The Bad Guys: Apocalypse Pharmaka (Part 2)

The Bad Guys: Apocalypse Pharmaka (Part 2)

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Did you know that garlic can cure food poisoning?


In fact, it is more than 100 times more effective than antibiotics commonly used to treat one of food poisoning’s leading causes.

Kinda wish I knew this in New Zealand when I lived there because, at the time, it had the highest rate of salmonella poisoning in the first world.

My estimate is that I was food poisoned once every three months. The garlic hack woulda been good to have.

Do you have some suspicions as to why I didn’t know it?

One evening in Micronesia, while drinking duty free gin on the balcony after a day spent making a terrible documentary about Nan Madol, my psychiatrist father told me something interesting about the medical business. The numbers may change but the journey remains the same:

It takes about half a billion to bring a drug from its natural state in the rainforest, through testing, through governmental approval, through clinical trials and out onto the market. That investment must be made back up in the five years that the drug is under patent because after that all profitability is eroded by the appearance of off-brand alternatives.

The nicest way of describing this would be to say that a company has to spend five years healing the rich before its lifesaving treatments can be of any use to the rest of us. A more accurate way may be to simply ask for directions to the nearest socialist party office and I’m terribly sorry but do you happen to have a spare guillotine?

I would hang these in my house if I was sure they wouldn’t give me nightmares.

Because, unfortunately, it is not just a matter of bringing new medications onto the market.

What if some existing medications prevent lung damage from cigarette smoke?

Do you think they have the funding to sponsor medical events and take large hospital buyers and successful oncologists out to expensive dinners?

And what if a near-universal cancer vaccine was developed? One that couldn’t be patented.

Do you think every medical facility in the world would work around the clock to test, synthesise and distribute this product?

Or rather would you expect a flimsy take-down piece that gets upset over the fact that whoever wrote the press release doesn’t have a detailed understanding of cell biology? There is a huge difference between an absence of clinical trials and flat-out lying, but this Archon-shill doesn’t appear to give a shit. Guess no one in his family has cancer at the moment, huh?

Thing is… someone in my family does/did. At the beginning of last year, my father was actually diagnosed with (colon) cancer. It was caught early so it was small, it was surgically removed and the follow-ups have been fine so far.

He does, however, drink mate tea every day now because it appears to kill colon cancer. Let’s be clear here… he’s the orthodoxy’s orthdoxy. Not to get all Tom Cruise at you (because I’m out of the closet) but he’s a psychiatrist. That’s totally the archonic equivalent of the inquisition.

And yet he didn’t wait for the thumbs up from some asshole crying about a press release to begin using a health product mankind has been using for centuries. He’s not paying a drug company for a pill derived from a compound in the mate plant because that doesn’t exist yet. He’s drinking the frikking tea. 


The whole point of apocalypse pharmaka is that we no longer (only) have to listen to plant spirits to guide us toward treatment. We can instantly summon from any corner of the planet the latest understanding of treatments for our afflictions. We don’t necessarily need to act on it but we should still be summoning up the options. The only thing stopping us is fear.

But cancer is scarier than a fear of transgressing “the way things are done”. So my father is going to keep drinking the tea.

And here’s a cancer hack for you right now:

If you are over 35, you should think about taking a daily dose of aspirin.

Sometimes I think I will see this if I look up when I’m walking through central London on my way to work.

Daily aspirin is considered a “no brainer” by doctors who aren’t in Big Pharma’s pockets.

The only response that “cautious doctors” (check their backgrounds) have is that aspirin, over a very long period of time, can increase the likelihood of internal bleeding in patients with pre-existing conditions.

But if you’re over 35, what are you more likely to die of? So split the difference and pop those pills.

For the first time in human history we have the access to knowledge to more easily make these decisions for ourselves. Which is good because Big Pharma is fucking out of control. Overmedication is what’s killing us:

 So many people have died from medication overdoses of late that they come to exceed car crashes as the US’s top cause of accidental death – a first since the government started tabulating such data in 1979, according to the LA Times. This equates to “more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined”.

