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Health and Capitalism

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meel2
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Health and Capitalism

More and more vaccines are being developed.  The number of vaccines a person normally gets in a lifetime is much higher now than it used to be.  All to the good – I used to think.  These days I am not so sure.  What’s in these shots exactly?  Can we trust the drug companies and the studies they quote to support their claim that they are safe?

Obviously, if people fall down dead as soon as they are injected, this would not be in the interest of the drug companies.  But what of longer term effects on the body?

I think what has really made me suspicious of the drug industry and their output, are two things.  One, watching the sheer scale of prescribed drugs among members of my own family (especially as they get older), without them getting noticeably better. Two, discovering the nature of the Ancel Keys / John Yudkin controversy (see my post “Food for thought”, post no 9, where I point to this link: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/apr/07/the-sugar-conspiracy-robert-lustig-john-yudkin).  Keys deliberately withheld results from his “7-countries study” to make it appear as if saturated fat contributed to heart disease.  In reality there were another 22 (I think, from memory) countries that had been studied, and that had not shown this link. Now, in whose pockets was he, you may wonder.

Cholera, for example, can be kept in check by providing clean water, teaching improved hygiene, and making sure people have a healthy diet.  But where’s the profit in that?  Better to develop a vaccine and sell it to third world governments for lots of money.

Then there’s polio.  The polio vaccination programme has been a triumph.  Polio has been virtually eradicated – or has it?

“Polio incidence has dropped more than 99 percent since the launch of global polio eradication efforts in 1988. According to global polio surveillance data from March 9, 2016, 5 wild poliovirus cases were reported in Pakistan and 1 wild poliovirus case was reported in Afghanistan in 2016. In 2015, 74 cases of wild poliovirus were reported: 54 from Pakistan and 20 from Afghanistan.

On March 27, 2014, Dr. Frieden and senior CDC immunization staff were present when India, along with the other 10 countries of the South East Asia Region, was certified polio-free.  The country was once considered the most complex challenge to achieving global polio eradication. Four of the six regions of the World Health Organization have been certified polio-free: the Americas (1994), Western Pacific (2000), Europe (2002) and South East Asia (2014). 80% of the world’s people now live in polio-free areas.” (https://www.cdc.gov/polio/updates/))

But wait a minute. It has been claimed that a “new kind of polio” has appeared, as a result of the vaccine, called “vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis” or “nonpolio acute flaccid paralysis” (I think these two terms mean the same).

One study says the following: “….Therefore, there is a compelling reason to try to determine the underlying causes for the surge in nonpolio paralysis numbers.”(My emphasis.)

In its conclusion it says that “… The incidence of NPAFP was strongly associated with the number of OPV [Oral Polio Vaccine] doses delivered to the area.”(http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/135/Supplement_1/S16.2)

On the other hand, I have read other reports which say that these cases of “non-polio polio” cannot be directly related to the vaccine.

So I don’t know.  I don’t work in the field, so can only look in as an outsider.  The only thing I can do is to repeatedly ask “cui bono?” and the answer that comes back is always the same.  The pharmaceutical companies benefit. The more vaccines they can push onto the market, the better for them.

I haven’t gone out on a limb, condemning all drugs and vaccines.  Who would want to undergo an operation without anesthetics, for example?  But I think some skepticism is good, without having to become one of the bright-eyed and bouncy West Coast American health gurus.

alanjjohnstone
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Joined: 22/06/2011

We should stay well away from the anti-vax. They are anti-science. 

We have had the MMR causes autism debate and evidence-based science has prevailed. We have just had reported news that just a slight fall in the measles vaccination and the consequence to the herd immunity is an out of proportion serious one. We have the biggest outbreak of cholera in recent history taking place right now in Yemen - and yes, we should end the war, end the famine, and end capitalism, but right now it is access to vaccination that is needed.

Same with polio, the eradication campaign is thwarted by civil war but in general can be viewed as a great success. I am of the age that i still remember the sight of children my age in calipers. I have been in countries where polio victims can still be seen begging. 

https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2017/07/small-drop-in-measles-vac...

But even when it ends we have anti-vax who claim smallpox has never been ended and that it still exists but being deliberately misdiagnosed as another variant of pox. It is a conspiracy they say by the medical and pharmaceutical industry. 

