I Am a Victim of Big Pharma

I guess healthwise I haven’t been so lucky.  Aging like everyone else, I’ve been forced to rely on a mix of very powerful drugs – many with unknown side effects – to deal with what doctors call “age-related health issues”.   Despite this euphemism, one look at my daily dosage is going to strike fear into those who are still young and healthy.

Where do I begin? Well, To combat neurodegeneration I’m told I need gallic and ellagic acids, so I eat a walnut. And once, sometimes even twice a day I have to ingest the anti-carcinogenic pterostilbene (phytosterol) in a teaspoon of blueberries, and the hideously powerful drug lycopene in a small tomato.  Does this frighten you yet?  Well, I’ve barely started.

The packaging is pretty clever, I’ll give them that

The key ingredient lycopene even looks like the product itself: this shows the whole thing has been engineered – branding gone mad.  My advice? Don’t get hooked, or soon you’ll be desperate enough to start growing the stuff yourself in the garden – where any child can just reach out and take one – well, it doesn’t bear thinking about

Whoever makes this stuff seems pretty confident – as always, it’s the hard sell.  Take our stuff, or risk your health.  According to “experts” lycopene is “well known to help prevent many forms of cancer” as well as prevent, and cure, many illnesses and diseases such as:

  • Heart diseases-Lycopene stops LDL cholesterol from being oxidized by free radicals and in turn cannot be deposited in the plaques which narrows and hardens the arteries
  • Infertility-Research suggests that lycopene may help in the treatment of infertility. Results from tests showed that lycopene can boost sperm concentration in men
  • Helps prevent diabetes
  • Prevents age-related macular degeneration and cataracts
  • Prevents the aging of skin and keeps it younger looking
  • Acts as an internal sunscreen and protects your skin from sunburn
  • Lycopene is also been known to help prevent osteoporosis

Of course it sounds convincing – that’s the whole idea!  They say it prevents infertility – but who wants to be fertile, in a world where food is too expensive to buy for your kids?  It might be different if the stuff just grew from the ground out of thin air or something, but there’s no point living in a fantasy world.

Hi-tech cocktail – recipe for addiction

On top of this chemical Russian Roulette my condition requires I swallow a full set of amino acids every day, in a single artichoke heart.  People can’t imagine the misery of a drug-dependent life.. these molecules are all so complex, and my reliance on them so absolute, I need special machinery to chop them up at extremely high speeds (look away now) actually inside the stomach.

Drugs is my business, you mean

To do this I use at my own risk a chemical so powerful that a single molecule can target and precisely break apart 30,000 proteins in one second: bromelaine, in a slice of pineapple.  Thanks, Dr Frankenstein!  How can they allow this stuff in the human body?  Was it planned in the slightest, or are we all just guinea pigs?  If you want to swallow billions of tiny chainsaws, be my guest – at least you have a choice.  I don’t.

Here’s where all this stuff is made.  Big Pharma doesn’t come any bigger, and you can be sure it cost a pretty penny to get it up and running.  Predictably, nobody can tell you who’s in charge.  Somebody must know who Mr Big is, but they’re not saying.  Sinister stuff

How can anyone think this stuff is safe, when nobody understands the technology?  Where’s the research, where’s the long term studies?  I bet all the results would have been rigged anyway.  What can I do?  It got to the point where I was carrying the stuff around in a little box during the day.  When inquisitive colleagues would ask, I’d pretend it was an insulin kit, Valium or pain killers, but they knew I was lying: it was grapes.

Some people say we don’t need Big Pharma to keep us healthy. They seem to imagine complicated, highly engineered solutions just grow on trees.  You think packaging this good just happens by itself?  Don’t be naive! It’s designed to appeal, and the taste to be addictive.  Why won’t anyone listen?

People are wary of technology but without it, what would an addict do?  You’re never told about all the equipment you need to manage this stuff.  One consultant acted like I was wasting his time.  Said I should go and lead a normal life.   Sure – provided I carry life-saving equipment at all times – a small spoon.

