A Masters Degree In Science! In Defense Of My Colleagues In PHARMA.

If it wasn't for PHARMA, I'd be dead. That doesn't mean that Shane is wrong.

I’d be dead, if it wasn’t for PHARMA. But that does not mean Shane is completely wrong. In fact, he’s 80% right, in my opinion. FitOldDog.

But is it true that they [The Pharmaceutical Industry, PHARMA] bribe/encourage doctors to prescribe certain medicines?” Well, yes! They do! But that doesn’t mean my friends are bad!

I like what Shane has to say. I don’t like the way he says it.

Shane Ellison

Shane Ellison makes war on the Pharmaceutical Industry. He looks like a nice chap. FitOldDog.

I worked in PHARMA (GSK then Sanofi) for 12 years. They both treated me well. I think I was hired to piss people off. I did that!

I have friends in PHARMA. Great thinkers!

I left a science career of 40 years, to study business!

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In PHARMA, we endeavored to cure diseases. Not create symptoms to fix with expensive drugs! Some of our friends and family had those diseases. We were motivated to cure! But we were the scientists on the bench. Not the CEOs or the marketing department!

A few days ago (well, years now), my sister, Marian, sent me a link to a video, which features a Mr. Shane Ellison.

Marian asked my opinion of the movie, with the question:

But is it true that they [The Pharmaceutical Industry, PHARMA] bribe/encourage doctors to prescribe certain medicines?

I sent a knee-jerk response, as follows,

“He [Shane Ellison] has a Master’s Degree, like Dr. Science [see video below]. I spent 12 years in PHARMA and I know that this guy has it wrong. My colleagues worked hard to find cures for diseases, not to just cure symptoms, unless that was needed. For instance, treating nausea induced by chemotherapy treats the symptoms of drug-induced nausea, which allows the patient to handle the treatment [chemotherapy].

It was Mr. Ellison’s diatribe that reminded me of ‘Dr. Science,’ who also has a Masters Degree in Science!

Gertrude Elion

What a wonderful lady. I heard her lecture, and she wasn’t trying to create symptoms to make money. Come on, Shane! Gertrude beat the system, no PhD, but a Nobel Prize.

I have nothing to gain from supporting PHARMA. I no longer work there. I am enjoying my new online career, which includes blogging. Glaxo and Sanofi treated me extremely well. They expected their staff to maintain high ethical standards. I worked in the Gertrude Elion building. What a great lady, and scientist.

My colleagues really cared about discovering cures for a wide range of diseases, from cancer to Alzheimer’s. They also employed the best scientific tools and methods.

The comment by Mr. Ellison that surprised me, was:

When I worked for the Drug Industry, Science was completely abandonedWe designed drugs based on symptoms, we don’t cure.”

 I find this statements hard to accept. Unless the ‘Psycho Pharmaceutical Industry’ is very different to places that I’ve worked. I have no way to prove or disprove it’s veracity. I am just concerned that his general indictment of PHARMA is unfair.

Gertrude Elion Building.

Fond memories of my Toxicogenomics lab in the Gertrude Elion-Hitchings Building, RTP, NC. Worked there for 7 years. FitOldDog.

Every industry has bad apples. There are checks and balances. Many such filters are mandated by law. This leads to a mountain of onerous and expensive record keeping for PHARMA. Making new drugs a challenging task. I am not completely in agreement with the current PHARMA business model, which I think would benefit from a Bell Labs approach, and I said this often whilst in their employ. It is, however, their industry and thus their call.

Did I mention that I’m studying business?

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Health care begins and ends with us – it’s your body-mind, for heaven’s sake.

Valium saved FitOldDog from a severe case of dehydration-induced vertigo.

I rejected Valium for TMJ but it sure rescued me from a crippling and potentially dangerous case of dehydration-induced vertigo. FitOldDog.

We each decide whom to seek out for health care guidance. We each get to decide whether or not to take the advice or ignore it. I have been very glad of certain medicines, such as an antibiotic that rapidly cured a bad case of ‘Walking Pneumonia’ (Mycoplasma infection). However,  I have refused treatment for stress (Valium), preferring, over the doctor’s protestations, to take a vacation and meditate more (which was very effective). I happened to disagree with my physician.

The problem comes when you have no medical training, and even this is becoming less of a problem with the Internet. This issue reminds me of couple A and couple B in my blog post entitled ‘Zen and the Art of Body Maintenance Revisited.’ You will generally get the medical treatment you earn with respect to the energy you invest in your body. I know little about the maintenance of my car, so I am at the mercy of the mechanic, much of the time at least. You can’t know everything, but you only have one body so it deserves as much attention as you are able to afford.

Your medical mind, book

Interesting book with very valuable ideas on improving doctor-patient interactions.

Health care involves a large team of people, of which PHARMA is but one small component. I don’t think that demonization and generalizations are the answer. If there is a real issue in the case of certain companies and certain ‘Psychopharmaceuticals’ maybe we are dealing with an effective whistle blowing process, which is a good thing. Are Mr. Ellison’s claims reasonable? I don’t know, but I have my doubts based on my experiences in PHARMA.

You pays your money and you takes your choice, as they say.

If you are having trouble communicating with your doctor, read ‘Your Medical Mind.’ Great book!

Go to this link for updates on my thoughts about Shane Ellison’s ideas.

I wonder what Shane would recommend for Aortic Surgery Patients?

