Prescription drug use in the U.S. causes over 120,000 deaths per year (in addition to 2 to 4 million serious and permanently injured), of which roughly one third of the deaths are the result of antibiotic misuse, such as by the popular fluoroquinolone antibiotic drug, Cipro, which often creates fatal C. diff bacterial infections in the lower intestine.
Unlike the Dr. Robert O. Beckers of the world, who volunteered their time and professional knowledge and skills in an effort to protect the public’s health from unregulated biologically hazardous industry products(see end of Antibiotic Misuse, Part 1), are self-absorbed celebrities who are only adding to C.diff bacterial infections, along with other public health risks, as they shill for pharmaceutical drug companies to parlay their celebrity personalities as spokespersons pushing hazardous drugs onto a mostly unawares public, for multimillion dollar contracts.
One of those celebrity endorsers is Daniel Lawrence Whitney, or better known to the public as “Larry the Cable Guy,” a comedian who is the present spokesperson for Prilosec OTC (Over The Counter) heartburn medicine for Proctor & Gamble, the billion-dollar grossing commercial products conglomerate, better known for its sales of shampoo, toothpaste and toilet paper.
Incompetent prevention and regulation prioritizes pharmaceutical profits over the protection of the public’s health
It was only predictable that pharmaceutical drugs would eventually become regarded as just one more commercial product that could be marketed by any means possible, regardless of the fact that they are not commercial products, but serious and dangerous manmade chemicals that have the potential to produce significant harm in their users.
But this kind of marketing strategy could only be achieved after 1997, at the end of the second term of the Clinton Administration, when pharmaceutical direct-to-consumer television advertising was allowed for the first time in U.S. history— making the United States and New Zealand the only two industrialized nations to allow the direct marketing of pharmaceutical drugs to the public, and helping to pave the way for Americans to take the most pharmaceutical medications over any other nation in the world.
This free market deregulation policy— intended solely to benefit the profits of the pharmaceutical industry, with complete disregard for the safety of the public which would thereafter be bombarded with pharmaceutical ads during every television commercial break— would be followed on its heels by but another completely irresponsible free market deregulation policy by the Clinton administration— the deregulation of the banking industry— this time to benefit the profits of the banking and insurance industries.
This free market deregulation policy allowed the banks to make financial deals with the insurance industry, which broke a ban established since 1933 by the Roosevelt administration, and which had been in place for sixty years for the exact public safety protection concerns the Clinton administration, and all other free market espousing promoters in their arrogance, have ignored— to protect the economic security of the public from unchecked banking speculation, greed and fraud.
And when this regulatory safeguard was lifted, as expected, it quickly led to the massive insurance and banking industry credit-default-swab mortgage trades, which in turn led to the eventual collapse of the financial system a decade later in 2008. All apparently coming as great shock to free market economic theory advocates and their government advisors, who, to this day, continue to promote identical industry deregulation policies to allegedly improve the safety, security, and prosperity of the American public.
Prilosec heartburn medication and C. diff infections and bone breaks
As for the Prilosec commercial drug campaign, the advertising pitch by its comedian spokesperson, “Larry the Cable Guy,” encourages Americans to eat anything they want— implying that it is their “patriotic duty and right” to do so, and afterwards, just pop a Prilosec pill and all their heartburn will be avoided.
What apparently jokers like Daniel Lawrence Whitney don’t quite get, or don’t quite care to get so long as they are paid enough millions of dollars not to care, by billion-dollar-grossing corporate giants like Proctor & Gamble, is that the stomach was designed over the course of human evolution to secrete acid for several very good reasons. One being to help break down foods and molecules so that they can be absorbed in the non-acidic environment of the small intestine, and another, to help kill bacteria that is ingested with food or water, so it does not accumulate in the upper, or lower (colon), gastrointestinal tracts.
“Acid-blockers”, such as Prilosec and Nexium, are also known as “proton pump blockers” or proton inhibitors, because they block a universal enzyme reaction on the cell membrane of all cells (H+-ATPase (adenosine triphosphate)). An enzyme reaction which normally releases positively charged hydrogen atoms (H+), considered to be “protons,” that serve to sustain the integrity of chemical reactions to occur across cell membranes. And which happen to be very prolific in certain stomach cells (parietal cells). The H+ atoms pushed out of stomach cells combine with Chlorine atoms (CL-) already outside the cell to make hydrochloric acid (HCL) involved in acidic reactions in the stomach— one of which being to help kill ingested bacteria.
