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How the AMA Hooks You on Drugs, Harms Your Health and Hurts the Earth
Wednesday, 16 March 2011 00:00  |  Written by Shane Ellison, M.S. | Commentary

Doctors Performing Surgery photo by isafmediaFounded in 1847, the American Medial Association (AMA) set out to “promote the art and science of medicine for the betterment of public health.” But the benevolent veil is wafer thin. The AMA has relentlessly hounded alternative medicines and therapies, forcing them out of business or keeping them at the margins. It has ignored good health and prevention in favor of pushing less safe and less effective—though more profitable—treatments, primarily surgery and drugs. And some startling facts show that it has done all of this at the expense of our health and that of the environment.

The Rise of AMA Tyranny
In the beginning, there was natural healing—botanical, Chinese, eclectic, homeopathic, nutritional and Native American medicine, as well as chiropractic, to name just a few. But in the eyes of the AMA, that was too much competition. It had to be minimized, which meant removing the glut of choices so that only AMA-approved treatments could be positioned as the cure-alls they are considered today.

Early on there were skeptics. In 1833, the New York Evening Star wrote: “Medicine [allopathic], like every useful science, should be thrown open to the observation and study of all.… We should at once explode the whole machinery of mystification and concealment—wigs, gold canes and the gibberish of prescriptions—which serves but as a cloak to ignorance and legalized murder.” But over time, the AMA mystification proved too complex, while the public ultimately relinquished control and became guinea pigs, which AMA doctors could use to “practice” allopathic medicine.

From their early vision of a one-size-fits-all medicine, in 1904 the AMA established the Committee on Medical Education (which later became the Council on Medical Education). Without government intervention, they singlehandedly used this branch to standardize medical education in America under their belief system, which was hailed as a “scientific breakthrough” with all others labeled “quackery, charlatanism or, at best, alternative medicine.”

In 1910, with support from John D. Rockefeller and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the AMA awarded a grant to Abraham Flexner to travel with the secretary of the AMA Council on Medical Education to all US and Canadian medical schools then in existence. This tour resulted in Flexner's famous report, "Medical Education in the United States and Canada," which became a catalyst for a historic shift in thinking, ultimately positioning the AMA’s medical ideals as scientifically superior to all others. The birth of the AMA tyranny, known technically as “allopathic medicine,” was officially born—and surgery, vaccines and drugs became the primary health option for Americans.

Medical schools were forced to comply with the new standards—by removing other modes of healing from their curriculum—or lose AMA support. Under these restrictions, their numbers dwindled from more than 400 US medical schools in the 19th century to 148 by 1910 and just 76 by 1930.

AMA spokesman, Robert Mills, excuses the AMA’s pressure on schools as necessary at the time because, “the medical education system churned out an overproduction of uneducated and ill-trained medical practitioners, who in general practiced with an absolute disregard for the public welfare and without any serious thought of the interests of the public. Flexner noted that there were five times as many US physicians in proportion to population than in European nations such as Germany. What drove this oversupply was commercial exploitation by a large number of schools whose mission was profit, not education. For these diploma mills, the expense of setting up a laboratory to aid didactic instruction took away from the bottom line, and the quality of education suffered as a result.”

The Allopathic Occult
Prescription Drugs Forming a Dollar Sign photo by Ano Lobb With all competition weakened or removed, the AMA quickly established a “knowledge monopoly” in medicine, primarily with the intentional use of Latin bio-babble. This successfully gave rise to a gap in scientific literacy, which removed health education from the reach of the layman and placed it into the self-serving hands of the AMA, and their “approved” medical schools.

This paved the way for the allopathic, drug model of healing, which was to benefit AMA supporters John D. Rockefeller and the Carnegie Foundation via their interests in chemical manufacturer IG Farben—infamous for its manufacture of Zyklon B, a pesticide used for human extermination in the gas chambers of Nazi death camps during the Holocaust.