Saddled with this equipment, how can anyone lead a normal life?  What if you are caught without it, say in a restaurant?  You expect them to have somethign this specialised just lying around?  Perhaps they’ll have all different sizes for you to choose from, or little plastic ones you can have free!  It’s a nightmare.  Where is God?  Where is the design?  When I was on dialysis,  I always knew where my machine was – right beside me!   You couldn’t lose it.  You couldn’t even leave it

In fear of gaining fat at the expense of muscles, I’m forced to eat ursolic acid (yuck) in an apple.  Acid?  Everyone knows how dangerous acid is!  And every now and again, potassium, in a banana.  Potassium? Isn’t this a chemical in explosives?  Isn’t it radioactive?  How does this stuff get past the FDA?  These “challenging” health issues (they’ll never say “fatal” in front of a patient) affect all areas of my life: sometimes to generate oxytocin I have to give stuff away, like a parking voucher with an hour left on it.  An hour!

Hard sell, hard sell – I’m so sick of it

The professionals say this chemical will clear my brain and benefit every major organ system in my body, and help the next generation be born healthy.  They would say that, wouldn’t they?  Good health costs big bucks and they know it.  Those parking tickets can be fifty or sixty pence.  More, sometimes.  Depends if it’s indoors.  Sundays it’s free.  But you have to get there early.

Hook them young: torment inflicted by an evil, wicked system.  A benevolent Universe?  Hah!

The idea that Earth was a benevolent, living organism friendly to humans, providing all the elements for embodied life, and a warm, scented, beautifully coloured and protected haven, with soft grass underfoot, pleasing birdsong, cooling waters, magnificent scenery and a sky of glorious cobalt in the lonely freezing, deadly, radiation-filled pitch-black vacuum wastland of empty space – is nothing but a myth.

Richard Dawkins proved it by writing the Universe doesn’t care.  In ink.  And then it was printed.  Try and argue with that!  This wicked Universe probably wants us to get healthy so it can eat us up.  The love which parents have for their children is a myth.  Science proved that too.  Empathy – myth.  Fact: kindness is uknown in the Universe.  In the photo above, the fruit is way out of reach of the distressed child with terror of starvation etched on its face: what benevolent Mother Nature would inflict such torment?  And there’s probably a wasp somewhere too.

As if a caring Universe would make us waste valuable email time eating all this stuff.  Help my eyesight – like I haven’t got better things to do: have you seen my in-tray?

Anyway, back to my main gripe: these mysterious compounds are lethal: death can follow in a century or less.  The technology is so complex nobody knows the risks of mixing them – but I’m 54 now, and without them, I might well not survive another 40 years.  Any decade could be my last.


A chart makes it look like there’s some science behind it, and not just pure marketing hype. Smart. http://www.knowabouthealth.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/phytochemicals-chart.jpg

I wish we could all go back to the good old days.  Nurofen, penicillin, chemo, radiation, x-rays, vaccines, and surgery; incremental amputations to cure diabetes.   They knew it all back then!  Smashed up immune systems.  Going in with a tumour and dying from a tiny infection.  I miss the false hopes, the euphemisms..  “You may experience some discomfort.”

Grim faced consultants getting payola from Smith Galaxo Klein.  Bent scientists.  Drugs given to children to make the quotas.  Doctors in Mercedes with villas in the Cayman islands.  GM crops.  Plastic cheese.  Stomach staples.  PET scans.  Biopsies, more biopsies, and then surgery because the biopsies didn’t tell them anything.  Enucleation, coral eye sockets.  Eye patches.  Constant pain.  Chemically saturated fats so useless to the body that obesity followed in monoths.  Liposuction, dialysis once a day.  Blood samples.  Injections.  MRI scans.  Valium.  Lithium.  Zyprexa, Risperdal, Seroquel.  Serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Tonsillectomies.  Forced sterilisations.  Eugenics.  What’s not to like?

