is rather of professions being dragged kicking and screaming towards CNHC regulation by minorities of their members.[2]


1. Gary Null, Martin Felman, Debora Rasio and Carolyn Dean. Death by Medicine. Praktikos Books. 2010.
2. Roger James. How Regulation is Developing. The Fulcrum 49: 2-4. Winter/Spring 2010.

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