So it is not very surprising that these, “marketed as harmless,” Over The Counter heartburn drugs (which are virtually just as powerful as their prescription counterparts) have been indicted in increasing C.Diff infections by at least 2-fold, or over 100%, by not reducing the numbers of C. diff bacteria that are taken in through the stomach. (See also Antibiotic Misuse Part 1 for description of the adverse health effects of C. diff (Claustridium difficile) bacteria.)
While in addition, these billion-dollar-grossing, acid-reducing drugs have also been indicted in causing increased bone breaks, and in suppressing the healing of bone fractures.
Abnormal bone breaks
In addition to not properly allowing ingested calcium in foods to be partially broken down, to be released in a more chemical available form for proper absorption in the small intestine (to then become available to the bones via the circulation), acid-blocking drugs also act on bone cells directly (the drug does not stay in the stomach but is also absorbed into the blood circulation which takes it throughout the body, which includes the bones).
Stomach acid blocking drugs act similarly to the entire class of “osteoporosis drugs”— such as Boniva and Fosomax— which are also known as bisphosphonates. Drugs which in their own right are being criminally fraudulently pushed onto tens of millions of Americans, to allegedly build stronger and healthier bones, when in fact they progressively destroy the integrity of the bone, and create unhealthy and diseased bone.
Both of these types of drugs— acid blockers and bisphosponates— abnormally inhibit one of the two key bone cells responsible for correct bone breakdown and construction— the osteoclasts— from doing the job they were designed to do to sustain correct bone homeostasis (the correct cellular balance within the bone).
And this process requires the continual dissolving of old bone— by the use of acids the osteoclast cells produce— to remove the old bone matrix (made up of a phosphate and calcium crystalline structure) in order to lay down a clean, new bone matrix by which only healthy bone can be re-built up upon. A continual process that not only confers health to the bone— by allowing it to be properly constructed to allow the correct passage of blood vessels and nutrients to the bone cells— but which also confers strength and flexibility to the bone, to protect it from fracturing.
And osteoclasts, like the parietal cells of the lining of the stomach, also happen to have a large number of H+-ATPase enzymes on their cell membranes, which heartburn/acid-blocking drugs disable— blocking the osteoclasts from releasing acids and performing their job of preparing the process of laying down new and healthy bone.
And when this fundamental regulatory (homeostasis) process is abnormally disrupted— the bone becomes abnormally brittle and subsequently abnormally breaks, as well as abnormally mends (in addition to other severe bone necrosis problems), leading to increased emergency room visits, hospitalizations, surgeries, and rehabilitation, along with the accompanying major economic costs (with extremely high costs for broken hips, which are on the rise as a result of acid blocking drug use). All apparently coming as quite a joke to Proctor & Gamble and its advertizing campaign.
Whether it is acid blockers like Prilosec, or broad spectrum antibiotics like fluoroquinolones (see more on fluoroquinolones in Antibiotic Misuse Part 1), or normal bone remodeling disrupting bisphosphonates, these drugs, like virtually all others, act by altering isolated, detailed actions within highly coordinated and integrated biological systems, which require the correct functioning of all their detailed actions to function correctly. And predictably, after a temporary period of “appearing to improve,” the drug-treated condition usually ends up becoming far worse than the original “problem” the drugs were used to treat.
Maybe one day some smart lawyer will finally begin to get the bigger picture of the actual scope of the problems associated with prescription drug “abuse,” and will start to include celebrity spokespersons like Daniel Lawrence Whitney and Sally Fields (the spokesperson for the “osteoporosis drug” Boniva)— who are hired and paid millions of dollars to bring in millions of consumers to take the dangerous drugs they shill for— in the inevitable and ongoing wrongful injury class action lawsuits that are continually emerging from the celebrity-encouraged, mass use of these kinds of dangerous— normal biological disrupting— pharmaceutical drugs.
C. diff infections
As for the effect of acid-blockers, like Prilosec and Nexium, on reducing the stomach acid environment and increasing the risk of bacteria entering the gastrointestinal tract, this becomes an added hazard with C. diff antibiotic resistant strains increasingly turning up in the animal food supply of pigs and cows— and which has included the highly virulent antibiotic resistant C. diff strain that caused a sharp spike in fatalities in Canada and the United States in 2003. (See also the end of Antibiotic Abuse Part 1)
A problem that can be traced back to derelict FDA regulations for the past 35 years— which has allowed the agricultural industry to irresponsibly use antibiotics for decades to abnormally increase growth in feed animals, instead of using them for the highly discreet and limited purpose for which they were intended: for only short term use to treat infections.
