Chemicals in Medicines

Photo: Taki Steve

Do we know enough about chemicals in drugs prescribed to us – especially for non-life threatening and chronic illnesses?

Age-old systems of medicine focused on a whole-person understanding — that a balance between body, mind and spirit is essential. Practitioners of those systems relied on natural ways of healing. The onus of wellness was also on the individual. Modern medicine replaced this with the symptom- and drug-based approach, relying on experts for diagnosis and treatment. This brought in benefits such as increased life expectancy, cures for many life-threatening diseases and miracle surgeries.

Yet one can’t overlook the life-numbing impact caused by over-dependence on chemicals and on profit making as a prime motivator for pharmaceutical companies. Consider the following:

  • Between 2001 and 2008, in the US, there was a 36 percent increase in hospital admissions and a 28 percent increase in emergency room visits among children aged five years and younger, who had accidentally ingested medication.
  • There is a 2.1 percent chance of getting an adverse drug reaction and a 5-6 percent chance of acquiring infections via hospitals; and a 4-36 percent chance of injury through medical errors, However, only a fraction of such cases is reported.
  • The blood of newborn babies, the US’ Environmental Working Group found, contain 212 chemicals that should cause concern — dioxins, flame retardants, carcinogens, etc. Of the 38,329 drug overdose deaths recorded that year, 22,134 were due to pharmaceutical drugs.

The book “Death by Medicine”, by Gary Null provides data and research to show that the modern American medical system has become the leading cause of death and injury in the United States. We need a lot more research in India and other countries as well to know how much medicines affect us adversely. Meanwhile perhaps it is wiser to build our immunity through natural foods and approaches?



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