Why Alternative Cancer Treatment

More on the Human & Financial Cost of Drugs

During 1983–1992, between 90,000 to 110,000 Americans died from reactions to prescriptions drugs, 320 from over-the-counter drugs, three from all dietary supplements combined including contaminated L-tryptophan, and ZERO FROM HERBS.
Sources: American Association of Poison Control Centers, FDA, AAPCC, USDA, JAMA, New England J. of Medicine

Welcome to page five of Healing Cancer Naturally’s “Why Alternative Cancer Treatment?” series.

Copyright © 2004–2022 Healing Cancer Naturally

"As Doctors Write Prescriptions, Drug Company Writes a Check"

Gardiner Harris writing in the New York Times of June 27, 2004 on the drug industry's marketing tactics (excerpts)

The check for $10,000 arrived in the mail unsolicited. The doctor who received it from the drug maker Schering-Plough said it was made out to him personally in exchange for an attached "consulting" agreement that required nothing other than his commitment to prescribe the company's medicines. Two other physicians said in separate interviews that they, too, received checks unbidden from Schering-Plough, one of the world's biggest drug companies.

... Just about every big global drug company — including Johnson & Johnson, Wyeth and Bristol-Myers Squibb — has disclosed in securities filings that it has received a federal subpoena, and most are juggling subpoenas stemming from several investigations.

The details of the Schering-Plough tactics, gleaned from interviews with 20 doctors, as well as industry executives and people close to the investigation, shed light on the shadowy system of financial lures that pharmaceutical companies have used to persuade physicians to favor their drugs.

Schering-Plough's tactics, these people said, included paying doctors large sums to prescribe its drug for hepatitis C and to take part in company-sponsored clinical trials that were little more than thinly disguised marketing efforts that required little effort on the doctors' part. Doctors who demonstrated disloyalty by testing other company's drugs, or even talking favorably about them, risked being barred from the Schering-Plough money stream.

Schering-Plough says that the activities under investigation occurred before its new chief executive, Fred Hassan, arrived in April 2003, and that it has overhauled its marketing to eliminate inducements.

At the heart of the various investigations into drug industry marketing is the question of whether drug companies are persuading doctors — often through payoffs — to prescribe drugs that patients do not need or should not use or for which there may be cheaper alternatives. Investigators are also seeking to determine whether the companies are manipulating prices to cheat the federal Medicaid and Medicare health programs. Most of the big drug companies, meanwhile, are also grappling with a welter of suits filed by state attorneys general, industry whistle-blowers and patient-rights groups over similar accusations.

In many ways, the investigations are a response to the evolution of the pharmaceutical business, which has grown in the last quarter-century from a small group of companies peddling a few antibiotics and antianxiety remedies to a $400 billion behemoth that is among the most profitable industries on earth.

Is there a cure for cancer? After 20 years of research

discover what this German expert thinks.

The TRUE Cost of Your Prescription Drugs!

Material Costs of Medical Compounds
Investigative Research Reveals the True Costs of Drugs

by Sharon Davis and Mary Palmer, US Department of Commerce, Federal Budget Analysts in Washington, D.C., 7-3-4

Did you ever wonder how much it costs a drug company for the active ingredient in prescription medications? Some people think it must cost a lot, since many drugs sell for more than $2.00 per tablet. We did a search of offshore chemical synthesizers that supply the active ingredients found in drugs approved by the FDA. As we have revealed in past issues of Life Extension, a significant percentage of drugs sold in the United State contain active ingredients made in other countries. In our independent investigation of how much profit drug companies really make, we obtained the actual price of active ingredients used in some of the most popular drugs sold in America.

The chart below speaks for itself.

Celebrex 100 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets): $130.27
Cost of general active ingredients: $0.60
Percent markup: 21,712%

Claritin 10 mg
Consumer Price (100 tablets): $215.17
Cost of general active ingredients: $0.71
Percent markup: 30,306%

Keflex 250 mg
Consumer Price (100 tablets): $157.39
Cost of general active ingredients: $1.88
Percent markup: 8,372%

Lipitor 20 mg
Consumer Price (100 tablets): $272.37
Cost of general active ingredients: $5.80
Percent markup: 4,696%

Norvasec 10 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets): $188.29
Cost of general active ingredients: $0.14
Percent markup: 134,493%

Paxil 20 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets): $220.27
Cost of general active ingredients: $7.60
Percent markup: 2,898%

Prevacid 30 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets): $44.77
Cost of general active ingredients: $1.01
Percent markup: 34,136%

Prilosec 20 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets): $360.97
Cost of general active ingredients $0.52
Percent markup: 69,417%

