Sickening by John Abramson, MD. Mariner Books, 2022, ISBN 978-1328957818
This book describes the top-to-bottom control over medical research and its dissemination exerted by large drug manufacturers. Of course, they have their own research staff, paid to test their patented drugs and make sure those tests come out favorably. In addition, they are the largest sponsors of research at all the major medical schools, their reprint purchases from medical journals supply 40% of total journal revenue, and they are the largest advertiser in mainstream media, newspapers and TV, assuring that the most influential purveyors of science news know where their bread is buttered.
Thus “science-based medicine” has become tilted toward science that is curated and supported by the companies that profit from a particular approach to medicine, and toward exaggerating the benefits and minimizing the risks from the most recent and most expensive medicines.
Sickening, yes. But the actual situation is even worse than the bleak picture Dr Abramson paints. Big Pharma is not just cheating us, their approach to medicine has had disastrous effects on public health in the West, especially the USA.
For example, why would anyone believe that the same companies that defrauded the FDA and paid billion dollar fines would be telling us the truth about safety trials of their vaccines?
This book describes the scandalous state of healthcare in America, and traces the problems to financial domination by the pharmaceutical industry. The story is told with numbers. It’s a book only a statistician could love.
I’m a statistician. What’s my problem?
Limited hangout def : A piece of journalism that covers a scandal, often with breathless intensity, but focuses on lesser crimes, and thereby diverts readers’ attention from the worst excesses. See also controlled opposition.
We call it “healthcare”, but of course this word ranks with “Ministry of Truth” and “Re-education center” as an Orwellian deception. So much can be done to protect our health, starting with exercise, social support, organic vegetables, and clean air. But “healthcare” in America has nothing to do with these things, and it’s all about waiting until you develop symptoms, then suppressing those symptoms in the most expensive way possible. The US ranks first in the world in high-tech medicine, first by a long shot in medical expense per capita, and 68th in healthy longevity.
“Only about 20% of a population’s health is determined by medical care; most of the rest is determined by these external factors [including] interaction between individuals and their social, cultural, and physical environment.”
40% comes from social factors and wealth disparities; 30% from diet, exercise, and individual behaviors; 10% from pollution and other environmental factors. A compelling theme of this book is that we spend an outsized portion of our national income on the 20% and have utterly neglected the other 80%.
A generation ago, Dr Abramson was a pioneer in muckraking from the inner bowels of the Pharma industry. To a large extent, this book is based on research he did in the early 2000s when he served as consultant to plaintiffs and expert witness in court cases against drug companies. Missing is the story of how much worse the situation has become since then, with an explosive rise in deception during the COVID pandemic.
In the intervening decades, Big Pharma has captured the regulators at FDA and CDC and has solidified its control over the mainstream media. Without these two institutions reliably in their camp, the great deceptions of 2020-22 could never have been accomplished.
Abramson barely mentions vaccines, but when he does so it is with the understanding that, of course, vaccines are safe, the best thing Western medicine has to offer, also the best tools we have for preventive medicine. This bias is my largest beef, and I will say more about it after describing what the book does well.
“The uniquely high revenue generated by prescription drugs in the United States creates a self-generating cycle. High prices create surplus funds, which are used, in part, for advertising and lobbying, which maintain the manufacturers’ control of the knowledge and pricing, which increases profits to fund the next round of even more expensive new drugs, and so on.”
There you have it. The Pharma industry is so profitable that they can pay off the research institutions, the doctors, the regulatory agencies, and the Congress to maintain their profitability. Controlling the flow of medical knowledge is the linchpin of their business strategy, and they do it so well that most health professionals have no idea that what they read in the medical journals is high-falutin advertising copy.
“Under our current system, it is more profitable for large pharmaceutical companies to commit crimes and pay the fines than to obey the law.”
In case after case, Abramson describes how companies have been convicted of defrauding the FDA and other corporate crimes. Humans are jailed if they are convicted of such crimes; but for companies the equivalent of jail would be putting the company in receivership or forbidding the company to do business for a period of years. This never happens. Instead the companies pay fines which are always a fraction of the profits they reap from the very fraud they have committed. Thus “crime pays” if you’re a drug company.
“We can’t be in the business of policing every piece of data we put out.”
— Editor of the New England Journal
The most prestigious medical journals have become the least reliable. Precisely because of the respect they command, they have been targeted by the drug companies for capture. When an article is published that demonstrates the benefits of a new drug, the manufacturer will buy hundreds of reprints, which salesmen then distribute to doctors in their offices. Journals have become addicted to sales of reprints. Britain’s best-respected journal, The Lancet, gets 40% of gross revenue from selling reprints to drug companies, while the Journal of the American Medical Association and New England Journal of Medicine (JAMA and NEJM) refuse to reveal their revenue from reprints.
Chapter 1 revisits Abramson’s old haunting ground and reminds us of medicine’s most famous scandal: Vioxx. Merck had been one of the most highly-regarded companies in America before its executives made an economic decision to (statistically) kill tens of thousands of its customers, so long as the lawsuits were costing less than the profit margin.
Chapter 2 is about the epilepsy drug Neurontin, which was repurposed and illegally marketed for pain control. (It is legal for physicians to prescribe any drug off-label, but it is not legal for the manufacturers to talk to doctors about off-label applications.) “There is no other drug being used to treat so many different conditions with so little benefit.”
In the older cases of Merck’s Vioxx and Pfizer’s Neurontin, Abramson did the right thing, and patiently pored through the data from company trials of the drugs, demonstrating that the data told a different story from the companies’ summaries to the FDA. But in the case of Pfizer and Moderna’s clinical trials for their mRNA vaccines, the data were even more damning, yet Dr Abramson does not review them. In fact, he scolds the companies for charging so much for their vaccines that they are unaffordable in Third World countries. But there is good evidence that the mRNA vaccines are doing more harm than good.
For example, when you read that the Pfizer trials showed they are 95% effective, you might be excused for thinking that 20 people died in the placebo group for every 1 person who died in the group that got the vaccine. The truth, from Pfizer’s own FDA submission, is that more people died in the vaccinated group than the placebo group [FDA doc, p 23]. Wouldn’t you think that this vaccine should be dead in the water the moment that this information was known? But FDA found excuses to ignore this most significant of all indicators, and sleep-walked to fast-track emergency authorization of the vaccine.
The theme of Chapter 3 is that statin drugs lower risk of heart attacks for those who have already had one, but are being marketed to a great many more people who are judged to be “at risk”. Certainly, statin drugs are among the most over-prescribed in history, but I would like to see Abramson address the deeper controversy about their mode of action. Usually, they are prescribed to lower cholesterol levels in the blood, but many medical researchers today believe that the link between cholesterol an CV risk has been discredited. The alternative view is that the benefit of statins comes exclusively from their anti-inflammatory effect. If this is true, then inflammation can be lowered far more safely and with fewer side effects by natural herbs (curcumin), omega 3s, and NSAIDs.
