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Alternative Medicine Indeed!
Posted: 05 August 2009 04:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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VYAZMA - 05 August 2009 04:17 PM

Too many absolutes are being projected, and there are obviously tons of grey areas.

Exactly what I’ve been saying. Pharma also does bad things.

VYAZMA - 05 August 2009 04:17 PM

The blurriness I spoke of. To say nothing of the complete sham which has always taken place in a Large percentage of “Science-Based” medicines.

What percentage? Where’s your data?

VYAZMA - 05 August 2009 04:17 PM

The preponderance of threads here concerned with bashing Alt-meds(of which I have no sympathies for)begins to highlight a counter-point; that being the complete lack of any discussion of the “other side of the fence”.

Come on, Vyazma, you can’t be that naïve. If you start up a thread with “alt med” in the title and talk about some nefarious stuff done by pharma, it will sound to any reasonable person as though you are attempting to put alt med on the same footing as pharma. You’ve done that repeatedly in the past, so your assertion that you have no sympathies for alt med is not credible.

If you want to discuss the evils of big pharma, that’s fine; lord knows they’ve done wrong in their time, but it’s got nothing to do with alt med.

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Posted: 05 August 2009 05:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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The problem is that this is completely irrelevant when we are discussing alternative medicine. It’s as though I were discussing the fact that Moriarty is a murderer, and you tell me that his neighbor also was a thief. His neighbor’s being a thief is irrelevant to whether or not Moriarty was a murderer. Sure, pharma companies do bad things. They also produce the only drugs that are actually safe and effective. Alt med companies do nothing other than cheat the public.

Do people know when they are being cheated Doug? What if the public-the consumers like the results with the products they buy?
Are makers of poor quality foot wear also cheating the public?
Why is this in the Alt-Meds Dept? If a drug company like Wyeth fabricated scientific reports to sell a questionable product to consumers then doesn’t that make their product an Alt-Med?
If someone has an ailment either real or imagined, and they use an alt-med, and then they use it again, and again; then what? Are they being cheated? Are people who eat at Mc Donalds being cheated? I would say they are.

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Posted: 05 August 2009 05:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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dougsmith - 05 August 2009 04:37 PM

With all due respect, I don’t think you or Vyazma have been reading my posts very carefully. Your point about multivitamin use is one I just made, above. Your point about oversell by pharma companies is one I made as well, and said that pharma companies should be punished for it.

The problem is that this is completely irrelevant when we are discussing alternative medicine. It’s as though I were discussing the fact that Moriarty is a murderer, and you tell me that his neighbor also was a thief. His neighbor’s being a thief is irrelevant to whether or not Moriarty was a murderer. Sure, pharma companies do bad things. They also produce the only drugs that are actually safe and effective. Alt med companies do nothing other than cheat the public.

Is it just me or does everyone read the “with all due respect” sentiment with as much sarcasm as I?  Maybe it was meant genuinely, but I don’t buy it!  I’ve read your posts and Macgyver’s and mostly you are just agreeing with Macgyver.  I’ll go through it with you. 

- First: Macgyver makes the point that you can’t “paint all medical research” with the same corrupt brush.  He contests that there is some good out there.  Your first post is simply:  “Agreed.”

* Vyz said: “This is one of the dozens of examples that can be shown, if not hundreds, that “Real” medicine is darn near as corrupt, and broken than most other forms of Alt Meds.”  Macgyver makes the sweeping accusation that Vyz is claiming all medical research is corrupt, but there is a qualifying “darn near”. 

This leads to my first assertion:  For some reason, both of you are under the impression that because the big Pharma “follow the rules” and have the necessary clinical trials, then they are somehow “ethical” and the alternative med group is not.  I’m sorry but you are splitting hairs on snake oil salesmen.  My point here is the only thing separating the two are the clinical trials, and I think it is valid to call them BOTH corrupt.

- Second:  You further press your point that alt med is all bad, because there are not the appropriate clinical trials. 

