Meet Mark

Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

Tell Me More
Stay Connected
April 16, 2008

We Like Drugs – Fair and Balanced

By Worker Bee
16 Comments

Were those gasps we just heard? Maybe a few people falling out of their chairs? (Sorry about that, by the way.) No, the sky hasn’t fallen, and (as far as we know) hell hasn’t frozen over.

As many of you know, we offer the occasional critique of Big Pharma – its business model, advertising practices, ethics, etc. (No, really?) Although this post doesn’t negate our previous points, we want to present a side of the MDA philosophy that, admittedly, doesn’t get as much blog time.

As we’ve always known but not often stated, drugs (medicinal), in and of themselves, aren’t evil. In fact, we think some drugs are great – if they’re going to save your life or relieve unbearable chronic pain or some otherwise debilitating condition or disease. Pharmaceuticals can serve a vital role in our medical care system and in many people’s lives, including some within our own MDA community. And for that, we’re incredibly thankful. Sure, the system has its flaws, but we also know it gets many critical things right.

We absolutely, unequivocally support using the benefits of modern science to create drug therapies that combat the ravages of disease, acute injury or runaway infections. Most of the drugs we take issue with here on MDA are those that seem to apply to health problems that could be more effectively addressed by lifestyle changes. And even then, we absolutely don’t believe that people who have made the wrong choices for too long simply be left to die (as we’ve been accused of in the past). Some drug therapies can give people a second chance, a boost as they get their health back on track. (But we still say they shouldn’t be cavalierly prescribed and “mass marketed” as something everyone should consider taking.) The use of drugs that address what are, in most cases, “lifestyle diseases” shouldn’t be necessary in an ideal world. Nonetheless, human nature is fallible, and common medical advice is unfortunately often flawed or at least incomplete.

What a blessing it is to live in an age when we can argue here about the options and alternatives that allow us to avoid pharmaceuticals instead of an earlier time when people would’ve given their eye teeth and all their worldly possessions to find some treatment for a disease or condition that had no cure or legitimate medical therapy.

At times, drugs are essential to save lives or significantly boost fundamental quality of life when lifestyle and assorted wellness/whole-health therapies alone cannot. To those of you (and a few of us) whose lives have been spared by pharmaceutical interventions or who have gotten a new lease on life, a second chance, or a necessary leg up in taking charge of your health, we’re glad modern medicine was able to offer what it did. Though we may have our share of critiques for the business side of the system, we unquestionably appreciate the occasional essential drug treatments that industry, academia and non-profit medical foundations make available to our society.

Thoughts? Comments? Getting a sense that this is a disclaimer before another anti-drug post? Need tips for fixing that dropped jaw (or broken chair)? Send us a line, and thanks for reading.

dieselbug2007, Destinys Agent Flickr Photos (CC)

Further Reading:

Deconstructing Healthcare in America – A Modest Proposal

Diabetes is Now a Disorder of the Small Intestine?

Pharmalot: AstraZeneca Investor Questions Big Pharma Model

Subscribe to Mark’s Daily Apple feeds

Sponsor note:
This post was brought to you by the Damage Control Master Formula, independently proven as the most comprehensive high-potency antioxidant multivitamin available anywhere. With the highest antioxidant per dollar value and a complete anti-aging, stress, and cognition profile, the Master Formula is truly the only multivitamin supplement you will ever need. Toss out the drawers full of dozens of different supplements with questionable potency and efficacy and experience the proven Damage Control difference!

Subscribe to the Newsletter

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

Leave a Reply

16 Comments on "We Like Drugs – Fair and Balanced"

avatar

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Mike OD - IF Life
8 years 5 months ago
The question is…how do you change the average mindset from just going to get a simple RX for something covered by insurance…when they need more lifestyle changes? It’s too easy and cheap to get the drugs nowadays (outside of life saving emeregency needs). Some how there has to be a way to motivate people to go take responsibility for their own health, clean up their foods and environment…and get healthier. Otherwise this “crutch” and quick fix mentality of drugs will just bring people down a long road of sickness and disease. Stop throwing life preservers when we can just teach… Read more »
Kevin Burnett
Kevin Burnett
8 years 5 months ago

As long as it’s cheaper and to get your hands on a drug (assuming for the moment that it works and is realatively safe) the majority of people will always take that route.

Not sure what, if anything, can be done about that.