Chapter 4 is about insulin. Until reading it, I didn’t know that most insulin sold today is not natural insulin but a synthetic protein, slightly modified from human insulin, that arguably provides improved performance for some Type 1 diabetes, and inarguably costs hundreds of times as much. Many diabetics can’t afford the more expensive drug and don’t know about the less expensive version, so they scale back dosage to save money and they pay with their health. I wonder if synthetic insulin doesn’t cause other long-term health problems as well. The corporate motive to “improve” on human insulin is that natural hormones cannot be patented, so they must compete on price. But insulin is literally billions of years old and has multiple metabolic functions, including regulation of lifespan in yeast cells and lab worms and humans, too. Yes, insulin has a direct impact on aging itself. Before we modify a hormone that has co-evolved with diverse aspects of our metabolism, we should be doing whole-life studies to establish long-term benefits. Synthetic insulin has been improved based on short-term, narrowly-focused studies that demonstrate marginal improvement in control of blood sugar only.
Chapter 5 is mostly about income disparities being the deep cause of bad health in America. Amen. I wish he had fingered our dysfunctional economy as being the reason for most antidepressant prescriptions.
In Chapter 6, he tells the story of a meta-analysis review of relevant data on the antiviral drug Tamiflu, signed by the prestigious and once independent Cochrane Collaboration. The review was modified after discovery that the most compelling evidence in its database was provided by the manufacturer, Hoffman-Laroche, data which had never been peer reviewed and never made public before the “review article” was written. The revised article found that Tamiflu had minimal benefit, and no impact on severe outcomes or deaths, but this revision came only after US Homeland Security had purchased a $1.3 billion stockpile of the drug for emergency use.
Since 1975, the Federal office of Health Technology Assessment provided independent evaluation of what was working and what was cost effective. Under the Clinton Administration, HTA was defunded. To save money. There was, at one time, a Federal Clearing House, a project of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality that vetted healthcare information. AHRQ was shuttered during the Trump Administration. To save money.
In Chapter 7, Abramson lays out the story of Prilosec’s replacement by Nexium, which is in fact no more effective than Prilosec, but which enabled Pfizer to effectively extend patent rights on a bestselling drug. What he doesn’t say is that both Prilosec and Nexium are deeply flawed strategies for countering stomach acid reflux (GERD). Both products are Proton Pump Inhibitors, which act by interfering with the body’s acid-generating mechanism. But the stomach requires acid to digest food, and the body chemistry quickly learns to compensate. People taking a PPI drug adapt to it by upregulating the enzymes that produce acid; the result is that PPIs are highly addictive, as discontinuation of use results in a painful surge of excess stomach acid. Older and cheaper antacid strategies don’t have this problem.
Chapter 8 is theoretical: Why we can’t rely on the free market to fix our problems. Why aren’t honest drug companies producing better products able to crowd out the parasites? The reason involves control of information that doctors and consumers need to make medical decisions.
Chapter 9 is about Obamacare. He describes how the bill faced stalwart opposition in Congress, and in the end it achieved an increase in percentage of insured Americans from 80% to 88%. But passage was possible only because both Big Pharma and Big Insurance were solidly behind the bill; and this, in turn, was because the Obamacare plan posed no public competition for private healthcare, regulation of the industry was not included, and bargaining for price breaks on drugs was explicitly forbidden. Obamacare added to the profitability of both the insurance industry and for-profit hospitals. In the story that Abramson tells, the President fought valiantly for the “public option” that might have held down costs, but in the end the combined political clout of the drug and insurance industries defeated the reforms he had promised during his campaign. I’m not so sure that Obama was not in on the fix from the beginning.
Chapters 10 and 11 describe the political conditions that maintain our state of high prices and low quality research. I think Abramson is correct in focusing on data transparency as the key reform that is needed. The central cause of dysfunction in our medical system is that we rely on for-profit corporations to summarize for us the science that supports the benefits of their own products, while raw data remains proprietary. This is not madness, it is fraud. Abramson rallies us into the coalition that will be necessary to break the stranglehold that Pharma has on government. He has more faith in America’s democracy than I have, but I hope he’s right.
Quibbles and suggestions:
He mentions in passing the advantage of polyunsaturated fats for lowering cholesterol. This is badly out of date. I assume that the reference slipped through Abramson’s careful editorial pen because it was part of a quote that was intended for other purposes. Nevertheless, it should be flagged for readers so they don’t take it as a recommendation to increase intake of polyunsaturated fats. Recently Dr Mercola has inveighed against polyunsaturated fats.
Is it right that Ivermectin needs only one dose a year to prevent river blindness? This study from 2014 that twice yearly works much better. Still, this is impressive testimony to a Nobel prizewinning drug that has had enormous benefits for people whose environments routinely expose them to parasites. Abramson doesn’t mention the propaganda war that disparaged of Ivermectin as “horse paste” during the COVID pandemic. In reality, dozens of clinical trials and observational studies have indicated that IVM is the best preventive and probably the best treatment we know for COVID (see also). The story of Uttar Pradesh in India is eye-opening.
Abramson notes several times that life expectancy in the US has improved in recent decades. He fails to mention that the increase is almost entirely for men. In 1980, men’s lifespans were 8 years shorter than womens’. Now, men have nearly caught up, while women’s lifespans have barely improved. Surely, neglect of research on women’s health is a scandal in its own right.
Why doesn’t he explore the relationship of insurance companies to the problem? Insurance companies’ financial interest is opposite to the interest of drug companies, and they have used their market power to demand discounted drug prices. But they have rarely gone to bat for the health of their patients, doing their own research to determine which drugs are actually benefiting their customers’ health and reimbursing those at a higher rate than more questionable drugs.
He might have told the story of antidepressants, sold based symptoms that reflect patients’ despair about the state of American culture and the economic pressures that come from wealth disparity. Two generations of Americans have grown up numbing themselves in response to problems that are far larger than their individual depression. He might have told how frequently side effects of drugs are treated with more drugs, which have their own side effects in an escalating, profitable spiral that is devastating to patients’ health and lucrative for the medical establishment.
Why are vaccines a sacred cow, untouchable in the press?
It is a remarkable public relations coup. The Pharma industry has surpassed Big Tobacco as the #1 industry hated by the American public. But this same public believes that vaccines are life-saving preventatives, and never questions their safety. The vaccines, of course, are sold and tested largely by the same companies that they hate, and the public never connects the dots. Why should we think that companies that have repeatedly been convicted of criminal fraud would honestly report the benefits and the risks of their vaccines?
The truth is that some vaccines have saved hundreds of millions of lives, while others are actually doing more harm than good. Vaccines have general, long-term effects on the immune system, and these can either increase or decrease risk of diseases other than the one for which the vaccine was targeted. (Refer to the work of Christine Stabell Benn.) Vaccines have communal as well as individual benefits, but they also have communal costs; so discussion of any particular vaccine must be nuanced, taking account of wide-ranging social factors. This analysis is never, never done — not by the press nor the epidemiologists nor the journals, certainly not by the FDA. Instead, the world is divided into pro-vax and anti-vax. The latter are disparaged as “enemies of science”. One of the Orwellian triumphs of the vaccine industry is that anyone who asks for vaccines to submit to the same testing regimen as every other drug category is tarred as an “anti-vaxxer”.