It is believed that each color is associated with a specific compound that gives its characteristics health benefits.  Lycopene is generally present in red colored fruits and vegetables. A sample of a Phytonutrient Report included EGCG, isothiocyanate, lutein/zeaxanthin and isoflavones for green, lycopene and ellagic acid for red, allicin and quercetin for white, anthocyanidins and resveratrol for purple/blue, and alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, hesperitin and beta-cryptoxanthin for yellow/orange. It’s pretty alright – a little too pretty for my liking.

Lobotomies!  Now there was a solution no patient could argue with.  A knife slid up the inside of the eye socket while the patient was strapped down.  Do you think he’d prefer a handful of blueberries?  Disingenuous at best – very disingenuous at worst.

Electric shock treatments.  Being sectioned.  Mind numbing drugs, LSD experiments.  Leaping out of windows.. straitjackets, padded cells.  Open heart surgery, stents, catheters.  Coronary bypass, veins ripped from legs.  Crumbling bones, incontinence, mercury fillings, braces, wheelchairs, titanium hips, kidney transplants.  Thalidomide.  50% chance of getting a tumour in your lifetime.  Corneal transplants.  Dementia from stress.   What happened to our hopes and dreams?  Come back, GSK!  Come back, Pfizer!  Come back, IG Farben, Otto Ambrose, and come back DOW.

Beautiful times, holding a beautiful promise: this was proper nanotech.  These things might one day have weighed less than a ton.  It could have happened

All the things the 20th Century freely gave us – for, what, a few trillion dollars? – we took it all for granted.  We’re all to blame.  Now people believe simpler with no side effects is better.  Tastier.  But people will believe anything.

But it’s too late for me.. I’m already healthy.

Call this a normal life? Mybowtie isn’t even straight.  And the champagne went flat.  So much for bountiful nature! Dawkins was right: the Universe doesn’t care.  Atheism for me!

About iain carstairs

I have a great interest in both scientific advances and the beauty of religion, and created www.scienceandreligion.com about 15 years ago with the aim of finding common ground between the scientist and the believer, and to encourage debate between the two sides.
This entry was posted in Amino Acids, Bromelaine, Fruit, Lycopine, Pineapples, Science and Religion, Tomatos and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to I Am a Victim of Big Pharma

  1. Peter says:

    Excellent post! I couldn’t agree more. I reside in the U.S. where the health issues related to a complete lack of a healthy and natural diet are ever-increasing. And the reliance on pharmaceutical drugs with God knows what side effects is ever-disturbing. As I finish my undergraduate work and hopefully am admitted into medical school within the next couple of years, I am going to make this post mandatory reading for all of my future patients : ) Well Done.

    • Amazing, many thanks! Your comment reminds me of what Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, who wanted to go into the church in Germany, in the 1930’s I believe. I think it was his brother who warned him the church was backwards or somehow terribly out of step, and he replied, “if so, then I will reform it!” I don’t know much about the church, but I do know his name, as does everyone in Europe, because he was one of the few who stood up to Hitler.

      I remember also a small school we wanted to send our children to, and someone told me the head teacher was opinionated and authoritarian and that children would be better off at another school where anything goes. But I thought these were good qualities in a head teacher, and I also knew once we were part of it, the character of the school itself would change, as anywhere does when anyone takes an interest in it. Families are based on the same idea!

      And that’s what happened! The school was surrounded by beautiful woodlands, and even as an adult I thought, what a fantastic place to run about and explore. When she said, early on, “James is not working hard enough, he’d rather be out playing” I said I didn’t want him pushed, and I didn’t care about tests and marks, I wanted him to develop at his own speed and be happy. She looked at me, astonished. I think her jaw actually did drop. We became best of friends and she doted on those kids like a favourite auntie. The problem all along was clearly her need to please pushy parents so her tiny school could survive, and not a problem with the headteacher at all. I think our children were the happiest they ever were, at that beautiful little school, and each morning they used to race in the front door as quickly as they had wanted to race out the previous afternoon.

      The medical profession sorely needs people like you, and I’m certain that if it were full of people like you, it would change completely and make huge leaps, and become what it always should have been – a study of how the body can deal with diseases, and how every person can live life to the fullest when using their own wit and resources, and those of the planet on which they find themselves.

