Pretty Pills: Pharmaganda and the Puppet Theatre of Profit
Do dogs need Prozac?
Of course they do! Big Pharma says it, so it must be true.
Never mind the fact that prior to domestication, canines of every species were perfectly happy hunting around in packs in their respective natural environments. Put it down to thousands of years of evolution in a world of ignorant bliss.
Then, 30,000 years ago, East Asia kind of started it's whole civilisation thing, and decided that the domestication of dogs was a pretty neat idea. These Palaeolithic mountain dwellers were the day's men amongst men. Savage, all conquering, take anything they can get their hands on, men. But what's a man without man's best friend? Just a Paleo. A footnote in history. A template for a ridiculous 21st Century fad diet. So they became Overlords to the animal world. Canine's supreme beings. Fido's reason to live. And, for a while, it was all pretty chill, just as long as Fido was fed his daily feast of Mammoth meat. A good scratch behind the ear and a prolonged belly rub never went astray either. For the time being, dogs were still dogs.
Enter modern man. A most curious creature. Narcissistic, single-minded, easily manipulated. Not really man at all; just a vessel with an overwhelming desire to over-compensate. At some imbalanced stage of the evolutionary process, man's compensation came in the form of training and disciplining dogs. Before long, without even realising his over-zealous impact, modern man had instilled all of his fears, negativities and wants unto his furry friend. Despite the fact that canine's were able to roam the planet unfettered and in perfect harmony and symbiosis with nature for the best part of 30,000 years, our over-developed, under-used brains thought it absolutely necessary to leash these largely independent beasts to our front gates. Hand to neck. An extreme form of discipline by most standards in modern history, man was now most chuffed that he could choke his best friend by yanking on a leash as a form of correction.
All of a sudden, separation anxiety in household pets became a thing, and many dogs were now living under an evolved Stockholm Syndrome situation. Discipline was now mandatory for a domesticated dog to function normally, and without it, they became quite nervous, tense and paranoid. But modern man was walking a fine line; too harsh a form of discipline rendered Fido an anxious and sometimes vicious wreck. Man had screwed himself. Another miserable failure at the masturbatory hands of penis envy.
Thankfully, for the human and canine race, two assholes in white knight clothing came-a-courtin'; Pfizer and Elanco to the rescue! Two of the wealthiest pharmaceutical companies of all time, convinced us, that dogs suffer from depression and anxiety in the exact same way that they convinced us that we're all a breath away from becoming suicidal maniacs ourselves; they lied. Fido needs Prozac. Of course he does. Anti-depressants work for humans... don't they?
Just look at the positive feedback on Google...
"My dog is no longer dog and leash reactive and her resource guarding issues no longer exist."
What the fuck is this person even talking about?!
Then there's this crackerjack...
"Thanks to doggy Prozac, my dog no longer chews furniture and barks when the doorbell rings."
Well, no shit Sherlock! That's because your dog is now doped up to the eyeballs on anti-depressants! Whenever I take a chemically altering substance that is also a heavy sedative, I'm pretty damn quiet too. Maybe there's a pill out there to cure your low IQ?
So let us solemnly bow our heads and thank our fundamentalist white Christian god for companies like Pfizer and Elanco. For now it's possible to cure our dogs of individualism and personality with a whole showbag worth of goodies; Xanax, Zoloft, Tramadol, Oxycontin... that's right kids; hillbilly heroin for dogs. The growing list of doggy-adapted pharmaceuticals goes on and on and on. For a dog lover such as myself, it's damn scary stuff.
Elanco (specifically an animal pharma company) and Pfizer are just a small part of an elitist role call of megalomaniacal multinational conglomerates who call themselves Big Pharma. Talk about your overcompensation. To even be considered for the Big Pharma hall of fame, a company must rake in billions of dollars in worldwide profit on a yearly basis. Profits in this stratosphere don't just come about from being an ethics magnet. To understand Big Pharma's overpowering influence over government, economy, and worst of all, us, one must first get a grasp on the obscene amount of money brought in by these companies by any deceitful means necessary. In the first decade of the 21st Century, the top 11 Big Pharma companies combined (Pfizer included), raked in a staggering profit of 711 billion dollars. That's not a typo; drugs are the most lucrative industry on the planet. Big Pharma plays a key role in maintaining that sinister status.