There are five reasons why Big Pharma is so jealously protecting its fiefdom, marketing vaccines without public or regulatory opposition.
- Childhood vaccines are actually mandated by most states for school children, guaranteeing a market among people who don’t even have any present health problems.
- Vaccine manufacturers enjoy legal immunity and cannot be sued in America when their products cause harm in vaccinated people.
- Vaccines bypass most tests for safety and efficacy. In “placebo-controlled” trials for vaccines on the childhood schedule, the “placebo” is usually a previously approved vaccine, rather than a harmless saline solution. This practice has masked an escalating spectrum of side effects, growing as the number of vaccines expands.
- Childhood vaccine injuries, mostly unrecognized as such, feed a pipeline of lifelong customers for other drugs, especially stimulants and antidepressants.
- As a result, vaccines were already the most profitable sector of any drug company’s portfolio before vaccine profits went through the roof in 2021.
I won’t pretend to any comprehensive history of vaccines and their discontents, but I want to tell two stories with which I have some personal familiarity.
The childhood vaccine schedule
Dr Paul Thomas is a pediatrician in Portland Oregon. His practice is rooted in standard Western medicine, but he believes in informed consent. So every time a child comes up for a scheduled vaccine, he explains in detail to the parent the trial results, the pros and the cons, the benefits and the risks as far as they can be known from the medical literature. As a result, his patients have become a diverse sample of vaccination status, with some accepting the full vaccine schedule and some others having no vaccines at all, and most of his patients selective about which vaccines they accept. A few years ago, he worked with statistician James Lyons-Weiler to study the histories of these patients over 10 years of follow-up. How did the fully vaccinated, the less vaccinated, and the unvaccinated fare in the subsequent years of their childhood?
They wrote up their study and published it (2020) in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. In every measure of health, the unvaccinated children did better. One sixth as many allergies and anemias. One fourth as many asthmas and colds. Zero cases of ADHD among 561 unvaccinated children; nationally, the rate of ADHD is 9.4%. The article presents a graph demonstrating a positive relationship between the number of vaccinations a child receives and the number of future medical problems s/he experiences.
Fig caption: The horizontal axis divides Dr Thomas’s juvenile patients into 20 groups from the least to the most vaccinations received. The vertical axis is the normalized number of office visits. Green bars show that the number of routine check-ups was about the same across the board. Red bars show that showing up in the office to deal with fevers of any kind was much more common among the heavily vaccinated.
It is well-known that vaccines have long-lasting effects on the immune system, affecting susceptibility to multiple diseases, but the mix of benefits and risks is impossible to predict without a study of this kind. Remarkably, this is the first such study ever
attempted published. Had no one ever asked the question, “are vaccinated children better off overall?” Or had they asked the question and didn’t like the answer they found?
Immediately after publication, the Oregon Medical Board suspended Dr Thomas’s license on an emergency basis, without a hearing. The journal received complaints. The publication was “irresponsible” because it would encourage vaccine hesitancy. The study was “misleading” in unspecified ways. A year later, the journal retracted the article without explanation to the authors.
And so we don’t know whether the extensive vaccine schedule now recommended (often mandated) for children is doing more good than harm. We don’t know because someone doesn’t want us to know.
Suppression of COVID treatments to clear the way for vaccines
I consider this story to be the most egregious scandal in the history of medical publishing. It unfolded almost two years before publication of Sickening, yet it was nowhere mentioned in the book.
Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is a drug with multiple uses and a well-established safety profile. It is taken daily by millions of people who have Lupus, and hundreds of millions more who live in areas where malaria is prevalent. HCQ was used successfully in China to treat the first SARS outbreak in 2003. It works by opening cell walls to allow zinc ions to enter; zinc strongly suppresses the replication of respiratory viruses, including SARS and SARS-CoV-2.
During the spring of 2020, many small studies were being conducted around the world to see if early treatment with HCQ and zinc could keep patients out of the hospital. Then, in May, a major study appeared in the British journal The Lancet. (A companion article appeared in New England Journal of Medicine.) The authors compiled hospital records from six continents, with 100,000 patients who received HCQ and those who did not. In this huge sample of COVID patients, those treated with HCQ were dying at twice the rate of those who did not. The results were so compelling that dozens of smaller studies around the world were discontinued. It would not be ethical to expose COVID patients to HCQ under the circumstances.
But this was the opposite of what had been found previously in smaller studies. Other medical researchers, reading the article, wanted to check the calculations. They asked for the database of patients and outcomes. Weeks passed, and the authors of the Lancet study could not produce the database. Quietly, without announcement or apology, the study was retracted, along with the companion in NEJM.
The story came out: the database had been presented to high-profile academic doctors at Harvard and Stanford by a small Chicago company called Surgisphere. The doctors were excited to have such an extensive database to work from, and they failed to ask even the most obvious questions. Surgisphere had no relationship with dozens of hospitals around the world. The patients in the database were not real people. The data had been fabricated from whole cloth.
But the damage had been done. HCQ studies had been shut down, and the drug had been tainted as dangerous and ineffective, a reputation which has survived to this day.
It gets worse. Subsequent studies of HCQ were designed to fail. They were limited to hospitalized patients, in late stages of the disease when the virus is already gone. Toxic dosages were given to test subjects, causing heart complications and deaths that were completely avoidable. The low dose of HCQ would have worked just fine in early stage COVID.
HCQ was deliberately discredited. In most of the 50 states, pharmacists are forbidden from dispensing it for COVID, or else they think they are forbidden, which has the same effect. The measure of this crime is that HCQ and zinc, used early, would likely have saved millions of COVID patients from hospitalization and death worldwide, extrapolating from some of the honest studies.
The reason for suppressing HCQ and Ivermectin was not just that they are cheap, out-of-patent alternatives. FDA’s rules for emergency authorization say that a vaccine can only be considered for emergency use if no available treatments exist. HCQ (and later IVM) threatened the vaccine strategy that had been determined in advance, with tens of billions of dollars invested.
Abramson recounts the late-breaking story of FDA approval of the Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm, despite the fact that its own advisors had found the drug had no clinical benefit and serious side effects. There is no longer any daylight between FDA and the industries that it was created to regulate. Exactly the same dynamic is underway with approval of the mRNA vaccines. The vaccines’ efficacy plummets after a few months, while the number of deaths reported after mRNA vaccination has been 90 times greater than the worst previous vaccine (Shingrix). These vaccines were based on an entirely new, speculative technology, and rushed to market with zero long-term testing, yet the FDA ignored all precedents, ignored the company’s own data, made no pretense of risk/benefit analysis, and approved the vaccines for every age group. What does Abramson have to say about this? The vaccines “saved countless lives and prevented enormous suffering.”
The bottom line
Dr Abramson does a good job describing the inflation of drug costs and the importance of data transparency. I think he seriously underestimates the harm that has been done to America’s health by a medical system centered on patented drugs.
