Big Pharma: The term “Big Pharma” crops... - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation
12,718 members8,007 posts

Big Pharma

The term “Big Pharma” crops up regularly. It is very much a conspiracy theory much like “The moon landing was filmed in the Nevada desert” or “Prince Philip planned the death of Princess Diana”. For some reason many believe that pharmaceutical companies in league with the medical profession operate in some sinister manner and against the public good! With the advent of social media conspiracy theories gain traction faster than ever.

A good example is the negativity against statins. Whilst I will agree they have been over prescribed mainly for healthy middle aged and above people with no real cholesterol problem they have many benefits. These include lowering cholesterol (this may not occur in a minority of individuals), stabilising existing plaque and reducing irritation (often a precursor to plaque formation). Since their introduction the average age of patients undergoing a heart bypass has increased by a decade. Side effects have been reported so often in the media that many people prescribed statins report problems almost straight away. The problem is so bad that when a trial was carried out the percentage taking a placebo and reporting muscle aches was similar to those taking a statin. This is because people have virtually been programmed to believe they will get muscle problems. For those that genuinely do often a change of statin cures the problem.

Big Pharma is also quoted for supplements and/or extreme diets claimed to benefit heart disease when the results are queried. Drug testing/trials have come a long way since the days of Thalidomide and smoking beagles! These are often presented as facts despite a lack of rigor in the analysis of results – often by internet quacks!

93 Replies
oldestnewest

Well said. I personally don't understand why someone joins the BHF site purely to denigrate all the BHF/NHS recommends. Certainly other view points, thoughts, ideas etc are very very welcome but some posts go beyond this. When I see people saying they would like to have contributed to a post but other "comments" have put them off then surely the site is not a safe place any more???

12 likes
Reply

I've actually been thinking exactly the same things Lezzers for a good few weeks now!

4 likes
Reply

Agreed 🙏🏻

2 likes
Reply

Yea, and I’ve noticed this week in particular, the amount of peeps putting up links to YouTube clips.. I mean whats that all about (I don’t mean The York cardiologist because he’s legit) but some of the other stuff beggars belief.

6 likes
Reply

Just ignore them GS. I do. It's easier!!

6 likes
Reply

Good advice.

1 like
Reply

Excellent Post Michael!

4 likes
Reply

I personally am grateful to ‘Big pharma’ for researching and developing the drugs that continue to keep me alive! As an aside I was a patient expert on one of the NICE Scientific committees reviewing a new drug that a company was wanting to bring to market. It was the first pre-meeting and I can say that it was a robust and rigorous process. I feel happy that the analysis can stand up to intense scrutiny.

I am also one of those people who have hideous side effects and allergies to a variety of drugs including statins so again I am grateful that I have found a final statin that I am tolerating.

I think we are lucky in this country that we have such good regulatory organisations.

11 likes
Reply

Ooooo, yr in on it, I knew it 🕵️‍♀️😆.

5 likes
Reply

Oooops. Gave the game away!🤭

5 likes
Reply

Lol.....😊😊

1 like
Reply

😉 😉

1 like
Reply

Totally agree with all you've said Zena.....! I feel exceptionally grateful for ALL the Regulatory Organisations. We are very, very, lucky!

7 likes
Reply

PS: Gut instinct Michael. Think this is going to be a long thread!!

1 like
Reply

Oh yea, the following comes to mind ‘cat’ & ‘ Pigeons’

2 likes
Reply

It's a catspiracy:

7 likes
Reply

You`re nuts.The lot of you.Could it be the statins?

7 likes
Reply

Well, that's just weird!!!

1 like
Reply

I just watched that Michael. 'Curiousity killed the Cat' maybe. I don't even like them. :( :( Sorry to any 'Cat Lovers' here.....!

1 like
Reply

Brilliant, did almost lose it a bit when it mentioned using it on the face 😔

2 likes
Reply
3 likes
Reply

Oh my that's awful. It is the express.co.uk though & very little of what they publish is true, though just to be on the safe side I'll avoid those brands!!