Oh! Yes! Don’t forget!

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  1. First thing I did was google Shane Ellison.
    It seems to me he may come from a long tradition of what I would allege to be snake oil salesmen.
    Snake oil men have their interests and they are commercial, they are the quack stuff they peddle.
    Their apparent attacks are not personal. No, they just want to make money, loads of it and the gullible are their mark.
    Reminds me of a Tom Lehrer lyric that went something like:
    “… I knew he would be a success when he said he wanted to specialise in diseases of the rich…”
    You and your associates are just some collateral damage along the road to loot.
    However this being said the psychological angle has merit.
    For example: some children, mostly boys, are said to have attention deficit disorder.
    In my view schools are rational and progress like the agricultural year, BUT some children are hunter gatherers and not farmers. The school does not suit them. The so-called disorder is a failure of educators and not a childhood disorder. Drugs are no answer here.
    All snake oil salesmen hang their antics on a core of some truth and spin falsehoods from there on out.
    His countre to you would be to misquote the bard:- “me thinks he does protest too strongly…”.
    Dialogue may be a good thing but these guys are not engaging in science nor in reasoned dialogue. They are hoodwinkers and are slick at that and will seek to make money no matter what the consequences.
    In my time in politics I have sat through too many slick presentations so am not easily turned.
    Avoid dialogue with salesmen.

    • Kevin Morgan says

      Hi Trevor,

      I agree with everything you say, and if this guy notices me, which I doubt he will, I expect some kind of negative spin. However, in my current game, blogging to educate and help people, even bad press is good press (unless bad guys come knocking on your door).

      Yep! Snake Oil!

      On to the next blog, as I really enjoy doing this. How odd!


      P.S. Why do vacuum cleaners make so much noise?

  2. Dr. Catharine Hennessy says

    At first, I was horrified by this man’s interpretation of Pharma. But after my initial shock, I felt sorry for him. Either his company was 180 degrees different from the company that I do contract work for, or he was fired and has an ax to grind. I work for technical services for an animal health company, and all of us care for the health and well-being of every companion animal. There is not a single person in my department that does not have at least one pet, and most of us have several (since few of us can say no). But yet, I get accused nearly daily from pet owners on the phone that I only care about making money. The pharmaceutical company is a business and as such, must make money. Much of that money is put back into research to create new, more effective, and safer medications to treat and manage diseases. Do drugs have side effects? Of course. Does the manufacturer revel in those side effects? Absolutely not. I hate to hear when an animal cannot tolerate the medicine. First, I feel sad for the animal and the owner. Second, it frequently means that the underlying problem may go untreated. Unfortunately, the chronic diseases that a few of our medications are designed to treat will likely result in euthanasia of the patient if not managed. When confronted with an opinion, such as this “Dr.”, one needs to consider the source and consider the reason (whatever it is) behind his vitriolic diatribe.

  3. Kevin Morgan says

    Hi Catharine,

    My brother has it right (see comment from Trevor). Behind this diatribe lies one, and only one, thing, the quest for money. I have had the same experiences as you with respect to animal rights, having spent most of my scientific career in Toxicology. I am yet to be attacked on this issue by anyone with a reasonable alternative approach. I was a strong advocate for the application of mathematical modeling to reduce animal studies, making a little progress on this issue before moving on to this new, and very interesting life.

    The real key for PHARMA as a business is that they remember that they are making money to make therapeutic agents, and not making therapeutic agents to make money. This is a critical distinction, missed by the makers of Ford Pinto at great cost to many (Ford was indicted for reckless murder).

    Thanks for you thoughtful comments.

    -k @FitOldDog

  4. Dr. Catharine Hennessy says

    My arm is in a cast, so I find myself with extra time on my hands lately. I looked up the website for Mr. Ellison. I find it interesting that he left a career with a pharmaceutical company, with strict FDA oversight of product manufacturing, to sell “supplements” that are not tested and approved by the FDA for safety, efficacy, and purity. It seems that in his displeasure with PHARMA he has found a niche selling medicinal products without all of that pesky quality control and regulation. Now the fox is truly in the hen house.

  5. No, you are wrong about PHARMA (and commercial organistaions in general) it is not an either/or, it is not biniary. It is mulitfarious.
    Economics would say they make pharmacuticals in order to maximise their Utility. This is annoyingly vague. One shareholder enjoys (or gains utility from) new treatment, another may gain utility from the rate of return from investments and be indifferent to the actual things a company makes. Another my hold shares as a hredge against inflation…etc… All gain utility but they get it different ways.
    Complexity is present in things that on the face of it are not complex. For example:- After the British outlawed the African slave trade in 1805 there was no shortage of venturers who attempted to run the blocade. If they made it with a cargo they were made for life. (utility – money) Some were criminals and went to sea on slavers to avoid the hangman (utility – not being dead). Some signed up to get across the Atlantic whilst earning some pay…etc
    Did Royal Navy crews signed up for the squadron to repress this trade. Well, yes some did there were devout Christians who got utility from their Christian duty. Some joined for their share of prize money. (Captured ships were auctioned off and the squadron made money. That is PROFIT. The crew of one ship, HMS Black Joke were so good at their work most were able to retire to a country life as a gentleman. Some also signed up to avoid the hangman, etc. This means that people working for and against the trade could have identical motives for opposite acts!
    Why people work where they work or do what they do is unique to each. They do it to gain UTILITY.
    Snake oil men are much easier souls to understand. Oh, and avoid!

