Big Pharma: Gaming the System

Big Pharma: Gaming the System (2020) — The Movie Database ...

Big Pharma: Gaming the System

DW (2020)

Film Review

This 2020 documentary was obviously filmed pre-Covid. Although it mentions the growing tendency of Big Pharma to dictate government health policy, it makes no mention of Big Pharma’s role in pressuring WHO, the FDA, the CDC and other public health bodies to create mass hysteria over a low mortality respiratory illness, to suppress cheap and effective Covid treatments (eg Vitamin D, Ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine) and to blackmail all Western governments into forcing experimental gene therapy on all their hapless populations.

It begins with the saga of hedge fund manager and convicted felon and former CEO of Retrophin and Turing Pharmaceuticals Martin Shkrell. In 2015, Shkrell made headline new by increasing the cost of the lifesaving drug Daraprim* by 5000%. After defending his decision (to protect his shareholders) in his testimony before Congress, Shkreli was convicted of securities fraud. At present, he’s serving a seven-year prison sentence.

The film goes on to explore global class action suits against several pharmaceutical companies for suppressing studies revealing negative side effects of their drugs. One examined in detail is Depakene, an anti-epilepsy medication that causes developmental delay during pregnancy (in 40% of fetuses).

Filmmakers seem most scandalized  by the ridiculously high prices drug companies cause for life saving treatments. One example is the anti-cancer drug avastin, accidentally discovered to reverse age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Despite spending no money of their own developing this drug, Roche and Novartis immediately boosted the its price from $50 to $2000 per injection (into the eyeball) to $2,000 per injection.

The second example is the hepatitis C drug Sivaldi. Despite being developed with taxpayer funds at the National Institutes of Health, Gilead Sciences sells it for $84,000 for a three month course.


*Pyrimethamine, sold under the brand name Daraprim among others, is a medication used with leucovorin to treat the parasite diseases toxoplasmosis and cystoisosporiasis.

The film can be seen free at https://topdocumentaryfilms.com/big-pharma-gaming-system/

 

Dr Peter McCullough and the Suppression of Early Covid Outpatient Treatment

USSANews.com | The Tea Party's Front Page.

Dr Peter McCullough: Courageous Doctors Could Have Saved Millions

Interview

CENSORED: Dr. Peter McCullough, MD testifies How ...

In this remarkable interview, world renowned cardiologist Dr Peter McCullough describes by himself and a network of hundred doctors in the US and overseas to use early treatment to prevent hospitalization and death. According to McCullough, a US network of 250 doctors along with a dozen telemedicine services provide early outpatient treatment to 10,000 to 15,000 Covid patients daily. Although it receives virtually no mainstream media attention, doctors in Greece, Italy, southern France, Central America, South America, India, and East Asia are reducing Covid death rates by approximately 85% by offering similar similar treatments.

McCullough worked closely with doctors in Italy (which experienced one the earliest Covid outbreaks) to develop the treatment protocols he uses. They usually combine what he refers to as “sequenced multidrug therapy.” Treatment regimens consist of a “neutriceutical bundle (Vitamins D and C, plus zinc and quercetin), either hydochloroquine (used extensively to treat SARS-CoV-1 in 2002-2004) or ivermectin, azithromyocin (to treat secondary bacterial infections), steroids, anticoagulants (to prevent blood clots) and in some cases, monoclonal antibodies (from recovered Covid patients) and colchicine (a drug used in gout).

McCullough decries the official “Do Not Treat” (aka “Let Them Die”) position of official government bodies, such as the FDA, the NIH and the CDC, as inhumane. Based on current data, McCullough estimates we could have saved 85% of the 600,000 Americans who died of Covid19 with early outpatient treatment.

Although the government and AMA have essentially ordered doctors not to prescribe ivermectin and hydrochloroquine (based on one flawed and one faked study)*, the FDA has given Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to monoclonal antibodies and two new antivirals. However these ambulatory treatments are also being suppressed.

When asked about the vaccine, he expresses puzzlement the FDA has allowed the experimental Covid vaccination scheme to continue in the face of thousands of deaths. Most clinical trials of any new treatment are stopped after 25 deaths. Although 70% of his practice have received Covid vaccine, he no longer advises his patients to take it owing to the high incidence of severe side effects.