1 like
Reply

If you search on line you will find quite a few need items about it, mainly in California where it occured. There is even an interview with a Sheriff!

Reply

Hmm, I think not!! Ignorance is bliss in this instance!

Reply

Yep I agree. Nice post.

Reply

I am extremely grateful to the drug companies for saving my life.

I met a medical journalist a good few years ago and we talked about "Big Pharma". He said that they want people to be on drugs for life as opposed to curing them. So, we have statins and beta blockers, etc. but nothing to clear out the arteries. Chelation therapy strips out the arteries but is not available as a treatment on the NHS for heart disease as it has never been tested for that purpose, it is used for heavy meatal poisoning. If you can afford it there are clinics that do it. Why not develop tablets/medicines that do the same job? Because their profitability would be short lived. That is my problem with "Big Pharma".

4 likes
Reply

Jimmy there is a major "Catch 22" here. In the process you would like to see the danger is that stable plaque would become unstable potentially resulting in a blockage in the heart/brain/lungs. Even if the plaque was cleared many would still need a statin to prevent a reoccurence. Not easy is it!

5 likes
Reply

Not easy but Chelation Therapy manages it. I used to take a medicine called Orachel which was "Oral Chelation". I was paying for it myself but had to give it up due to strained finances. It might be the reason for the length of time between my bypasses and the occlusion. I have no proof either way.

Reply

I like to think I can keep an open mind. I'm certainly not against "big pharma" per se. But they are private companies with all the drivers that entails. For a large part their ethos may coincide with the public good, but it's not something we should take totally for granted. I agree with Zena that a strong regulatory framework is essential.

As for statins, a lot of the people who are most ferociously opposed don't understand that when you have heart disease you sometimes have to put up with the side effects for the greater benefits the drugs bring.

6 likes
Reply

Think you already posted this or something similar a couple of weeks ago 🤔. Statins and fake news? Just wondered why bring it up again as so many get annoyed/ upset with comments etc. Best let sleeping dogs lie, as the saying goes ☺️

2 likes
Reply

Basically a post suggested Big Pharma was trolling this forum when in reality the opposite has occured much of this week! Many of us might not be here without statins, beta blockers and other drugs so why bite the hand that treats you?

6 likes
Reply

Each to their own I guess. We all need to make our own decisions and advocate for ourselves. “ why” will always be the biggest question from both sides probably.

3 likes
Reply

My feelings exactly Michael.

3 likes
Reply

Excellent Michael. Thanks so much.

Reply

The Big Pharma theory falls over when you look at cancer, diabetes, Huntingdons...they are CLEARLY working towards cures, not living with, not maintenance doses. It’s a hard pill to swallow when you can’t fix your need for the meds to anything other than your health. I struggle with a sense of loss of control my HA and recent lengthy and complicated work on my LAD. I can’t trust my body any more. For some, exploring other routes gives back that sense of control. I also feel that we can struggle with the acceptance that our previous lifestyles have taken us to where we are today. Again, some can subconsciously aim their frustration at the entities that try to fix us, as where else can you aim it? Again and again, I feel that the media is COMPLETELY out of control and am horrified at the absolute rubbish they peddle. I read here repeatedly ‘Doc wants to put me on this, what side effects WILL I get?’ People are so wired to expect them, they lose sight of the massive side effect that is almost certain WITHOUT the meds - death. Wake up, people. We are heart patients, not poorly toe, or achey knees, or just trying to lose weight. Our hearts are not well, we have the power to help them along by taking their advice on board, doing as we’re advised and sticking to it. Saying this, that, the other worked for one person, when it’s not what our NHS (on an NHS site!) is advising is pretty radical! To me it feels the same as the endless MLM diet ads on FB for sale sites. Capitalism as it is would grab anything that is the surefire cure, and instantly ramp the price up. As far as I’m aware no one has won a Nobel prize for ‘curing’ heart disease and I’m pretty sure we would know about it! Recommending something that has worked for ‘you’ is not helpful because it hasn’t got large-scale recognised research behind it. It has niche experiments on small numbers, not double-blind and usually conducted under confirmation bias conditions (of the 20 or so subjects the MMR chap selected, there was already the concern of autism as a diagnosis - he picked a bunch of kids who had autism and blamed it on their MMR jabs they’d had according to the usual schedule! He didn’t select a (sufficiently large) group of infants PRIOR to the MMR jab to the measure if they later had a diagnosis of autism).

