By David A. Jernigan, D.C.
As HHS Secretary-nominee Alex Azar awaits Senate floor action, Dr. Jernigan warns on his drug industry ties and calls for consideration of alternative medicine approaches to health care, especially for the opioid epidemic.
America’s addiction to pain pills was entirely predictable. The nation has long been over-medicated, blithely popping 3.2 billion medications annually, according to the CDC.*
Watch any nightly network newscast and we’re bombarded with drug ads, playing on our myriad health concerns and promising blissful remedies. Harvard tells us that the drug industry spends more than $5 billion a year on consumer advertising**, supporting, according to the U.S. government, more than $300 billion in pharmaceutical sales.*** Add to that the astronomical popularity of non-prescription or OTC drug products, and you can see that we’re a nation consumed by our aches and pills.
Given this environment, it is somewhat concerning that the nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, whose job is to protect Americans’ health, is the former president of the U.S. division of global pharmaceutical marketer Eli Lilly and Company. His disposition towards expanding our synthetic drug culture versus furthering the development and application of natural medicine should be carefully explored during Congress’s consideration of his nomination.
While many pharmaceuticals clearly can save, extend and improve the quality of life, the reality is that their long-term use conveys merely the illusion of health. Remission is promoted as success, even though it is but a temporary abatement of symptoms. While Americans consume the most prescription medications, the World Health Organization ranks the U.S. as having the worst health among developed countries. With drugs to control the symptoms of every named illness, Americans are oblivious to the reality that despite their pills, they’re getting sicker.****
A vital key to a healthier and more productive population is the development and promotion of a new medical corps, trained in the pure treatment philosophy of biological medicine, focused on identifying and treating the root causes of illness, rather than just the symptoms.
True healing cannot occur by simply masking symptoms. In those instances where pharmaceuticals are required as first-line treatment, the aim should be to get off medication as quickly as possible, and identify and correct the cause at its source.
The biological medicine treatment option is particularly effective for those with chronic pain and illness – cases that have been considered untreatable in conventional drug therapy – without the risk of addiction or worse. It applies advanced science in diagnostics and treatment technologies to treat the patient, not the disease, by restoring the body’s own healing potential.
Lifetime reliance on pharmaceutical drugs only benefits the drug industry. While prescription drugs are convenient, requiring little time and effort to prescribe, symptom-suppression is not a real solution to health problems, and it often entails side effects that reduce productivity and ultimately lower quality of life.
Americans should demand that our healthcare providers, elected officials and industry regulators acknowledge the drug industry’s grip on our healthcare system, and work to recognize and promote natural treatments and disciplines that seek to restore health, versus continuing promotion of the drug-induced illusion of health. The confirmation process for HHS Secretary-designate Azar is a prime opportunity to start this process.
Dr. Jernigan is Founder of the Hansa Center for Optimum Health, Wichita, Kansas.