I can end this review on an upbeat note by retelling my own experience with hospitals, doctors, and the medical establishment. I had almost no such experience until this time last year, partly because I distrusted what Western medicine had to offer, partly because I was both lucky and careful, and had no chronic health issues into my 70s. But last July, the front end of my bicycle had a date with a speeding truck, and I immediately had an opportunity to sample the best that Western medicine has to offer, namely trauma medicine.
My ambulance hit the ER mid-afternoon and I was given a 20% chance of living through the night. Not only did the surgeons save my life with intensive, simultaneous attention to a dozen places where I was bleeding (internally and externally) faster than they could transfuse blood into me; they also were preparing to rebuild my shattered and lacerated left leg, even as they gave me low odds of ever living to enjoy it.
They did a lot of things right, stopping the bleeding, putting rods and screws in both legs, repairing my shattered pelvis with a rod and a second titanium pubic bone, tying off a vein that was too badly damaged to repair.
I was flat on my back, unable to roll over in bed for three months. One year later, I am swimming and bicycling almost at the level of a year ago. My yoga practice is coming back, and I am hiking in the woods more comfortably each day, so far without the balance and dexterity that I used to have. I can’t jump or run, but I am building in that direction and I haven’t given up. Given my age and the severity of my injuries, I am an outlier in the rate and extent of my recovery. Given the kind of collision that sent me to the hospital, it is a miracle that I lived, let alone that my brain and spine were not injured.
Perhaps of interest, I refused all pain medication in the hospital, with the exception of ibuprofen on a handful of nights. I believe, but can’t prove, that pain medication slows recovery.
“How many people have to receive a given drug in order to save one life?” This number is called the “number needed to treat,” or NNT. For metformin and the best drugs we have that treat chronic disease, this number is in the range NNT=30. In other words, 29 people will have all the side effects of the drug and no benefit so that we can save 1 life. For preventive statins and the most questionable drugs in common use, NNT can be over 1,000.
For the treatment I received last July, NNT=1.
Love Josh comment, “Not sickening enough”.
A world of medicine 100% dominated by big pharma and money.
Maybe Rapamycin is the greatest drug since penicillin; maybe not. Maybe there is something else which is very good.
Nobody will ever know unless the drug is owned by big Pharma.
Doesn’t matter if Global warming or medicine; all comes down to the control of Big Money.
This review is absolutely spot on.
At this point, it’s quite clear that the execs in charge of tobacco companies have similar moral scruples than those in charge of pharmaceutical companies. Neither live or die, it’s all about making $$$ and keeping the PR machine running to persuade everyone otherwise.
Some very good points Josh. The biggest problem is the suppression of alternative views out of fear of being labeled misinformation. I know of a very good doctor, Harvard trained, who swears by ivermectin after using it in many, many patients, and yet he dare not come public with this for fear of losing his medical license. This kind of medical censorship and suppression has to stop.
We should be free to question and debate all things medical without this kind of fear hanging over our heads.
I have personal experience. In the 1990’s I published a book in which I made the case that obesity was a chronic disease much like hypertension, and should be treated as such. As a result I became very much ostracized by the general medical community for daring to question the time honored approach of diet and exercise alone.
Now, of course, the AMA has declared obesity as a chronic illness and medications galore are hitting the market.
The point being that many in the medical community will attack you with both barrels if you dare question the standard of care. But someone always needs to question the standard or medical science would never progress and we’d still be using leeches.
Yes! That will be my next column. Thanks for the inspiration.
Please, keep up the good work. This is coming from a physician who was discriminated against for refusing this clearly harmful experiment, and who is naturally immune to sarscov2, to boot. There are a number of us (though sadly a minority) who still care about our health, our patients, other’s lives, and will stand up against this tyranny and call it for what it is. Do no harm is unfortunately just a vestige of some ancient wisdom no one pays attention to anymore really, much akin to how refusing abortion or abortifacients was part of the Hippocratic Oath and the pertinent sections also removed over time. The Devil is literally in the details.
I think skepticism of Ivermectin was justified. I don’t think that most of the skeptics were against testing it. The concern was related to recommending Ivermectin without it being widely tested. Besides the trial listed below, has there been any other large scale double blind RCTs (1000 or more participants)? If so, what were the results.
This is a recent trial that I saw:
““The Randomized Trial to Evaluate Efficacy of Repurposed Medications” — is a nationwide double-blind study that has enrolled more than 4,000 participants. The trial continues to enroll with plans to include nearly 15,000 participants from across the United States.
Ivermectin, a medication used to treat parasitic infections, is one of three repurposed medications currently being tested in ACTIV-6. Repurposed medications are those already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for other medical indications.
“The ivermectin arm of the study opened in June 2021 and enrolled 1,537 participants across the United States in eight months. During the study, participants took either a dose of 400 mcg/kg per day of ivermectin or a placebo for three days.”
“There was no significant benefit in our primary endpoint of resolution of symptoms in mild-to-moderate COVID-19 illness,” said Adrian Hernandez, M.D., the study’s administrative principal investigator and executive director of the DCRI. “Overall, most people improved their symptoms whether they took ivermectin or not. Given these results, there does not appear to be a role for ivermectin outside of a clinical trial setting, especially considering other available options with proven reduction in hospitalizations and death.”
Source: Study Finds No Benefit to Taking Ivermectin for COVID-19 Symptoms Ivermectin is one of three repurposed medications currently being tested in ACTIV-6, a nationwide double-blind study, Duke University, Published June 13, 2022
Evidence for effectiveness of IVM would be considered overwhelming in any other context. Here is a meta-analysis in PLOS Medicine, reviewing 110 studies, including 40 randomized control trials and 70 observational studies. Less than one sixth as many people died if treated with IVM compared to placebo and other non-IVM treatments.
I found the news article that you referred to, but the news article doesn’t seem to link to the research report that it claims to summarize. Do you have a link to the original data?
Often the devil is in the details, and as I described, (1) there is a lot of motivation to make these studies fail, and (2) it is quite easy to design a study of a good drug to fail. (It is harder to design a study of a bad drug to make it look like it works. Usually this requires a deeper fraud.)
Perhaps it’s time to take off the tinfoil hats. Here is another large scale trial where Ivermectin appeared to fail:
Effect of Early Treatment with Ivermectin among Patients with Covid-19May 5, 2022N Engl J Med 2022; 386:1721-1731
“A total of 3515 patients were randomly assigned to receive ivermectin (679 patients), placebo (679), or another intervention (2157). Overall, 100 patients (14.7%) in the ivermectin group had a primary-outcome event, as compared with 111 (16.3%) in the placebo group (relative risk, 0.90; 95% Bayesian credible interval, 0.70 to 1.16). ”
“Treatment with ivermectin did not result in a lower incidence of medical admission to a hospital due to progression of Covid-19 or of prolonged emergency department observation among outpatients with an early diagnosis of Covid-19. (Funded by FastGrants and the Rainwater Charitable Foundation; TOGETHER ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT04727424. opens in new tab.)”