This leads me to my next point:  Sure the big Pharma, in conjunction with legitimate scientific research, have come up with many very helpful pharmaceuticals.  But they are just as motivated to sell b.s. as helpful meds.  Here I am agreeing that the big Pharma have a legitimate calling, but they CHOOSE to involve themselves in the same scandal ridden industry.  I grudgingly gave a link to back my point.

- Third:  You concede to Occam’s point about advertising and hedge on the lobbying restrictions.  Mostly, you make the point again that:  But this has nothing to do with alt med; the people involved in alt med are just as up to their necks paying off legislators and advertising products. Only in their case, none of the products actually does anything other than make money for the alt med companies.

Again, my previous point shows that big Pharma is in the alt med buisness.  I go further to cite examples of big Pharma encouraging docs to use meds for which THEY HAVE NOT PROVEN EFFICACY NOR SAFETY. 

- Fourth:  You directly take on Vyz’s comments on meds that are pushed on the public in ethically suspect ways.  You claim that the difference is the alt med co.s mislead all the time.

I didn’t address this directly, but it follows the same pattern you and Macgyver have been asserting from the beginning.  Such as the one below:

- Fifth:  Macgyver claims that there is a distinct difference between the clinically proven meds of the big Pharma and the alt meds.  You further claim that: And in blurring the line between traditional and “alternative” meds, Vyazma, you are supporting this sort of unethical behavior.

Come on!  Vyz pointing out the big Pharma’s motives and unethical behavior does not promote the alt meds.  That is a jump you are making because you consider alt med pseudoscience (understandably), and you take a defensive posture whenever comparing the big Pharma to alt med co.s.  I didn’t directly address this, because I thought it was petty.

I think the fact that I had to do the above is rather petty.  I only did because time and again, when people are feeling misunderstood they accuse other posters of “not understanding or not reading” their posts.  I read and understood your posts.  I posted specifically so to address you and Macgyver’s (in my opinion) naivety.  I know that both you and Macgyver believe that the big Pharma are playing “by the rules”, but they are not always.  Sometimes they “encourage” off-label prescribing (without the proper trials) and even push their own alt meds just for profits (just like those woo companies you hate). 

I don’t agree with your Moriarty analogy.  Vyz began his post by equating the two industries, because they are using means other than the proper scientific channels to promote meds.  The analogy would be more apt if you said that Moriarty was a murderer and Vyz came up to you and said that Holmes had killed people too.  It doesn’t make Moriarty not a murder, but it points out a larger ethical issue that should be addressed before more “arrests” are made.  I might have taken that analogy too far, but it was a poor analogy to begin with.

FYI, to not get lengthy diatribes like this in the future, don’t accuse me of not reading your posts!  wink

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Posted: 05 August 2009 05:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Come on, Vyazma, you can’t be that naïve. If you start up a thread with “alt med” in the title and talk about some nefarious stuff done by pharma, it will sound to any reasonable person as though you are attempting to put alt med on the same footing as pharma. You’ve done that repeatedly in the past, so your assertion that you have no sympathies for alt med is not credible.

If you want to discuss the evils of big pharma, that’s fine; lord knows they’ve done wrong in their time, but it’s got nothing to do with alt med.

I have no sympathies for alt meds or big pharma. I was hoping you’d take my word that I have no sympathies for Alt meds. But oh well, I have no sympathies for Pharma either.
I can assure you one thing…alt meds are going to continue to grow, and flourish. We all know that Congress, and consumers are looking for cheaper, less invasive ways to treat the vast army of Hypochondriacs in this country.

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Posted: 05 August 2009 06:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Chicken - 05 August 2009 05:25 PM

First: Macgyver makes the point that you can’t “paint all medical research” with the same corrupt brush.  He contests that there is some good out there.  Your first post is simply:  “Agreed.”

* Vyz said: “This is one of the dozens of examples that can be shown, if not hundreds, that “Real” medicine is darn near as corrupt, and broken than most other forms of Alt Meds.”  Macgyver makes the sweeping accusation that Vyz is claiming all medical research is corrupt, but there is a qualifying “darn near”. 