The FDA’s criminal incompetence in animal antibiotic abuse
The FDA has only been aware of the animal antibiotic misuse problem since 1977— when the regulatory agency itself initiated plans to stop the agricultural industry from irresponsible antibiotic drug use, which the FDA acknowledged at that time would increase the creation of antibiotic resistant bacterial strains— and then chose to do nothing about it for the next 35 years.
Except to do what the FDA does best, and fall back on every excuse it can for not acting as a regulatory agency is sanctioned to act by U.S. law to protect the public’s health.
The FDA has complained about everything from the lengthy appeals process used by the pharmaceutical industry designed to stall any regulations from ever coming about, to the special interest groups in Congress representing the agricultural industry that continually block FDA actions.
Never apparently has it dawn on anyone at the FDA, or anyone in Congress, over the past 35 years, that maybe the bureaucratic structure by which the FDA acts is so seriously flawed that it has to be fundamentally changed to avoid this “legally allowed” corruption to take place.
And when the FDA finally does act on any significant problem, it usually has to be sued to do so by the very public it was designed to protect. And when it finally does get around to regulating, regulates in the most lenient manner it can, while additionally allowing the industry being regulated to voluntarily initiate regulatory changes on its own. As it had in the spring of 2012, when the FDA was forced to act on the animal antibiotic abuse problem.
In the spring of 2012, the public interest groups: the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC), Public Citizen, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Center for Science in the Public Interest and Food Animal Concerns Trust finally sued the FDA to stop allowing the agriculture industry to keep irresponsibly using antibiotics on feed animals.
And while this public interest legal action was finally all well and good, it begged the obvious question why it took three decades to come about. Did it suddenly become politically expedient with a presidential election looming and the opportunity to collect some electoral votes hanging in the balance?
NRDC duplicity in action: ban antibiotic misuse, but encourage multiple biologically hazardous compact fluorescent lighting
One also has to wonder about the sincerity of the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC), which stated as its motivation for the FDA antibiotic misuse lawsuit, as being to protect the health of the public.
Yet this same “public interest” environmental group is at the forefront of pushing to remove completely biologically safe standard incandescent light bulbs (regular light bulbs), to be replaced with billions of multiple biologically hazardous compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), for a fraudulent energy saving argument that will only impact, at most, 1% of electrical energy consumption. And which will have no impact on reducing global warming trends, for which CFL bulbs were disingenuous promoted to reduce. But which has everything to do with keeping silent about the single most destructive industry impact on global warming— unchecked high-tech product overuse and overproduction (and particularly high-tech commercial electronics overuse), which draws the most energy and pushes the most industry created CO2 into the atmosphere to adversely impact global warming conditions.
(See also more details on the electrical savings fraud of CFLs in: “FRAUD: Regular light bulbs CAUSE global warming (CFLs PREVENT IT) part 1” tapeunit.com/article/fraud-regular-light-bulbs-cause-global-warming-…)
Meanwhile, if a compact fluorescent light (CFL) should break in a person’s residence or place of work— a likely occurrence— it will expose its user to a criminally outrageous 80 to 300 times the LEGAL exposure level of mercury vapor— the most hazardous form of mercury, which, after being inhaled is directly absorbed into the blood stream, to be carried to any organ system in the body, and across any barrier, including the blood brain and blood placental barriers.
While when operating normally, CFLs emit (1) extremely hazardous levels of UVC radiation increasing the risks of skin and eye cancers, (2) multiple hazardous levels and frequencies of manmade electromagnetic radiation emitted directly from the bulb, or emitted indirectly into the room from the wiring connected to the bulb that was never designed to carry these frequencies, and which will also increase the risk of cancers, as well as host of other disease conditions, (3) highly elevated levels of blue wavelength light radiation, that will significantly depress melatonin levels in users of the bulbs when CFLs are used at night (when light bulbs are obviously designed to be most used), leading to serious increased risks of multiple forms of cancers, along with (4) the steady emission of hazardous vapor forms of flame retardant chemicals that coat the internal electrical circuits of these bulbs to prevent them from catching fire, though many of them do so anyway, or melt, or explode, releasing mercury vapor into the room in this manner.
