integrative medicine vs big pharma

100,000 deaths from adverse drug reactions annually.
Who prescribes these drugs?


Integrative Medicine vs Big Pharma

Integrative medicine is the ultimate solution for ending big pharma's adverse drug reaction death toll

Disease-Care System Kills

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and the Institute of Medicine, adverse drug reactions (ADR) are the fourth leading cause of death ahead of pulmonary disease, diabetes, AIDS, pneumonia, accidents and automobile deaths.

  • Over 2 MILLION serious ADRs yearly
  • 100,000 DEATHS yearly
  • Nursing home patients ADR rate - 350,000 yearly

Adverse drug reactions have become so commonplace, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) encourages healthcare practitioners to complete an ADR learning module. ADRs create pain, suffering and a burgeoning drug injury litigation field for lawyers. More than 40 drugs have ongoing lawsuits.

Disease-care is created by suppressing symptoms without addressing the underlying cause. In the short term this approach can be life-saving and relieve pain. In the long term, it kills.

Different Objectives — Profits Over People

The pharmaceutical industry (big pharma) is a for-profit business, it’s primary objective is to create a unique (patented) drug which alleviates symptoms. When achieved, customers are created with return business, often on a daily basis (such as blood pressure and cholesterol lowering medications). Providing drugs that cure, or are used for rare and intermittent problems, is not profitable.

The U.S. drug industry has morphed into a huge profit driven business with worldwide revenues of $271 billion ( Healthcare has become big business accounting for 17% of the U.S. gross domestic product and projected to be 20% of the U.S. economy in 2020. The drug industry accounts for 10% of the $3 trillion healthcare spending (third behind hospitals and physician spending).

In contrast, the primary goal of integrative medicine is to address the cause of the problem, treating symptoms (such as pain or dangerously high blood pressure) as long as necessary. Safer natural therapies are considered first before a prescription due to concerns of adverse reactions. Synthetic drugs do not “cure” a problem, but only alleviate symptoms. The ongoing goal of integrative medicine is to support the body to maintain optimal health utilizing natural therapies and supplements.

Healthcare providers relied upon the body’s own wisdom and ability to heal itself until the advent of sulfa antibiotics in 1938. Since then, the practice of medicine has become cookbook medicine with a “pill for every ill.” Profits over people is driving the healthcare system today with little regard for the patient.

Healthcare Providers and the Public - Victims of a Grand Marketing Scheme

Marcia Angell, M.D., past editor in chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, says in her book, The Truth About the Drug Companies,:

“Over the past two decades the pharmaceutical industry has moved very far from its original high purpose of discovering and producing useful new drugs. Now primarily a marketing machine to sell drugs of dubious benefit, this industry uses its wealth and power to co-opt every institution that might stand in its way, including the US Congress, the FDA, academic medical centers, and the medical profession itself."

Healthcare providers are victims of a grand marketing scheme. This first started with daily visits from the drug representatives. Ex-pharmaceutical representative Gwen Olsen wrote the book Confessions of an RX Drug Pusher. In it she reveals the pharmaceutical industry’s deception and manipulation she witnessed in her 15 years in the industry.

In 2004, her niece committed suicide to end her tortured life as a victim of adverse drug side effects. This prompted her to quit her job to expose manipulative practices. She speaks out on her YouTube video (see link below) of the deceptive marketing practices she was taught as a drug rep to sell more drugs despite safety concerns. All healthcare providers are victims of these practices which she exposes in her book and the below video:

Gwen Olsen's YouTube video speaks out about deceptive practices here.

Direct to consumer drug advertising has been legal since 1985. However, in 1997, the FDA gave drug companies the go ahead to advertise on television. Mass media television advertising is only allowed by two countries in the world – the United States and New Zealand.

Dr. Dee Mangin, associate professor at the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Christchurch, New Zealand said in an interview by the World Health Organization:

“The truth is direct-to-consumer advertising is used to drive choice rather than inform it… the ‘driving’ is typically in the direction of expensive brand-name drugs. New Zealand consumers then go to their doctors and the pressure to prescribe begins. Surveys carried out in New Zealand and in the USA show that when a patient asks for a specific drug by name they receive it more often than not. In an era of shared decision-making, it’s much more likely that general practitioners will just do what the patient asks.”