There is but one senile, dishonest and trigger happy individual that we can thank for the intergenerational curse that is Big Pharma; Ronald Reagan. As if he didn't have enough nations in a tizzy with his finger on the button mentality, Cowboy Ronnie then let loose a scourge on the human race that may never be reversed. In 1985, at the very beginning of his second term as president of the United States, Reagan relaxed the previously strict regulations that once bound all pharmaceutical companies to a rigid code of ethics. This morally bankrupt decision went completely against the grain of his well rehearsed election campaign promises, and also gave the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) new autonomous powers to approve any number of unethical and unsafe medications. Now that the coast was clear for further pharmaceutical law reform, Reagan took full advantage, firstly by lifting a moratorium on commercial advertising. This rendered the U.S. as just one of two countries in the world that freely allows pharmaceutical drugs to be advertised on commercial television. Big Pharma was born, a hideous looking child, and a monster was unleashed unto an oblivious human race.
If you're not living in the United States, or haven't visited, you may not have seen these television commercials. Most are magnificent productions, but are truly bewildering sights to behold, in the realm of a Nazi propaganda film. The primary production quality that can be easily noticed, yet not often noted, is the soft focus. The soothing imagery; perhaps a beautiful young and healthy girl riding her horse along the beach, or an elderly couple holding hands gregariously displaying their renewed vitality and regularity. Essentially, they are unrealistic banners that nurture the ambition of unattainable lifestyles. The soundtracks are soothing too; common are the softly filtered string quartets that hypnotise the viewer into a false sense of security. Enter the voiceover; usually a female or an effeminate male, with a newsreader style of concentrated, straightforward yet mollycoddling delivery. In the commercial world, women are seen to be far more trustworthy than men.
Here's one of many examples I have witnessed. The voiceover begins:
"Do you suffer from restless leg syndrome, excessive belching, high cholesterol, infertility or constant dizziness?"
The list is so bamboozling in its bamboozlement, that it immediately throws the viewer onto the back foot. Well, my legs are a bit twitchy and when I spin around the room with my child, I do get a little dizzy. Yes! The intricately designed script crosses all gamuts and spectrums of illnesses and annoyances. You're bound to be mildly suffering from one of them.
The voiceover continues:
"Are you constantly hot, cold, sad, edgy, tired or irritable?"
Well I am now.
Extremes of varying symptoms are reeled off at a mile a minute, ensuring that yes, you most certainly do "suffer" from one or more of these.
"Then this pill may be for you."
It's akin to a movie script, only on a constant loop. Twenty times a day; daytime, primetime, late night... until snap... you unwittingly internalise. They've got you by the balls.
Under current U.S. law, the sweeping conundrum of side effects must be revealed at some stage during the commercial. However, in classic loophole proportions, there is no actual legislation that dictates how the side effects are to be delivered. So inevitably, the list is reserved for the tail end of the ad, and blurted at such an incomprehensible whiplash speed, that the consumer is bamboozled even further.
Ah fuck it! I'll just buy the damn pills.
Side effects are a complete afterthought.
Big Pharma would have us believe that they are altruistic, philanthropic and good old fashioned nice people who care for our well-being. They spend billions to manipulate us into thinking that way. Seems that friendship can be bought.
These types of advertisements have now embedded themselves within American culture to the point where prescription drug abuse has become a far larger epidemic than alcoholism and narcotic abuse combined. In the U.S., someone dies from a prescription drug overdose every 19 minutes. But it's not stigmatised; it's the socially acceptable way to OD. Culturally, prescription drug users aren't considered addicts the way that illegal drug users and alcoholics are classed. We're constantly being coerced into thinking that because they're legal, prescription drugs aren't dangerous and that we need them in our lives. Embedded in our cerebral cortexes, is the notion that because our trusted family doctors are prescribing the medication, everything will be just fine. We're not supposed to question our doctors.
Scare campaigns play a major role in our conversion too. Everyone from heavy-hitting politicians to mainstream media to players in the pharmaceutical game, has their hands in each others pockets, with Big Pharma acting as the theatrical puppeteer.