These serious health hazards can be compared to no health hazards while using “old fashioned” standard incandescent light bulbs, which, incredibly, outrageously, and criminally irresponsibly, are being removed from the market. The only safe light bulbs currently on the market.
More detailed explanations of the multiple health hazards surrounding CFLs, can also be accessed in a 19-page, 60+source report by the author, “The dangers and fraud behind the forced use of compact fluorescent lights (CFLs)” at http://www.mediafire.com/?sinin57dkkwd626.
FDA’s Deputy Commissioner of Foods— a corporate placed regulator, regulating for industry, NOT for the public’s health
As for the animal antibiotic misuse problem, when Michael Taylor— Obama’s appointee for Deputy Commissioner for Foods for the FDA— was interviewed by the New York Times in the spring of 2012, Taylor enthusiastically supported the FDA’s move to finally begin to address a three decades old problem, stating: “We’re confident that it will result in significant reduction in agricultural antibiotic use. That’s why we’re doing this.”
Aside from not commenting on Michael Taylor’s statement— and in effect allowing the head of the FDA to insinuate that he and his agency had taken credit for enthusiastically doing something that was only reluctantly done because it was forced upon the FDA by a public interest lawsuit— the New York Times also conveniently whitewashed Michael Taylor’s long and notorious career over the past several decades in actively undermining the public’s health for corporate interests.
Before the decades long corporate lawyer took a recent, brief, tenure as a “research professor” at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services— so he could “greenwash” his background enough to be tapped by the Obama administration to head the FDA in 2008— Michael Taylor had spent the better part of his adult career working against the safety of the public’s health for the profits of the food and chemical industries.
See more detail of Michael Taylor’s career at the FDA during the Clinton administration highlighted below in: “FDA/Monsanto Fraud: No labels for Genetic Engineered (GMO) Foods” http://tapeunit.com/article/fda-monsanto-fraud-no-labels-for-genetic-engineered-gmo-foods
While working for the Clinton administration as the FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Policy from 1991-1993— before he was forced out by an investigation of fraud by the Government Accounting Office surrounding his conflict of interest with the Monsanto Company, his longtime corporate client— Michael Taylor created the GRAS ratings (Generally Regarded As Safe) to apply to genetically modified and irradiated foods to allegedly place them in the same safety category as natural and unadulterated organic foods. Allowing genetic modified and irradiated foods to be fraudulently marketed thereafter as “all natural,” and placing millions of American’s health at risk from these foods from this moment forward.
Taylor also aggressively oversaw the “legal policy” to push Monsanto’s genetically modified, recombinant Bone Growth Hormone (rBGH) into the market to be used in dairy cows, without requiring the tainted milk to be labeled— to distinguish this hormone-laced milk from milk untainted with this, well-documented, cancer causing abnormal growth hormone.
And later, after being “quietly removed” from his position at the FDA, due to a firestorm of protest by the public, Michael Taylor eventually returned to Monsanto to work as Vice President of Public Policy, to continue his work as a corporate lobbyist to deregulate Monsanto food and chemical products— where he worked until he eventually wormed his way back into the FDA for the Obama administration in 2008.
While what the New York Times did choose to include in its cover of the animal antibiotic misuse story was the Obama administration’s decision earlier in the spring of 2012 to restrict the use of one antibiotic from animal misuse— cephalosporins— that are used to treat pneumonia, and which have been responsible for creating antibiotic resistant bacterial strains as a result of their indiscriminate overuse.
But focusing on one regulatory action is only typical of the Obama administration’s governing strategy of placating public interest groups when it has to, by making micro-moves that put on the face of change, but which allows the underlying status quo system that created the original problem to remain untouched, to continue to create additional problems, of the exact same kind or nature, in the future.
The only difference between the Obama’s administration and any Republican counterpart is that the Obama administration doles out minor, select, regulatory concessions, that do little, to no harm, to the entrenched free market deregulation agendas patronizing industry and Wall Street profits, but which pay off large in public relations perceptions, which continue to defraud a voting public into believing that there actually exists a significant difference between Democrat and Republican agendas when it comes to protecting the public’s health. When in fact there exists virtually no difference.
A fact made abundantly clear by Obama having selected corporate attorney Michael Taylor— a decades long lobbyist for the Monsanto Company (one of the world’s largest and most corrupt biotech companies), who has spent his adult career fighting to deregulate the pharmaceutical and food industries, at the expense of the public’s health— to the top position at the FDA, to now allegedly “regulate” these same industries he worked for, for decades, and to allegedly now work for a public he has worked against his entire career.