Attacks on Chiropractic
With the dwindling of all other forms of medicine, only chiropractic remained a challenge. In an effort to suffocate the profits of that industry, AMA secretary Morris Fishbein led an anti-chiropractic campaign in medical journals and public media. He portrayed them as members of an unscientific cult—caring about nothing but money—despite chiropractic’s proven health benefits. The war against chiropractic continued into 1987 when, in the case of Wilk v. American Medical Association, the AMA was found guilty under the Sherman Antitrust Act of conspiring to destroy the profession of chiropractic.

According to Mills, since 1992 the AMA’s official stance on chiropractic has been that, “It is ethical for a physician to associate professionally with chiropractors provided that the physician believes that such association is in the best interests of his or her patient. A physician may refer a patient for diagnostic or therapeutic services to a chiropractor permitted by law to furnish such services whenever the physician believes that this may benefit his or her patient. Physicians may also ethically teach in recognized schools of chiropractic.” However, the AMA’s earlier propaganda campaign has had staying power. Chiropractic continues to reel from the bad press and is still seen by many as quackery.

To this day, there is no opposition to the allopathic occult. The Journal of the American Medical Association admitted as much when it published a 2004 article by Andrew Beck, which stated that “all accredited US medical schools strive to apply Flexner's ‘uniformly arduous and expensive’ brand of medical education…” And the monopoly is fully supported by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and even mandated by the US court system, as seen by the myriad charges against parents who opt out of vaccines, psychiatric meds, surgery or traditional chemotherapy for their children. “As long as science shows these to have public health value,” Mills asserts that the AMA will continue to “endorse mandating certain medical treatments.”

A Drug-Addicted Nation
Prescription drugs have become more popular than McDonald’s hamburgers. In 2008, there were 3.9 billion prescriptions written—about 14 per American—compared to 560 million Big Macs sold—just two per American. Drug spending is projected to top $445.9 billion by the year 2012. This drug addiction is the result of two tactics designed to spread AMA’s beloved allopathic “scientific breakthroughs” to hundreds of millions.

Dangers of Direct-to-consumer Drug Ads poster photo by Mike Licht The first tactic is the creation of mini-sagas culminating in a miracle answer: drugs. This is direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising, and one of the most potent ways to get unsuspecting patients to ask their doctors if a drug is “right for” them. Whether you’re reading a magazine, watching television or listening to the radio, it is guaranteed that you’ll be bombarded by these types of slick drug ads. No surprise, the concept of DTC ads was created by the AMA, FDA and the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association. Officially, this was done as a means of “promoting health awareness among consumers to ensure their health and safety.” Unofficially, it was done to sell more drugs under the medical umbrella of allopathic medicine.

In a 2010 American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) survey, 90 percent of respondents said they had seen a drug ad, 10 percent asked their doctor for the drug, of which two-thirds received either a prescription or a sample. Former US Senate Majority Leader, Bill Frist (R-Tennessee), is seen in the film, Big Bucks, Big Pharma, clearly identifying the DTC advertising threat: “Let there be no mistake: drug advertisements fuel America’s skyrocketing prescription drug costs. They influence consumer behavior. And they influence physician behavior. They cause more people to take prescription drugs. They create an artificial demand.”

Mills insists the AMA is strictly against today’s rampant DTC advertising, but that they do support it when the ads meet AMA standards, which ultimately help to, “improve the communication of health information; enhance the patient-physician relationship; and contain accurate and reasonable information on risks, precautions, adverse reactions and costs.”

Billing Code Extortion
The second tactic, standardized billing codes, is much more clandestine. The AMA isn’t dependent on membership to flex their allopathic muscles among doctors. Members or not, physicians who accept insurance or Medicare are forced to prescribe drugs for payment via billing codes—known as Current Procedural Terminology (CPT)—established by the AMA as a “universal language” to help practitioners communicate to insurers. A matrix of slick computer technology, CPT codes are matched to AMA-approved treatments—generally prescription drugs—and thus don’t allow for payment toward preventive, complementary or alternative medicine. Mills offers that other organizations are free to provide their own codes. But whether a new set of codes could make any inroads against the entrenched CPT ones is highly questionable.