- In 2013 alone, Big Pharma spent $226,000,000 (USD) on lobbying Obama's already flakey government, with a total of 1,445 highly trained lobbyists inflating their cause. Given that congress only contains 535 members, that then averages out to $422,000 spent per politician.
Portions of our news bulletins are being manipulated and controlled by Big Pharma also. That's right; your family friendly newsreader has a steroided hand up his ass too.
Ever notice the fad diseases of a particular moment? In the 1980's, AIDS became a full-blown epidemic. Male homosexuality copped the blame for that one. In the 1990's, Ebola ravaged African communities, apparently. Depression sucked the fun out of the first decade of the 21st Century, and now, in 2016, the dreaded Zika virus is threatening our lives with strategically inserted news reports and governmental travel warnings.
Is it merely a coincidence that a particular disease sweeps our consciousness almost overnight, and before television has convinced us that we may be suffering symptoms, the market has already been flooded with a "quick fix" pill? Quick fix, as in, not a cure as such, but a stabiliser. Enough to keep us going until we become dependent. There's more profit to be made by keeping us ill than actually curing us. Industry bigwigs call it Disease Management. I call it Pharmageddon. A complete shakedown.
A system of accomodation has been generationally created to kowtow to the human fundamental of the quick fix. Big Pharma relies upon this inbred mentality in order to maintain the status quo of obscene profit. The bastards get to us early in life. Unbeknownst to many parents of small children, they are enablers. Mum and Dad have taught us from a very early age, that there is a quick fix to any ailment. Have a headache little one? BAM! Nurofen for children. Your cough is getting worse child. BAM! Robotussin for children. Sniffly nose little man? Codral for... children!
Governmental propaganda initiated by big business, like us to believe that marijuana is the ultimate gateway drug. Luckily, a growing portion of level-headed non-gullibles are starting to believe that it isn't. You want your gateway drug? Look no further than Nurofen for new borns. Surely drugs such as these medications that so many parents heavily rely on, develops a lifetime philosophy of feeling good quickly and to hell with the consequences. This behaviour only serves to develop a vicious lifetime cycle of an insatiable need for pills whenever we feel even the slightest sniffle coming on. It develops nations upon nations of pill-poppers. It develops false hope.
Canine and juvenile medication essentially provides chump change for their manufacturers and distributors. Psych meds is where the real coin is at. The onslaught of psychiatric medication that bullet-holed into our respective consciousnesses, is one of the most fascinating case studies in recent pharmaganda history. The market flooding and synthetic creation of demand through commercial advertising, medical profession incentives and inducements, together with a paid-off media manipulation, transformed the United States of Occasional Users into the United States of Addiction. Reagan's legacy.
- Fact: The United States of America makes up just 5% of the world's population, yet it consumes 75% of the world's pharmaceutical intake.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), commonly known as anti-depressants, grabbed humanity by the throat and choked it into a submissive belief that every member was in fact, depressed. Television commercials for mood inhibitors such as Zoloft, Prozac, Percocet, Xanax and Vicodin, convinced us that maybe our ever-changing moods aren't normal at all. Oh, my God! I'm depressed! We all very quickly learnt that it's not okay to be sad or experience natural human emotions. Instead, we accepted that a zombie-like, open to suggestion behaviour is perfectly fine. The government's got us right where they want us.
All diseases are oversold; depression is no exception. The proof is in the drug-spiked pudding. As with the constant Axis of Evil and ISIS hyperbole, thanks to manipulated media bias and perpetuation, we are all now experts when it comes to diagnosing depression. Bipolar was a pretty rare disease twenty years ago, it existed of course, but not a great deal of people suffered from it, or were really that aware of it. Now, we are all professors on the subject.
- An extensive 2015 study has shown that depression diagnosis is now 5,000 times more common than in 2005.
The pills, along with the information provided, is, as the origin word of pharmaceuticals Pharmakon suggests, pure poison. What we're not clearly told, is that anti-depressants can be extremely dangerous. Example after example fills statistical databases around the world, of patients that have tapered too quickly from their regular dose and have become suicidal, or even homicidal. Recently, a sixteen year old girl in Germany set herself alight after becoming suicidal from immediately ceasing her dose of Prozac. She died.
- Fact: All synthetically produced medicine is poison, as it is completely foreign to our bodies. Our organs need to work up to five times harder in order to process any form of synthetic medication.