      I think the layer which pushes drugs is not really malicious, it’s just an inevitable result of capitalism. The doctors mean well, the people working in the pharmaceuticals mean well, and they all wanted in the first place to do good, but they’re part of a system in which one is always fearful of not making money, because every capitalist system has winners and losers.

      The losers lose their homes, and their families, with no means of support; for the sheer love of their family they want to stay above water. It’s based on the idea that the fit survive and the less fit should be abandoned, but a more egalitarian system would realise that altruistic qualities are more valuable than sheer skill, because these aspects bring happiness directly, in the moment, immediately, rather than by proxy through the system of earning money to be spent on things which will bring happiness. And happy people inevitably come up with surprisingly effective solutions to problems; their enthusiasm is contagious and all life is improved only by these characters.

      This altruistic kind of happiness is less secure because it can’t be put in a bank and piled up, but it also tends to grow and sustain itself, and with the added benefit of uplifting those who momentarily feel unhappy. In fact it’s a stronger force: people can happily devote themselves to a two year project which comes from their own enthusiasm, but two year corporate plans are looked at with dread, and every effort made to avoid being lost inside their utter pointlessness.

      So by comparison, capitalism is much less secure, because the mind eventually looks for genuine happiness even if it must be generated today and only lasts for today, because we can only live today. What else is Buddhism, but this very idea? The attempt to store up happiness in a big house or big bank account is, in the end, a destructive process which grows from fear; it takes away any real happiness we can achieve in this moment. All of a stressful working life away from our families reflects this.

      I didn’t mean to write so much – excuse me! Thanks again and best of luck

      • Peter says:

        Well said. I enjoyed your brief story about the school you chose for your son. I feel a lot of people tend to commit the fallacy of viewing the academic environment as the ultimate form of acquiring knowledge. It really isn’t. In fact, academia unfortunately seems to be morphing into just another over-structured, over-regimented, unnatural environment. The key to releasing schools from this boring, grade-grubbing straightjacket is a parent like yourself willing to say what you have in your comment above. A more natural form of intellectual curiosity could then be stimulated and fostered.

      • You know, you’re really right, this is the key, to let people grow at their own pace. The result is they don’t get stressed – cortisol, I think, enters the brain under stress and prevents neuron growth, or slows it down. So stress is a real mental killer, and inflicting it for education is inexcusable – like punching someone to make them healthy.

        I saw a fascinating film recently, one of those ones where someone apparently draws all these cartoons at high speed as the perosn is talking – really keeps your attention focused on how they will illustrtae the next point and sometimes join it to the one before. Clever stuff. It was all about education, and they said, why are people grouped only according to age? There are dozens more useful ways to group children. For example, the group who prefer to work on their own. The group who are boisterous and unable to sit still. The group who enjoy reading, the group who want to draw all the time, and so on. Of course age is a starting point but classifying only by age is such a lazy, mechanical solution, as if one idea will suit everyone now and at any time in the future. It’s so arid, so mentally dull!

        And it doesn’t work at all – for example, when my son was nearly three, I think, he was still wearing nappies, as we call them here in the UK. He was as happy and outgoing as you’ll ever see. Anyway, one parent took me aside at a toddler group, and boasted that she’d got her son out of nappies before he was two.

        I said, well, let’s meet up again when they’re 18 and see if we can tell the difference!

  2. Brock Haussamen says:

    Iain– very very funny–right on, skillful, and inviting. And your comment above is well worth the read as well. Thanks.

  3. Thanks all – hope you enjoyed. I didn’t mention it but coconuts contain electrolytes, 20 times more than the leading sports drinks. Although it’s also true that more people are killed each year by falling coconuts than are killed by sharks!

  4. Elmira Samoyoa says:

    A new Finnish study suggests that high blood levels of lycopene, unlike those of other antioxidants, may be associated with a significantly reduced risk of stroke. Vegetables, especially tomatoes, are a significant source of lycopene..

    Remember to look at this useful blog site

  5. Pingback: The Year of Living Naturally | ScienceAndReligion.com

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