I also think that some side effects are magnified by our expectations. I’m on bisoprolol, I feel tired. Why, though, am I on this drug? Because my heart is diseased. Diseased hearts make you feel tired. The best solution to this is to help my heart get fitter - slowly increase my activity to strengthen my muscles - all of them, to increase my stamina. Your heart is a muscle too. Why blame the meds?, it’s our crappy hearts, and how to help yourself is not rocket science or inaccessible.

The genetics will always be there. Which points to even more vigilance. The Mediterranean diet is also pretty anti-inflammatory. I don’t actually call it the Mediterranean diet. I call it ‘stop eating all the fast food/sugary treats and stop dodging fruit and veg’ diet. It’s also including the ‘don't Just collapse on the sofa and do nothing in your free time’. Walking around, doing something active is also relaxation and is way better for MH than TV, as well as your heart. Since my HA in April I’ve lost 2 1/2 stone, feel a lot better about how I look and am actually enjoying the beautiful countryside my wages pay for me to live in.

6 likes
Reply

Thank you for your thoughtful insights Sillyfroggy.

Reply

Wow, very powerful & very well said

Reply

Thank you Sillyfroggy - a well argued and reasoned post. I was working for ICI when they launched Atenolol and behind it there was massive research, development and testing as there had been with a predecessor propranolol. These helped to establish receptor theory among scientists and pharmaceutical companies. I will accept that they made errors other areas such as the "smoking beagles" saga the same year. The intention had been to develop ASM (alternative smoking material) to reduce the ever increasing cases of smoking associated cancers. BTW I did not work for the Pharmaceuticals division but for the Plastics division.

Reply

I agree with much of what you say, with the exception of your statement that it is not helpful for people to post what has worked for them in some cases, essentially stating that it is unhelpful for someone to post what has worked for them if it is not advocated by the mainstream. As you correctly state, no cure has been found for heart disease, which I think is all the more reason for one to state what has worked for them even if it's not endorsed by the masses. I like having the opportunity to hear what may have been working for someone and considering what they say. Although I may conclude that what works for them may not be a strategy that I would implement for myself, the fact that a cure for heart disease has not been found encourages me to keep an open mind and continue searching for answers and knowledge that I may find helpful in combatting my own heart disease. Simply because what someone states happens to work for them is not endorsed by the mainstream should not be the sole reason for dismissing it. The fact that we have no cure for heart disease is reason enough to consider what others say has worked for them. We can always dismiss what they have to say if we disagree and do not find what they say plausible, however in my opinion keeping an open mind is the key to gaining knowledge that may help us to find new strategies we can implement into our lives to combat our heart disease.

2 likes
Reply

Thank you, excellently put, I particularity agree with your comments about "our previous lifestyles have taken us to where we are today". While that is not the case for everyone it is for a lot of us, me included, and I'm fully excepting that I've got to this position via my own devices, and have listened to the doctors, nurses, rehab staff et al and am doing everything I can to mitigate the damage caused by that lifestyle, and that includes gratefully accepting any medication that big pharma can provide

Reply

its true the space landing wasnt filmed in nevada...it was just outside doncaster every one knows that.

2 likes
Reply

Wasn't that star wars!! 🤔

3 likes
Reply

i think starwars was castleford.ob1 works in a chip shop there.

3 likes
Reply

Did Elvis used to work with you?

3 likes
Reply

May the fish be with him 🐠

2 likes
Reply

Humour is certainly the best medicine😀😂🤣

3 likes
Reply

Give a person a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a person to fish and you feed him for a lifetime!