*At this point, there are 100s of peer reviewed studies supporting the safety and efficacy of hydroxychloroquine and ivermecin in Covid19 and a dozen each supporting treatment with steroids and anticoagulants.

The interview can be viewed free at https://grandmageri422.me/2021/05/31/full-interview-world-renowned-doctor-blows-lid-off-of-covid-video/

Why Are Early Outpatient Covid Treatments Being Suppressed?

Great short video by Idaho pathologist about the importance of early treatment in Covid 19. He makes five main points:

  • According to multiple controlled studies around the world, maintaining adequate Vitamin D levels will reduce the risk of severe Covid illness by 90%. At present 80% of Americans are Vitamin D deficient because they fail to produce adequate Vitamin D from sunshine. Eighty percent of Americans are also deficient in magnesium and zinc, which are essential to Vitamin D’s immune regulating effects.
  • Effective early outpatient treatments for Covid are being suppressed owing to government collusion with big Pharma to promote Covid vaccines. It’s only legal for the FDA to approve vaccines in the absence of effective treatment.
  • Other countries are opting to treat Covid patients early, mainly with Ivermectin, owing to dozens of controlled trials showing it reduces death rates by 90%.
  • The so-called mRNA vaccines aren’t really vaccines, but experimental gene therapy. They don’t protect you from becoming infected or transmitting Covid 19 and they put you at risk for a fatal “antibody dependent reaction” when exposed to the wild virus.
  • Statistical data reveals that mask mandates and business restrictions didn’t reduce the level of Covid illness.

 

The Billionaire Who Nearly Brought Herbalife Down

Betting on Zero

Ted Braun (2016)

Film Review

This is the very sad story about efforts by billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman to end Herbalife’s predatory pyramid scheme by 1) short selling* their stock and 2) pressuring regulators to end their deliberate exploitation of low income and minority communities.

Bloomberg News reporter Christine Richard’s 2011 book Confidence Game describes how Ackman helped to bring down MBIA (Municipal Bond Insurance Association) by purchasing credit default swaps against them. In 2012, she alerted Ackman to a similar scam perpetuated by the multibillion dollar international health supplement company Herbalife. Ackman’s response was to short sell Herbalife’s stock (in an endeavor to drive their stock price down) and to engage in a multimillion dollar investigation and public information campaign to pressure federal and state regulators to take regulatory action.

Herbalife was founded in the 1980s by Mark Hughes. After Hughes died in 2000 from an accidental overdose, former Disney CEO Mark O Johnson took over as Herbalife CEO. Just like other pyramid schemes, Herbalife derives profit, not from selling health products, but from continuously recruiting new distributors – and pressuring them to recruit other distributors.

According to the investigation Ackman commissioned, only 17% of these distributors could make a living selling Herbalife. Forty percent earned less than $1,000 and 40% were left with a garage full of Herbalife products which had passed their expiry date. One reason Herbalife is so difficult to sell is that it’s three to four times more expensive than Slim Fast, the closest equivalent available in pharmacies and supermarkets.

In the US, Herbalife deliberately targets illegal migrants in the Hispanic community, who are reported to immigration if they complain about the way the company treats them. The film profiles a grassroots group in Los Angeles that organized a series of protests highlighting the fraud Herbalife had perpetuated against them. In 2014, they joined a class action suit of 1.5 million former Herbalife distributors. Despite losing an average of $10,000 apiece, the California judge approved a settlement awarding them $10 each.

In 2016 the FTC ruled that Herbalife was indeed a pyramid scheme. The penalty imposed was essentially a slap on the wrist – a $200 million fine and an order to restructure their corporation.**

Ackman’s short selling scheme was defeated the same year when rival billionaire Carl Icahn*** invested heavily in Herbalife shares to short up their stock price. Ackman would exit his short position in 2018.


*Short selling means investing in way to derive income if the stock price falls. When a large number of investors (or a large hedge fund) short sells a single stock, it can force its price to collapse.

**Herbalife was required to reduce shipping costs they charged distributors, to increase their acceptance of unsold product, to crack down on unofficial distributors, and to engage an independent monitor.