CPT codes are the result of a covert agreement between the AMA and the US government’s Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA). The long-secret agreement was exposed in 1997. The US Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, ruled that the AMA’s exclusivity agreement with HCFA for using CPT code “gave the AMA a substantial and unfair advantage over its competitors” and “constituted a misuse of the copyright by the AMA.” But the codes are still in full force. In 2009, the AMA made $70 million in revenue courtesy of physicians using their payment codes.

Payment codes coupled with DTC advertising ensures that the masses are hypnotized into a prescription drug addiction, in the name of health. But it’s health in name only. Americans are sick, sick, sick. The United States ranks 12th among the top 13 countries in the ill health of its citizens—at least 80 percent of seniors have at least one chronic disease and 50 percent have at least two. Relative to children in other industrialized countries, the health of US children is worse in virtually every category. But more worrisome than declining health is the overt toxicity of using drugs as prescribed by doctors. And until the AMA puts a stop to it, they are just as much an accomplice as the industry making the drugs.

Doctors of Death
You don’t have to dig deep to know that allopathic medicine has become risky as hell. A Levitra ad recently showed me that a drug-induced erection may be accompanied by blindness. That’s serious. My college roommate used party drugs that were more fun—with half the side effects—and he had to buy them illegally. Yet, following doctor’s orders has become synonymous with danger.

Legal drugs prescribed through the wisdom of allopathic medicine kill an estimated 105,000 people per year. That equates to one individual dying about every five minutes from an “approved” drug—almost 300 deaths daily—that is, almost twice as many fatalities in a single year from approved drugs as the total number of US deaths (58,000) from the nine-year Vietnam War. And this does not include the 98,000 killed every year by physician medical error.

Illicit drugs, on the other hand, directly and indirectly kill an estimated 17,000 people annually. Paradoxically, the US government spends nearly $50 billion every year to “fight a war” against illicit drugs in an effort to ameliorate this death toll. Yet America’s more deadly allopathic drug problem continues to be ignored.

If not killed, an estimated two million people are victims of prescription-drug-induced illnesses, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. These include drug-induced obesity, diabetes, cancer, kidney disease, autism, depression and heart failure, as well as the super-bug phenomenon that is sweeping the nation due to overuse of antibiotics. This troubling trend is ignored by lazy thinking and myopic physicians who dismiss the symptoms as “worsening health.”

Then there are the staggering hospital-death numbers. Even the AMA's own, probably conservative, statistics paint a bleak picture. They show that more than 12,000 people are killed every year by unnecessary surgeries. About 7,000 die from hospital medication errors. And 20,000 more lose their lives thanks to non-medication-related hospital-staff mistakes.

Environmental Evils
Prescription Drug Bottle Floating in Lake photo by Carly and Art Besides making us sicker in many cases, allopathic medicine—with its reliance on chemical drugs—also harms nature's ecosystems. Realizing that prevention, that is, healthy living, in most cases can eliminate the need for prescription drugs, and that many are counterproductive to our overall health, the negative environmental impact of their widespread use is even more troubling.

Pharmaceutical manufacturing plants expend energy and release toxic wastewater. Their global shipments create a large carbon footprint. And vast quantities of their products pass through our bodies—or are flushed down toilets—and end up in our rivers, lakes and groundwater. Health facilities alone flush an estimated 250 million pounds of drugs annually. A 2008 Associated Press investigation discovered “a vast array of pharmaceuticals including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones… in the drinking-water supplies of at least 41 million Americans.”

While allopathic medicine has become a disaster for both the environment and many individuals, the AMA, US government and the drug-giant descendants that have grown from IG Farben continue to amass huge sums of wealth at their expense. As long as the AMA holds the medical monopoly and refuses to act against the atrocity, this holocaustic trend will continue. Every man, woman and child will become enslaved by surgery, vaccines, drugs and more drugs, or whatever else the AMA chooses to label a “scientific breakthrough.” And ecosytems, waterways and aquifers worldwide will continue to be fouled by the chemical pollutants flowing from both the manufacture and use of pharmaceuticals.

Help spread the word about the AMA's war on prevention and alternative medicine by sending the shortened link to this article to your email contacts and posting it on your social media sites. Click on the "Email This" and "Share This" links below for more options.