Reply

Give me a fish and I’ll give you it bk 🤢

1 like
Reply

Yummy fish 🐠 🐠 🐠 🍟

Reply

Try red mullet - it is "meatier" than most fish!

Reply

I’ve had fresh ( daily catch) fish in Cornwall in restaurants and really enjoyed it. Really I should try the fish market in town rather than Tesco’s fish counter. Some of there fish is that old I’m sure I’ve seen it at cardiac rehab 😂

2 likes
Reply

Jon 2018 I'm beginning to think that you are a chip shop spotter after your previous post....

1 like
Reply

The millennium falcon was built in Pembroke Dock, it used to be visible on Google Maps, so it wasn't in a Galaxy far far away!

Reply

Really??? Hans Solo is my all time favorite hero

Reply

Yes honest - When they started production they had to make a number of props and the falcon was built in a building that was used back in the 1920-30s as an airship hanger, LucasFIlms took a lease on the building to start making these props in relative secret - West Wales was my home territory, so I'd agree that Pembroke Dock was a pretty good place to do something away from prying eyes

Reply

I know this is a dumb question but if you knew me you would know I really do ask a lot of dumb questions!! Where bouts its Pembroke docks? We stayed in New Port, Pembs, was it anywhere near there?

Reply

Newport is on the north coast to the north east of Fishguard - where the ferries go to Ireland from.

Pembroke Dock is on the River Cleddau estuary - it's about 30 miles due south of Newport

Reply

We did visit Fishguard. Pembrokeshire is beautiful part of the country. And it was lovely to hear people, including children, speaking Welsh.

Reply

It is Lezzers and there is a lot of Welsh spoken that side of Wales and the North. Not half as much in South East Wales, where I am. Unfortunately, Welsh is a very hard Language to learn. I dropped it in School and took Shorthand and Typing instead. Shame on me!!

Reply

We met a lovely lady, retired school teacher, who lived in a cottage just down from where we were staying. Spoke to her every day on our daily walks & she said she grew herbs & unusual plants, so on our last day we bought some from her. A few journeys later we saw the "unusual" plant growing on the side of the motorway and there was a lot of it!! we only had a small garden!!! 😱

1 like
Reply

Oh lovely lol.....!

Reply

Scratching my head now, wondering what the unusual plants were ha ha!

Reply

Berberis??? Little yellow flowers??

Reply

Help my thread had been hiJacked by a herb! There is one called (hi)Jack in the Hedge, an alternative to wild garlic!

1 like
Reply

No,it`s wild mustard.I`ve eaten it.

Reply

Just googled it (I know, never Google 😂) and it's garlic mustard so you're both right. Apparently it's thought the name Jack by the hedge stems from the slang "Jack's" for toilet due to its smell....who'd have thought it!!!

1 like
Reply

Ugh,I`ve actually eaten it.Thanks for that Lezzers!

Reply

Yummy!! 😋

Reply

Looks like Michael. I'm getting lost with it now. Did tell you I thought it would be a long one didn't I lol ?? 😊

Reply

It went off tangentially a few times - probably a catspiracy! 😁

Reply

Ok then. Just to add there are lots of weird and wonderful plants, shrubs, etc. grown in Wales, believe me!

1 like
Reply

We've got some in Cambs, they occasionally get raided!!! 😂

Reply

Suppose it's the same everywhere though. Just the Generation we live in nowadays!!

1 like
Reply

Yes, that's true. I'm ironing, so may need a pick me up later!! 😉

1 like
Reply

Well good on you Lezzers lol. I've got piles of it in the bedroom mind. It can stay there as well. It's got no chance today I can tell you ha ha!! Might think about it Thursday or Friday maybe!!😊😊

1 like
Reply

😂

Reply

The Steve Miller Band sung about a "Space Cowboy". Saw them live years ago!

2 likes
Reply

I agree

Reply

Well said. I went from 0 tablets a day to 9 and would prefer to return to 0 but I am grateful every time I take them for the research that has gone into them; the rigorous testing and our free N.H.S.