FDA is Broken

The FDA was created to protect the public. It is now beholden to the pharmaceutical industry. David Graham, M.D., M.P.H. Associate Director of Drug Safety for the FDA, testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance in 2004 during theVioxx drug recall. Dr. Graham’s testimony asserted his belief that FDA policies were insufficient to protect the public from drugs which carry unacceptable risks.

"I would argue that the FDA, as currently configured, is incapable of protecting America against another Vioxx. We are virtually defenseless.”

After his testimony, Graham was publicly criticized by the FDA. He contacted the nonprofit Government Accountability Project, a whistleblower protection organization, for advice on getting his findings on Vioxx published over the objections of his superiors.

In a 2005 interview, Dr. Graham was asked "What Specifically do you believe is broken in the FDA and what needs to be done to fix it? What must be done to improve the drug vetting system?" His response:

"The FDA is inherently biased in favor of the pharmaceutical industry. It views industry as its client, whose interests it must represent and advance. It views its primary mission as approving as many drugs it can, regardless of whether the drugs are safe or needed.”

Reform Essential to Improve Drug Safety and America's Health

There have been attempts to reform the FDA. Iowa Senator, Chuck Grassley, introduced a bill in 2007. It would have made the FDA office that studies drugs after they’re on the market an equal partner with the FDA office that initially approves drugs.

Strengthening the Office of Drug Surveillance and Epidemiology has been a central focus of Grassley’s effort to fix problems at the FDA. Unfortunately this bill did not get passed. To date the main change adopted into law was increasing penalty fines from $10,000 to $250,000 when a drug company knowingly is out of compliance. Senator Grassley has continued to champion changes of the FDA in order to protect the public.

Fortunately, there have been grass root non-governmental organizations that are affecting change. The Alliance for Natural Health USA (ANH-HAS), founded in 1992 is committed to reform acting as a government watchdog through effective lobbying and litigation. They are dedicated to natural and sustainable health. Their website states:

“We have worked to shift the conventional medical paradigm from an exclusive focus on surgery, drugs, and other conventional techniques to an integrative approach incorporating functional foods, dietary supplements, and lifestyle changes. We believe this is the way to improve health and extend lives while reducing the costs of healthcare back to a sustainable level.”

Integrative Medicine — Back to Patient Centered Medicine

The drug-centered practice will be replaced with patient-focused medicine. We don’t have to wait for healthcare legislation to be passed or the FDA to be reformed. Healthcare providers can make this change NOW by transitioning to an integrative medicine practice. Return to the way medicine used to be – focused on the patient. The health of our nation, and our patients, will be reclaimed.

Get Involved, Do Your Part, Save Lives, Reduce Suffering

Integrative medicine is the ultimate solution to the broken U.S. healthcare system. More than 100,000 people perish every year because of an adverse drug reaction. And who prescribes these drugs? You and I. We’re responsible. We know the truth, yet we ignore the consequences of our actions.

Not any more. Enough is enough. It’s time for real reform. And that’s the purpose of the California Integrative Medicine Physician Assistant Association.

There is a better way. I urge you to review this web site, then you decide. If you have any questions or comments, I invite you to call me (Cathy Ochs) at (530) 605-1505. Get involved, do your part and together we can make a real difference in our patient's lives.


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The Integrative Medicine Solution, by Cathy Ochs, PA-C, founder of IMPAA.
Defines what an integrative medicine PA practice does. A must read for every physician assistant and health care professional committed to exceptional patient care. More info here.


Why Every PA Should Practice Integrative Medicine. The facts about integrative medicine, owning your own practice and more. Provocative, informative and often controversial. More info here.

How California PAs Can Own a Medical Corporation. Blueprint to operate a physician assistant owned medical corporation. Complete instructions A to Z. More info here.