Healthcare industry C.diff regulations follow in the footsteps of industry-prioritized FDA “regulations”
As for the healthcare industry’s own strategy for preventing C. diff infections, it follows in virtually the same inept regulatory pathway of the FDA’s “preventative plan” for animal antibiotic’s misuse. (For background on C. diff infections, see Antibiotic Misuse, Part 1 at: http://tapeunit.com/article/broad-spectrum-antibiotic-misuse-fatal-intestine-infections-and-more-part-1 )
In its “prevention protocol” to reduce the spread of C. diff bacterial infections, the Mayo Clinic, which is regarded as one of the most widely recognized and respected health institutions in the United States, only suggests avoiding the unnecessary use of antibiotics, and places this LAST on its list of measures for reducing C. diff infections— after common sense measures of hygiene and sanitation to try and reduce C. diff spores in healthcare facilities. And then with no mention of the class of antibiotics that have been the most associated with C.diff infections: fluoroquinolones. (For background on fluoroquinolones, see Antibiotic Misuse, Part 1)
European regulations take on a significantly different approach to the problem. Not only are they coordinated and universal, they are required regulations— while applied to an equally large population as that of the United States, and with the logistics of organizing the regulations being even more complex than in the U.S..
In Europe, fluoroquinolones and other broad spectrum antibiotics are avoided from being used to prevent C. diff infections— clear and straightforward. And hospitals and healthcare institutions are held accountable (a concept foreign to American regulations) for these bans by being required to submit records of C. diff infections, and are financially sanctioned if their misuse of antibiotics have led to the development of these infections. A responsible, mature, regulation policy, which has resulted in a significant reduction in the spread of this problem.
Not so in the United States. In the U.S., in addition to bending over backward not to regulate broad spectrum drug use, unless imperative, regulation is also adopted on a voluntary basis— all intended to prioritize protecting pharmaceutical and healthcare industry profits over patient safety.
Proper antibiotic use is only suggested, and it is up to the individual hospital or healthcare facility to initiate regulatory programs on its own. This kind of completely unaccountable system is exactly why the U.S. public is facing the huge numbers of C. diff related infections and deaths today— nearly half a million infections and 30,000 to 40,000 deaths a year.
In his USA Today cover story, Peter Eisler pointed out a few success stories from a select number of hospitals taking their own initiative on the problem— listing three hospitals that are making headway, by focusing on barring the indiscriminate use of broad spectrum antibiotics. And while this is wonderful for the lucky patients being treated in these select few hospitals, there are roughly 5,000 hospitals in the United States and over 15,000 nursing homes, along with over 25,000 outpatient clinics.
Voluntary and uncoordinated regulation of this number of healthcare facilities is not only absurd, it is also denying the vast majority of Americans equal protection under the law, as is their fundamental right under the U.S. Constitution.
And it is not working. As evidenced by a follow-up USA Today article at the end of November 2012: “Drugs can’t stop this killer,” also by journalist Peter Eisler, on but another antibiotic resistant bacteria.
This bacteria, Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), which is completely antibiotic resistant, and whose human death toll is also fast mounting— like C. diff, is also the result of genetic mutation from the misuse of antibiotics. (See how broad spectrum antibiotics create genetic mutations in C. diff bacteria, and in human cells, in Antibiotic Misuse, Part 1).
And like C. diff bacteria, there is also no coordinated regulatory protocol to either document CRE bacterial occurrence, or to try and prevent its spread.
There only exists utterly ineffectual voluntary regulatory “suggestions” by the Centers of Disease Control (CDC), accompanied by, again, the rare hospital facilities across the U.S. that are instituting strict internal regulations on their own to try and identify, isolate, and prevent the spread of this extremely hazardous bacterial strain.
While adding to the already absurd, dysfunctional, and inept regulatory action existing in this country, you have a president who issues an Executive Order at the end of October of 2011 that pushes the FDA to green light even more powerful antibiotics into the market, which will only create newer and even more hazardous antibiotic resistant bacterial strains in the future. (See also Antibiotic Misuse, Part 1)
End Part 2
Part 3: Fix the corrupt U.S. regulatory system, or accept increasing abnormal, destructive, and otherwise preventable, health problems in the public.