2 likes
Reply

Great reply. I feel exactly the same....! 😊

Reply

I think it is always wise to be sceptical of the claims and the products of the small number of multinational drug companies that control pharmaceutical production and to a large degree medical research - thanks to Universities being heavily reliant on private funding for research now.

Multinational Pharmaceutical corporations are in the business of generating profits before any other aims, the same as all big corporations. Over the years there have been enough issues relating to the prevention of release of full drug trial information from these companies to raise serious concerns. This I believe is the case with statins, which if they are as harmless and useful as is made out would make it very odd that full research/trial information has apparently been withheld.

There is also the issue that research into drugs or treatments that may save lives or improve quality of life will only be carried out by drug companies if it is likely to provide profits.

I know I may be old fashioned but I would be far happier if 'Not for profit' organisations ran pharmaceutical production and research to improve peoples lives rather than multinationals.

4 likes
Reply

The BHF is the largest independent funder of research into Cardiovascular disease in the UK

There is also the Medical research council and the National Institute of Health Research.

The Health Research Authority are proposing that all research is registered and all results published perhaps add your comments to their public consultation that is taking place?

hra.nhs.uk/

3 likes
Reply

Unfortunately without the motivation of profit we would likely not have some of the life saving drugs that are currently available to us.

1 like
Reply

Not sure how true this is as apparently a lot of the drug research carried out by drug companies is actually carried out at universities who now have to rely on big pharma to fund them. I suppose I'm an idealist who feels that the profit motive has led to the bloody awful mess society and the world is in today.

3 likes
Reply

I was going to reply but on second thoughts have cancelled it, didn't want to be to rude to your analysis, oh you don't have an analysis just a comment !!!

Reply

Sorry I obviously can't compete with your astounding intellect and have no right to express my opinions.

Reply

That is so true and one of the only facts that can't be disputed imho

1 like
Reply

OK

1 like
Reply

Wow! I can't believe the timing of this post. I was going to create a post to express my concerns.

Firstly I would like to point out that I have absolutely no problem with taking prescription drugs. Three years ago after my quad bypass I left hospital with a bag full of pills and a new chance in life. Within the first six months i was feeling great that my recovery was on track and I had even resumed running. I had commented to my GP that my skin burnt in anything more than moonlight so he took me off Amiodarone . (apparently it was a side effect). As my fitness improved, although I was genuinely thankful I was also plagued with lots of niggling pains. Cramp in my lower legs was common as was a shake in my upper right thigh. Although I didn't chase the doctor I did mention it when I went in for routine checks at first but when the problems became more prolific I decided to address the matter. I had complained of cramp in my legs, Stomach and back muscles. I had complained of a tearing sensation when stretching my fingers. I had complained of dark urine and (lets just say poor bowel movements). For the last three years I've avoided Dr google but I've come to the end of my tether. The last three months I've suffered so much pain in my knees and upper legs I've seriously considered quitting all meds. My GP has sat and listened every few weeks to me whine about this.I have even asked the question "could it be my meds?" One Doctor prescribed me Ibrufen ( a big no no apparently whilst on heart meds) and the other has told me to use ibrufen gel but it made no improvement whatsoever. The long winded point I'm making here is, although ALL the complaints I've approached the doctor with point to the side effects of statins but not once did they mention it. While getting a repeat prescription last week I asked the pharmacist if any of my meds could be causing the pains? like a practiced choir several members chirped up together "Statins". I have taken myself off the 40mg of Atorvastatin last Thursday out of sheer desperation so I'll see what happens.

Since I've crumbled to google I've also read that Doctors surgeries get a financial incentive to prescribe Statins! (i'll leave that to your own research)

I can't thank the surgeons and staff enough at the hospital for their care, but sadly I feel my GP practice is not geared up for after heart surgery or they are just pushing their own agenda.

2 likes
Reply

Well done for taking control 🙂. Hope you start to feel better soon

1 like
Reply

I know your original post was serious, and I appreciate that, but I've got to say I received my dose of humor therapy reading this thread. Y'all are funny, I appreciate the laughs! Catspiracy, indeed! 😂

2 likes
Reply

You may also like...