Category Archives: Big Pharma

ADHD Drugs Fail

The most controversial drugs on the market are those prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). These are used by children and tied for first place with antidepressants, but they have questionable benefits and serious risks. It is controversial when medicating children with ADHD as there is no laboratory test or objective method to determine which children actually do have ADHD.

Many children may be labeled by their parents, teachers and even by a mental health professional, by displayed symptoms that could actually be attributed to other causes. Being easily distracted, squirming and fidgeting are seen in virtually all children at some point and another, and may be better dealt with by lifestyle changes and psychotherapy rather than those powerful stimulant drugs. Parents need to carefully weigh the benefits versus the risks of giving their children these drugs.

Some drug companies actually advertise their treatments as helping to improve homework time, but the evidence indicates that children with ADHD experience acute and prolonged academic impairment and underachievement including marked difficulty with completing homework.

A study was conducted with two groups of children. One group was given a stimulant drug and another received behavioral therapy. There were no significant improvements in homework completion or accuracy of the drug treatment group, compared to placebo. However, the behavioral therapy led to children finishing up to 13% more homework problems and increased their accuracy by 8%.

The expectation of the benefits from using ADHD drugs is greater than they should be. People who assume that giving a child with ADHD drug treatment will make the symptoms disappear, but the research reveals that such expectations may be unrealistic. There are also side effects of ADHD drugs. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews study found methylphenidate is associated with an increased risk of sleep problems and appetite loss. Those taking this drug had a 29% increased risk of experiencing a non-serious adverse event with the most common being sleep problems and decreased appetite. These children had a 60% greater risk for trouble sleeping and a 266% greater risk for decreased appetite. It was also found that stimulant medications such as Ritalin might harm children’s sleep.

These drugs may have a calming effect on the children but research found that children taking stimulant drugs:

  • Took longer to fall asleep than others
  • Had shorter sleep duration
  • Had worse sleep efficiency

ADHD is on the rise and many factors are likely involved, including poor nutrition and environmental toxins. Those children with higher levels of the endocrine-disrupting chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD. Pesticide exposure, including pyrethroids, has also been linked to ADHD.

Exercise may help to improve schoolwork and other symptoms in children with ADHD. Research found that kids who engaged in a regular physical activity program had an improvement in executive control, which is the ability to maintain focus, working memory and cognitive flexibility. It is known the executive functioning is often impaired in children with ADHD.

Some factors in addition to exercise therapy are:

  • Having too much sugar.
  • An unhealthy gut.
  • Animal-sourced omega-3 deficiency.
  • Food additives and GMO ingredients.

Other factors to help ADHD symptoms are to clear your house of dangerous pesticides, limit exposure to radiofrequency microwave radiation, avoid commercial washing detergent and cleaning products, spend more time in nature and investigate sensory therapy and emotional wellness tools.

Wouldn’t you rather have your child using these natural tools in lieu of taking drugs that might be dangerous to them and have side effects? I think any parents would rather go with the natural form of treating their child’s ADHD. Remember, they could also be misdiagnosed for this condition, so why take a chance on giving them drugs!

Dr Fredda Branyon

FDA is Pharma’s Lapdog

Few Americans really know the details of what the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are, even though they have heard of the FDA. I quote what they actually are to do, “FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by assuming the safety, efficacy and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation’s food supply, cosmetics and products that emit radiation”. The truth is they favor said industry instead of looking out for the public with their close ties to industry. There was an investigation into the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations (OCI) concerning their handling of food, drug and medical device cases.

The investigating committee is asking for answers such as why does the director of the FDA’s criminal office (based in Maryland) work out of a South Florida office near his home. This particular director was paid more than $25,000 to move to Maryland less than two years ago. They are also seeking statistics on OCI’s arrests, convictions, case initiations and money recovered. It has been found by a Reuter’s investigation that more than half of all OCI cases are closed with NO action taken.

Another thing they are asking for is clarification on how the FDA handled two critical reports that came from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (HHS OIG).

There is an embargo used in journalism between journalists and their sources that gives the journalist access to a story on the condition that it’s not published before a certain date and time. The FDA controls the media through the use of the close-hold embargo and the FDA gets them to report only what they tell them, without outside commentary or analysis.

The FDA breaks its own rules and continues to stifle journalistic freedom. Few news outlets have pushed against the FDA’s favoritism to certain media outlets or their restrictive rules regarding reporting. There is documentary evidence this is happening and each instance since 2011, is a violation of the FDA’s official media policy, which explicitely bans close-hold embargoes.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) should be cracking down on corporations promoting products linked to poor health and disease, but they appear to have taken at least one company under their protective wing.

The Federal regulations often tend to favor large corporations while bankrupting small business owners. The majority of Americans believe government regulations are needed to protect the public interest, but many overlook the fact that such regulations often boost businesses’ bottom line. The U.S. automotive safety regulations that boost sales for a manufacturer of seat belts and air bags, is an example. The industry sways regulations to meet their needs.

These regulations often harm small businesses, which lack the resources to keep up with regulatory changes while large corporations might be able to absorb such costs and the small companies go bankrupt. It’s a real shame when the agencies pretend to be guarding consumers, especially where drugs are concerned, but end up shielding industries from liabilities, carefully controlling media messages and creating barriers for entry to eliminate competition. They are doing more harm than good.

–Dr Fredda Branyon

Painkillers and Addiction

Painkillers & Addiction

Painkillers and AddictionConsidering the long list of potentially devastating drugs, painkillers are among the most lethal, because of their side effects and addictive nature. The number of opioid painkiller prescriptions have risen by 300% over the past 10 years, and 80% of the world’s opioids are being used by Americans. The highest prescription rate in the U.S is in Alabama where 143 prescriptions are written for every 100 people.  Deaths from overdosing are a result of this trend, that far surpasses those from illicit street drugs.

About 23,000 Americans died from overdosing on prescription drugs in 2013, and painkillers accounted for around 16,000 of those deaths.

The drug companies should be held accountable for these dangerous drug trends, since several have actually been caught lying about the benefits and risks of their drugs.  Organic Consumers Association has noted the drug industry has “fostered the opioid addiction epidemic” in several ways, as listed below:

  • Introducing long-acting opioid painkillers like OxyContin that prior to reformulation in 2010 could be snorted or shot.  This drug is claimed to be safer than heroin.
  • Changing pain prescription guidelines to make opioids the first choice for pain conditions that previously did not qualify for these types of drugs.
  • The promotion of long-term usage of opioids when there is no evidence of long- term safety and effectiveness.
  • Misinforming doctors and patients about the addictive nature of opioid drugs.

For many people the effects don’t last anywhere near 12 hours, and painful withdrawal symptoms set in once the drug wears off.  This can include body aches, nausea and anxiety, as well as the original pain.  All of this begins to feed the cycle of addiction.

The Week published an article in 2015 that reveals the promotional strategy developed by Purdue, and backed by the FDA, that has led to enormous personal tragedy.  A current lawsuit in New Hampshire, over deceptive marketing, has been filed against Purdue Pharma, accusing the company of deceptive marketing. They are claiming it misrepresented the risks and benefits of long-term opioid use for chronic pain.  Purdue has 19 lawyers on the case and has handed over nothing more than legal briefs, and no internal documents.  OxyContin is considered the $30 billion “widow maker”.  Purdue has raked in more than $31 billion from the sale of this drug since its approval in 1996.  Even after 3 of its executives pleaded guilty in 2007 to criminal charges of misleading regulators, doctors and patients about the drug’s addiction and abuse risk, sales remain unaffected.  $600 million in fines was paid and 3 executives agreed to pay another $34.5 million in fines after pleading guilty of misbranding.

Opiates are also potent immunosuppressive drugs.  A dose of 30 to 50 milligrams of naltrexone is used to prevent the fatal respiratory depression from heroine and narcotic overdoses.  As soon as a patient starts taking opiates for chronic pain, their health rapidly declines as their immune system becomes increasingly compromised.  Furthermore, the drug makers knew that OxyContin would inevitably ended up in the hands of criminals and addicts, according to the publication in The Los Angeles Times recently.

The government senate approved opioid legislation is simply “feeding the beast,” (Big Pharma). Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin from West Virginia, has proposed a bill that would require addiction clinics using Suboxone to be regulated by the state.  This drub includes, among other drugs, naloxone that is considered an abuse deterrent, as it causes more painful withdrawal symptoms.  Drug addition has become an intentionally created disease, but none of the politicians address the crux of the problem or the elephant in the room, created intentionally by the drug industry.  Medical marijuana does lower prescription drug use and abuse and is unlikely to kill you.  Why would they authorize a harmful drug like OxyContin and not the less lethal marijuana?  Could it be the millions of dollars a year being raked in by the Big Pharma?

-Dr Fredda Branyon

 

What You Need to Know about Your Multivitamins

What You Need to Know about Your Multivitamins
Discover things that you probably do not know about multivitamins and learn how to choose the right multivitamin brand that’s best for you.

It does not come as a surprise if almost everyone you know has their supply of multivitamins stored safely in their homes. Since the purpose of supplements is to provide your body with nutrients it needs that you cannot provide with just your regular diet, many people turn to multivitamin capsules to complete their recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals.

Types of Multivitamins

There are various types of multivitamins that caters to a specific preference or addresses the needs of a certain age group.

  • Basic Multivitamins – These are those one-pill wonders that claim to offer 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamins, the guidelines of which are suggested by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. Many brands today also include essential minerals such as calcium, iron, and magnesium but fall a bit short of the RDA because the size of the pill would be too large to swallow if the RDA is to be followed.

  • Food-Based – These types of multivitamins are basically powdered whole foods that are combined with vitamins and shaped into capsules. Since this variety is very much like real food in terms of consistency, they are absorbed much more easily and minimizes the chances of gastric disturbances. They can also be taken on an empty stomach.

  • Adult Chewables – If you are the type that has difficulty swallowing those large multivitamin capsules, then chewables are for you. It also lowers the occurrence of gastric distress when pills are swallowed as a  whole.

The Lowdown

These vitamin supplements are promoted by so many multivitamin manufacturers to be one of the best ways to obtain all the essential nutrients without having to eat so much food. The truth, however, is less than pleasing to the ears, as these compact nutrients are frequently processed using petroleum derivatives or hydrogenated sugars.

Even though they are often called natural, many of these vitamins are made of isolated substances that are crystalline in structure. This characteristic is the exact opposite of those vitamins that are naturally found in food, which are definitely not crystalline and are never isolated.

Vitamins that are naturally found in real food differ in its chemical and structural composition. This is why many naturopaths consider chemically produced multivitamins as imitations and not actual vitamins.

Oftentimes, brand manufacturers place so many ingredients inside a capsule or a pill because there is no regulation that explicitly lists down what kinds of nutrients or ingredients are allowed to be put on these supplements. This is why it is always so important to read between the lines and be vigilant about what you are taking.

When a product lists so many good ingredients, it is naturally tempting to think that you have found your wonder-supplement. The best thing to do is to check the label from the top to the bottom of the list. It is usually the first ingredient that has the most amount. As you start getting to bottom of the list, the concentration of vitamins and minerals diminishes. When you get to the very bottom you would usually find essential herbs listed as a proprietary blend of a particular extract or what not.

Many individuals frequently ask why a conventional one-a-day vitamin is not really a good supplement. The answer is that these one-a-day pills are not as good as the manufacturers claim them to be because all the essential nutrients that a person needs simply cannot be compressed into just one pill. Fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, and E, should be placed in a gel capsule, while other vitamins and minerals are better in capsules because it allows for faster dissolution when ingested.

Since it will be very confusing to determine which exactly is the best multivitamin supplement, it would be better to ask for professional help, particularly a nutritionist, a naturopath, or a pharmacist.

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Drug Shortages in America: Patients are becoming victims

Two years ago a scientist and close friend told me there was about to be a drug shortage in the United States. I did not believe him and actually smirked at the idea. In my opinion, the drug industry is a multi billion dollar if not trillion dollar business in the United States. I could see a drug shortage of one or two drugs but I am amazed at what has actually happened. He was right.

Hospitals, pharmacies, and doctor’s offices around the US are finding they have big problems. There are unknown and known numbers of patients dying from the drug shortage.

Click here for an interesting look at drug shortages in America from Fox News.

The American Society of Anesthesiologist reports that seven US anesthesiologist have reported that drug shortages resulted in deaths of their patients. Some of the anesthesia drugs are fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid used to knock patients out and to treat operative and post-op pain. Another is the “Michael Jackson drug”, propofol, which is a intravenous sedative and anesthetic drug that works in just 40 seconds.

Emergency Rooms are complaining that they have been hit hard. Some of these drugs include epinephrine that helps restart the heart during a heart attack. Others are seizure drugs and who would ever believe that even antibiotics are in a shortage crisis?

Oncologist are complaining they can’t get the chemotherapy drugs they need to prescribe. They are encouraging people not to worry but they are worried. Dr John Maris, Chief of Oncology at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia testified on Capitol Hill in the Senate House about the the problem of drug shortages. He stated “ For complicated reasons, many of the drugs that we as physicians rely on each day – anticancer drugs, antibiotics, anesthetics, medicines that go in IV nutrition – simply are just not available.” He continued to say, “ These are generally generic, so called sterile injectable drugs, difficult to manufacture, often very, very commonly used around the world, but for reasons of manufacturing, regulation, and many other issues, many of these are just not available today.”

I was a nurse before I went back to medical school to get my doctorate in Natural Medicine. I have been on both sides of the track and I believe both types of medicine has good parts to it. Traditional medicine is very important for emergencies that can not be effectively handled quick enough by natural medicine. Natural medicine is wonderful and great as a preventive lifestyle. Both, working in conjunction with each other is the best of both worlds.

To get back to this article, I am still amazed there are shortages. My personal belief is that it has to do something with money. If not just because of not being profitable, maybe it is to scare us in order to bring about more profits. My father was the purchasing agent for a large hospital. I worked in the emergency room at the same hospital at the time he worked there. I remember going on break and going downstairs to see him. I was amazed that one shake down thermometer that you could buy at the drugstore for $6. would cost that patient $29. A small aspirin would cost the patient $26. You could buy several bottles of aspirin for that cost. If you have in been in the hospital lately, look over your bill. You may be amazed also.

Yes, I believe health care has gotten out of hand. This is one more reason we should do our best to take care of ourselves before we get sick. Health care is really “sick care”. We need to change that and consider more “preventive care”.

Do not leave your doctor’s office until… (part 3)

Image Source:wikimedia.org

Image Source:wikimedia.org

Medical records are not created equal. Just as you, your records are unique to you and only you. Medical records are created when you receive treatment of any kind, whether it is a simple look at a mole to see if it’s ok, or if you received a dreaded diagnosis. It’s all in your records and there’s a blueprint of the past. Your records can include personal subjects you trusted your doctor to never tell, like stress you are having because of something you did, and are not proud of or high risk sexual acts. I am just using these examples to explain why your records are important for you to gather instead of someone else doing it for you. Also, it explains the reason why we are glad there are laws to help protect our records from being given out to just anyone.

I need to cover that there are certain diagnoses that law requires the doctor to report to the health department and other government facilities like the CDC. These diagnoses include those like HIV-AIDS, Tuberculosis, Gonorrhea, Hepatitis, Mumps, Shigelloses, and Lyme Disease, to mention only a few. We,as citizens, have no say in this because reportable diseases are diseases considered to be of great public health importance. Reporting helps track potential health problems in communities and keeps us safe.
All states have a “reportable diseases” list. It is the responsibility of the health care provider, not the patient, to report cases of these diseases.
There may be times that you are forced to share your medical records even though you would rather not. An example is when you are applying for Health or Life Insurance. Most insurance companies require you to give them your medical records or they will not issue a policy to you. Insurance companies are considered financial institutions under the federal Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLB). Banks, brokerage houses and Insurance Companies must provide you of notice of how they gather and use your information.
A potential employer may ask for your medical records before hiring you as a part of their background check. To learn more on employment background checks and an employer’s obligation to you under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), read PRC Fact Sheet 16: Employment Background Checks and the FTC’s website on background checks.
In part 1, I explained that it is important that you get your records before you leave the office. Most of the time it will cost nothing or less than the normal charge. I do want to mention that if ever a office or medical facility wants to charge you for your records and you do not have the money, They can not refuse your access to them. In some states you are required in your own handwriting to write that you can not afford to pay. Regardless, you can get your records.

Make it a habit to request your records before leaving your doctor’s appointment. I hope now you are better equipped with the knowledge of your patient rights and protection.

Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won’t Tell You

Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won’t Tell You
Every so often, you hear how someone gets a message out to the public and you wonder, how did they do it without getting fired, black balled, or sued. Martin Makary, M.D., M.P.H. is just one such person. He works with John Hopkins hospital and is the author of several books on public health, surgery, patient safety, quality of care, and different health policies.

Dr Makary is a full time surgeon specializing in advance laparoscopy, gastro-intestinal tumors, pancreas surgery, and special problems with the elderly population.

His latest book entitled Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won’t Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care.

This makes for an interesting read. Click here to check it in Amazon.Com

The following is a video where he was interviewed on The Doctor’s show by Dr Travis Stork.

Many doctors will tell you, if you want to get sick, just hang out around a hospital that does not have a good record for cleanliness, and which has a lot of reports for MERSA.

Keep your immune system up.

image c/o: SM Mcroberts

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There Goes The X-ray!

There Goes The X-ray!

A news release by McKesson Speciality Health to physicians just came out today, January 21,2013, concerning health care budget cuts for oncology practices. Their team stated that “Our innovative Practice Services team wants to make you aware that with the recent passing of the Biden-McConnell compromise by Congress that averted the fiscal cliff, there are many changes that will affect oncology practices.”

I’m sure you are wondering what that means to the patients. We were all excited we did not fall off the cliff but knew we were not off the ledge yet. The bill did delay the 2% sequestration cuts to Medicare and did implement a one-year freeze to the Medicare physician payment rate, which helped prevent the 27% cuts that were scheduled to take place on January 1, 2013. Whew, I know, it’s hard to understand. However, McKesson reports that the 25 billion dollar fix will be paid by working on additional healthcare spending cuts.

This means if you are on Medicare, your doctor may think twice if you will get an advance diagnostic imaging (an x-ray like a CT scan, MRI or PET scan). If your doctor performs the x-ray in his/her office, they may lose revenue tied to the procedure.

In the past, I have seen many times where the insurance companies have already refused to do a PET scan or one of the other x-rays because of the cost. I do not believe that the x-ray companies should be the one to say what is or is not needed to help see where the patient is in their journey of wellness or sickness. That should be left up to the doctor. It is my opinion that we are going to see a lot more of the insurance companies saying what treatments can be done or not. After all, it’s going to take a lot of the government’s money to enforce the Obama Care so the budget will have to be watched.

As I have always said, at least Obama is trying, but Obama Care in my opinion is not the answer. We need good health care system which starts at a different level.

image sourtesy of: www.amberusa.com

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Be Careful When Taking Drugs With Grapefruit

Be Careful When Taking Drugs With Grapefruit

 

Warning! People are trying to lose weight with many different methods. One way is by ingesting a lot of grapefruit. This information came to me and I felt I needed to share it with you.

The Canadian Medical Association Journal has recently published findings that a number of drugs can be detrimental to our health when eating or drinking grapefruit. Apparently, this is due to an influx of new medications and chemical formulations.

It is believed that grapefruit contains furanocoumarins which blocks an enzyme that usually breaks down certain medications for the body to use. If the medications are not broken down correctly, the medication levels can grow toxic in the body. This can cause an overdose and possibly death. Some other foods that contain furanocoumarins are Seville oranges, limes, and pomelos.

Prescription drugs that interact with grapefruit are taken by mouth and the degree of the grapefruit effect can vary. Just one serving of grapefruit with some drugs can make it seem as if the person is taking multiple doses of the drug. This could be very dangerous especially if one is taking several of these type drugs.

There is supposed to be more than 85 drugs on the market that can interact with grapefruit. Some of the drugs are statins that lower cholesterol such as lovastatin, atorvastatin, and simvastatin. There are some antibiotic, cancer drugs, heart drugs,  cardiovascular drugs, and hormonal type drugs.

It is better to be “safe than sorry”. Double check with your doctor or pharmacist to see if you have one of the drugs that could react with grapefruit. You can also try checking on the internet. Prevention is very important!

image courtesy of: www.katu.com

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How Much Money And For Whom?

How Much Money And For Whom?
I’m sure you as I have always heard how much the Pharmaceutical companies are making. We all gripe and complain that our medications are too expensive and we can’t really afford the high cost of healthcare. We all agree that we have a broken healthcare system and a band aid is not going to heal it.If you look at the World Charts and the news breaking reports, it’s clear that our great country is no longer the leader in healthcare. Our quality of care has fallen. However, the United States is still the leader in healthcare costs.

This morning I received one of my newsletters that goes out to doctors and healthcare professionals. Never before have I ever actually seen the numbers in black and white till today. I want to share this with you so you can see for yourself and come to your own conclusions as to how to respond.

 

It appears that healthcare organizations and physicians are major forces behind campaign contributions. According to the nonprofit Center
for Responsive Politics (CRP), the healthcare industry has spent over $147,136,594.00 for the 2012 political events. Now, those numbers were posted the first of September so we know it is probably more than that now. Also, the CRP mentions that not all money is posted.

The CRP is a non-profit, non-partisan research group based in Washington, D.C.. This company tracks the effects of money and lobbing on elections and public policy. Their data base can be found on www.opensecrets.org.

Below is the top 20 healthcare-sector contributors to Federal candidates, parties, and outside groups.

Rank

Organization

Amount

1 Adelson Drug Clinic $22,040,800.00
2 Cooperative of American Physicians $2,699,245.00
3 American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons $1,467,800.00
4 American Dental Association $1,343,649.00
5 P?zer,Inc. Pharmaceutical Company $1,287,136.00
6 Select Medical Corp $1,132,450.00
7 American College of Radiology $1,127,134.00
8 American Society of Anesthesiologists $1,109,150.00
9 American Health Care Association $1,093,695.00
10 American College of Emergency Physicians $1,060,500.00
11 American Hospital Association $1,051,122.00
12 Amgen Inc $1,017,312.00
13 McKesson Corp $991,325.00
14 Abbott Laboratories $878,980.00
15 Medco Health Solutions $833,120.00
16 Stryker Corp $819,464.00
17 American Physical Therapy Association $816,600.00
18 AstraZeneca PLC $795,075.00
19 American Medical Association $785,437.00
20 Merck and Co $763,935.00

 

The next table gives the percentage each company gave to each political party.

Rank

Organization

Democrats

Republicans

1 Adelson Drug Clinic
2 Cooperative of American Physicians 2% 2%
3 American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons 25% 75%
4 American Dental Association 40% 60%
5 P?zer,Inc. Pharmaceutical Company 52% 48%
6 Select Medical Corp 5% 7%
7 American College of Radiology 29% 71%
8 American Society of Anesthesiologists 37% 63%
9 American Health Care Association 44% 55%
10 American College of Emergency Physicians 41% 59%
11 American Hospital Association 58% 42%
12 Amgen Inc 51% 47%
13 McKesson Corp 40% 60%
14 Abbott Laboratories 39% 61%
15 Medco Health Solutions 47% 53%
16 Stryker Corp 7% 1%
17 American Physical Therapy Association 54% 46%
18 AstraZeneca PLC 44% 55%
19 American Medical Association 45% 55%
20 Merck and Co 51% 49%

 

I am thankful that we live in a country where there is Free Speech. That being said, I would like to say that in my opinion, a lot of that money could have been used to support people who are struggling with no money or insurance and need assistance in their health care. Instead, it appears that it went to the political parties and to lobbying efforts. Are most of this money spent to influence government, and for what reason? Why can’t the pharmaceutical companies and health care providers lower their cost for the true American, their customers? It is now obvious that there is a surplus that can be given away to the government. Yes, I’m sure there must be a tax break for them somewhere.

 

 

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