And aspirin is a medication in the same way that two eggs are a cake. It’s basically one step above willow tree bark tea. I may change my opinion of this should gas-filled aspirin become widely available because it it thousands of times more effective. But again, you can’t patent it so, basically, if you live anywhere that isn’t Sweden then don’t hold your breath.

Our current drug policy is more damaging than Bush II’s moronic stance on stem cells. The food we are eating is causing autism in our kids. Evil men are determining your country’s health policy and it is time you personally limited their influence on how you choose to live your life.

Speaking of… It’s the food thing I want to leave you with for two reasons.

The first is that if you are reading this within a few days of when it is posted then I will be stuffing my goddamn face in Paris again (death by croissants!) lest I give you the impression I am coming off as preachy.

The second reason is that food where we are going with the next post in the series. But between now and then you have some homework. You have to watch the recent BBC programme, The Men Who Made Us Fat. As a proud, card-carrying BBC license-fee payer, consider this my gift to you.

If you ever wanted to put names to the men who destroyed the health of the entire first world then watch it.

[Disclaimer: This blog mentions ghosts, wizards, aliens, Atlantis, spells and fortune telling. If you consider any of that to constitute medical advice then you need to have a good, long look at how you are living your life.]


Add yours
  1. 1

    Gordon, you’re on a rant again. The world will be a better place for it!

    I’m going to check out Mate Tea. Colon cancer is the grim reaper on my mom’s side of the family. Thanks for the heads up on that one!

    I’m with you on food concerns as well. One benefit to living in the midwest is my access to locally grown food. I get close to 60 percent of my food from local farms that do not use steroids, antibiotics, hormones or GMO feeds. One supplier even does Kosher butchering so they can sell their beef to a couple steak houses in NYC. The rest of the time we are just lazy …pizza or Mexican.

    I’m looking forward to the next installment!
    Lonnie´s last blog post ..Touch The World

  2. 2

    Great post! I own a natural herbal business In Oz and think I might put this up on our notice board. The sheer volume of people coming in looking for alternatives to pharmaceutical anti-depressants or anxiety meds – amongst other things- is staggering. The fact that a GP can hook someone up with powerful mind altering drugs from a simple multiple choice questionnaire without recourse to behavioral counseling leaves me aghast. Nothing wrong with modern western medicine per se but corporate interests in health and wellness is abhorrent.

  3. 3

    Gordon rocks again. Awesome post. Thanks for the hints too. Of course this is just the tip of the iceberg and its positive side too. There is also the darker side: You think radiation treatments – for example – kill cancer cells ? Think again ( Do you think that vaccination prevents flu ? There are numerous studies that green tea does that much better that the vaccines and without the side effects of course. Do you think chemotherapy is the solution for cancer treatment ? Google what Dr. Roy E. Smith and his colleagues of the NSABP in Pittsburgh say about it ( Chemotherapy for colon cancer offers no survival benefit after ten years ). Google also what chemo really does to cancer and healthy cells and why 75% of physicians in the world refuse chemotherapy for themselves. Seek also if chemotherapy contributes to a quarter of cancer deaths ( Everything that you have been told about truth is a lie. This is not a consipary – this is reality.
    P.S: Enjoyed so much the ‘Pharmaka’ word – who said Greeks aren’t everywhere ? :-) Thanx Gordon…

  4. 4

    Gordon, I love your posts (including this one), the way you present such a variety of information and thoughts in a coherent, intelligent, and accessible manner – but I’ve got to quibble with a bit of this one. As a practicing magician as well as a postdoctoral fellow in biomedical research (academia, though not cancer research), I think you’re dismissing the counters to the DCA articles/kerfluffle a little too readily, which colours how you present some of these pieces of information and the message that gives.