This leads to my first assertion:  For some reason, both of you are under the impression that because the big Pharma “follow the rules” and have the necessary clinical trials, then they are somehow “ethical” and the alternative med group is not.  I’m sorry but you are splitting hairs on snake oil salesmen.  My point here is the only thing separating the two are the clinical trials, and I think it is valid to call them BOTH corrupt.

My post said “Agreed” because there is, indeed, some good in what pharma does. Indeed, there is a lot of good in pharma. All of the useful medications ever invented were invented by pharma. (With some public money, absolutely, so I wouldn’t give them 100% responsibility for it). Whenever you are treated for disease and given drugs to save your life, a pharma company produced those drugs. If pharma is going to be blamed for the ills they produce, it is only fair to laud them for the good they produce as well.

They are somewhat ethical in that they produce useful medications. They are somewhat unethical in that they also do things like those that you and I have already mentioned. Indeed, as Vyazma said, there is a grey area with big pharma. But alt med has never done anything ethical. They simply produce useless treatments. So they are not grey, they are entirely black. That is my point.

Chicken - 05 August 2009 05:25 PM

- Second:  You further press your point that alt med is all bad, because there are not the appropriate clinical trials. 

This leads me to my next point:  Sure the big Pharma, in conjunction with legitimate scientific research, have come up with many very helpful pharmaceuticals.  But they are just as motivated to sell b.s. as helpful meds.  Here I am agreeing that the big Pharma have a legitimate calling, but they CHOOSE to involve themselves in the same scandal ridden industry.

I AGREE. How many times do I have to repeat that?

Chicken - 05 August 2009 05:25 PM

- Third:  You concede to Occam’s point about advertising and hedge on the lobbying restrictions.  Mostly, you make the point again that:  But this has nothing to do with alt med; the people involved in alt med are just as up to their necks paying off legislators and advertising products. Only in their case, none of the products actually does anything other than make money for the alt med companies.

Again, my previous point shows that big Pharma is in the alt med buisness.  I go further to cite examples of big Pharma encouraging docs to use meds for which THEY HAVE NOT PROVEN EFFICACY NOR SAFETY.

Insofar as big pharma is now producing alt meds (and they are, you are right), I AGREE. But they also produce useful medications, which the pure alt med companies do not.

Chicken - 05 August 2009 05:25 PM

I know that both you and Macgyver believe that the big Pharma are playing “by the rules”, but they are not always.  Sometimes they “encourage” off-label prescribing (without the proper trials) and even push their own alt meds just for profits (just like those woo companies you hate). 

Insofar as you continue to repeat this claim without realizing that I AGREE, you are simply not reading my posts.

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Posted: 05 August 2009 06:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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VYAZMA - 05 August 2009 05:02 PM

Are makers of poor quality foot wear also cheating the public?

If they mislabel it somehow, yes.

VYAZMA - 05 August 2009 05:02 PM

Why is this in the Alt-Meds Dept? If a drug company like Wyeth fabricated scientific reports to sell a questionable product to consumers then doesn’t that make their product an Alt-Med?

Yes. Insofar as pharma companies sell crap to the public that has not been properly tested for safety or efficacy, they are involved in alt med. They are routinely prosecuted and sued for it. Why aren’t the alt med companies routinely sued?

VYAZMA - 05 August 2009 05:02 PM

If someone has an ailment either real or imagined, and they use an alt-med, and then they use it again, and again; then what? Are they being cheated? Are people who eat at Mc Donalds being cheated? I would say they are.

Eh? McDonalds never claimed to heal disease. The mere fact that one uses an ineffective treatment more than once doesn’t make it efficacious.

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Posted: 05 August 2009 08:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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So, since ‘Big Pharma’ is at times underhanded and corrupt, that makes Alt Meds okay. Forgive me if the logic escapes me. I won’t go over the broad brush that has been brought up already. When I give medications, I am to some extent continuing the studies, because you’d better believe that if I give something that is ineffective or causes problems that have not been reported, we are going to report them.