But we need not be skeptical of vaccines to have a healthy distrust of the drug corporations, much like we do not need to agree with the bankers to explain that it is not the cause of our social woes, merely a contributory factor, as the SOYMB blog regularly does. There is no doubt that Big Pharma puts profits before people, but all of capitalism does that.

If you wish to be sceptical about something, i suggest the Natural News website should be your target, Meel, as it spreads half-truths and downright lies.

"I have no country to fight for; my country is the Earth, and I am a citizen of the World." - Eugene V. Debs

meel2
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Joined: 16/06/2017

Hi Alan

I am questioning the quantity and quality (i.e.; have they been tested properly, long-term) of vaccines produced, not vaccines per se.  I am not a member of the “anti-vax” lobby.

To me, the starting point for good health is:

1)      Clean water

2)      Wholesome fresh food

3)      Enough rest

4)      Social input

These 4 simple basics are difficult to obtain, even for many people in the West where  2), 3) and 4) can be a problem, but at least we have clean water.

After the basic needs above have been satisfied, some medicines and vaccines are good, life-saving and necessary.  But I question the way a medicine that has been withdrawn in the West, is still used in the developing world (OVP), and also the way many new vaccines come onto the market that we didn’t have before – say, against shingles, flu etc.  Do we really need them, do the benefits outweigh the risks – is an artificial demand sometimes created – after all, vaccines (and medicines) are just another products.

To illustrate what I mean, this is what a whistle-blower from Merck has said:

“Are pharmaceutical corporations motivated by profits? “Profits from vaccine production aren’t a valid argument against vaccinations—the most important question is whether vaccines are safe and effective, and the answer is unambiguously yes” wrote Lam. In 2015, Former Merck Employee and whistleblower Brandy Vaughan Spoke out against the state of California’s vaccination mandate bill SB277 and said:

The U.S. gives more vaccines than any other country in the world. Our childhood schedule for under the age of one has twice as many vaccines as other developed countries. What else do we have? The highest infant mortality rate of any developed nation. Finland has the lowest. They only give 11 by age six. Mississippi has the highest rate of vaccination in the U.S.–highest infant mortality rate. These numbers do not lie. But you will not hear that on the media, and that is not what Senator Pan will tell you.

What we have with vaccines is the highest profit margin pharmaceutical drug on the market. Drug companies make more money off vaccines than they do any other pharmaceutical drug, in terms of profit margin. There is a lack of rigorous safety studies. And they don’t have the incentive to do them because they have no liability.  Vaccines are the only products in the U.S. that do not have liability.[my emphasis]You cannot sue for injuries or death. But that is only in the U.S. Around the world, there are law suits because of serious injuries and deaths because from vaccines. In Spain over Gardasil. In Japan over Gardasil. The flu shot was taken off the market for under five in Australia after deaths and injury. Prevnar was banned in China. Pfizer’s vaccination program was kicked out of the country. France just pulled Rotavirus off their schedule after infant deaths and injuries.

With a forecast of $61 billion in projected sales, rest assured new vaccines will be developed for almost anything. Actor and comedian Jim Carrey did say that “150 people die every year from being hit by falling coconuts. Not to worry, drug makers are developing a vaccine”. With 271 vaccines in production, Jim Carrey’s comments, which were criticized by the mainstream media, may not be so farfetched after all.”

(http://www.globalresearch.ca/big-pharma-and-big-profits-the-multibillion-dollar-vaccine-market/5503945)

So I’m saying “beware”, not that you should hot-foot it to a homeopath.

Meel

meel2
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Joined: 16/06/2017

 

Oh, I forgot "Exercise" - add that in as my point 5), for basic good health.

DJP
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So which preventable disease, for which there is a vacine, would you like to have?

alanjjohnstone
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Joined: 22/06/2011

Quote:
There is a lack of rigorous safety studies.

https://thoughtscapism.com/2015/04/10/myth-no-studies-compare-the-health...

Using the ethical basis arising from the Nuremberg Nazi medical experiments, double-blind placebo experiments would be unethical but there are plenty of other evidence available.

To have a real double blinded vaccine trial, can imagine the response from parents when they are informed. Wwe're going to subdivide children into two groups.  Parents would not be allowed to have their children receive any injection from any other source, to avoid contamination of the data. Some children in the study would be completely unprotected from any disease outbreak, and their parents would be unaware of whether or not the children were unprotected.