    The comments in the Pharyngula/PZ Myers blog about how people respond to press releases and new scientific studies are actually pretty accurate, and I see that a lot from my professional vantage. Academic studies tease out little pieces of the picture, often using models that don’t and can’t replicate what happens in human patients, and yet it’s the job of the press release writer – generally not a scientist – to show these findings in the best light. I wont go off on a tangent about how things like press releases are necessary if we want to keep getting research funded. I’m very sure you know how both of those things go, professionally speaking, too. However, what happens when the general public or media gets a hold of these pieces of information is, very often, that these data are translated right into ‘what patients can do with this new finding TODAY!’ and – pretty much as you’ve written up here – the people trying to point out that there’s a difference between a laboratory model and a human cancer patient are accused of pandering to Big Pharma or being naysayers without cause (etc, etc).

    For starters, academic scientists are not employees of Big Pharma as a rule – some cross over, some consult, but we’re different populations of researchers. When it comes down to it, we are also regular people who have family members with cancer (as I and several of my colleagues currently do – your swipe about Myers apparently not having family members with cancer admittedly got my back up some) or who have about the same chance as anyone else to be diagnosed with cancer ourselves. The Cancer Cell study that’s being referenced in that press release looks to be good after a brief glance, it’s in a reputable journal, and the authors comment at the end about the potential to transition into patients without huge delay since DCA is a known agent. They use human tumour cell lines, and they use a rodent in vivo model. Neither of these things are directly equivalent to human testing. That’s how we need to work, still. We test in model systems to find the things that have potential, to test hypotheses, to have a way to actually get at the mechanistic questions. Immortalized human tumour cells implanted in immune-suppressed rats are not human cancer patients (and human cancer is diverse enough that it’s not even really a singular disease). Clinical trials are there to protect the patients, to find out important pieces of data like side effects, min/max effective dose range, to find out how to transition what we learned from model systems into what we as researchers really want – to be able to help the people who need it without harming them. I’m not saying there are no flaws in the system, I’m not saying there’s never any corruption or problems – but the intention behind it is there for a good set of reasons. Even Myers’ blog, which you linked to and dismissed, points out that there is good potential in DCA as a therapeutic – but that it’s too soon to say that in the right way for the right reasons.

    Anyway – I didn’t mean for this to get quite so lengthy, or to come across like a pontificating ‘let me educate you about Science’ comment (if I did, I apologize, it wasn’t my intention and I certainly don’t consider you un- or poorly-informed at all – in my defense I’m writing this from work!) – but this is something I feel passionately about. It’s not ‘scientists versus the real people’. We’re all the same people. We have the same ultimate goals. We work with the tools we have, and strive to interpret the data we obtain in the correct ways, neither under- nor over-interpreting.

  5. 5


    Don’t know what to tell ya. Other than “academic scientists” aren’t who we are talking about here any more than we are talking about astronauts. I refer you to any other point in the post and the BBC series. That’s kinda like saying “the research in the press release is completely wrong” and then setting out exactly how it isn’t. And if you’re not convinced sit in on a psychiatric conference and see how many “academic scientists” you find at the Pfizer dinners.

    Besides that… surely the clue is in the name of the post series? Or the disclaimer?

  6. 6

    Apologies, Gordon – you’re right, of course, and I off base. I’d go back and delete if I could, but I’ll leave this red-faced regret instead.

  7. 8

    Hi Gordon,

    While I totally agree with you about blood thinners for ppl 35+, I think there are better alternatives than Asprin. There is fish oil of course, however this is too often tainted by heavy metals and it now features Japanese nuke soup. I use antarctic Krill Oil with natural astaxanthin. Though it is spendy, it has a significant cholesterol stabilizing effect which can get you off the deadly statin drugs. Also, evening primrose oil is another great blood thinner. It should be taken daily by women 35+ as it counteracts the ill effects of artificial hormones like breast pain and bon disease (when combined with calcium) .

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