Of course, you’ve NEVER met a poor driver, electrician, plumber, lawyer, etc. Every profession has its bad apples, even, I’m sure the profession you practice. Do you decide that the whole industry is corrupt? That is a bit paranoid and unrealistic. We who work in the medical field are well aware of the shortcomings of the profession, we can also look at the Alt med (is unproved meds field and see their shortcomings as well, mostly that adequate and well designed studies have not been done, because they fall outside of the FDA jurisdiction. That is why they do so much more damage before they can be forced off the market (Zycam, Ephedra/Ma Huang, and many more. A lot of these ‘meds’ have been found to contain heavy metals. It is also rare that they actually contain the dosages contained on the label. Usually you are just wasting your money, sometimes you risk your life and health.

I have cared for more that a few children whose parents first tried various forms of ‘Alt meds’ before bringing the child to the doctor. Some died from a curable disease because of the time lag. No, the parents were not prosecuted,  they recognized the child was NO improving and brought them in for ‘conventional’ treatment. One tragic case was of a child who went into liver failure from the ‘traditional medicine’ his grandmother gave him.

http://www.whatstheharm.net/alternativemedicine.html

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Posted: 05 August 2009 08:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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dougsmith - 05 August 2009 06:54 PM

Insofar as you continue to repeat this claim without realizing that I AGREE, you are simply not reading my posts.

Sure, you agree with me, now.  From the beginning, you and Macgyver (and now asanta) have been saying that pointing out the corruption in big Pharma means that alt meds are off the hook.  What?  Who said that?  I’ve went back in this thread and saw only this claim:  BIG PHARMA SUCKS AS MUCH AS ALT MEDS.  It is fine for you to say, “well they do good too.”  That is true, but it does not make their corruption less egregious.  They, in fact, are the alt med co.s in some instances, that I pointed out.

I don’t think we are arguing here, not really.  I think we all agree that both behaviors are bad.  However, you are willing to forgive the trespasses of the big Pharma and not those of alt med.  Otherwise, discussing the failings of big Pharma wouldn’t have been such a big deal in this particular area of this forum.

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Posted: 05 August 2009 08:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Chicken - 05 August 2009 08:42 PM
dougsmith - 05 August 2009 06:54 PM

Insofar as you continue to repeat this claim without realizing that I AGREE, you are simply not reading my posts.

Sure, you agree with me, now.  From the beginning, you and Macgyver (and now asanta) have been saying that pointing out the corruption in big Pharma means that alt meds are off the hook.  What?  Who said that?  I’ve went back in this thread and saw only this claim:  BIG PHARMA SUCKS AS MUCH AS ALT MEDS.  It is fine for you to say, “well they do good too.”  That is true, but it does not make their corruption less egregious.  They, in fact, are the alt med co.s in some instances, that I pointed out.

I don’t think we are arguing here, not really.  I think we all agree that both behaviors are bad.  However, you are willing to forgive the trespasses of the big Pharma and not those of alt med.  Otherwise, discussing the failings of big Pharma wouldn’t have been such a big deal in this particular area of this forum.

Nope, we don’t forgive the tresspasses when we find them. We just aren’t going to say they are ALL corrupt, because they are not. Science is self correcting. It is difficult to fool everyone for TOO long.

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Posted: 06 August 2009 02:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Chicken - 05 August 2009 08:42 PM

I don’t think we are arguing here, not really.  I think we all agree that both behaviors are bad.  However, you are willing to forgive the trespasses of the big Pharma and not those of alt med.  Otherwise, discussing the failings of big Pharma wouldn’t have been such a big deal in this particular area of this forum.

I think the important point is that because of the existing corruption of big pharma, people are driven to alt med. “At least you are not poisoned by alternative medicaments, even if they do not work”. Of course I know this is not true, but this is the perception of a lot of people. It is my conviction that alt med are such a success, because the established medical world has lost its ethics. So I agree a little with VYAZMA and Chicken, that we, sceptics, science lovers and humanists, should be the first to cry out about the misuses of our beloved science. To be a success, scientific medicine should be ethical, humane, maybe humble (there is still a lot we do not know). Then we remove the root cause of the popularity of al med. We should less combat the enemy over there, we should combat the ‘enemy’ in our own rows: people that use science for destructive technology, for getting power, money or fame, and being that the main motivators, very often loose real science and ethical behaviour out of sight.