  6. Dr. Catharine Hennessy says

    Won’t know about my arm until the cast comes off. I have common digital extensor tendon necrosis, lateral collateral tendon rupture and cartilage loss due to typing of all things. I needed surgical repair after more than a year of physical therapy and exercises were unsuccessful. I had little use of that arm, so hopefully I will regain some function when the cast comes off. It has put the brakes on strength training for now. I have learned to make a few concessions as I have gotten older. I pay the price when I abuse my body now.

  7. Kevin Morgan says

    Hi Cayla,

    I looked at your site, and it sounds interesting, but I do not have a self-hosted WordPress site. I work through GoDaddy, which limits me to the tools they make available.



  8. david robinson says

    your say way off about shane , its unreal. Im not off meds with his advice and in the best shape ever. He’s telling pretty much the truth. I’ll never be on a diabetes med again thanks to him and his milk thistle and cinammon, real cinammon, not the fake stuff
    at the store.

  9. Hi David,

    I am always interested in different opinions, and I can even change my point of view. I watched Shane Ellison, and his impression of the PHARMA I knew was way off base, not that all of the people involved are scrupulous or ethical. In fact, big money always corrupts someone. If you want to send more details concerning his treatment for diabetes, I would like to hear it. I wonder what Joe and Terry Graeden would have to say about it http://goo.gl/d2O5P, because I generally trust them. Let me know more if you want, and I hope that you receive my response. My impression can be changed, but I need real information before it does.

    I take great care when it comes to chemical treatment of illness, and where possible I avoid ‘modern medicines,’ as they have such a short track record. However, I sure wouldn’t give up my blood pressure medicine, as beetroots and such did not do the trick (I would prefer beetroots), or antibiotics when I have a serious infection, but I avoid statins like the plague http://goo.gl/btQZ4. If Shane Ellison wants to be taken seriously, he should stop talking like a snake oil salesman. Talk up your product, and don’t talk down the other guy – that was the problem with the recent Republican Presidential Candidate debates. It just damaged them all, and their party.

    I appreciate your comment. Thanks!

    -kevin aka FitOldDog

  10. Damien Mooney says

    “Glaxo, Aventis and Sanofi treated me extremely well, and they demanded that their staff maintain high ethical standards.”

    Sure, is this why last week GlaxoSK, who in your words ‘demand that their staff maintain high ethical standards’, were handed a $3BILLION fine for fraudulent marketing, rogue marketing, BRIBING DOCTORS to drug kids and teenagers, commit widespread fraud, (see the Seroxat Scandal) and bribing psychiatrists to drug kids?
    And Pfizer, who now own Sanofi-Aventis were fined $2.3 BILLION last year for the same? Hardly the high standards yu say they espouse!!!

    Guess Ellison had it kinda right eh? You wiped that cake off yer face yet? When done you can read about the disgusting crimes committed by GSK-

    • Hi Damien,
      America has treated me well, and it seems to hold me to high ethical standards with respect to the law, but shabby things are done in our name. In GSK and Sanofi I never ran into the kind of behavior you’re referring to (of which I became aware with everyone else). This is disappointing, given the hard work done by most of the people in PHARMA.
      I must admit, I was not too impressed by the leadership and their vision, which I repeatedly spoke about whilst working there – I recommended the ‘Bell Labs’ approach, which was met with silence. They are now being forced to change as the blockbuster philosophy is crumbling under their feet.
      Bad people exist in all organizations, so I don’t feel associated in anyway with this criminal behavior. I am not sure what you mean by cake on my face.
      I was personally terminated, and did not walk away with millions, just a regular retirement fund and I’ll have to continue working in one way or another. But I was treated well, and everyone I worked with personally was ethical and hard working.
      I suspect that the real problem with PHARMA is that they have gone somewhat in the direction of Ford with the Pinto debacle, another argument I used internally to no affect. I think someone forgot that they were making money to make good therapeutics and not the reverse.
      Have I got cake on my face because America went into Iraq after 911. I think not. Am I still pleased to be American? Yes!
      As an Englishman by birth, do I have cake on my face (or is it egg?) because of the slave trade or the continued presence of a monarchy? I think not!
      Your tone is hostile and aggressive. Is this necessary?
      If you want to write a reasoned and polite rebuttal to my blog post about Ellison, I would welcome that. I am open to having my mind changed.
      Give it a try!
      Thanks for your comments!
      -kevin aka FitOldDog

  11. “Bad people exist in all organizations…”
    The whole ‘don’t tar us all with the one brush cop-out.’ Bad apples do exist in all walks of life, but this is compounded even more so by the fact that this is an industry that purports to actually help people.

    “I watched Shane Ellison, and his impression of the PHARMA I knew was way off base, not that all of the people involved are scrupulous or ethical. In fact, big money always corrupts someone. If you want to send more details concerning his treatment for diabetes, I would like to hear it.”

    Ellison’s impression of ‘PHARMA’ (why you deem it necessary to use these big caps and monikor bewilders me), is most likely shaped from his time at Eli Lilly. They are a byword for fraud and have actually taken fraud to a whole new level.

    Here is a litany of stories about Eli Lilly.