As referenced above, there are dozens of studies that found powerful benefits from ivermectin. It’s not right to talk about “tinfoil hats” when different studies show different results. Open discussion and scientific debate are exactly what we need in this situation.
The study you cite looks to me as though it was designed to fail. They waited a full week to start IVM treatment, when we know that it is best as a preventive and second best as an early treatment. The dosage in the Abstract is listed as 400 mcg/kg, which is standard, but in the supplementary materials they specify that the actual dosage was half that. Furthermore, the study was underpowered, with only N=211 data points.
Still, the results in the ivermectin group beat the control with odds against chance of 4:1. The numbers were small, the dosage was low, and the treatment was late, and for that reason the improvement missed statistical significance. Nothing can be concluded from such a study except that we need bigger numbers, adequate dosage, and earlier treatment to see if the observed effect holds up.
The fact that the authors write, “Treatment with ivermectin did not result in a lower incidence of medical admission to a hospital” indicates a bias. An accurate description of the result would have been that “There were 10% fewer hospitalizations and 12% fewer deaths with ivermectin but these advantages did not reach statistical significance, possibly due to small sample size.”
I guess it’s a matter of who to trust. People on the internet or a variety clinical researchers around the world. I don’t think clinical researchers are involved in a grand conspiracy to find a particular result with Ivermectin or the Vaccine.
Let’s start with Ivermectin. Merck which manufactures Ivermectin, had this to say about Ivermectin and Covid
“No scientific basis for a potential therapeutic effect against COVID-19 from pre-clinical studies;
No meaningful evidence for clinical activity or clinical efficacy in patients with COVID-19 disease, and;
A concerning lack of safety data in the majority of studies.”
One of the manufacturers of the drug itself is clearly saying that there is no meaningful data supporting its efficacy. Yet people still want to believe in it. I asked the question here of whether there has ever been any large scale RCT that showed Ivermectin to be significantly effective with covid. I am open to the possibility that one might exist, but no one here responded with a single large scale RCT. Are people following the RCTs? Or do they put their faith in anecdotal stories? There are clearly several large scale RCTs run by different organizations. It appears that people here believe that there is a grand conspiracy amongst all of such different organizations to find a particular result. In my mind, that’s not plausible. That’s why I used the “tinfoil hat” language. I am not someone that is close-minded with respect to conspiracies. I believe there is a UFO cover-up, but at least I have seen a lot of evidence to support that.
With respect to covid and vaccines, it’s not just Pfizer and Moderna data that demonstrates efficacy. We have multiple state organizations and governments around the world have found efficacy rates simliar to those reported Pfizer and Moderna. I don’t believe that all of these state and country health agencies are all lying to you. In my mind, it’s not plausible to believe that there is a grand conspiracy amongst thousands of people spread across disparate agencies. Furthermore, there is a certain amount of evidence I can see with my own eyes. I am aware that plenty of people filled the hospital with Covid at one time. That’s undeniable. However, not one person I know that was vaccinated ever went to a hospital due to Covid or due to an adverse reaction with the vaccine. I work for one of the largest employers in the world which required vaccination at one time, so I come in contact with mostly only vaccinated people (Friends, Family, Coworkers). None of them ever reported to me an issue that they or others have had with a vaccine. None of them ever reported going to the hospital with Covid. A few of them did get mild covid despite being vaccinated. That was the worst of the stories I heard directly from vaccinated people. I did hear about some isolated serious reactions reported in the news, including death, but the amount of those serious reports were de minimis. I hear your point on VAERS, but Dr. Rhonda Patrick had a guest that explained that just about any incident that happens after vaccination is reported into VAERs regardless of whether it’s likely to be tied to the vaccine. If that’s the truth, then of course there will be very high incident counts in VAERs.
Is it possible that the vaccine could be doing some unknown harm in the long run? Most certainly, but the same could be said about Covid itself.
While I believe that a good diet and exercise are of paramount importance, I am not for or against pharmaceuticals. My parents are in their 80s and are on various blood pressure and blood thinning medications. They are doing much better than their parents and are outliving them. My guess (and to be abundantly clear this is only a guess) is that these drugs are extending their healthspan and lifespan. To be clear, I also believe that there are some pharmaceuticals that are dangerous and are probably shortening people’s lives and healthspans.
I am glad to read that you are recovering so quickly. You said you would, so I think your quick recovery has a lot to do with personal perseverance.
I agree, though, that Modern Medicine in the USA rises to its pinnacle when it engaged in Trauma care.
You wrote: “The concern was related to recommending Ivermectin without it being widely tested.”
You do realize the three Covid 19 types of vaccines, have never been adequately tested. Right?
Nor, have the boosters.
Ivermectin is an older off patent drug, and any side effects are already known and predictable, unlike the three types of Covid vaccines presently on the market and the booster shots.
As noted by, Josh, it is all too easy to design a study to show a desired result either for padded profits or other reasons.
Hi Heather: There was a high showing of efficacy in the vaccine testing. The same could not be said for Ivermectin.
As far as safety, I would opine that Ivermectin would have a much better safety profile compared to the vaccines simply because it has been used and has been in existence for several years. No one knows what the long term effect is of the vaccines or covid. No matter what path one chooses, the risk is unknown.
As long as the hospitals have capacity, which seems to be the case now, I support freedom of choice with respect to vaccines, alternative treatments, mask mandates.
I am glad you agree, regarding the fact that reactions to Ivermectin have long ago been identified. When doctor prescribed and monitored, Ivermectin is as safe as some antibiotics.
Still, there are presently three COVID-19 Vaccines available in the USA. The mRNA, Vector vaccine, protein Subunit vaccine. They are all still being studied.
Where is the efficacy information coming from? Does the source possibly have any conflicts of interest?
In addition, if the vaccines are so efficacious, why are boosters needed every few months for Johnson & Johnson’s version, and 5 to six months for Pfizer & Moderna.
Anyone who thinks a vaccine is 100 percent safe, or that injecting boosters so often is a good idea, has obviously never experienced or witnessed an adverse reaction to a vaccine.
If it happens in the Docs office, you may live. If it’s a delayed adverse reaction…….good luck.
Not to mention that the long term adverse effects of a new vaccine will take years to identify, if at all.
As for the claim that a breakthrough infection is not a sign that the respective vaccines are NOT working. … Well, there is no real research to back up that claim, at this point.
Moreover, why is it okay to use an unproven, not properly studied vaccine, but there is a huge outcry about using a relatively safe off-patent, older drug like Ivermectin, based on physicians’ experiential evidence with his/her own patients.
Why are those doctors being muzzled?
Yes, maybe it is time for some people to take off their tinfoil hats.
For all we know, when adequate Vaccine studies are finally completed and released, we all may learn that the vaccines and boosters were no better than a witch doctor shaking his beads and rattle at the patient.
As I have written elsewhere, it is clear from the genetics that SARS-CoV-2 is a genetically engineered virus, and the modified portion of the virus is the spike protein. There has been evidence for two years now that the spike protein is the toxic payload of an engineered bioweapon.