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Posted: 06 August 2009 02:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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John Q. Public is ambiguous about what it actually wants from ‘big pharma’ as you call it. When they started testing for anti HIV meds, people started screaming for the release of the medications far before they would have ordinarily been released and before all of the testing had been completed on the basis of the promising results of the first tests. The same has occurred with cancer medications. Then, if they do not perform up to their initial expectation, people scream and blame ‘big pharma’, if they DON’T release the meds prematurely, people scream and blame ‘big pharma’. They are too often placed in a lose-lose situation.

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Posted: 06 August 2009 04:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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Chicken - 05 August 2009 08:42 PM
dougsmith - 05 August 2009 06:54 PM

Insofar as you continue to repeat this claim without realizing that I AGREE, you are simply not reading my posts.

Sure, you agree with me, now.  From the beginning, you and Macgyver (and now asanta) have been saying that pointing out the corruption in big Pharma means that alt meds are off the hook.  What?  Who said that?  I’ve went back in this thread and saw only this claim:  BIG PHARMA SUCKS AS MUCH AS ALT MEDS.  It is fine for you to say, “well they do good too.”  That is true, but it does not make their corruption less egregious.  They, in fact, are the alt med co.s in some instances, that I pointed out.

I don’t think we are arguing here, not really.  I think we all agree that both behaviors are bad.  However, you are willing to forgive the trespasses of the big Pharma and not those of alt med.  Otherwise, discussing the failings of big Pharma wouldn’t have been such a big deal in this particular area of this forum.

I have always agreed that pharma companies do bad things. However I firmly reject the absurd conclusion that “big pharma sucks as much as alt meds”. That does not follow from anything I have agreed to in this thread.

Your reasoning is identical to the following: “Doctors are convicted of malpractice, so doctors suck as much as murderers.” Or, “All lawyers are evil.” Or, “All unions are corrupt.” Or, “All moslems are terrorists.” Or, “All people from country X are criminals.” Etc.

The products of big pharma save literally tens or hundreds of thousands of lives every year—if we include vaccinations, potentially millions of lives. They are the organizations which will discover the cures for many terrible diseases that still plague us. Your conclusions simply remove them from that context. Alt med does none of those things. It simply takes money from sick people and gives them nothing in return.

Just a question here. If you hate big pharma as much as you claim, I expect you will decline to purchase or use their drugs. Do you decline using their products now? Would you decline to use them if you found yourself in the hospital with a terrible illness? Or is your ethical claim here only a rhetorical ploy?

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Posted: 06 August 2009 04:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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GdB - 06 August 2009 02:29 AM

It is my conviction that alt med are such a success, because the established medical world has lost its ethics. So I agree a little with VYAZMA and Chicken, that we, sceptics, science lovers and humanists, should be the first to cry out about the misuses of our beloved science. To be a success, scientific medicine should be ethical, humane, maybe humble (there is still a lot we do not know). Then we remove the root cause of the popularity of al med. We should less combat the enemy over there, we should combat the ‘enemy’ in our own rows: people that use science for destructive technology, for getting power, money or fame, and being that the main motivators, very often loose real science and ethical behaviour out of sight.

But there never was a golden age of ethics in established medicine. Established medicine is no ethically worse now than it ever was. It’s always had ethical issues—any large organization has ethical issues. And alt med has always been very successful, even before it was known as “alt med”—it was just “patent medicine”, largely alcohol and some hard drugs.

The difference is that with the rise of scientific medicine, there was suddenly a distinction between stuff that could be shown to work, and other stuff that was floating around out there that couldn’t be shown to work. It was all popular, however. The recent popularity in alt med, however, is directly due to the weakening of laws in the US over the last twenty years. And that was simply due to political corruption with money from companies that produce alt med.