    It doesn’t sound like it would take much too change your mind, all you need to do is read the papers. Or open your eyes to the evil of Big Pharma.
    There are several cures and reversal treatments for diabetes. Firstly cut out all refined sugar and anything that effects blood sugar. Therefore no need for Avandia (bit of Pfraud going on there as well), or any other dangerous meds. Use cinnamon and other herbs and spices that regulate blood sugar. Or try out the new Nitric Oxide/Arginine formula-ProArgi9 something its called. I don’t have diabetes but I’ve told several family and friends and they are ‘cured’ of diabetes.

    The reason I mentioned the cake comment was because you showed up your ignorance of the fact that Glaxo were a noble bunch. You were unaware of the fact that last week a company that you were in awe of, were lambasted in courts for fraud and disgusting crimes. You see Kevin, I set up PharmaWatch to write about and expose all these crooked pharmaceutical companies, and they are all crooked-whether you like it or not. I can start at A for Abbott, Amgen and go all the way to Z and name all the crimes for medical fraud, racketeering, murder and bribing doctors. Need I go into Merck?

    Ellison, like me, has devoted his life to keeping people healthy. He seen the seedy side of BIG PHARMA. I seen it as a bedwetting child that was put o n AntiD’d, anti-psychotics everything. I haven’t tried his diabetes cure, but I know others work.

    One more question, how many did Vioxx kill?

    • Hi Damien,

      You seem to have nothing to say about the helpful pharmaceuticals generated by these Leviathons, which I find odd, as balance would strengthen your argument. Why you would say that I am in awe of GSK I have no idea, as I am not really in awe of anyone, though I had great respect for Gertrude Elion. I suspect that our debate will go nowhere, but I’ll read the book and see what I think, and write a review on this blog as you have peaked my interest. I proposed internally to GSK and Sanofi (where I was hired to asked difficult questions, that were then met largely with mockery or silence) that life-style should be integrated with the therapeutic strategy for any drugs to be developed for TIIDM, if any were needed, which I doubted except in the case of certain genetic disorders. I also disapproved vocally of the development of drugs for obesity, as life-style would fix most of it, starting with the elimination of HF Corn Syrup, again except in the case of certain genetic variables.

      You appear to be beating on the Bank Teller (see my brother’s comment), which is counterproductive but interesting. Surely, with care, this blog could provide a useful platform for your arguments to my target audience, older people who want to get in shape and people, such as myself, who want to do so in combination with a major medical challenge.

      My primary interest was never in the nature of Pharma (I thought the caps was standard form, my mistake), but in the nature of Biology and biological systems. I was hired to solve Biological, largely metabolic and molecular biological, riddles not marketing or sales problems, so my attention tended to be there, except when I noticed that their vision for such research was flawed.

      Thanks for pointing out my ignorance, but I am aware that I am ignorant of 99.99r% of information available to humans (who know little or nothing of the nature of the universe), let alone the knowledge needed to seek the wisdom required to make good decisions based on such information.

      I find your approach to debate far from endearing, which is a pity as you clearly care about the topic. This is not a good approach to sales!

      -k (FitOldDog)

      PS the real magic is that I am cooking my lunch in a rest stop as I write this, on my way home from my latest race. I bought the food in a local farm from a stall on the side of the road. You can’t beat this stuff – good food is one key to a good life, you and Shane are right about that.

  12. Feeling much better taking Shane’s route. Shane has a few of his own helpful supplements but he has nothing to gain recommending inexpensive supplements from Walmart, Walgreens and others. I do believe Doctors genuinely care but they are trained to treat with a drug. Say no to drugs unless in an emergency situation. It is sooo obvious big Pharma cares about the dollar over lives. Keep people sick and dependent on drugs that kill and make us sicker. Just watch the commercials on TV. Every segment has several different commercials for all these diseases and disorders. All these drive-up drug stores and convenient clinics. Who is trying to market and make money? The FDA approves anything and everything they benefit from whether it is healthy or not. Say what you want but look at Americans. America is SICK. It speaks for itself. Go Shane!

    • Hi Heather, this is an interesting discussion, so I guess I will have to read and review Shane Ellison’s book(s?). I still think that Pharma has it’s place, or some kind of heavy duty research system might be better, along the lines of Bell Labs, but such research must be integrated with life-style in the form of nutrition and exercise. I have just recovered from a tick-borne fever (I was REALLY sick) due to the availability of Doxycycline made by Pharma. I bet that you don’t go to Shane for critical surgery (anaesthetics, antinausea drugs, blood pressure regulation chemistry, etc), or antibiotics when you have a life-threatening infection. I’ll get the book once I get a chance to catch up. I really appreciate all of these unexpected comments, and what is better in life than unexpected thoughts and ideas. Pharma is not so clever as some people think, it is really some kind of headless Leviathan that has become too attached to money and not attached enough to the patient – whatever they proclaim. You are wrong in stating that the FDA approves of everything – I have seen some excellent drugs rejected for somewhat flimsy reasons, which disappointed the research teams a great deal, and these teams were not rewarded financially for drugs that make it, in the GSK and Sanofi that I worked for, anyway. Some of my friend’s proudest moments were being on a team whose drug made it through the pipeline and actually reached the patients, with no adverse sequelae several years later. Pharma has some big warts, but I don’t like inflated claims and accusations by so-called award winning chemists, either. Sounds like the same $$$ problem, but I’ll reserve further judgement until I review the book(s). Reason in all things. -k (FitOldDog)

