Tom looked at me thankfully and told me the great news.
“My headaches are gone and I’m down to no extra strength Tylenol from as many as 20 a day, one month ago. Chiropractic works!”
This is no modern day miracle — Tom received safe, natural chiropractic adjustments to remove the cause of his headaches.
I was both elated and incredulous. Elated because Tom deserved better health — incredulous because the amount of acetaminophen in the Tylenol Tom took could leave him with kidney and liver damage and could even kill him through kidney and liver failure. We are rarely told that the use of over the counter (OTC) drugs such as Tylenol, Aspirin and non steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDS e.g. Ibuprofen) can irreversibly damage our stomach, kidneys and liver and can even lead to death. Somehow in North America, we have come to believe these OTC drugs are harmless. Look at Tom. How did an intelligent adult come to believe that this toxic cocktail of “accepted” pharmaceuticals was safe? How is it that any intelligent society would allow its members to be led to believe this was true? And why is it that North Americans consume the lion’s share of pharmaceuticals as compared to our European counterparts?
Hours of research later, I found a very large clue. A 2008 Canadian study by PhD candidate Marc-Andre Gagnon and Joel Lexchin, M.D. through York University showed that the U.S. pharmaceutical industry spends almost twice as much on drug promotion as it does on research and development. Also noted was an increase in the number of promotional meetings by these drug companies from 120,000 in 1998 to 371,000 in 2004.
Everyday OTC drug use is being advertised into us through TV, internet and magazine ads. As a result, we have come to accept that the regular use of medications is both normal and safe. Even well intentioned parents regularly give their children these drugs to make them feel better without knowing the cumulative toxic effects on children’s systems.
Gagnon and Lexchin use their study results “to argue in favor of changing priorities of the (pharmaceutical) industry.” As researchers they exposed the industry’s ” little secret”. Will this exposure make a difference during our lifetime? Only time will tell.