A book about "Big Pharma" to be read by ev... - Healthy Eating

Healthy Eating

49,308 members9,105 posts

A book about "Big Pharma" to be read by everyone, doctors included


TOO MANY PILLS – How too much medicine is endangering our health and what we can do about it.

Dr. James le Fannu.


James le Fannu shows how with only the profit motif in mind, the pharmaceutical industry has set out to convert as many as possible fit people into patients of the NHS thereby selling more of their drugs. Rather than an industry motivated by making sick people fit again it is now developing means by which drug sales can be substantially increased by finding ways to prescribe to people who are well.

He demonstrates how the pharmaceutical industry has become little more than just a huge money making machine.

This book should be mandatory reading for every NHS patient, every potential patient, all student doctors and General Practitioners not forgetting the Secretary of State for Health in the U.K. He quotes cases of over prescribing of drugs designed to control blood pressure let alone heart disease and diabetes. Just reading his exposé made my blood pressure rise! Consider what this outrageous practice is costing the NHS in the U.K. not to mention health services in other countries. He outlines the rise and cause of iatrogenic disease.

He explains in graphic terms the QOF (Quality Outcome Framework) system introduced into the NHS by the Blair Government and costing the NHS £millions while also being seen by G.Ps. as a wonderful way to augment their practice’s income as well as that of the pharmaceutical industry without benefiting patients to any degree at all. As a result he says that good doctors are now practising bad medicine.

Finally James le Fannu turns his attention to the treatment of the elderly whom he feels are being treated appallingly. Drug induced illness and hospital admissions have risen sharply. He cites instances of serious over-prescribing of a cocktail of drugs where in some cases, there is a serious interaction resulting in the patient being admitted to hospital as an emergency. The excessive lowering of cholesterol levels in the elderly can have very serious consequences; of all emergency admissions of the over 70s due to drug interaction, 10% are proving fatal. This is another example of iatrogenic disease.

James Le Fannu is a brave man to reveal all that he has in this book as he must now be the number one enemy of the pharmaceutical industry. This is an excellent exposé which should be read by everyone.

14 Replies


There's quite a rash of books on this topic coming out lately. There's definitely something amiss. The NHS budget is several times larger than the GDP of a typical developing country, yet we're sicker than ever. So what's up with that?

My impression is that doctors (and pharmaceutical companies) really have very little to do these days. Or ought to, in theory. All the big problems were solved decades ago. Hygiene, vaccinations, antibiotics, dentists and obstetricians have halted early and unpleasant deaths. Routine surgery (for appendicitis, say) is exactly that; routine. What we're left with now are "first world problems". The NHS seems hell-bent on keeping the gravy train running full steam ahead with dietary advice guaranteed to cause obesity, heart disease and diabetes, plus made-up diseases like hypercholesterolemia that can be 'treated' with powerful drugs that do nothing except cause more disease. Meanwhile, the gov't encourages the continued flow of carcinogens into our air and water.

As per the old saw ... you're not paranoid if "they" really are out to get you :)

I'm in total agreement with you "TheAwfulToad". Everywhere and everything you look at these days is all about profit first and people second. The politicians are either too stupid to be aware of exactly what's going on or are motivated by profit themselves.

I have a friend who had a minor heart scare a couple of months ago, I saw him yesterday when he told me with pride how he had prescriptions for eight different drugs. When I suggested that he should be aware of being a candidate for iatrogenic disease he replied that he believed his doctor. I said nothing!

>> I saw him yesterday when he told me with pride how he had prescriptions for eight different drugs.

It's just bizarre, isn't it? Nobody can possibly know what interactions those drugs have.

My dad is in his 70s and is likewise on a handful of different drugs, ostensibly for heart disease (which he's lived with for a couple of decades). He has all sorts of unpleasant physical symptoms - not one of which is related to heart disease. Everything he is suffering is a side-effect of the drugs. That is, a listed side-effect. One described on the package insert.

Here's the sad bit: he has heart disease because he's had a massive amount of stress in his life, he doesn't eat properly, and he doesn't exercise.

Here's the ridiculous bit: he's medically qualified. But he still just does what he's told. I have an uncle who is (was) a medical-school lecturer, who suffered acute kidney failure caused by statins. He watched his kidney function slowly deteriorate, and kept on taking the pills, despite knowing it was the pills causing it. So what chance does the ordinary man in the street have, when his doctor tells him: if you don't take this pill you'll die?

I'm fortunate in that I live in a country where healthcare isn't a bottomless pit for funding, and there is therefore little incentive to invent fictitious diseases. The service here is of an astoundingly high quality because the doctors spend most of their time treating genuine problems, for which real solutions exist. This turns out to be a lot cheaper than trying to treat chronic diseases caused by inappropriate medication or by lifestyle choices.

It's very hard to tell if the politicians understand that the (ongoing) NHS crisis is mostly self-inflicted. Obviously, very few of them have medical or scientific qualifications, and they appear to have surrounded themselves with yes-men advisers who tell them what they want to hear: yes, minister, everyone should be taking a statin; yes, minister, the dietary recommendations are completely correct, even though there's an epidemic of obesity and heart disease; yes, minister, we just need more money and everything will be fine.

