Editorials / Opinions

Home →Editorials / Opinions ( May 15, 2019 )

Big Pharma's $75-Billion-A-Year Fraud

fraud: "criminal deception intended to result in financial gain," Oxford Dictionary

There is no such thing as high blood pressure (hypertension) or high blood cholesterol (hyperlipidemia). Their only reality is found in being a part of the labeling jargon of the medical profession and marketing terms used by the pharmaceutical industry.

But how can this be? There are 150 million people with pre-high (120/80) or high (140/90) blood pressure.

It's the same with cholesterol. About 140 Americans are borderline high (between 200 and 239) or above.

How can anyone say these conditions do not exist?

To answer this question, we must look at a commonality that all 25 trillion cells in the human body have; the cells want, above all to live. And if gathered together to form tissues, or organs, or systems of organs, and finally surfacing into our consciousness is the drive to survive. Try going without air, water, or food and you will quickly get a sense of the body's overpowering determination to live.

What then? Have the bodies of at least 150 million adults (many have both conditions) gone haywire and lost their primal drive to live? I think not.

High blood pressure is a targeted, somatic effort to force blood through the arteries and hair-thin capillaries to carry oxygen and food to every cell and to carry away cellular waste. To artificially lower this pressure is fighting against your body's wisdom to survive; it assures cellular dysfunction and death.

HBP is not an illness, disease, or metabolic defect. It is the body's most effective response to the underlying pathology. Regardless of BP numbers, it is never high or low but always precisely adjusted to the required pressure needed to deliver blood to every cell in the body.

Presumably, the root cause of HBP is a narrowing of the arterial walls. No doubt, losing excess fat and improving diet play a large part in curing this condition, as does obtaining sufficient sleep and exercise.

There were two studies done, one that focused on anti-hypertensive drugs and another looking at the effect of exercise. These trials involved 40,000 participants. The study concluded, "exercise was as effective as most blood [pressure] lowering medication."

But there's not a dime to be made by addressing the root cause of HPB. There is, however, $50 billion each year made by Big Pharma peddling its HBP nostrums.

What about high levels of blood cholesterol?

Cholesterol is essential for cellular life. It also acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory.

Inflammation is the body's response to pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants. Cholesterol is a protective and curative reaction to chronic inflammation.

Cholesterol is also a potent antioxidant. Free radicals are dangerous molecules. They are generated by exercise, digestive processes, air pollution, or any foreign object like a splinter. Cholesterol protects one from the harm of excessive free radicals.

How, then, did a vital and protective substance like cholesterol get such a bad rap?

Well, it is indeed a bad rap. If cholesterol is high, it's because it's doing exactly what it is supposed to be doing; protecting you from harmful pathogens, poisonous chemicals, or inflammation. The problem is not high cholesterol, but the cause of its heightened response, which is probably systemic inflammation.

In essence, cholesterol is a fireman dousing the flames of inflammation. Suppressing cholesterol with a drug is like turning off the fire hydrant and letting the fire rage.

Drugs are not the answer to elevated cholesterol. "A 2010 analysis combined the results of 11 studies and found that taking statins – [cholesterol inhibiting drugs] – did not lower the death rate for people who did not have heart disease," JAMA, 2013 edition.

The key to eliminating the cause of high cholesterol is the same as with HBP: normalize weight, improve your diet by eliminating sugar and sugar enriched products, exclusion of processed and milled flour products, and getting enough sleep and exercise.

Addressing the fundamental cause of high cholesterol lies in cost-free changes in adopting healthful habits. On the other hand, cholesterol-lowering drugs generate $25 billion each year for Big Pharma.

A cautionary note: Never discontinue or change the dosage of a prescribed drug. Find a physician who has experience in weening patients off drugs while guiding them through therapeutic lifestyle changes, not palliative drugs.


Bob Scroggins. New Milford, PA

Back to Top

Politics Is A Dirty Game

With a special election coming up in our own district, I am reminded of the perpetual challenge of the Republican Party: Inducing ordinary people to vote against their own economic interests for a party whose benefits always accrue to the wealthy.

This they do by appealing to people's prejudices, racial and religious in particular, and exploiting Culture War wedge issues. But there's more to it than that. The Republican Party knows it cannot win in a fair fight, so they rig the game in the following ways:

1) Gerrymandering: clustering Democratic voters in as few districts as possible, rather than creating fair and sensible districts. That would allow the opposition to tip too many districts the other way. (Ohio is the latest state nabbed.) In the 2018 midterms, the Democrats had a record vote advantage, and should have won at least 10 more seats than the 40 they did. Gerrymandering was the difference.