***In 2017, Trump appointed Icahn as his key regulatory advisor.

Public library patrons can view the full film free on Kanopy.

Successful Mass Protest During Repression

United in Anger: A History of ACT-UP

Directed by Jim Hubbard (2012)

Film Review

This documentary traces the history of ACT-UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), one of the few successful mass protest organizations during the repressive Reagan era. Between 1981, when the AIDS epidemic was first recognized, and 1987, 40,000 Americans died of AIDS. During this time Reagan refused to utter the word AIDS, much less advocate for research, prevention and treatment. Prior to 1987, 80% of patients diagnosed with AIDS would be dead in two years.

ACT-UP first formed in New York City in 1987, the same year the first anti-AIDS drug AZT became available. By 1996, the year the life-saving Triple Cocktail* became available, they had 147 chapters across the US.

The film mainly focuses on the New York City chapter, and their Monday night meetings attended by hundreds of activists. Most former ACT-UP members believe the secret of their success decentralized (non-hierarchical) organizing. This fostered the burgeoning of dozens of affinity groups based on the needs of specific AIDS patients (women, minorities, low income).

The ACT-UP Women’s Caucus was one of the more important affinity groups, as the CDC was stubbornly resistant to the reality that AIDS was the number one killer of American women. Because the disease presents differently in women (eg with a a high incidence of cervical cancer), the initial CDC diagnostic criteria made it impossible for female AIDS patients to qualify for Social Security Disability or Medicaid. This not only left them penniless and homeless as the disease progressed but denied them access to America’s for-profit health system

In 1987, ACT-UP held their first protest at the Burroughs-Wellcome Tuckahoe (New York) research facility to protest the prohibitive prize of AZT ($10,000 per year).

Over the years, the organization held a number of creative protest actions, most involving civil disobedience:

1988 – Unfurled banners on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange to protest AZT’s  high cost.

1988 – Made the front page news for “taking over” the FDA to demand more rapid approval of drugs for AIDS treatment.

1989 – Joined with other social justice groups for a City Hall protest against Mayor Ed Kochs failure to fully fund low income housing and hospitals (many AIDS patients were dying in hospital corridors.

1989 – Joined with Women’s Health Network for a 7,000+ protest at St Patrick’s Cathedral (with hundred protestors “dying in” inside the sanctuary) to protest the Catholic Church opposition to safe sex, condoms, and abortion.

1990-94 – Commenced four-year campaign to pressure CDC to include women with AIDS in their diagnostic criteria to include women with AIDS.

1990 – Protest to force National Institutes of Health (NIH) to include patients in designing clinical trails

1991 – Camera bombed Dan Rather’s CBS network news yelling “Fight AIDS not Arabs) the day the US declared war on Iraq (picked up by all major US news outlets).

1995 – Blocked Midtown Tunnel to protest city/state service cuts

 

 

 

 

The Growing Freshwater Crisis

Last Call at the Oasis

Directed by Jessica Yu (2012)

Film Review

This is a wide ranging documentary about the global freshwater crisis. It focuses mainly on the US, which has the largest water footprint per capital. However it also briefly addresses even more severe water issues in Australia, the Middle East and India.

The film addresses numerous issues contributing to the shortage of fresh water – climate change, causing more frequent droughts and declining snow backs (an important source of fresh water), the rapid depletion of groundwater (many US aquifers are predicted to be totally gone in 60 years), and the contamination of remaining freshwater by unregulated toxic chemical discharge, factory farm waste and fracking wastewater.

As usual the federal regulatory agencies (EPA, FDA, USDA) come off looking really badly in contrast to their European counterparts. It also comes across loud and clear that poor Americans suffer the most from contaminated drinking water – especially when government looks the other way.

The film also highlights how spoiled and entitled many Americans are in their attitudes towards water conservation.

My favorite part of the film features renowned anti-toxics activist Erin Brokovich, who continues to work tirelessly for poor communities suffering epidemics of cancer and other debilitating conditions stemming from contaminated water

Unfortunately there are no easy solutions to contaminated drinking water. Drinking bottled water isn’t one of them. As the filmmakers point out, bottled water is even more poorly regulated than tap water. Neither is desalinization, which is extremely polluting, both in terms of CO2 pollution and a nasty brine residue that’s nearly as harmful as nuclear waste to human health and the environment.