      • Yep, he isn’t against emergency medicine. And yep, you should read his book(s) before you review him. Since you are basically evaluating him only knowing him “in part.” And one of your problems with him is that he is evaluating big pharma “in part.”
        I don’t know if I am making sense, but you are filtering what he is saying through bias eyes. Glad you are up for changing your mind, because although he is making a living by what he teaches, he is helping people be free from sickness, not just managing and living (if that is what we call living) with the sickness. He gives hope that we do have control over most sicknesses that plague our bodies.
        If you can get over his F you attitude and vulgar words…
        You will see although he isn’t looking for more friends, he does care and has a big heart. His family lives by all he shares with us, so I like he is family focused as well as business focused.
        I don’t love him, I don’t hate him, but I love that he puts up with critics to keep on keepin on with educating people in these areas of health and diet. Mainstream ways are clearly not working. He is the answer people are looking for telling is what we need to do now, because the way the dietitian is telling us, is NOT WORKING. School lunches are a good example of what happens when we listen to modern nutrition advice by professionals.
        Don’t know why 1 out of 3 kids are diagnosed as diabetic.
        Probably would be more scientifically accurate to read his books to evaluate and not evaluate of just a video or two.

    • PS Yes! America has a very poor diet and exercise plan, I agree whole-heartedly.

    • Hi Damien, this case appears to be open, still. It has quite left my mind. I must admit that I avoid pharmaceuticals like the plague, especially new ones, but recently an ACE inhibitor provided me with considerable assistance with reducing a life-threatening hypertension (220/120) induced by my AAA stent, not that I could ever convince a cardiologist of this mechanism (very odd). This has now self-corrected, as I expected, and I no longer take the drug. Beetroot failed to help, by the way, though exercise brought it down a tad. I don’t trust any large money-making machine, but I am happy to use my Apple computer, drive my old Chevy, and enjoy having my stent. Do I trust Shane? No way. Do I trust Glaxo? Absolutely not. Do I trust my colleagues still working in GSK? Some I do absolutely, and some I don’t at all. This is an interesting issue, and I guess we each have to find our own way through the world, trying to avoid the purchase of a Ford Pinto. Thanks for the link. Cheers, Kevin

    • Hi Damien,
      I did write a follow-up post after reflecting on this interchange, but I doubt it endeared you to my opinions?
      PS I still haven’t found time (or energy) to read Shane’s book, as I’ve been immersed in the Paleo debate, both mentally and physically. One has to choose one’s battles as life is fleeting.

  13. Shane Ellison is for real and i completely agree with everything he says because he is logical and speaks the truth. I applaud him for telling the truth about the corrupt Pharmaceutical cartel. I totally disagree with you.

  14. Hi Jospeh,

    I appreciate your comment.

    I did write a follow-up post on this issue, in response to the comment stream. Clearly, Shane Ellison has some dedicated disciples. If you completely agree with everything someone or some company says, then I suspect that you are fooling yourself. Errors are everywhere, in the data, in the data interpretation, and in the judgement used to apply such interpretations.

    Here is the link to my follow up post http://goo.gl/Q9nRiX.

    There are bad apples everywhere, just take Ford Pinto as one of the most egregious examples. PHARMA has been off track for a while, chasing blockbusters and the big money. They forgot that they were making money to make therapeutic pharmaceuticals, rather than the reverse, but checks and balances are forcing their business model in a better direction. I was terminated from my PHARMA job, but I was treated well in the process. I am of the opinion, based on direct observation, that most people in PHARMA are dedicated and well intentioned, and they care about their patients. I’m sure that the workers in Ford who built the Pinto were also doing their best, in most cases. However, if the captain of the ship is off track the whole thing runs aground.

    I finally purchased Shane Ellison’s two books (the ones available for my Nook), as your comment needs a reasoned response from me based on the data, beyond the video. You’ll have to give me time to read them, which I shall.



  15. Rockwell Doss says

    I do not have faith in the upper echelons of the FDA. Aspartame was twice rejected by the FDA researchers as a dangerous food additive, but it was overruled by the final committee so it came into being used. The FDA gets 526 million dollars a year from pharmaceutical companies a year. It is like the Federal Reserve,( a private company) that is supposed to control banks, is actually run by the bankers they are supposed to regulate. It is all about the money. Why is is that companies here charge $300 for a drug here, but in another country, it is only $20?

    • Hi Rockwell, I think that you’ll find that there’s good and bad in everything, including PHARMA, homeopathy, and yes, Shane Ellison. None of us is perfect, and we have to choose or approach to disease therapy cautiously and intelligently. If you read my follow-up blog post, which is linked to this old post, in which I provide a review of Shane Ellison’s book, your comments would appreciated. Cheers, Kevin aka FitOldDog

  16. Lucile Mosier says

    Shane is the real deal. He tells it like it REALLY is in a business driven by greed and total disregard for human life. The pharmaceutical industry may have been good to you, but it has not been good for the millions of children, adults and now INFANTS who are being destroyed with psychotropic drugs. You really need to open you eyes and look at what is really happening in the “healthcare” industry, and the role big pharma is playing in the degradation of mankind.

    • Hi Lucile, I appreciate your comment. This has turned out to be quite interesting.