Prozac 20 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets) : $247.47
Cost of general active ingredients: $0.11
Percent markup: 224,973%

Tenormin 50 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets): $104.47
Cost of general active ingredients: $0.13
Percent markup: 80,362%

Vasotec 10 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets): $102.37
Cost of general active ingredients: $0.20
Percent markup: 51,185%

Xanax 1 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets) : $136.79
Cost of general active ingredients: $0.024
Percent markup: 569,958%

Zestril 20 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets) $89.89
Cost of general active ingredients $3.20
Percent markup: 2,809%

Zithromax 600 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets): $1,482.19
Cost of general active ingredients: $18.78
Percent markup: 7,892%

Zocor 40 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets): $350.27
Cost of general active ingredients: $8.63
Percent markup: 4,059%

Zoloft 50 mg
Consumer price: $206.87
Cost of general active ingredients: $1.75
Percent markup: 11,821%

Since the cost of prescription drugs is so outrageous, I thought everyone I knew should know about this. Please read the following and pass it on. It pays to shop around. This helps to solve the mystery as to why they can afford to put a Walgreen's on every corner.

On Monday night, Steve Wilson, an investigative reporter for Channel 7 News in Detroit, did a story on generic drug price gouging by pharmacies. He found in his investigation, that some of these generic drugs were marked up as much as 3,000% or more.

Yes, that's not a typo ... three thousand percent! So often, we blame the drug companies for the high cost of drugs, and usually rightfully so. But in this case, the fault clearly lies with the pharmacies themselves. For example, if you had to buy a prescription drug, and bought the name brand, you might pay $100 for 100 pills.

The pharmacist might tell you that if you get the generic equivalent, they would only cost $80, making you think you are "saving" $20. What the pharmacist is not telling you is that those 100 generic pills may have only cost him $10!

At the end of the report, one of the anchors asked Mr. Wilson whether or not there were any pharmacies that did not adhere to this practice, and he said that Costco, Sam's Club and other discount volume stores consistently charged little over their cost for the generic drugs. I went to the the discount store's website, where you can look up any drug, and get its online price. It says that the in-store prices are consistent with the online prices. I was appalled.

Just to give you one example from my own experience, I had to use the drug, Comparing, which helps prevent nausea in chemo patients. I used the generic equivalent, which cost $54.99 for 60 pills at CVS. I checked the price at Costco, and I could have bought 100 pills for $19..89. For 145 of my pain pills, I paid $72.57. I could have got 150 at another discount store for $28.08.

I would like to mention, that although these are a "membership" type store, you do NOT have to be a member to buy prescriptions there, as it is a federally regulated substance. You just tell them at the door that you wish to use the pharmacy, and they will let you in. (This is true, I went there this past Thursday and asked them.)

I am asking each of you to please help me by copying this letter, and passing it into your own email, and send it to everyone you know with an email address.

Sharon L. Davis, Budget Analyst, U.S. Department of Commerce, Room 6839, Office Ph: 202-482-4458, Office Fax: 202-482-5480

Mary Palmer, Budget Analyst, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Office of Budget & Finance, Voice: (202) 606-9295, Fax: (202) 606-5324

Is there a cure for cancer? After 20 years of research

discover what this German expert thinks.

Notes by Healing Cancer Naturally

While I do consider this article discussing the exorbitant markups applied to drugs worthwhile publishing and applaud Costco’s and other discount stores’ above-descibed initiative, I feel however that some measure of "wet-blanketing" is in order to somewhat dampen any possible enthusiasm generated by the idea of "getting your meds" more cheaply...

First of all, drug companies will object to the above reasoning that their prices are justified due to their need to recuperate the astronomical costs incurred both by drug development and official approval of a drug. (Incidentally, this exorbitant financial barrier is also what blocks many natural remedies from being approved by the FDA — herbal and similar remedy producers simply cannot lay out the moneys involved in getting a remedy approved.)

Still, pharmaceutical companies count among the most profitable businesses on the planet, see On Cancer Business and On Drugs.

More importantly, naturopathic or "alternative" schools of medicine tend to strongly disapprove of most all drug/chemicals ingestion, one of them for instance is Dr. Johanna Budwig's often successful natural cancer-healing diet & protocol for which anecdotal evidence very clearly points to the fact that any drug intake interferes with its healing effects, other ones are Dr. Johannes Kuhl's lactic acid treatment and Dr. Hamer's German New Medicine, etc.

Similarly, the proponents of the "Natural Hygiene" healing system have reiterated for decades, "To avoid in one’s quest for regaining or maintaining optimum health and energy levels are all things and modalities not provided by nature and/or naturally toxic. This includes all drugs, all toxic foods and herbs, and all curing practices since they invariably interfere with the body’s own healing and/or maintenance/cleaning work." (See Nature Heals for a thorough discussion of Natural Hygiene’s view of the self-healing power of the human body.)