Let's not forget Ritalin and Adderall. They too, fall under the banner of psychiatric medication. The perverse facet to these drugs, is that they are solely marketed for children, to children. Hyperactivity in children goes a long way back through many generations, but parents generally implemented common sense methods to nurture their child, and channel the condition into positive and often creative functions. Then Big Pharma pulled off an ingenious stunt; they rebranded Hyperactivity. A more appealing, socially acceptable term for the condition was required. Something scientific. Something catchy and memorable. ADHD! Now, aren't we all expert diagnosticians on ADHD? Damn crazy kids!
- Since 2005, the number of children under 16 diagnosed with ADHD worldwide, has risen by 2,500%.
Psychiatric medications are the most lucrative drugs on the market and make pharmaceutical companies billions. Depression and anxiety pills are an absolute goldmine because as yet, no fixed scientific method has been established to assist doctors in diagnosing the conditions. It's a trial and error, guessing game of ring-a-ring-a-rosie. The nonchalant attitudes of many money-grubbing doctors doesn't help matters either. Lucrative incentives to over-prescribe psych meds are so entrenched in mainstream health care culture, that the pills have free reign over the market. It's a perpetual open season. Why is it that prescribers get off scot-free whenever an anti-depressant damages a patient? It's negligence bordering on criminal.
- Adderall is the most abused drug, legal or illegal in the U.S.A. while Xanax is the most abused in Australia and New Zealand.
Perhaps not surprisingly, it is an anti-cholesterol medication, Lipitor, that is the highest grossing drug in the western world, even out-selling anti-depressants. Many experts and whistleblowers have proven that the sickest, most wretched patients diagnosed or counselled, have been over-prescribed anti-cholesterol medication. The fact of the matter is, our bodies need cholesterol to survive. Cholesterol medication (statins) lay claim to holding the longest list of side effects in the pharmaceutical world. The most common statin side effect is impotence. No coincidence then, that the number two selling drug in the western world is Viagra. And just who makes Lipitor and Viagra? Seven of the top eight wealthiest Big Pharma companies. You may die prematurely, but at least your corpse will be thin and with a perpetual hard-on.
As mentioned before, it's a vicious cycle of pills. One pill cures one side-effect but then that pill also comes with side-effects. So a new pill is manufactured to kill that side-effect and round and round the garden we go. Drug companies are addicted to the most damaging kind of addiction; profit. And if your babies are born addicted to a pill that you may be on, then all the merrier.
- It was recently revealed, that three Big Pharma companies teamed up in the 1990's to drive a media campaign to coerce the population into switching from the all natural butter to the synthetically manufactured margarine. Our gullibility created a cholesterol boom. Later, it was proven that margarine is just one chemical compound away from being classed as a polyolefin (plastic). Three scientists involved in proving the revelation have since mysteriously disappeared.
So just who is responsible for the vast accessibility and market saturation of prescription medication? A corrupt organisation known as the FDA. This is America's governing body of approving foods and drugs to be sold on the mass market. Once a particular drug is approved in America, the rest of the world tends to follow suit.
The FDA perpetuate the belief that because they are a governmental organisation, they can be trusted. But as a collective, they are con artists.
The FDA and Big Pharma companies work hand in hand. For a pharmaceutical company to push a new product through the approval process successfully, six positive independent scientific conclusions must be submitted. For a drug to be rendered not fit for American consumption, a total of 48 negative studies must be proven beyond any doubt. Obviously, most are pushed through.
More often than not, crucial data is manipulated by hand-picked and paid-off privatised companies so a positive conclusion can be reached in quicker time. This is a legal practice. Common law states that licensed pharmaceutical companies have complete autonomy over which studies are submitted to the FDA. Yikes!
But there is an even quicker, easier and bafflingly legal way for a company to have a drug approved. A law called the Prescription Drug User Fee Act was implemented in 1992 to allow a pharmaceutical company to simply pay a one-off fee directly to the FDA to have their drug immediately approved, no questions asked. Double yikes!
The studies that are submitted are not written up by the scientists that conducted them. They are ghost written by company employed writers who follow dictation as what to write. Sounds like a cushy job.
The FDA are however, required to keep up a positive image to the public. To do so, they must reject a certain quota of medication. This misleads the population into believing that they are a legitimate and caring organisation.