Jen
Jen
8 years 5 months ago
I agree. It’s a culture of enablement. Yes, there are people who truly need certain medications, and they should absolutely get the full treatment they need. But I can’t understand how people don’t take charge and make changes in their daily lives–from the food they eat, to the level of their activity, to the cleaners and toxins they intentionally surround themselves (and everyone else with). And oftentimes, the doctors have almost nothing to say about the role of lifestyle: “Here’s your prescription, and try to cut back on saturated fat.” End of appointment. I have two parents with autoimmune disorders… Read more »
Donna
Donna
8 years 5 months ago

My sister in law is a Registered Nurse and works in surgery, i’ve heard her say many times that drugs are helpful to the patient during surgery and how necessary the drugs really are. Drugs are indeed for those who “need” them, such as the case of surgery. And even afterward for pain and help healing the body for what it’s been through!

Sasquatch
8 years 5 months ago

The problem is that everyone pays for people who don’t want to make lifestyle changes. We pay for those people through our insurance. It’s going to be an increasing burden as medicine continues to become more sophisticated and expensive.

I’m basically pumping dough into other peoples’ pockets right now, because I have no health problems. I’m subsidizing the health problems of others. I’m OK with helping people out a bit, but it’s important to understand that people who take the easy way out hurt us all.

chainey
chainey
8 years 5 months ago
The insurance question is interesting. For a single person with no health problems it may be worth putting aside the amount you would have paid in insurance into savings and paying cash for your healthcare. Or go a for “catastrophic” policy that only covers the big ticket stuff. For any kind of insurance the responsible subsidize the reckless. Americans can think themselves lucky. In NZ, where I live, we pay for a third-rate state health system whether we use it or not (I don’t), then we pay on top for private-tier care by cash or insurance. There’s no rebate on… Read more »
Brad Baggett
8 years 5 months ago

Interesting points. I think that drugs are essential in emergency medicine and for treatment of pain for terminally ill case, but other than that I think what we put into our bodies and how we feed our bodies eliminates the need for them. I have written countless articles about the importance of organic foods and nutrition that have literally changed my family’s lives. We rarely even use aspirin anymore!

http://juiceofchampions.com/home/eliminate-chemicals-eat-organic

Nancy S
8 years 5 months ago
There is no money in lifestyle change. There is money in drugs. I don’t think many dr’s are intentional about this, emphasizing the scrip more than the lifestyle change needed. It would help too if other people (ie friends, family) were more supportive of lifestyle change instead of either making it harder for that person or blowing it off like they are making too big a deal. It’s just the mentality, why do things the hard way when you can do the easy way. I am currently being tested for celiac disease. If I do have it (or even “just”… Read more »
markus
markus
8 years 5 months ago
“Lifestyle change” is predominantly a problem of poor and confusing education. 40 odd years of the anti sat fat campaign has shown how the food industry and dietary habits can be changed through campaigning against “unhealthy foods” the problem is not the effectiveness of nutritional education, the problem is incorrect and poor education. the fact is, because health authorities have been fundamentally wrong, and recommended a diet that exacerbated the problem – noone is sure what is healthy and are put off the low carb route. the lack of confidence in dietary advice and the proliferation of junk science has… Read more »
Ankoku-jin
Ankoku-jin
8 years 5 months ago
I’ve been on both sides of this one — I’d be dead 5 times over if it weren’t for modern drugs. On the other hand, I wouldn’t have half the problems I have now if doctors hadn’t also handed me far more antibiotics, NSAIDs, steroids and other drugs than I really needed throughout my life. The result? Significant damage to my gut, liver and immune system, leaving me constantly fatigued, sick, and allergy-ridden. Thankfully I found a doctor willing to wean me off all the pharmaceuticals and help me make the lifestyle changes to restore my health; it hasn’t been… Read more »
trackback

[…] We Like Drugs – Fair and Balanced […]

trackback

[…] at our philosophy more in depth, you’ll realize that we’re not against the healing power of modern medicine if it addresses health problems that cannot be solved by lifestyle changes. Also, we’re not […]

trackback

[…] sweet (O.K. – maybe not so sweet.) We’ve tried to set the record straight in the past by saying we are unequivocally for drugs that can truly help people. What gets our goat is the shoddy, unreliable testing processes and the growing plethora of […]

trackback

[…] let us say that we don’t have anything against the existence of these drugs or the use of these drugs for the treatment of serious mental health […]

trackback

[…] those of you who have joined us recently, let me mention a few things first. I’m not against medication. In fact, I wholeheartedly support it when it genuinely and distinctively serves the critical […]

trackback

[…] Mark Sisson has an entire ‘Big Pharma‘ category of posts on his blog. In some of these posts, Mark discusses the problems with antibiotics and some possible alternatives and considers harm reduction in ‘We Like Drugs‘. […]

wpDiscuz