Personally I would advise to thoroughly research any more natural options before taking any drugs, and if I did take any drugs, I would make sure to thoroughly educate myself on any so-called side effects (I can possibly see some benefit in the occasional use of antibiotics (but see here on the dangers of antibiotics...).

On Drugs provides eye-opening details about the serious implications of the drug-taking habit most people in the Western world have been trained from birth to consider a normal part of "good health care", quote:

"Drug side effects are the fourth leading cause of death in the industrialized world. September 11, 2001, 2,600 innocent people died in this tragedy. The same number of people die from side effects of prescription drugs every ten days." (Quote based on the Journal of the American Medical Association, April 15, 1998 edition, JAMA 279,15 1200-1205)

Based on what I have come to learn about drugs and their policies of production and distribution, chemical/pharmaceutical companies and their continual research for new and “better”/more efficient drugs appear less than the “benefactor of humanity tirelessly working to combat human scourges and ills” they are wont to be portrayed as — and there can hardly be a better witness to this statement than someone who actually worked in the business for decades, see Insider proves pharmaceutical industry puts money / profits before patients' health — and life.[1]

Is there a cure for cancer? After 20 years of research

discover what this German expert thinks.

Painkiller linked to 140,000 heart attacks in patients

by Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor, The Independent, London, 25 January 2005

A blockbuster drug launched five years ago as a revolutionary treatment for arthritis may have caused up to 140,000 heart attacks in US patients of whom 44 per cent died, scientists said yesterday, making it the world's worst drug disaster.

Vioxx, a new type of painkiller launched in 1999, was one of the most heavily promoted drugs in history, with sales in 80 countries and a global market of 80 million patients.

More than 400,000 patients were taking it in Britain, where it could have caused up to 1,000 heart attacks and deaths.

Last September, the manufacturer, Merck & Co, withdrew the drug from the market after evidence emerged linking it with heart problems.

Now, a study of 1.4 million people in California shows that those taking Vioxx had a one-third higher chance of having a heart attack than those taking other painkillers.

David Graham, of the US Food and Drug Administration, and colleagues concluded: "An estimated 88,000 to 140,000 excess cases of serious coronary heart disease probably occurred in the USA over the market life of rofecoxib [Vioxx]. The US national estimate of the case-fatality rate was 44 per cent, which suggests that many of the excess cases attributable to rofecoxib use were fatal."

The results, published online by The Lancet, will be seized on by critics of the pharmaceutical industry as evidence of the failure of the drug regulatory system to protect the public. Dr Graham had earlier estimated that Vioxx may have caused up to 27,000 heart attacks but the new study caused him to upgrade the estimate by five times.

Doctors on both sides of the Atlantic have warned of a public health emergency over other painkillers in the same class, known as Cox-2 inhibitors, which could also pose a risk.

A report in The New England Journal of Medicine last October said studies since 1999 had repeatedly indicated a danger with Vioxx. Drug regulators made Merck include a warning in the drug package but never ordered a definitive trial.

Professor David Webb, of the clinical pharmacology unit at the University of Edinburgh, says in The Lancet: "It falls to the manufacturers, under the careful review of the regulatory authorities, to provide evidence that this class of drugs is safe."

Asked if this was the worst drugs disaster in history, Professor Webb said: "Quite possibly because these drugs were very widely used."

The previous worst disaster involved the drug Tambocor (flecainide) prescribed to patients with irregular heartbeats. It was estimated to have killed 50,000 patients in the Seventies and Eighties.

The European Drug Safety Agency is conducting an urgent safety review of all the Cox-2 inhibitors, which have a combined global sale of $10bn (£6bn). Last month, the UK Medicines and Health Care Products Regulatory Agency advised all patients still taking Vioxx, estimated at 750,000, to review their treatment with their doctor.

© 2005 Independent News & Media (UK) Ltd.

Compare On Drugs, On Chemotherapy and On Cancer Business.


1 Besides many drugs’ harmfulness and even deadliness to humans, their production also involves the horribly cruel death of millions of animals in laboratories, where these drugs get "tested" and "retested" with complete disregard of the fact that this policy involves sentient beings tortured to death with most questionable benefits to human health, while much more reliable alternatives such as tests on human cell cultures are mostly being ignored and suppressed.

For more on the subject and possible alternatives, see these important comments on animal experiments which are never reliable indicators of what will benefit humans and thus have led to serious harm incl. death of humans, as well as the complete section discussing Cancer Research, Toxicity Testing & Animal Experimentation: an Unholy Union?.

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