O artigo relata com objetividade e ampla bibliografia um rol de causas médicas e hospitalares de doenças e mortes que estão se ampliando a ponto de deixar de serem exceções para serem regras, e também aponta o envolvimento geral de médicos e revistas médicas com os interesses da indústria farmacêutica, comandando as prescrições para a medicação alopata, subordinando a pesquisa acadêmica a estes interesses.
Celso Galli Coimbra – OABRS 11352
O artigo está disponível na íntegra para download neste link: Death by Medicine
Seguem trechos deste artigo, Death by Medicine:
Medical Ethics and Conflict of Interest in Scientific Medicine
Medical Conflicts of Interest (Photo credit: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com)
Jonathan Quick, director of essential drugs and medicines policy for the World Health Organization (WHO), wrote in a recent WHO bulletin: “If clinical trials become a commercial venture in which self-interest overrules public interest and desire overrules science, then the social contract which allows research on human subjects in return for medical advances is broken.”(19)
As former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine , Dr. Marcia Angell struggled to bring greater attention to the problem of commercializing scientific research. In her outgoing editorial entitled “ Is Academic Medicine for Sale?” Angell said that growing conflicts of interest are tainting science and called for stronger restrictions on pharmaceutical stock ownership and other financial incentives for researchers:(20) “When the boundaries between industry and academic medicine become as blurred as they are now, the business goals of industry influence the mission of medical schools in multiple ways.” She did not discount the benefits of research but said a Faustian bargain now existed between medical schools and the pharmaceutical industry.
Angell left the New England Journal in June 2000. In June 2002, the New England Journal of Medicine announced that it would accept journalists who accept money from drug companies because it was too difficult to find ones who have no ties.
Another former editor of the journal, Dr. Jerome Kassirer, said that was not the case and that plenty of researchers are available who do not work for drug companies.(21) According to an ABC news report, pharmaceutical companies spend over $2 billion a year on over 314,000 events attended by doctors.
The ABC news report also noted that a survey of clinical trials revealed that when a drug company funds a study, there is a 90% chance that the drug will be perceived as effective whereas a non-drug-company-funded study will show favorable results only 50% of the time. It appears that money can’t buy you love but it can buy any “scientific” result desired.
Cynthia Crossen, a staffer for the Wall Street Journal, in 1996 published Tainted Truth : The Manipulation of Fact in America , a book about the widespread practice of lying with statistics.(22) Commenting on the state of scientific research, she wrote: “The road to hell was paved with the flood of corporate research dollars that eagerly filled gaps left by slashed government research funding.” Her data on financial involvement showed that in l981 the drug industry “gave” $292 million to colleges and universities for research. By l991, this figure had risen to $2.1 billion.
“Pharmaceutical and Medical-Device Industries
1. About two-thirds of the industry’s $9.4 billion budget went to drug research; device manufacturers spent the remaining one-third.
2. In addition to R&D, the medical industry spent 24% of total sales on promoting their products and 15% of total sales on development.
3. Total marketing expenses in 1990 were over $5 billion.
4. Many products provide no benefit over existing products.
5. Public and private health care consumers buy these products.
6. If health care spending is perceived as a problem, a highly profitable drug industry exacerbates the problem.
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WHAT REMAINS TO BE UNCOVERED
Our ongoing research will continue to quantify the morbidity, mortality, and financial loss due to:
1. X-ray exposures (mammography, fluoroscopy, CT scans).
2. Overuse of antibiotics for all conditions.
3. Carcinogenic drugs (hormone replacement therapy,* immunosuppressive and prescription drugs).
4. Cancer chemotherapy(70)
5. Surgery and unnecessary surgery (cesarean section, radical mastectomy, preventive mastectomy, radical hysterectomy, prostatectomy, cholecystectomies, cosmetic surgery, arthroscopy, etc.).
6. Discredited medical procedures and therapies.
7. Unproven medical therapies.
8. Outpatient surgery.
9. Doctors themselves.
Nearly 9 million (8,925,033) people were hospitalized unnecessarily in 2001.(4) In a study of inappropriate hospitalization, two doctors reviewed 1,132 medical records. They concluded that 23% of all admissions were inappropriate and an additional 17% could have been handled in outpatient clinics. Thirty-four percent of all hospital days were deemed inappropriate and could have been avoided.(93) The rate of inappropriate hospital admissions in
1990 was 23.5%.(94) In 1999, another study also found an inappropriate admissions rate of 24%, indicating a consistent pattern from 1986 to 1999.(95) The HCUP database indicates that the total number of patient discharges from US hospitals in 2001 was 37,187,641,(13) meaning that almost 9 million people were exposed to unnecessary medical intervention in hospitals and therefore represent almost 9 million potential iatrogenic episodes.(4)
When x-rays were discovered, no one knew the long-term effects of ionizing radiation. In the 1950s, monthly fluoroscopic exams at the doctor’s office were routine, and you could even walk into most shoe stores and see x-rays of your foot bones. We still do not know the ultimate outcome of our initial fascination with x-rays.