      Did you read my review of Shane’s book in one of my follow up posts http://goo.gl/WM6cvL? I liked his book, and said so, I just did not like his video. I think he needs to appreciate two facts publicly for better publicity, (1) some PHARMA drugs do help a lot and they cost a lot to make, and (2) that the staff in PHARMA are trying hard to find cures. You will note that the post to which you have responded is supporting the staff, not the industry, and they do work to change things from the bottom up. The industry itself has gone down the Ford Pinto road to some degree, in my opinion, and I have said that a bunch of times from within and without.

      I think that Shane’s approach could be more effective if he stopped attacking the giant head on; he would do better to enroll the support of PHARMA staff who love their work and do care about patients – then again, he’s made more progress than I ever did (I was focused on substituting mathematical modeling for most of the animal experiments). I wonder what the Ford Pinto workers thought about the gas tank issue, or if most of them even knew? I was hired into PHARMA to challenge the system from within, with little or no traction at the top, and I was happy to move on when voluntarily terminated, though I did manage to cause some to think.

      I was hoping to meet Shane one day, but I bet he is too busy.

      The health care system is in disarray when it comes to integrating pharmaceuticals with life style, especially diet and exercise.

      I work hard to keep my mind and eyes open, and admit mistakes where I can. Always lots to learn. I wish Shane to take Ritalin off of the shelves, and replace it with societal modification of educational approaches to different phenotypes (I call so called ADD SHP [saltatory hyperattention phenotype] for that very reason, though no one listens, they’re too busy handing out toxic pills to kids that don’t need them).

      Once again, thanks for your comment.


      Kevin aka FitOldDog

      PS I’m off to have lots of pharmaceutical drugs soon, as they try to surgically fix my abdominal aortic aneurysm endoleak, and beetroot juice just won’t do the trick.

  17. David V. Ballmere says

    Shane Ellison has a body count. He suggests people abruptly quit cardio and psychiatric medicines and replace them with supplements from his website. This has lead to strokes, heart attacks, depression related suicides, schizophrenic episodes and more in those foolish enough to fall for it.

    • OK David, where’s the data?

      I have people implying that I am almost a criminal for mocking the Shane Ellison video, to the point that I had to block the more vitriolic for the sake of their language offending others (though I liked his book a whole lot more http://goo.gl/qZvgcB). Do you have evidence to support your claim?

      OK! Time to blog about this again. By the way, I appreciate your comment, as it keeps this interesting and important pot boiling away. I’m neither for nor against Shane or PHARMA, neither Republican nor Democrat, but in favor of reasoned debate and each of us taking charge of our own life and our own health decisions as best we each can.


      Kevin aka FitOldDog

    • Damien Mooney says

      Sorry pal-barking up the wrong tree here. the only folks with a large body count when it comes to suicide are GlaxoSmithKline-Kevin’s old buddies.Trail Of Paxil Suicides Leads
      To GlaxoSmithKline

      “On January 29, 2007, BBC-One broadcasted, “Secrets of the Drug Trials,” a Panorama program based on an investigation by reporter, Shelley Jofre, which revealed how GlaxoSmithKline misled doctors into prescribing Paxil off-label to children, even after its own clinical trials found that kids could become suicidal when taking the drug.”


      • David V. Ballmere says

        I’m not a doctor but I’m pretty sure telling schizophrenia patients and people with heart troubles to stop taking their medicine suddenly is a recipe for disaster.

        • David V. Ballmere says

          I feel sorry for the families who have to deal deal with the aftermath when a mentally ill individual believes quacks like this and suddenly discontinue meds. In the end the only thing Shane is after is cold, hard cash. His entire site is a list of “don’t take lithium, take MY BRANDED PRODUCT instead.” “On heart meds? It’s a scam! My capsules work way better!” Etc.

          First clue he doesn’t know wtf he is talking about is when he mentions patients taking benzodiazaprines should immediately cease taking them and instead buy a bottle of rose hips from his company. Rapid cessation of drugs like xanax and valium causes severe seizures in roughly half of high dose patients and results in literally thousands of deaths a year.

          “If you are on any drug that is made by a pharmaceutical company you need to instead be taking my pills.”

          That’s my takeaway after visiting his site, reading his materials and watching the videos. He profits off of offering sketchy advice and that advice always leads right to his online store.

          • Hi Damien and David,

            FitOldDog’s Baffling Problem:

            I’m pleased that you are talking directly to each other. Me, I’m not for anything other than patients taking responsibility for their own health. Sometimes you need pharmaceuticals and sometimes alternative medicines do the trick. For me it is a matter of benefit/risk analysis, and I consider it dangerous to totally trust anyone, including oneself – I even blogged about that idea for aortic people like myself http://goo.gl/AVYvgH. But then, this brings us to the real problem, most people don’t know enough about how their bodies work to make a wise decision, which I find to be a baffling problem. I wonder how we arrive at the best answer – my suspicion is that encouraging people to listen to your debate might just be one answer?


            Thanks again for this stream of ideas and opinions, I really appreciate it.


            Kevin aka FitOldDog (heading for surgery, and the sooner the better!)

  18. To: David V. Ballmere . Shane Ellison doesn’t tell anybody to suddenly get off benzodiazpine drugs. I never read anything about him saying use “rose hips” instead. You are making all this up. I know many people including myself that reading Shane’s books has helped me and my family. I agree with Shane saying pharmaceutical drugs should only be used in emergency medicine and not every day. Drugs aren’t vitamins, they’re poisons. You should do some reading on “Toxicology”. Like the other poster said. The body count are pharmaceutical companies like Glaxosmithkline, Elli Lilly, Pfizer, Abbot etc..