It appears that the cheapest and most environmentally friendly solution for desert areas like the Southwest and Southern California is one adopted by the city of Singapore: recycling purified waste (sewage) water. Most Americans resist this approach due to the “yuck factor.” Reportedly Los Angeles is on track to begin waste water recycling  by 2019.

The film, which can’t be embedded, can be viewed free for the next 2 weeks at the Maori TV website: Last Call at the Oasis

 

 

The Federal Campaign Against Local Healthy Food

Farmageddon

Directed by Kristin Canty (2011)

Film Review

Farmageddon (unrelated to the book Farmageddon) tells the story of a deliberate campaign by federal and state regulatory agencies to harass small family farmers and buying cooperatives.

Kanty begins by briefly outlining the major food safety problem which has accompanied the boom in industrial farming and agrobusiness in the US. Instead of addressing the unhygienic conditions factory farmed animals are raised in (with animals being confined in small cages and pens with their own feces , Congress has imposed an array of useless regulations on all food production and processing.

These regulations allow the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to conduct warrantless raids on small family farms and private coops. The film tells the story of various families who have been raided at gunpoint by federal and state SWAT teams – often where no or only minor infractions have occurred. Most face confiscation of their animals, product and equipment, as well as destruction of their livelihood.

Many of the raids relate to raw milk production. The latter has proven health benefits in asthma, eczema and allergic rhinitis – due to to beneficial bacteria and enzymes that are destroyed when milk is pasteurized.

The laws regulating raw milk vary from state to state – in California you can buy it at supermarkets but can’t sell yogurt or cheese made from raw milk. In some states you can only buy it at the farm gate. In others it’s illegal to sell it at all. Although it’s legal in all states for farmers and farm cooperatives to produce raw milk for their own consumption, the film depicts SWAT teams shutting down several farms and coops for doing so.

In no instance, were any of the confiscated products found to be contaminated by pathogenic bacteria. This is the implicit guarantee you get from sourcing food locally from farmers you know and trust: no  farmer selling milk that makes people sick will stay in business. The source of supermarket food, in contrast, is extremely difficult to trace.

The message that comes across loud and clear in this film in this film is that food regulations created by the FDA and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) are written by agrobusiness. The latter are clearly threatened by growing consumer demand for locally produced, unprocesssed, organic food. These regulations clearly serve the interests of Food Inc rather than the public.

Fluoridegate

Fluoridegate: An American Tragedy

Directed by Dr David Kennedy DDS (2012)

Film Review

Fluoridegate is about the blatant corruption in Washington DC, particularly the EPA, that allows the continued poisoning of local water supplies with the industrial toxin hydrofluorosilic acid (aka “fluoride”).

The last decade has produced an abundance of peer reviewed research establishing unequivocally that chronic exposure to fluoridated water causes osteoporosis, decreased IQ and other neurodevelopmental problems, hypothyroidism, birth defects, cancer and dental and skeletal fluorosis. All the pertinent federal agencies (EPA, FDA, CDC) acknowledge that 1) using fluoridated water in kidney dialysis can be lethal and 2) using fluoridated water to dilute formula causes serious fluoride toxicity in infants. Yet there is absolutely no effort to warn the public of these dangers.

The documentary highlights the case of Dr William Marcus, the former chief toxicologist at the EPA’s Office of Drinking Water. In 1994, Marcus was fired after a colleague leaked one of his reports to the media identifying fluoride as a probable carcinogen. In the wrongful dismissal suit Marcus filed, he established that the EPA had engaged in perjury, forgery and witness tampering in their efforts to destroy his career and reputation. The court rescinded the dismissal and awarded him back pay, damages and all legal fees.

Last year the US Department of Health and Human Services reduced their maximum recommended fluoride level for drinking water from 1.2 parts per million to 0.7 parts per million. This despite volumes of research indicating there is no safe level of chronic fluoride exposure – just as there is no safe level of lead or mercury exposure.