A vaccine can inject a whole, weakened virus, or just a portion of the virus. There are about 20 genes in the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and any of them could serve as the epitope for a vaccine. Why, then, do all the vaccines deliver the spike protein, and only the spike protein? Even the new Novavax, design of which was begun after everyone should have known that the spike protein is toxic, uses the spike protein as epitope.
This alone is reason the COVID vaccines should be pulled from the market immediately. Of course, there is the VAERS data telling us that there are 90 times more adverse events than the previous worst vaccine in history. There have been 30,000 deaths after the COVID vaccine reported to VAERS. This number is 3x as large as all deaths reported for for all vaccines put together for the previous 30 years. Every previous vaccine that caused 50 or more deaths was pulled from the market.
30,000 compared to 50. It is difficult not to conclude from this that there is malicious intent in the system.
Josh: I am not sure that Covid VAERS comparison is a fair comparison to VAERS for other vaccines. Factcheck.org as well as other sources indicate that there are much different reporting requirements for Covid Vaccines compared to prior vaccines. From FactCheck:
“For the COVID-19 vaccines, health care providers are required by law to report any vaccine administration error; any serious adverse event following vaccination, regardless of the suspected cause; any case of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome; and any COVID-19 case that results in hospitalization or death.
In contrast, with all other vaccines, providers are only required to report select adverse events, including the so-called reportable events for each vaccine that occur within a certain time period after vaccination, such as an allergic anaphylactic reaction.”
I take this to mean that if you get a heart attack after receiving a covid vaccine, that’s required to be reported into VAERS regardless of whether the heart attack is suspected to be tied to the vaccine. In contrast, if one were to get a heart attack after receiving a different kind of vaccine, that’s not required to be reported into VAERS. If those are the ground rules, then of course it would seem logical that the Covid vaccines would have a much higher VAERS count.
In a related point. many believe that the Govt is always conspiring to make Covid vaccine numbers look good. The VAERS reporting rule for Covide vaccine seemingly proves that is not true. Here, the Govt has reporting requirement that will in all likelihood make Covid VAERS counts look way worse compared to prior vaccines.
Josh wrote: “There are about 20 genes in the SARS-CoV-2 virus,”
Agreed, and that is why, if officials want to truly follow the science, they should state that natural immunity is the best way to avoid Covid-19 and its weaker variants.
“Agreed, and that is why, if officials want to truly follow the science, they should state that natural immunity is the best way to avoid Covid-19 and its weaker variants.”
If you want to truly follow logic, “natural immunity” is definitively not the best way to avoid covid. You don’t need to be a scientist to realize this. John Hopkin defines “natural immunity” as follows:
” Natural immunity is the antibody protection your body creates against a germ once you’ve been infected with it”
Being infected with Covid is definitively not the best way to avoid covid. What I think you mean is that getting covid is the best way to avoid future infections or reducing risk from harms from subsequent future covid infections. Many family members of unvaccinated people that died from Covid would disagree with you as to what the best course of action is. My guess is that the majority of virologists, epidemiologists and other clinicians would also disagree with you. I get it that there is a minority view that does not agree with the majority. I acknowledge that the minority view does include some highly credential scientists but so does the majority view.
Having a robust immune system through lifestyle interventions (good diet, sleep, exercise as well as other modalities) is a strategy that I think should be employed by everyone regardless of whether or not they are vaccinated.
With respect to the initial version of Covid, based upon the amount of deaths and hospitalizations of vaccinated vs unvaccinated, in the short term, the vaccinated definitively performed better than the unvaccinated. This was reported to be the case by virtually every state and country agency and every hospital that provided reports. I do not believe that all public health agencies that are lying to you on the stats.
Since we don’t know what the long term effect is of vaccines or covid, I don’t know how anyone can proclaim that they know what the best way is to deal with covid related issues.
Resorting to semantic quibbling sounds somewhat desperate.
Even a JHS school student knows that you can be exposed to a virus and never show symptoms.
If one never shows symptoms but has antibody protection, they have effectively avoided the ills of Covid, through the immunity conferred by exposure.
You do, however, sound like a “detail man/woman” Most regurgitate the insular information they have been told to peddle, without really understanding side effects or the larger picture.
Do people need to get sick to
My position on this issue has changed to some degree. With respect to the first couple of waves of Covid, I was decidedly on the vaccination side. My position has changed because circumstances have changed. Now it appears to me that perhaps: Covid has become less lethal, the population has developed much broader immunity, the healthcare system has become a lot more proficient at treating covid, and hospitals have plenty of capacity. For these reasons, I am not a vaccine advocate, nor I am against it at this time.
I will, however, continue to argue:
(1) That no ones knows the best course of action. Not one person on this Earth thoroughly understands the long term effects of covid or the vaccine or repeated exposures to either covid or to the vaccines.
(2) That it is unlikely that there is a grand conspiracy amongst perhaps hundreds of organizations and thousands of people to fake efficacy numbers of vaccines or other treatments. (The vaccine efficacy data is not just Pfizer or Moderna data. It’s data from lots of disparate health organizations and most of it seems to support the accuracy of the Pfizer and Moderna data sets.)
(3) One cannot make a fair comparison of Covid VAERS data to other Vaccine VAERS data for the reasons I previously stated in another post.
(4) People should not accept widely speculative theories as fact. ( I think it’s fine for folks to discuss theories or to say they believe a particular theory though.)
(5) People should try to back their theories with published data from credible organizations and / or credible peer reviewed journals. This is the main problem I have with a lot of the minority view / alternative theories.
With respect to this item 5, as an example, we have one comment here where someone said some unnamed doctor had a particular finding. The person in question did not take the time to name the doctor or provide a citation to any publication. He then expects people to believe his information as fact. He states that he wonders why he was kicked out of another discussion group. I am not going to trust that information or disclosures of similar information. People just spread bogus info all of the time.
When I make an argument, I try to support it with data that is seemingly credible unless it is based on my personal perception. When I make an argument that is based on my personal perception, I try to make that clear to the reader.
Capacity wasn’t ever an issue. And mandating vaccination for children is sufficient proof of something terribly wrong with this entire covid episode.
I recently started myself on a low dose 5-10mg pregenolone (bought a years worth for about £5). Remarkable effect for me at 52yrs (focus, alertness). Media makes reference to it in terms of its dangers and unproven effects, very litttle is positive. I found this disturbing in some low-level way ‘why so negative? Am i missing something? Am i making some great erorr?’. After reading Josh’s summary it seems likely the negativity is due to it being natural, therefore unpatentable and unprofitable.
Len: You could perform your own test as to whether 5-10mg pregenolone may be healthy for you. Take a relatively full blood panel now. After taking the blood panel stop pregenolone for 8 weeks, and try not to change your diet / exercise over during that 8 week period, and then take another full blood panel and compare the results. If the blood panel is worse overall after the 8 week period, pregenelone may be harmful to you. If the blood panel is better overall after the 8 week period, pregenelone may be providing you health benefits. You could repeat the protocol a third time to try to confirm your findings based on the first two tests.