So what actually happens to a rejected drug? Is it simply discarded into the too hard basket? In a manner of speaking, yes. Latin America and Asia; the too hard basket of the pharmaceutical world. Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Thailand, Cambodia... are treated as Big Pharma's dumping grounds. Any number of medications deemed to be too dangerous for U.S. consumption or as a bad seller, are shipped off to these countries and more, along with high ranking politicians, spin doctors and pharmaceutical representatives, who then set about convincing the law makers of that particular drug to allow it to be sold. It's much more than a business simply cutting its losses; huge profits are still made, and many innocent lives are lost. Due to its poor economic climate and geographical location, Latin America especially, is in no position to argue with the United States. A big wad of cash is usually enough to see a dangerous drug pushed through.
- Fact: In the 1980's, German pharmaceutical giant, Bayer, knowingly released an HIV infected blood clotting medication in Latin America, Asia and even portions of Europe (not Germany). To this day, Bayer still believes that it acted "...responsibly, ethically and humanely" in doing so.
Addiction is a huge worldwide problem and a large proportion of doctors must shoulder some of the blame for this epidemic. Medical practitioners can reap massive profits just by dragging out our illnesses for as long as possible. They are generally so fast and loose with filling out their prescription pads, that in less than five minutes after meeting for the first time, you've already been assessed and diagnosed. I didn't realise that stethoscopes were so intuitive.
The reason of course, is financial and material incentives. Filling a mutually agreed upon quota of a particular medication can mean an abundance of FREE STUFF! Tax-free cash, holidays, golf clubs, women, men... whatever their poisoned little hearts desire.
Doctors are drug dealers. Plain and simple. No better than the pusher on the street. Worse, in fact. A street dealer pulls no punches; you know what you're getting, while doctors hide behind a hippocratic oath and a decorated wall of diplomas.
If the doctors are the dealers, then guess who the junkies are. Yep, we are. The pusher/addict mentality has been so methodically refined that it is now practiced to a T. Free samples of a certain medication are often provided to the patient in a coercion tactic to start buying the good stuff. To a drug addict, that must sound scarily familiar.
One of the most popular prescription drugs on the market is Oxycontin, known on the street as hillbilly heroin. Like heroin, Oxycontin is a synthetically strained opiate that essentially has the same molecular structure as its illegal counterpart. Because of its strong pain-killing abilities and euphorically produced highs, no advertising of the product is required. It sells itself. Addicts often hop from doctor to doctor to fill bulk prescriptions, and then hop from pharmacy to pharmacy to purchase. It's cheaper than heroin, legal, and because of current administrative laws, it's everywhere.
Originally, Oxycontin was available in a crushable, powder form that could easily be filtered into a syringe. The U.S. ended up with an unforeseen scourge on its hands and, to maintain its international reputation as a beacon of democracy, freedom and wealth, the problem needed to be cleaned up. The solution? Create a sublingual Oxycontin tablet; no more shooting up. Then something remarkable occurred. The four major Oxycontin manufacturers lost 80% of that drug's revenue in the sublingual form's first year, purely because it could no longer be injected. Speaks volumes.
Doctors turned whistleblowers, including holistic doctors and naturopaths, are a gargantuan threat to the skyrocketing profits that Big Pharma reap. In the western world, natural medicine is slowly rising in popularity and some pharmaceutical companies are starting to feel a tad nervous. So the propaganda machine has been inflated. Social Media and blog pages have now become inundated with a highly suspicious spike in support for the pharmaceutical industry. And now, in the past twelve months, over sixty holistic practitioners have been found dead, all of which have died in a mysterious, freakish or an apparent suicidal manner. All of the victims were outspoken with concern about the lack of moral fibre that Big Pharma display, and all sixty are still part of a cluster of unsolved investigations.
Mainstream media will not report these deaths; they simply refuse to and are paid not to. Threats have also been made to several independent broadcasters in an effort to prevent them from reporting the facts. On four occasions, multiple holistic practitioners were killed on the same day, with three of the deaths occurring in Mexico when a group of whistleblowing doctors were on their way to deliver some damning evidence to that country's capital. Their bodies have never been found and are now included in the climbing death toll.