I don’t think that the success of alt med has anything to do with the ethics or lack thereof of conventional medicine. It may have something to do with the lack of personalization of conventional medicine, but that’s a byproduct of keeping costs down. Care must be rationed.

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Posted: 06 August 2009 05:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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The difference is that with the rise of scientific medicine, there was suddenly a distinction between stuff that could be shown to work, and other stuff that was floating around out there that couldn’t be shown to work. It was all popular, however. The recent popularity in alt med, however, is directly due to the weakening of laws in the US over the last twenty years. And that was simply due to political corruption with money from companies that produce alt med.

Here is one of the weaknesses of your argument Doug. “suddenly a distinction”....oh…what day was that? There is a distinction also between things that work in scientific meds, and things that don’t work. There is a distinction also between alt-meds that work, and alt-meds that don’t work.
So you keep trying the only argument you have to stand on, that which tries to determine some black and white distinction between science meds, and alt-meds…it doesn’t fit.
The other thing that doesn’t fit is your repeated attempt to narrowly define efficacy.
I also love your distinction between political corruption with money from alt-med companies, and legal, forthright lobbying from the Pharma, and other medical industries.

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Posted: 06 August 2009 06:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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VYAZMA - 06 August 2009 05:13 AM

Here is one of the weaknesses of your argument Doug. “suddenly a distinction”....oh…what day was that? There is a distinction also between things that work in scientific meds, and things that don’t work. There is a distinction also between alt-meds that work, and alt-meds that don’t work.
So you keep trying the only argument you have to stand on, that which tries to determine some black and white distinction between science meds, and alt-meds…it doesn’t fit.
The other thing that doesn’t fit is your repeated attempt to narrowly define efficacy.
I also love your distinction between political corruption with money from alt-med companies, and legal, forthright lobbying from the Pharma, and other medical industries.

As usual, you’ve misunderstood everything I say. Vyazma, this is getting very tedious.

(1) The reason there was suddenly a distinction is that scientific medicine didn’t exist before the late 19th century. I suggest looking at the Wiki page on medicine, HERE:

As science and technology developed, medicine became more reliant upon medications. Pharmacology developed from herbalism and many drugs are still derived from plants (atropine, ephedrine, warfarin, aspirin, digoxin, vinca alkaloids, taxol, hyoscine, etc). The first of these was arsphenamine / Salvarsan discovered by Paul Ehrlich in 1908 after he observed that bacteria took up toxic dyes that human cells did not.

Drugs were not regulated in the US until the passage of the 1902 Biologics Control Act and the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act. The 1902 act was intended to regulate early vaccines, and the 1906 act regulated drugs like cocaine and caffeine that were the primary active ingredients in many patent medicines (which we would now consider “alt meds” since they were medically worthless). But these were only purity guidelines, that established that what was in the patent medication was listed on the side of the bottle; they did not regulate safety or efficacy.

Modern drug regulation had to wait until there was actually a pharmacology industry to regulate; that happened most famously in the 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, in which drugs had to be proven safe in order to be legally sold. (Which still is not the case with alt med). In 1962, the Kefauver Harris Amendment tightened rules such that new drugs had to be proven effective as well as safe. (Which is still not the case with alt med).

So yes, before the 20th century there was no real pharmacological drug industry. And all the regulations that adhere to these drugs still do not adhere to so called “alt med”.

(2) The black and white distinction between meds and alt meds is that meds have to pass through an objective testing procedure, three phases of FDA testing, double-blind, placebo-controlled tests, in order to be legally sold. Alt meds don’t require any sort of testing. Hence selling them as safe and effective is always mendacious.

(3) I have always defined efficacy the same way—whether the drug can be shown to statistically improve outcomes in careful, controlled tests, e.g. the ones I mentioned before. How is this “narrow”?

(4) I have never made the distinction you claim between political corruption in the case of alt med and political corruption in the case of pharma. Both of them have corrupted the political system. However, do you believe that all political pressure is always and everywhere corrupt?

My concern with these discussions with you, Vyazma, is that you simply don’t carefully read what I write. And that is not arguing in good faith.

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El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

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