2) Voter suppression. Use of a variety of techniques to make it difficult or impossible for likely Democrats to vote. Like requiring a state-issued photo ID to vote (State University ID cards strangely don't count), then closing the offices where one may be obtained, or severely reducing their hours. And how can elderly blacks, citizens who've voted for decades, get a state ID when in many cases they weren't issued a birth certificate? In the name of mythical voter fraud that very rarely occurs, hundreds of thousands of US citizens, valid voters, have had their right to vote taken away. Unconscionable.

Another way is having too few voting machines in urban areas, leading to lengthy lines to vote, while in an area like ours we can be in and out in a minute. How many of us would wait in line for 2 hours to vote? Maybe we'd give up and go home?

The latest dirty trick comes out of Texas, where State Sen. Bryan Hughes is trying to make it illegal to drive elderly, disabled, or poor people to the polls. Republicans really want to keep people from voting.

In Georgia, the guy in charge of running elections was a candidate – a blatant conflict of interest – but wouldn't resign his old post when he declared. He prepared for the race by purging 750,000 voters from the rolls. He "won" by about 50,000 votes.

3) Outright theft. In North Carolina's 9th District, the election was stolen by GOP hijinks. They'll have to do a revote. Republicans like to accuse Democrats of election rigging and theft. How Goebbelsian.

4) Poisoning the climate of opinion with lies and dirty tricks, now with the welcomed help of foreign adversaries Republicans want to emulate. Given the paranoid, conspiratorial, and downright delusional mentality of many on the Right, there's no lie so ridiculous that somebody won't be willing to believe it. In 2016 just one example was the accusation that Hillary Clinton was running a child sex ring out of the basement of a DC pizza parlor that had no basement. One of the most active spreaders of this story was the doltish son of disgraced former Administration official General John Kelly, both of whom belong in jail.

The Right is back to their old tricks again. Just last week, two operatives were exposed trying to bribe guys to falsely claim that they were molested by Pete Buttegieg. Big League Politics, a right-wing provocateur website, ran with the fraudulent allegation without doing any due diligence whatsoever, something real media would do. They'd have egg on their faces if people cared.

That's the kind of ethics we typically see on the Right. (Democrats don't do stuff like this, the wimps.) Keep this in mind when you vote for more of the same. Just don't complain that your standard of living hasn't budged in over 40 years, and things like education and health care are unaffordable. It's not really the Republicans' fault-- it's yours. You screwed up. You trusted them.


Stephen Van Eck, Rushville, PA

Back to Top

Same Theme, Same Hatred

I am writing to disagree with some of Stephen Van Eck's rantings in "Make America Hate". The only facts in his letter are that he hates President Trump and anyone who supports him. That is his theme, week after week.

I believe America is good. It is the best country on the planet. If it were not, would 100,000 migrants be trying to enter the US every month. If America is not good, and Mr. Van Eck does not like America he should consider leaving and make room for some of the migrants who do believe America is great.

He says supporters of Trump thumb their noses at liberals. Do not liberals thumb their noses at Republicans. LOL!

Mr. Eck states America is breaking up American families. If you are here illegally, you are not an American family. It is blatantly false that the US is snatching up children from migrants and putting them in cages. Some children have been removed from adults that are not family members. The picture of the "cage" was taken during the Obama presidency. The children did get to have their own protected space, but they were not in a cage. The border patrol and our border facilities are overwhelmed. The Democrats will not provide for a border wall, called the crisis on the border "made up" and have made the crisis worse by not providing funding.

What does Eck mean by the Magma Mob? I support the President. Does that make me a mobster? Mr. Eck seems to say if you are a conservative or The Right Wing (Mr. Eck's definition) and don't agree with his way of thinking you are sick, nasty, heartless and cruel. And then he says Republicans are really Romans murdering citizens in the Colosseum 1000's of years ago. Mr. Eck is not making any sense.

The Democratic politicians want Sanctuary Cities yet they don't want illegal immigrants coming into their neighborhoods when Trump said he would send them to those cities. The Democrats are hypocrites.

How does Mr. Eck pedal his falsehoods and crazy fairy tales in the Transcript. Wake up Transcript readers, write in and challenge Mr. Eck. Or, maybe you skip his editorials because they are from outer space.

Mr. Eck mentions Howard Stern, Dr. Laura Ingram and Judge Judy as abusers. But he does not tell us how they are abusers. We are just supposed to accept that if Mr. Eck calls them abusers, they are.

The Transcript needs to fact check some of Mr. Eck's letters for accuracy.


Tim Tedesco, Thompson, PA

EDITOR'S RESPONSE: Dear Ted, It's about time Mr. Van Eck got a little of what he dishes out back. I very rarely agree with any of his writings, but refuse to revert to censorship of his, or your opinions. We welcome any Letter to the Editor, as well as the right to respond to same.

Back to Top