  19. There are a lot of negative responses here related to Shane’s work. A post above mentioned he refers to himself as a “Dr.” Quite the contrary, I’ve read 2 of his books and he has NEVER proclaimed to be a doctor. Other made up remedies such as “rose hips”? Nice try, also not in his offerings.
    If you read his OTC Natural cures book, and look at the publishing date, it came out 3 years BEFORE he ever offered the sale of his own supplements. He even offered lab results for supplements he tested for purity, which you can download so you know which brands were safe, including some stock brands from large retailers including Walmart. He openly cautions you about junk supplements, just as much as statins. Also, in the book, Shane praises the progress made in emergency medicine. He’s simply drawing the line at the preventative care level.
    He also has NEVER suggested to stop cardio. My current exercise routine includes some of his HIT workout training which is some of the most cardio intensive workouts I’ve ever done. Personal trainers at the gym were asking me where I learned some of the routines.
    When I wrote a testimonial thanking him for all his effort, he sent me free materials including a book that he has since published online free to anyone.
    The only money Shane has made off me was his cut was from a book he sells for $12 on Amazon. As for supplements, you can buy what he suggests in his book, from various retailers and supplement manufactures that are NOT his supplements.
    You can think of Shane as some money hungry ‘snake oil man’, but he’s made a few dollars off me and has provided me a wealth of information related to personal health. The pharma companies have made a lot more money off me than Shane ever will.

    • Hi Vin D, thanks for your comments. Don’t confuse me with the people who comment on this stream, as I am both pro and con Shane Ellison’s ideas – I’d love it if he could help me redefine ADD therapy (I prefer SHP – saltatory hyperattention phenotype). I did follow up this post, and reviewed one of Shane’s books positively, which I much preferred to his video http://goo.gl/GVUg4R. Cheers, Kevin

  20. Ellison made a REALLY bad impression on me with this anti-vaccine article: http://thepeopleschemist.com/reasons-dont-vaccinate-children-vaccine-supporters-shouldnt-give/

  21. Hi Jim, Oh Boy! I was borne in 1943, during the second World War, and at that time my mother was a Jehovah’s Witness, not ‘believing’ in vaccinations. I had to sort that stupidity out as an adult. As a kid, I saw people with smallpox scars and leg irons (from Polio); not many but they were still around in war-torn Britain. I heard about Iron lungs, remember the stories of people’s children dying of diphtheria. It was a different world back then, and it is one we could recreate by abandoning vaccines. I need to read this book, and write a review – thanks so much for bringing it to my attention. How about tetanus – BAD NEWS!!!

  22. @Jim, yeah me too. What’s crazy is I can’t believe how many people actually believe that junk. Some of it I guess would be difficult if you were not research inclined and didn’t understand how to interpret data but the part of that article that should have made EVERYONE think twice is when he said that the immune system only responds to pathogens entering the biological front door (mouth and nose.). Um…….HIV, Hep B, Herpes simplex 2, HPV just to name a few are not front door viruses and I’m pretty sure that I learned in medical school that we have an immune response to them. But like I said, you don’t have to be a doctor to figure that out do you? It makes me sad that people will believe anything if it’s trendy or supports their claim.