In those days, it was common practice to x-ray pregnant women to measure their pelvises and make a diagnosis of twins. Finally, a study of 700,000 children born between 1947 and 1964 in 37 major maternity hospitals compared the children of mothers who had received pelvic x-rays during pregnancy to those of mothers who did not. It found that cancer mortality was 40% higher among children whose mothers had been x-rayed.(88)
In present-day medicine, coronary angiography is an invasive surgical procedure that involves snaking a tube through a blood vessel in the groin up to the heart. To obtain useful information, X-rays are taken almost continuously, with minimum dosages ranging from 460 to 1,580 mrem. The minimum radiation from a routine chest x-ray is 2 mrem. X-ray radiation accumulates in the body, and ionizing radiation used in X-ray procedures has been shown to cause gene mutation. The health impact of this high level of radiation is unknown, and often obscured in statistical jargon such as, “The risk for lifetime fatal cancer due to radiation exposure is estimated to be 4 in one million per 1,000 mrem.”(89)
Dr. John Gofman has studied the effects of radiation on human health for 45 years. A medical doctor with a PhD in nuclear and physical chemistry, Gofman worked on the Manhattan Project, discovered uranium-233, and was the first person to isolate plutonium. In five scientifically documented books, Gofman provides strong evidence that medical technology—specifically x-rays, CT scans, and mammography and fluoroscopy devices—are a contributing factor to 75% of new cancers. In a nearly 700-page report updated in 2000, “Radiation from Medical Procedures in the Pathogenesis of Cancer and Ischemic Heart Disease: Dose-Response Studies with Physicians per 100,000 Population,”(90) Gofman shows that as the number of physicians increases in a geographical area along with an increase in the number of x-ray diagnostic tests performed, the rate of cancer and ischemic heart disease also increases. Gofman elaborates that it is not x-rays alone that cause the damage but a combination of health risk factors that include poor diet, smoking, abortions, and the use of birth control pills. Dr. Gofman predicts that ionizing radiation will be responsible for 100 million premature deaths over the next decade.
In his book, “Preventing Breast Cancer,” Dr. Gofman notes that breast cancer is the leading cause of death among American women between the ages of 44 and 55. Because breast tissue is highly sensitive to radiation, mammograms can cause cancer. The danger can be heightened other factors including a woman’s genetic makeup, preexisting benign breast disease, artificial menopause, obesity, and hormonal imbalance.(91)
Even x-rays for back pain can lead someone into crippling surgery. Dr. John E. Sarno, a well-known New York orthopedic surgeon, found that there is not necessarily any association between back pain and spinal x-ray abnormality. He cites studies of normal people without a trace of back pain whose x-rays indicate spinal abnormalities and of people with back pain whose spines appear to be normal on x-ray.(92) People who happen to have back pain and show an abnormality on x-ray may be treated surgically, sometimes with no change in back pain, worsening of back pain, or even permanent disability. Moreover, doctors often order x-rays as protection against malpractice claims, to give the impression of leaving no stone unturned. It appears that doctors are putting their own fears before the interests of their patients.
Specific Drug Iatrogenesis: Cancer Chemotherapy
In 1989, German biostatistician Ulrich Abel, PhD, wrote a monograph entitled “Chemotherapy of Advanced Epithelial Cancer.” It was later published in shorter form in a peer-reviewed medical journal.(70) Abel presented a comprehensive analysis of clinical trials and publications representing over 3,000 articles examining the value of cytotoxic chemotherapy on advanced epithelial cancer. Epithelial cancer is the type of cancer with which we are most familiar, arising from epithelium found in the lining of body organs such as the breast, prostate, lung, stomach, and bowel. From these sites, cancer usually infiltrates adjacent tissue and spreads to the bone, liver, lung, or brain. With his exhaustive review, Abel concluded there is no direct evidence that chemotherapy prolongs survival in patients with advanced carcinoma; in small-cell lung cancer and perhaps ovarian cancer, the therapeutic benefit is only slight. According to Abel, “Many oncologists take it for granted that response to therapy prolongs survival, an opinion which is based on a fallacy and which is not supported by clinical studies.”
Over a decade after Abel’s exhaustive review of chemotherapy, there seems no decrease in its use for advanced carcinoma. For example, when conventional chemotherapy and radiation have not worked to prevent metastases in breast cancer, high-dose chemotherapy (HDC) along with stem-cell transplant (SCT) is the treatment of choice. In March 2000, however, results from the largest multi-center randomized controlled trial conducted thus far showed that, compared to a prolonged course of monthly conventional-dose chemotherapy, HDC and SCT were of no benefit, (71) with even a slightly lower survival rate for the HDC/SCT group. Serious adverse effects occurred more often in the HDC group than the standard-dose group. One treatment-related death (within 100 days of therapy) was recorded in the HDC group, but none was recorded in the conventional chemotherapy group. The women in this trial were highly selected as having the best chance to respond.
Unfortunately, no all-encompassing follow-up study such as Dr. Abel’s exists to indicate whether there has been any improvement in cancer-survival statistics since 1989. In fact, research should be conducted to determine whether chemotherapy itself is responsible for secondary cancers instead of progression of the original disease. We continue to question why well-researched alternative cancer treatments are not used.