- Despite presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, stating that she is proud to have Big Pharma as her enemy, she is still more than happy to accept huge sums of cash from their lobbyists to help prop up her campaign. Up until now, the Clinton campaign has received more funding from the pharmaceutical industry than any other campaign in presidential history. According to varying sources, the figure could be as high as five million dollars (USD).
With their excessive sponsoring of presidential and prime ministerial campaigns across the globe, the pharmaceutical industry remain the most powerful lobbying interest group on the planet.
In the quick fix control your own morphine intake world that we live in, where medical universities lie to prospective doctors about what medications are safe and what is not, we either struggle to believe things that we see first hand, or we wholeheartedly jump into the pool of faith head first. It's a confusing place to be.
A new "medical miracle" is released to the public every day, as the companies scroll down their preconceived lists in search of a new disease to invent. We have drugs in sport, celebrities and role models that drop like flies from accidental prescription drug overdoses, and all we need to do to score these days is shoot our doctors a text message and open our wallets. Steroids, uppers, downers, pain killers, cholesterol pills... even pills whose sole purpose is to thicken eyelashes, flood the market. Harm reduction pharmacological medication such as Methadone, once reserved to treat heroin addicts, are now readily prescribed to patients with cancer, back pain and other illnesses and ailments. They become hooked also, too afraid to go through the withdrawal process. Rehabilitation clinics rake in millions in profits and some even produce their own television shows. Whistleblowers go missing, seemingly legitimate businesses transform into murderous death squads, jails exist for profit, not rehabilitation, drug cartels are funded by the C.I.A., doctors throw away their medical ethics to purely become businessmen and, at the click of a mouse, we can have our drugs delivered to our doors from supposed legitimate pharmaceutical sites. Prostitution is outlawed; war and deadly pharmaceuticals are not. It all scares the hell out of me.
We exist in a world where cures for HIV and cancer have been discovered, but of course are stonewalled by Big Pharma because... yawn... there's no money in curing a disease. It's a world where the war on drugs and terrorism is blown all out of proportion, as a decoy from what should be blatant governmental crimes and misgivings. Where suicides and homicides relating to psych meds are covered up by the FDA and Big Pharma. Where insurance companies are the be all and end all as to whether you deserve treatment or not. Where we now have beef flavoured Prozac for dogs!
What the hell have we become?!
Why can't there be a national, or even a worldwide, database set up to prevent addicts from travelling from doctor to doctor, pharmacy to pharmacy, to bolster their supply? Why can't tougher laws be pushed through congress to ensure that pharmaceutical drugs don't saturate the market, or to guarantee that they only be prescribed to patients who legitimately require them? Politics and money. Politics and money. Guns are fine though.
Our governments would have us believe that there actually is a "war on drugs". They put on a convincing show too. But if there really was a war on drugs, then why are our biggest killers still legal and able to flow freely from the shelves? Since it's false inception, an inexplicable one trillion dollars has been spent on this phoney war. One trillion dollars. But nothing gets achieved. In fact, the problem is much worse now, than when the Nixon administration kicked off the decoy campaign all those years ago. The U.S. prison population has risen a very profitable 700% since the war on drugs first entered our collective consciousness. Somebody's collecting big time.
What the hell are we supposed to do when our politicians, entrusted with so much power, claim to not want us to use one type of drug, but are perfectly happy for us to ingest their particular brand of poison?
Well, as a collective, there is something that we can do. We can self-educate, we can choose to not readily believe everything our friendly newsreader tells us, we can switch to natural medicines, which by the way, are the basis and inspiration for all synthetically produced drugs, and something that the world's largest population, the Chinese, have been using successfully for thousands upon thousands of years. A lack of demand equals a significantly diminished Big Pharma. It can happen; as long as we are willing to change. For if we don't, if we choose to remain vigilant in our stubbornness and sit back and do nothing, the entire next generation, our children, our future leaders and businessmen, will not be about an open enlightenment of holistic attitudes, but, like the powerbroker of now, solely about profit. And those who aren't? Well, they'll be lifelong victims of an even more corrupt system than we have today.
Do you really want that for your child?
*If you enjoy Benjamin Munday's writing, why not subscribe to The Low Road for a free download of his award winning short story, 'The Ashtray'.