This article was originally published in Positive Health issue 82 – November 2002
“All drugs are poisons, and chemotherapy is a particularly nasty set of poisons” says Richard Sullivan, head of clinical programmes at the charity Cancer Research UK. This is an unusual admission from the medical establishment whose members are not fond of calling a poison a poison, preferring to dress it up in jargon and euphemisms. Hence, a poison delivered by a physician becomes a prescription drug or ethical drug, and the symptoms caused by it are called adverse reactions, side effects, allergies and iatrogenic diseases.
In the past, there was no doubt about the true nature of medicinal potions as they used to carry the minatory skull and crossbones. And the medical profession made no bones about the poisonous nature of their practice; indeed one of their adages was: “Our strongest poisons are our best remedies”. There was a time when mercury – a deadly poison – was thought to be a cure-all. The physicians of this heroic time were called ‘poison doctors’. They were also called ‘quacks’, a shortening of the German word ‘quacksalber’ which means quicksilver or mercury. Ironically, it is now usually employed by allopathic ‘doctors’ to denigrate practitioners who have never used mercury or other poisons in their treatments. ‘Doctor’, by the way, is a misnomer as it means teacher – and GPs are usually more busy in labelling diseases and prescribing drugs than in teaching. The right word should be ‘physician’ which means ‘one learned or skilled in physic’, the latter term being a Middle English word which, in this context, meant drugs.
Another medical dictum says that: “Where there is poison, there is virtue”. Spurred on by this, the medicine man and his accomplices have ransacked all the natural kingdoms in the elusive search for cures and wonder drugs. Dr Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894), a famous US physician and writer said that “the disgrace of medicine has been that colossal system of self-deception, in obedience to which mines have been emptied of their cankering minerals, the entrails of animals taken for their impurities, the poison bags of reptiles drained of their venom, and all the inconceivable absurdities thus obtained thrust down the throats of human beings suffering from want of organisation, nourishment or vital stimulation”. This ‘disgrace’ is still going on. Pharmaceutical companies love the rain-forest, but their motive – to plunder and pillage the golden forest that conceals the golden cure – is entirely financial.
Medicine teaches that poisons are the proper substances to use in order to cure disease and the Materia Medica is nothing else than a long list of poisons. It is as if medicine were bent on mithridatizing (making immune to poison) humanity. Humans, who are usually careful to avoid any poison in their drink and food when in health, do not hesitate to swallow doses of poisons when sick, indoctrinated by centuries of medical fallacy.
Owing to its unrivalled popularity, orthodox medicine at some stage of its history needed some division of labour. It split into two main branches: medicine proper and pharmacy. In our era of rampant and unbridled capitalism, the pharmaceutical industry, whose aim is to manufacture and distribute poisons, has developed into gigantic proportions. The French have an unpoetical saying about these two partners in cures: “Medicine is a whore, its pimp is the pharmacist”. John le Carré, whose latest novel, The Constant Gardener, exposes the misbehaviour of multinational drugs companies, says that “The pharmas, […], are engaged in the systematic corruption of the medical profession…”
In the same article he asks “…what cash payments and benefits in kind are on offer to our doctors from the pharmaceutical companies, the ‘seminars’ and ‘training courses’ in sunny holiday resorts, with free travel for yourself and your partner, and accommodation thrown in?” Nothing will stop the legal drug pusher.
Every little helps. This is why pharmaceutical companies love recycling. For example, when a drug, in spite of having been duly tested, proves, after some usage, to be too damaging for Westerners, it is sometimes discreetly dispensed to the Third World. The medical system practises another form of recycling in tune with its not so scientific trial-and-error and hit-and-miss methodology whereby a drug that fails to cure a targeted disease is trialled to fight another one. For example, the infamous thalidomide which, after having been ‘scientifically’ proven to be a safe drug, caused horrific birth defects, is now “making a comeback as a possible therapy for cancer”. It proves, if necessary, that physicians are as gullible as anybody else: they still believe in the myth of panacea. If the pharmas could find a serum that would immune humans against gullibility they would, for a change, do a great favour to humanity.
A ‘safe drug’ is an oxymoron as all drugs are poisons in any dose, at any time, and in any circumstances. Sir William Osler rightly remarked that a drug-treated patient has to get well twice: first, of the disease that sent him to the physician, and second, of the disease caused by the drugs prescribed by the physician. In the medical system, iatrogenic diseases are the rule. “A growing number of cancer patients are becoming victims of their doctors’ success, experiencing dangerous side effects of tough anti-cancer treatments…” says James Meek. In other words, the treatment was a success but the patient died. Ungrateful patients!
Some physicians are true doctors, such as William Osler who said: “One of the first duties of the physician is to educate the masses not to take medicine”. It is a healthy change from the usual “keep taking the tablet”. Of the thousands of poisons used in medicine only a small handful has a legitimate raison d’être such as, for example, anaesthetics for constructive surgery. There is a fundamental difference between trying to prevent and cure disease and trying to preserve and restore health. Medicine, which has adopted the first philosophy, is but a spectacular system of palliation – a poisoned chalice – that requires the use of drugs. The other method, recognising that diseases are vital remedial efforts and are self-limited (apart from degenerative diseases), only use, intelligently, the natural factors of health.
Notes and References
1. The Guardian. 23rd Feb,2002.
2. John le Carré. The Criminals of Capitalism. From The Constant Gardener. Hodder. 2001.
3. Meikie J. Thalidomide may fight cancer. The Guardian. 26th Jan, 2002.
4. Sir William Osler (1849-1919). Regarded as the greatest physician of his time.
5. Cured cancer patients succumb to treatment’s long-term side effects. The Guardian. 23rd Feb, 2002.
6. Bean WB. Aphorisms. Ch.3.