Not sure what the rest of us are supposed to do about this, apart from staying away from the medical Establishment unless absolutely necessary.

A very interesting and accurate reply. You sound as though you despair, we do too sometimes. Your "Yes Minister" statement is about right. Anyone who could really be trusted is too busy to be elected as an M.P. To most of them it's just a job and they will do what will get them elected next time around.

We have a dear friend who is a retired Consultant Surgeon specialising in the digestive tract. He gave us very good advice about 25 years ago, he said, "Stay away from your doctor". I believe he was right. The only doctor from whom I have sought advice during the last ten years, is a G.P. who only practices homoeopathy; it worked for me with no side effects. My gut flora was not compromised by drugs.

Here in France you are only legally allowed to practice homoeopathy if you are already a qualified G.P. I believe this is right. Just try to get an appointment with one, their diaries are full and moreover you pay the full consultation fee as there is no government support.

benwl in reply to Tibblington

Unfortunately homeopathy is unscientific nonsense, it's as much as scam as big pharma, taking money off sick people in exchange for water that cannot have any effect. Luckily the NHS no longer funds it.

Tibblington in reply to benwl

Hello benwl. You may think that it's "unscientific nonsense" but can you can explain to me how when I was so crippled with polyarthritis that I was unable to cut up my food on the plate, I was unable to dress unaided, I could not drive and was constantly tired, that this unscientific treatment worked. I made one visit to a traditional doctor who only gave me pain killers that did nothing but within five months of the alternative treatment I was able to unload and spread 1½ tons of gravel on our driveway unaided without even feeling tired.

I am retired engineer so I can see your point of view but my own experience doesn't support it. By the way I was not given water!

I am nearly 84 and take no regular medication whatsoever but live by the advice given to us by Hippocrates; let medicine be thy food and food be thy medicine.

benwl in reply to Tibblington

Can I explain it? No. Does that mean your explanation (homeopathy works) is correct? Also no.

You are falling into the "Post hoc ergo propter hoc" (after this, therefore because of this) trap of assuming causality from correlation.

For example, suppose I have a headache, and I sit for an hour with my index finger immersed in a cup of water, and then notice my headache has gone away. Can I conclude that the finger dip caused my headache to go away? No. Maybe the

headache would have gone away on its own anyway, or maybe it was my posture, or some other explanation I've not thought of.

To try and answer that question we need to do science, to do experiments to try and establish cause and effect and to find a mechanism to justify that.

When such experiments are done with homeopathy they show that it doesn't work any better than a placebo. In addition, the mechanisms of ultra dilution and the law of similars through which it's claimed to work conflicts with what is known about physics and chemistry.

That's why homeopathy is unscientific nonsense.

(good reference to homeopathy here sciencebasedmedicine.org/re...)

JerryAdministrator in reply to benwl

Hi Ben,Tibbly,

Sometimes we have to agree to disagree and the evidence about homeopathy not being effective confuses me on one level as most medicines are derived form plants, for instance opium poppies give us morphine an opiate which's the strongest family of pain killers in the world.

I think its like everything in that homeopathy can help with some things like a plant based diet can help with arthritis. Look at how therapeutic some herbal teas are.

But when it comes to vaccines and highly advanced medicines over homeopathy, the Pharma industry win every day.

So to me its keeping everything in context and see what works for us. and accepting others opinions/needs.

My philosophy is 'I eat myself healthy' and this is the healthy eating forum...😊

benwl in reply to Jerry

The thing with homeopathy is that the original plant is diluted so much that there is unlikely to be any of it still left in the solution. That's why it doesn't work and cannot work (and homeopaths are reduced to claiming there is some sort of quantum mechanical memory of the plant left in the water).

There's really no confusion when you look at the scientific studies done on it - it doesn't work.

I accept that people are free to believe what they like. But this isn't like the low carb/high carb debate for example where reasonable people can disagree and interpret the evidence differently, and ultimately science will resolve the debate one way or another. People do come here with real health issues, and since homeopathic remedies don't do anything they are harmless in one sense, but there have been tragic cases where people have eschewed medical treatment in favour of quack remedies and died as a result.

JerryAdministrator in reply to benwl

Hi Ben, I didn't realise that most homeopathic medicines were so diluted. As I assumed it was like having honey for a sore throat or peppermint tea for indigestion so I guess I was thinking more about the power of plants than homeopathy.

benwl in reply to Jerry

Most people don't know much about the theoretical underpinnings of homeopathy.

Anyway, i'll shut up now, having made my point I don't want to trample anymore on someone elses thread.

But i can't resist sharing mitchell and webbs take on it :)


Tibblington in reply to Jerry

I am always willing to hear another point of view providing it is presented in a polite manner and is not aggressive.

Thank you for bringing this book to our attention. I shall look it up.