U.S. Drug Spending Hits Record High (Again)
Fortune magazine reports that in 2015 Americans spent a record-setting $309 Billion on prescription drugs. That’s building on a previous record year in 2014.
According to the article, “Driving more than half the growth in drug spending in 2015 were sales of new branded medications that have been available for less than two years.”
Fortune doesn’t explain where these new drugs are coming from but according to Scientific American,
Indeed, drug company “bio-prospecting” has hit an all-time high, or some would say, “all-time low.” Now the drug companies are on a mission to have the FDA reclassify as many naturally occurring healing plants as possible as “drugs”.
Here are a couple of recent examples.
Picamilon is a combination of Vitamin B3 and GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid) a neurotransmitter produced in the human brain. Researchers are particularly impressed with picamilon’s benefit to Alzheimer’s patients.
Until November 2015, you could buy picamilon in any health food store. What changed? In 2015 Eli Lilly completed clinical trials of a new Alzheimer’s drug called, Solanezumb which Eli Lilly projects will generate $7.6 billion in revenue in the next 10 years.
Suddenly picamilon is reclassified as a drug and sellers of this supplement are instructed to take it off the shelves.
More recently, the FDA has quietly reclassified CBD, a natural derivative of Cannabis, as a drug. (Please note, CBD has no psychotropic effects.) Researchers have shown CBD effective for treating a range of neurological disorders.
Not coincidentally, several drug companies sell drugs involving cannabis-derived compounds, including Savitex (for MS sufferers), Marinol (for nausea related to AIDS) and Cesamet for alleviating the symptoms of chemotherapy.
I would like to be clear. The FDA does have a useful and important role here.
Quacks abound in the natural health field and some herbs present a very real health risk.
But the process seems upside down to me. Instead of herbs and plants receiving scrutiny because someone has a reasonable suspicion they may be dangerous, the drug companies have perverted the process by demanding scrutiny for herbs and plants they believe they may indeed have health benefits!
Privately, an employee at Merck warns me,
Gynostemma (aka jiaogulan), the herb I founded
Immortalitea to promote, may be next!
Merck has planted acres of Gynostemma in Germany and is working hard to synthetically replicate and patent several of the 128 gypenosides present naturally in Gynostemma. They are particularly excited about it’s potential to activate AMPK.
Lab and clinical trials prove Gypenosides have benefits to cardiovascular health, supporting healthy cholesterol, supporting healthy neuroendocrine system, boosting metabolism and countering the effects of aging.
If you haven’t tried Gynostemma yet, you owe to yourself to check it out before it’s too late. You can learn more here,
Hope to see you there soon. As they say at Motel 6, I’ll keep the lights on for you…as long as they let me.