Pregnenolone is a master hormone: That means it is capable of creating/metabolizing into many hormones.
The thing to check is which type of hormones it creates downstream.
For example, in a man, check estradiol levels and the more harmful dihydrotestosterone, one form of testosterone.
A lot of people confuse Pregnenolone with Prednisolone. Prednisolone is not the same as Pregnenolone.
If you notice sudden weight gain, while taking Pregnenolone that may signal excess estrogen in a man.
Sudden increased hair fall, not due to familial genetics, may indicate an excess of the more dangerous form of testosterone a.k.a dihydrotestosterone in both men and women.
Dihydrotestosterone is also implicated in prostate enlargement or cancer in men.
For women, deepening of voice and sudden hair fall, may indicate an excess of all types of testosterone.
All those issues should cease if you stop the Pregnenolone.
If your estrogen levels or dihydrotestosterone levels are too high when testing, after 2 months of use, cut back to 5 mgs., and retest.
Your dose is very low.
In women, they should test to ensure their testosterone and dihydrotestosterone levels are not too high.
Also, note how you feel. If you feel crummy, after two to 3 weeks of use, something is off. Get your hormone level tested.
With that said, both my husband and I have been taking 10 mgs of high quality oral Pregnenolone supplements for 20 years and our hormones are normal for our respective genders, as is all our blood work.
15 to 30 mgs is average. If you want to raise the dose, titrate up slowly and retest often. I find 10 mgs is good enough.
Most traditional doctors will advise you to not take Pregnenolone supplements, so if you want a doctor’s support, you may need to find a doctor who understands hormones for anti-aging therapy.
Awesome article, Josh! I’ll be sharing this widely. Thanks so muc!
Thank you very much for sending me this review which corresponds exactly with my analysis of the situation facing Parkinson’s disease patients.
The target which could stop the progression of Parkinson’s disease is deliberately ignored in favour of symptomatic targets which have no effect on disease progression. Sulforaphane made from Broccoli seeds targets this stage in disease progression perfectly and rapidly attenuates non-motor symptoms.
I spell this out very clearly in a presentation (slideshow) called: “Reflections of a Scientist with Parkinson’s disease ”
You can find it here
I firmly believed that Hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin were good drugs for their original indications, but were quack alternative for SARS-COVID because of the propaganda campaign you described. It also did not help that Trump was a vocal proponent with profit motives by some of his administration officials.
How to you foresee the pharma/age regression conflict resolving?
Effective age regression poses the biggest threat to the pharmaceutical industry profits since Hippocrates first started teaching medicine. Living longer is not the problem, it will be the lack of diseases experienced extended health-spans. This dramatic reduction in cost/profits during an individual’s life must be seen as the biggest threat to this industry in modern times.
In all of the meetings that I sat through and participated in partnering biotech’s with pharmaceuticals, the priority of the meeting agendas were as fellows: potential profitability, efficacy, and finally, safety.
It’s a very insightful and helpful review/overview of Dr. Abramson’s book. Thanks for providing it.
It’s certainly true that some forms of anti-aging therapy would drastically reduce the drug companies’ opportunity for profit. For example, if Katcher’s E5 turns out to work for humans in the way it works for rats, people would need a lot less treatment for cancer and heart disease. Perhaps this is related to the reason that traditional drug companies have not invested heavily in anti-aging medicine. But this could also be the innocent result of conventional thinking.
Great article, Josh.
“Humans are jailed if they are convicted of such crimes; but for companies the equivalent of jail would be putting the company in receivership or forbidding the company to do business for a period of years.”
The lack of a suitable punishment for corporate crime spurred me to write a fictional version of an alternative approach in my blog back in 2007. ( http://klurgsheld.wordpress.com/2007/09/01/short-story-full-circle/ )
For people, incarceration limits the person’s actions and interactions under the direction of the legal system’s corporate prison complex. So rather than terminating the company, which frees the people responsible for those actions to repeat them elsewhere, in my fiction, a court-appointed officer took over as head of the Board for a specified period. During this time, the executives were locked into their jobs there, but their ‘pay’ would be controlled by the court’s representative; the company could not enter any new lines of business, or do mergers and acquisitions. The company would be unionized, and the union would be represented on the board. Corrective actions would be mandated. And employees are free to talk to customers about the company’s illegal actions. If the business then fails, the execs would take the fall.
There are undoubtedly problems with this, but we really haven’t tried anything useful so far to handle corporate criminals. Is this something worth your time exploring?
What you describe is one form of what I called “receivership”. I think the details you present are a creative solution for one kind of corporate crime, and that in general the punishment should be tailored to the crime.
Not only are Big Pharma and Big Medicine corrupt in pushing dangerous drugs, they also suppress things that lead to good health like the proper dose of Vitamin D3. Ever since taking much higher doses of Vitamin D3 than recommended by doctors I have only had a single cold in the last 25 years (while off of D3). By taking D3 K2 and COQ10 and boron on a daily basis I have had no dental issues and have not gone to the dentist in more than 20 years. I never floss unless I have a piece of food struck between my teeth and then my gums don’t even bleed. Before, I used to have bleeding receding gums… I researched the hell out of D3 and its 5 cofactors as well as the scandal of Big Pharma and wrote a book about it which is becoming a bestseller……you might want to check it out>>>>>> it has 600+ reviews and 4.6/5.0 stars rating
The Miraculous Cure For and Prevention of All Diseases
What Doctors Never Learned Kindle Edition
I think the most interesting part of the history of Big Medicine’s scandalous ways that I report in this book is that in the 1920’s when Vitamin D had just become available to the public people were routinely taking 25 mg a day. There was a vitamin D craze ..Vitamin D was being put in everything from hot dogs to beer to milk.. they called it the sunshine vitamin. Just before this time there was a boom in hospital building as powers that be wanted to turn medicine into a profitable big business. Before the 1920’s most medical treatments were performed at people’s homes. In the 1920’s the US had way more hospital beds per person than we do now. But the hospitals ran into a problem- because everyone was taking so much Vitamin D the hospitals were basically empty! Nobody was getting sick anymore! So what was the response of Big Pharma and Big Medicine? They contrived some experiments where they used Vitamin D in super high doses and probably laced with impurities to kill some lab animals and declared Vitamin D a dangerous substance. (A later study called the Streck Report debunked these studies but it was ignored. ) They then recalibrated the 25 mg dose. 25 mg then became 1 million international units! And they told people to never take more than 400 IUs a day or it would be dangerous! 400 IUs is just enough to keep an infant from getting the bow leg disease of rickets but completely inadequate to promote good health. Considering that the skin of a young light skinned-person will make 20,000 IUs of D3 with just 1/2 hour of sunbathing in the summer at the US Canada border 400 IUs as a daily limit of D3 is just an outrageous scandal . And this lie has been promoted by Big Medicine all the way from the 1930’s to the present and they still have not increased the recommended amount significantly ..now they recommend 400 to 800 IUs a day! In the book you will also learn how Harvard with many other major Institutions and major science journals are continuing to this day to crank out junk science with the aim of discrediting Vitamin D’s benefits. (Vitamin D3 is actually a hormone that controls 2700+ genes involved with regulating your immune and tissue remodeling systems). If everyone took enougb Vitamin D3 (and magnesium) it would wipe out about 90% of the medical industry- only trauma medicine would be left.