  23. Christopher Wunsch says

    Hi all, Wanted to add my opinion in here, I appreciate finding this blog! I am a former Critical Care RN of 11 years practice, and card carrying member of a a pro pharmaceutical breed of people known as health care practioners or RN’s, when my career and life as I knew it was cut to a screeching halt in 2002, In 1998, at a routine physical exam, my doctor prescribed for me a statin, Lipitor, as I had HIGH CHOLESTEROL, which I had most likely my whole life. But since I was 21 and had a physical when entering nursing school in 1990. I was 21 years old, and invincible, as most in that age are. My work took me from medical/surgical nursing, to emergency nursing, and finally to Critical Care Nursing, which was my passion for the remainder of my career..which turned out to my only 11 years. I began to have problems with profound headaches, confusion, and other symptoms, which kept me home and in bed for several days. Long story short, leading to a 28 day hospitalization at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where I encountered a $220,000 bill, a brain biopsy, showing Mitochondrial DNA mutations, and Neuronal Apoptosis (holes in my brain from Programmed cell death) from starving my brain of CoQ10. I remained in an alzheimers like state for 25 of these 28 days, not recognizing my family, nor friends, unable to walk, speak coherently, or use the bathroom appropriately. I was a mess. And it wasnt until I was evaluated by a visiting professor from Harvard, who suggested I begin a mitochondrial cocktail of about 12 vitamins, amino acids and one key nutrient, CoQ10, when I began to turn around within a few days. I was supposed to transfer to a nursing home, prior to this cocktail, but was able to go home with aggressive rehab. I was discharged with a diagnosis of Viral Encephalitis…in spite of by brain and muscle biopsy findings, MRI scans which revealed dozens of lesions throughout my brain, A few months after discharge, my wife and I were watching Good Morning America, in which Diane Sawyer was interviewing Dr Beatrice Golomb, MD, PhD, of the University of California San Diego. She was discussing a study she was going to be doing, a Statin Effects Study, which my wife pleaded with me to enroll in. I told her, that I knew everything there was to know about Statins, and Lipitor had absolutely nothing to do with my illness. And she continued to plead with me, so in order to save our marriage, I agreed, and sent all medical records to the UCSD, and when the study was finished, I received a phone call from Dr Golomb, who informed me that I was one of several patients in her study with very similar brain and muscle biopsy findings and similar illnesses. Despite the dozens of clinical trials which have never suggested anything like this. After this time, I have dedicated the past 10 years of my of life researching the terribly disgusting effects of statins, and along the way, have discovered the truth about much of what I learned in nursing school. Much of hat we know about Drugs, are due to the published pharmaceutical company funded trials, Which to my surprise are more often than not, ghostwritten, where a Phd or other doctor are paid a fee to create a study in his head, write it, and get it signed by an affluent Doctor to make it a “peer reviewed Study” . And when this is not done, often times the data from the study are released and published using “relative risk reductions” versus solid data known as “ABSOLUTE RISK REDUCTION”. An iexample of this is with statins, When 2 out of 100 get the disease and are on the drug compared to 3 out of 100 who are not on the drug, that is an absolute risk of 1% difference. It is a relative risk of 33% because 2/3 – 1 equals 33%. Essentially, the relative risk is the % difference between those who received the treatment and those who did not. It wildly inflates the benefit compared to the absolute difference. A true difference of 1% suddenly becomes a difference of 33%. Relative risk is always used in drug studies to magnify benefit – sadly, few know or understand this. Relative risk is the number on the drug who developed the disease vs. the number not on the drug who developed the disease and not the number out of 100 who developed the disease and comparing the percentage difference. Complicated but the drug companied like it that way as most just give up and quote the relative risk. Lipitor helps 1 person out of 100 which is 1% but they state 33% because of the difference of 2 vs. 3 which is 33%. An additional book besides Mr Ellisons, which I have found helpful, was written by Gwen Olson, a former very successful Pharmaceutical Sales Rep, who turned whistleblower, when a drug she was very successful in selling, was responsible for causing her nieces suicide. I have discovered a plethora of information revealing the corruption of our FDA, USDA, etc which ensure for me, that even if I were healed and able to work, it would never again be as a pill pushing RN.

    • Hi Christopher, quite a story.

      My view of PHARMA and the rest of the medical Leviathan is not quite so negative, but it depends on ones personal experience. I see the drug industry, physicians, nurses, and other health professionals a tools to help us live better lives, but we have to take responsibility for our own actions and how we use this remarkable, but sometimes misguided, system. I have had two cardiologists tell me that they would put statins in the drinking water if they could. I moved on both times. My post on the use of Valium pretty well sums it up for me when it comes to pills https://athletewithstent.com/2013/03/06/eggs-balance-thoughts-valium/ – it’s your mouth and you get to decide what to put in it. I’m recovering from a remarkable piece of surgery, carried out only 5 days ago at the Cleveland Clinic, and it involved plenty of drugs, all of which were necessary for the procedure (aortic stent graft displacement correction and stabilization). I suspect that many health professionals are at the mercy of the machine, which is vast, and the concern about litigation. We have to change before it will change, but used correctly they can save your life, which in my case they just did for the second time. My medical teams were remarkable, and I’ll be blogging about that soon.

      The trick is a balanced perspective, and not to throw out the baby with the bathwater. I’ll read that book you mentioned if I can find it, and write a review, as I did for Shane Ellison’s book

      I much appreciate your comment, and I hope life is now treating you well. Boy, statins! What about beta-blockers, and even worse, Ritalin.

      Kind Regards,

      kevin aka FitOldDog

      • Chris Wunsch says

        Thanks Kevin,
        I am sorry I left you feeling I had such a negative view on health care, I am very much appreciative and in favor of life saving emergency drugs, just not the ones the provider says you need to take for the rest of your life. Like we were born with a statin deficiency or something? I had been “privy” to medical education in the past, being done by those who stood to make a lot of $$$ based on the sales of their drugs…presenting skewed statistics and such based on checkbook science, I think that no education should be provided by someone who stands to profit from the thing they are educating about.
        For instance, I had a case of Shingles 4 years ago, worst most horrible pain I have ever felt. Went to the doctor, she said, you have shingles, and I could treat you with an antiviral agent, which may or may not help, and I kindly said no thanks, went home and researched what people were saying helped them. Began to take apple cider vinegar, Horrid tasting stuff, but the pain relief was immediate, with ZERO ill effects, shingles lasted about a week, so glad its over, but so glad I found something other than a pharmaceutical to help me with the pain. Hope and pray your procedure is successful. remember just say no to statins!

  24. http://www.m.webmd.com/diabetes/news/20030616/one-in-three-kids-will-develop-diabetes

    My source for 1 in 3 kids being diabetic.
    Correction: WILL BECOME diabetic. All do to trusting the mainstream big professionals.

    • Hi Rogers, yep! You actually have to trust yourself. Big PHARMA is a money machine, which does produce some excellent products, but they went down the wrong road, thinking they make drugs to make money, as opposed to the reverse. Furthermore, they make little or no effort to incorporate pharmaceuticals into lifestyle changes, which, of course, with the existing business models, would put them out of business. Interesting topic, though I hated Shane’s video that indicated that my great colleagues in the trenches of research were all plotting to defraud people. They have families with disease, and care plenty. Thus my post – boy, that was ages ago. Cheers, Kevin

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