Doctor–your child has a 50/50 chance of getting an injection that is worthless.
Parent–Go F..k yourself.   So epidemiologists construct studies using data in the past that isolate confounding data from real data, and determine the safety and efficacy of vaccines. Multiple studies in multiple countries using multiple research models and multiple research groups, with multiple funding sources. And guess what? It's overwhelming proof of the usefulness of vaccines. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaccine_controversies

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Anti-vaccination_movement

But, your point that Big Pharma try to create a market is well-taken., Meel. Certain anti-social behaviour is indeed medicalised and drug treatment encouraged. 

We ourselves rather than change our life-styles (much less society) demand the magical pill that can cure us without any effort by ourselves. 

"I have no country to fight for; my country is the Earth, and I am a citizen of the World." - Eugene V. Debs

DJP
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Let's pull no punches, anti-vaxers are responsible for more harm than "big-pharma" Let's not contribute to the idiocy.

https://www.vox.com/2017/5/8/15577316/minnesota-measles-outbreak-explained

meel2
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Joined: 16/06/2017

Hi Alan

Some interesting links from you.  I will digest them.  I know of the anti-vax people, of course, and as I said, I don't hold with them.

But, I prefer to question - and when there's so much money to be made, and as the pharmaceutical firms cannot be held liable - at least in the US - you wonder.

And as regards conspiracy theories....

Well, the Ancel Keys / John Yudkin saga certainly reads like a conspiracy theory, yet it turned out to be true.  As you know, that was the sugar industries - not "Big Pharma" - up to no good.

It's late, time for cocoa and bed I think...

Meel

alanjjohnstone
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Joined: 22/06/2011

I would suggest that you vastly underestimate the harm of Big Pharma, DJP.

Immediately, i would raise the point of how their ownership of patents denies cheap medicines for the poor and how their legal lobbying of the WTO the major brands alone are a constant risk to Little Pharma ie the numerous Indian drug businesses that offer generics.

This alone out-weighs the nefarious damage by CAM – Complementary Alternative Medicine. Let us not forget how the drug corporations demanded unreasonable high prices for HIV/AIDS until pressure prevailed. Claiming they have lowered the prices now, does not excuse them from being the cause of a devastating death toll in the past.

But i give no carte blanche to the anti-science advocates when they get into positions of power. 

South African government engaged in what can only be described as a genocidal health policy against HIV/AIDS victims. Over 300,000 people had their lives cut short as a result.  Instead of providing anti-retroviral drugs, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, the country's health minister, promoted the use of unproven herbal remedies such as garlic, beetroot, and lemon juice to treat AIDS. A meeting of the Presidential Advisory Panel on AIDS  recommended that the disease be treated not with antiretroviral drugs, but rather with vitamins and “alternative” and “complementary” therapies including “massage therapy, music therapy, yoga, spiritual care, homeopathy, Indian ayurvedic medicine, light therapy and many other methods,” despite a plea from the scientific community through the Durban Declaration, signed by 5,000 scientists, that this position will cost countless lives.

South African Department of Health would not provide a relatively inexpensive shot of Nevirapine to 100,000 pregnant, HIV-positive women to prevent mother-to-child transmission: ‘That mother is going to die and that HIV-negative child will be an orphan. That child must be brought up. Who is going to bring the child up? It’s the state, the state. That’s resources, you see.’

I see no reason not to damn both - a plague on both houses (without any vaccinations!)

"I have no country to fight for; my country is the Earth, and I am a citizen of the World." - Eugene V. Debs

alanjjohnstone
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Joined: 22/06/2011

Oh, i should mention a recent SOYMB blog-post.

http://socialismoryourmoneyback.blogspot.co.uk/2017/07/profits-before-cu...

 GlaxoSmithKline plans to cut development programmes that don't produce medicines that generate substantial returns. This will involve neglecting research into the treatment of "orphan" illnesses since they do not make a profit for the pharmaceuticals.

 

"I have no country to fight for; my country is the Earth, and I am a citizen of the World." - Eugene V. Debs

jondwhite
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The pharmaceutical industry (and the product vaccines) are no more (or less) profit driven than the food industry or water industry or energy industry. A minority of food products get recalled so a minority of pharmaceutical products do too. Doesn't mean there is something nefarious about the food industry. Poor but healthy workers are better than poor sick consumers, from a capitalist point of view.

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