Tempest in the Medical Teapot

Tempest in the Medical Teapot

December 25 is Christmas, a time for “peace on earth to men of goodwill.” December is also the last month of the first year of the new millennium. It’s a time to take stock of where we’ve been and where we are heading as we continue to hurtle through space to our way to–somewhere.

Those of us involved in the growing movement to reclaim our right to medicine of our choice find ourselves hemmed in on every side by powerful international corporations and by governments that were ostensibly elected by the people, but are not for the people.

We the people, however, do have power if we would only exercise it. Because members of the orthodox medical fraternity also feel threatened. Drugless medicine has invaded the territory long held by the chemical cartel and drugless medicine is becoming the people’s choice, on both sides of the US/Canadian border. This is an old battle, of course. It’s just the players that change every 50 years. Now we have the Internet, which is altering the rules of war a little, for both sides.

For one thing, medical doctors have to face the annoying fact that anti-medical information is dispensed freely around the globe via fibre optics and is available in most homes. So people now confound their doctors with health and disease information the docs have never heard of. It’s distressing–for physicians. On the other side, the medical doctors are shooting back with a clear mission to “expose” the unorthodoxy of what we have come to call “alternative” medicine. They discredit naturopathic practitioners and ridicule the gullible people who seek advice from them instead of continuing to rely on what the late Dr Robert Mendelsohn called the “Church of Modern Medicine and its anointed priests.”

One forum in which medical orthodoxy has enjoyed taking a slap at the upstart alternative docs has been in conferences that took place across the continent under the title A Critical Evaluation of Alternative Medicine.

I attended one of those conferences in Vancouver. It proved to be a rather incestuous clutch of old boys staunchly defending their hitherto hallowed ground, under the leadership of a former oncologist. This gentleman occupies his retired years in collecting around himself a few church members who will join him in a snicker and a jibe at the drugless docs and their misguided followers.

Another battle front is the Web site Quackwatch.com, founded four years ago by former psychiatrist Stephen Barrett. Its Canadian counterpart is healthwatcher.net. The two are not connected, Dr Barrett assured me recently in replying to my October editorial, though “we do exchange information.”

He also said he has had no law suits launched against him, that he is not funded by the drug companies and that Quackwatch does not have members, only volunteers. I stand corrected.

Spokesdoc for healthwatcher.net is Terry Polevoy. I know little about him except that he hates naturopathic doctors and all they stand for. He did not reply to our phone calls. Canadians who are fighting for freedom of choice in health care should be familiar with these two Web sites.

Orthodox Medical Quackery
The real problem is that the medical tide has turned, and it’s running out for the drug pushers who have destroyed the health of more people and caused more deaths than naturopathic medicine ever could or will.

In 1984 Dr Joel Lexchin wrote an expos?f the drug industry in Canada, which is “dominated by subsidiaries of American, British and Swiss multinationals.” He called his book The Real Drug Pushers (New Star Books Ltd).

Dr Lexchin said that the drug companies have “knowingly deceived doctors” about the drugs they make, that their research is distorted and that the development of drugs is biased towards producing those with the greatest sale potential. Valium, Librium and Ritalin are examples.

That’s terrifying! And it’s true.

Dr Michelle Brille-Edwards, a former employee of Health Canada’s Drug Directorate, said that “tens of thousands” of people died as a result of a heart drug that had been approved by Health Canada after she and others had warned of its danger. Health Canada officials refused to listen to the warnings of their expert staff because the Health Protection Branch had a commitment to the drug company to get its product to market!

I would like to see the vigilantes of the Internet search out this orthodox medical quackery.

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