The primary source of fluoride used in public drinking water is hydrofluorosilic acid, a toxic byproduct of the fertilizer industry. Prior to the decision to add “fluoride” to drinking water in the 1950s, exposure of this extremely toxic chemical was a major headache for car makers and the aluminum and chemical industry. For more background on the conspiracy Alcoa, Dupont, GM and propaganda specialist Edward Bernays cooked up to dump it in our water (by telling us it was good for our teeth) see Ending Water Fluoridation: One We Can Win

Nearly all of Europe, except for the UK, has banned the use of fluoride in drinking water. In 2011, I and 60 other members of Fluoride Free New Plymouth successfully campaigned to have fluoride removed from our water.

Residents of over 100 US communities have successfully ended water fluoridation. For a full list see link.

Monsanto Has Known Since 1981 that Glyphosate Promotes Cancer

Great interview with researcher Dr Anthony Samsel from Dr Mercola’s website.

mercola
Researcher Reveals Monsanto Has Known Since 1981 That Glyphosate Promotes Cancer

Dr Anthony Samsel has obtained copies from Monsanto’s original glyphosate studies from the 1970s. After reviewing thousands and thousands of pages of data, this is what he found:

What amazed me was that Monsanto knew in 1981 that glyphosate caused adenomas and carcinomas in the rats that they’ve studied… The highest incidence of tumorigenic growth occurred in the pituitary gland… the second highest levels were in the breasts of the female rats, in the mammary glands… Thirdly, the next highest tumorigenic growth was found in the testicles of male rats.

How did Monsanto and Biodynamics—the company doing the research—hide these inconvenient facts?

According to Dr. Samsel, they cancelled out the controls and the damning findings by using historical control data from unrelated studies. It’s also worth noting that these negative findings were never published in the peer-reviewed literature or submitted to the EPA or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Cancer was clearly shown in their 26-month long feeding study, but the only studies Monsanto has published are studies done in less than three months, which hides the consequences of eating glyphosate and genetically engineered foods over the course of a lifetime.

Read more here.

 

 

The Drug Shortage Scandal

pills

This morning I was intrigued to learn that the US has been experiencing regular shortages of anesthetics, painkillers, antibiotics, cancer treatments, heart drugs and other lifesaving medications. Doctors routinely deal with these shortages by “rationing.” In other words, deciding which patients are more deserving of treatment.

Although the problem has been going on a decade or more, most doctors don’t inform patients when they withhold clinically indicated treatments. Prior to a January 29 New York Times article Drug shortages forcing hard decisions on rationing treatment, the American public was also totally in the dark.

Did you know there was a Drug Shortages Summit in 2011 to address this public health emergency? I sure didn’t. Nor did I know know about the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA) Congress passed four years ago to address the crisis.

The FDA Solution: A New App

A recent examination of the FDA website, which lists nearly 100 current drug shortages, suggests FDASIA isn’t working that well. However taxpayers will be pleased to learn the FDA has created a new app for android devices that sends alerts when the Agency adds or updates shortage information. They are currently working on an iOS version, which will be available soon.

The New York Times article profiles several doctors who talk about the difficulty of deciding which patients are more worthy of treatment. Some institutions have formal committees that include ethicists and patient representatives to decide which patients receive a needed drug — and which do not.

A February 8 Times editorial waffles about the “root cause” of the drug shortage crisis. Their list of possible causes includes “manufacturing quality and compliance problems, raw material sourcing, and drug company consolidation and business decisions that result in the discontinuation of critical drugs.”

M.E. Markowski is far more direct in a 2012 Harvard Law School paper The Problem of Inadequate Profits. Markowski states, in essence, that pharmaceutical companies have no profit incentive to create a sufficient supply of essential medications to meet patient need.

Unbelievable. The US spends twice as much (per capita) as any other country. Drug company profits are soaring. Meanwhile patients are dying because they can’t get medications they need for life threatening conditions.

The Solution is Easy

Although the OECD ranks New Zealand far below the US in economic standing (20th as opposed to 4th), we don’t suffer from major drug shortages here. Like all other industrial countries (except for the US), we have a national health service. In this country, drug availability isn’t determined by drug companies seeking to increase their profits. In New Zealand Pharmac, a government agency staffed by health professionals, makes all our drug purchasing decisions.

Photo credit: J. Troha (Photographer) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons