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More About Big Medicine


United States of Medicine / Heroes + Whistle-Blowers / What on earth is disease mongering? / (Mis)Classification of Drugs / Does Smoking Cannabis Cause Lung Cancer? / Black Box Warnings: Side Effects May Include Death / More About Warnings / Upcoding + Fraud

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United States of Medicine

(avoidable procedures abound)

Unnecessary medical care is fueled by several factors including fear of malpractice lawsuits, patient pressure, and an inability to obtain prior medical records. Of course, some surgeries save lives, too. If this is business as usual, whom can we trust? The top avoidable procedures are:


1)  hysterectomies 70%
2)  knee and hip replacements 28%
3)  cardiac pacemakers 22%
4)  cesarean sections 22%
5)  back surgery and spinal fusion 17%
6)  cardiac angioplasty and stents 12%


Heroes + Whistleblowers​​

(fearless truth-telling encouraged)

Pick a court case, any court case. In the link below, an organization called Whistleblower News Network uncovers travesties perpetuated by some leaders in the pharmaceutical industry. While risking reputations and careers, courageous truth-tellers are using social platforms and supportive attorneys to go public. In an age when anyone can say and do (almost) anything without suffering consequences, is it any wonder that many of us have simply unplugged from reality? Cookhouse Heroes, great and small - let's plug in and make some noise (whatever this looks like for you)!

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(Mis)Classification of Drugs

According to current US drug classifications, cannabis is a Schedule 1 drug, along with heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and hallucinogenic mushrooms. Schedule 2 drugs are considered "less harmful and addictive" and include cocaine, meth, and oxycodone (learn more about OxyContin and Purdue Pharma here and here). This prolific plant has many social and medical advocates, yet it remains a hot topic since it's widespread use could threaten Big Medicine's prolific profits. Check out what the AARP says about medical weed.

Black Box Warnings:

Side Effects May Include Death

Aside from New Zealand, the US is only one of two countries in the world where direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs is legal. Ad campaigns tell patients to ask your doctor about the drugs they're hawking. The quasi-regulated marketing of drugs is a dangerous example of a free-market economy doing a free-fall over a steep cliff. Safety belts advised.

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"... if we're looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn't test people for drugs. We should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed, and love of power."

- PJ O'Rourke, American Satirist + Libertarian (died 2022) 


More About Warnings

The increase in pharma ads in the US is overwhelming, and the list of side effects has become out of control. However, we're so desensitized and numb that we don't seem to notice this anymore. A case in point (among many other examples) is Merck's KEYTRUDA, which is used to treat some cancers including skin, breast, and liver cancer. The list of side effects is SO long, that the ad's voiceover said: there may be other side effects. And one includes death.


Upcoding + Fraud

Upcoding is an illegal billing practice. This occurs when a healthcare provider submits codes to insurance companies for more serious and more expensive diagnoses or procedures than were actually diagnosed or performed. Other forms of fraud include unnecessary or excessive testing and billing for services never performed at all. Lack of funding for oversight and rather skilled culprits allow these practices to continue. It's tricky to know exactly how often fraud occurs, so if you suspect anything, please report it immediately. Also, look at the detailed insurance bill for accuracy just in case.

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