You don’t have to believe me on all this- watch this YouTube video with Dr Bruce Hollis talking about how hard it is to get permission to do research with Vitamin D3 with doses of just 7000 IU a day!!! The FDA makes it just as hard to get D3 research permission with higher doses as research with drugs that require a black box warning!! link https://youtu.be/mHx1GF2XON8
“I can end this review on an upbeat note by retelling my own experience with hospitals, doctors, and the medical establishment.”
Josh: Great article! Your experience…treated trauma…is about the only area in which I trust most physicians. Big Pharma doesn’t skew a doctor’s methodology for treating a fractured sternum. Nor reattaching a torn ACL. For my overall health, a doctor is mostly a waste of time and adds zero value to my longevity equation.
Thank you to Andrew Carnegie for messing with modern medicine and healthcare. Dead over one hundred years and his legacy of ‘money is priority one’ is very much alive and well.
” Why would anyone believe that the same companies that defrauded the FDA and paid billion dollar fines would be telling us the truth about safety trials of their vaccines?”
The author answers his own question. The risk of billion dollar fines for lying would be an incentive to tell the truth. It’s no guarantee of truth, but it’s an incentive.
In addition, one felony count of conspiracy to defraud the FDA carries a punishment of up to five years in prison. It would seem that it would be kind of dumb for an already wealthy CEO to knowingly take that risk.
Of course, we’re all subject to the potential of fraud. It happens in just about every institution, public and private. Yet we still need or desire to drive over bridges, consume food and other substances . If you avoided all activities and substances due to potential fraud, you would lead a very sheltered / low quality life.
If you read further down the article, I claimed that the fine was paid out of corporate monies, not by the executives who made the decision. I also claimed that the amount of the fine was much smaller than the profits made illegally on the drug, and that’s why I claimed that “crime pays” for drug companies. This phenomenon is described generally in Abramson’s book, and it was consonant with things I heard before, so I did not fact-check these claims. If you have the energy to fact check Pfizer’s $2.3 billion conviction from 2009, I would be interested to hear what you find.
You may be right about everything you said. However, my belief from working for a large corporation is that the bad PR and the amount of that fine, would be a substantial deterrent, even if paid out of corporate funds and even if the drugs were highly profitable. I don’t think a corporation could easily maintain its existence with multiple occurrences of Billion dollar fines. At some point the shareholders would revolt and public confidence would go out the window.
I looked, but I could not easily find the profit levels of the drugs related to the 2.3 Billion settlement.
You sent me an email asking me for some personal information. If you send me another email with the original request and an acknowledgement that you will not disclose my information to others, I will answer the questions in your original email.
To be clear, the opinions I expressed here are my own, are unrelated to my field of employment, and have not been influenced or discussed with my employer or any other organization.
My offer to disclose my personal information (including employment information) to Josh to demonstrate that I do not work for one or more Pharmaceutical companies (or any other healthcare entity) was turned down by Josh. My conditions for disclosure were (1) My personal information is not disclosed to others; and (2) That Josh acknowledges he was incorrect in labeling me as paid pharmaceutical shill, provided that my employment history backs that up.
I may participate in Josh’s blog topics on aging research, but I will leave the discussion on vaccines and pharmaceuticals to others.
Josh: If you could change the Notify Me options, such that I no longer get email on this topic, that would be great.
I deplore that Josh, having originated so many open and well informed discussions, has a closed mind on vaccines and Ivermectin.
Both anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories inhibit muscle growth as a response to strength training:
So it makes sense that painkillers could inhibit healing.
Note this guy is a great resource. A former “quant” (financial quantitive analyst) he has applied his statistics know-how and general acumen to strength training. A lot of the stuff he posts has applicability far beyond body building.
Based on Josh’s column I read book,
Very good book.
The following quote says it all:
“Don’t believe anything, not one thing, put out by a pharmaceutical company.”
Everybody is in on the scam: the drug companies, the medical journal publishers, the people who do the studies, the FDA.
The so called scientific information presented to treating physicians is all cooked. Doctors can’t do the right thing because they get bad information.
The single goal is massive profits for drug companies not benefit to society.
Interesting fact: p10
Vioxx during its 5 years on US market killed 40,000-60,000 people due to heart attacks as many as the number of American soldiers who died in Vietnam War.
“Its just business”. The Godfather
Great post josh, you were just as smart as i tought.
I wish i could see the faces of the FB rapamycin group right now … banning me for posting about covid v side effects. Yet even swedish studies show it removes DNA repair, so you will age in record speed. another swedish study show the vax travles to the liver and changes liver genes. and wops, all the sudden i see media saying children got a new virus we never heard about and its giving kids liver cancer … oh really …
Multiple countries did analyze on the covid vaccins, they are FILLED with graphene oxide. wich oxidize the body from the inside out.
If you wanna get really freaky, read what Dr. Andreas novack found in the vaccins. He is germanys nr.1 graphene expert. And got killed few days after he whent public with his find … and what did he find … nano razors.
He says this is why FIFA got 500% increase in stroke this year, due to faster blood supply = the graphene do more damage. What he found was graphene HYDROXIDE. all the other labs find the oxide. the hydroxide is small small microscopic razors.
I have lost count on how many docs saying the lifespan is 3-5 years after vaccination
One american female doc who analyzed the blood of the vaccinated, show how the blood platlets ROTTENS … even she said lifespan 3-5 years. the blood god damn rottens guys.
What this means for our future, few billion taken this stuff. yeah we might have a bigger problem then we tought
“There was, at one time, a Federal Clearing House, a project of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality that vetted healthcare information. AHRQ was shuttered during the Trump Administration. To save money.”
Josh, I only want to correct one error you made with regard to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ): we have not been shuttered, and rumors of our demise are much exaggerated. It is true that when AHRQ’s budget was cut, we were forced to make cuts to several programs as well as eliminate our Guidelines Clearinghouse. However, AHRQ itself was not eliminated. The Trump Administration had proposed that AHRQ, an agency under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), be made an Institute within the National Institutes of Health (also part of HHS), but Congress said, “Not so fast!” So, AHRQ still exists as a separate agency under HHS.
Karen Carp, for AHRQ’s Office of Communications
Thanks, Karen – I took my account directly from Dr Abramson’s book, and I hope you have offered the correction to him as well.
Josh, thank you for the post and another demonstration of clear thinking. The fact that there are still people out there that dispute that the spike protein causes disease (let me count the ways) and that the design was to increase that protein synthesis is on its face malicious, harmful, and quite frankly, disgusting. The only thing that is more disgusting is the combination of emotional simpletons and paid actors still arguing for it, or against all the clear dating showing how obviously ineffective and damaging it clearly is.