Related article by the same author:
One Nation Under Drugs: How Big Pharma Is Sabotaging Your Health and the Environment

Additonal resources:
What You Need to Know about Drugs and Chemicals in Your Drinking Water
Hoxsey: How Healing Becomes A Crime DVD
ESCAPE FIRE: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare movie trailer
There’s Something in the Water...and It Shouldn't Be There
The Top 10 Things You Can Do to Save the Earth—and Recycling’s NOT One of Them
The Best Environmental Writing on EcoHearth

This piece was written by Shane Ellison, M.S., an award-winning organic chemist and a two-time recipient of the prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Grant for his studies in biochemistry and physiology. Known as “The People’s Chemist,” Ellison abandoned his career as a drug-design chemist and founded, a science-based natural-health information website. He has a master’s degree in organic chemistry from Northern Arizona University and is the author of Over the Counter Natural Cures.

Comments (16)add
Written by David Zavitz , March 21, 2011
You all may like to see this link to a recent journal ...
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Written by carl z , March 19, 2011
Amen Shane!
How many industries can get away with killing that many people per year? If GM put out a car that killed 100,000 people per year there would be riots.
Wake up America! We have are own Weapons of Mass Destruction right here...
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Written by Carolae , March 17, 2011
It has always been about the money and control, the AMA, FTC, Pharmaceuticals, Physicians, they have the control over everything. If holistic medicine was allowed to thrive all the above would go broke. I firmly believe that we need to get our country back. The FTC says there is not enough "scientific" evidence to support homeopathic care, which is BS.
Before they started developing chemical treatments, most drugs were derived from a plant or combination of plants. Now it is nothing but chemicals that they want to kill us with. It is about population reduction because of our current era. The "Baby Boomers" are coming to age and the government can't afford to take care of them so the kill us instead.
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Written by Carl , March 17, 2011
The investment funds that support this powerful influence associated with the AMA do this as there is a strong interest in their programs. To the point it almost appears to be engineering social dependance on addictive drugs. The number of addictions to street drugs originating from medical prescription drugs approved by the FDA is also noticed now by drug rehabilitation counselors. Often alarmed and afraid of the iatrogenic addictions and illnesses appearing more prevalent in our society, Western Medicine's record,is worsening unless whistle blowers step up and report harmful practices.
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Written by Chris , March 16, 2011
Great article! So often in our country people only consider the "mainstream" opinion when it comes to their health. They should take it upon themselves to get the facts and make informed decisions about their health.
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Written by Cathie , March 16, 2011

Not all meat should be avoided. Make sure your meat is grassfed, not grainfed which is all they sell in supermarkets. Animals grown on pasture do not require or contain any antibiotics or hormones.
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Written by Cathie , March 16, 2011
Great article, Shane! You are so spot-on, as always. People need to question everything.
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Written by SBarnes , March 16, 2011
The saying, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away," isn't about fruit. It means that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." I never feel more at risk than when I'm in a hospital.
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Written by Ken , March 16, 2011
Yet these are the folks that tell us before congress that guns are to dangerous to protect ourselves and our loved ones. They kill five times as many Americans as guns do.

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Written by A Bryant , March 16, 2011
My husband has been type 1 diabetic since age 13. Around age 35 he started showing signs of type 2 diabetes. He did everything his doctor told him to do, yet he was dying right before my eyes. I was desperate and started researching and reading for hours and hours every day. I became addicted to it, couldn't get enough. I couldn't believe all the natural/alternative information out there to help him. I started doing things I read about. I could write a book about my journey of learning. Eventually I got him off of 5 (FIVE) prescriptions and a couple of years later he had his best A1c ever. Following the doctor's orders would've killed him at a very early age. Doing my own degree....saved his life!!!!
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Written by Spellman , March 16, 2011
Don't forget to avoid meat. Most of it contains pharmaceuticals fed to the animals whether they need it or not--as a preventative measure.
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Written by AJN , March 16, 2011
This is important, lifesaving information. Let's all Tweet, Digg, Facebook, Reddit, StumbleUpon, etc., this article across the planet!
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Written by Terence , March 16, 2011
I've met a few good doctors in my day, but most hide their ignorance behind their arrogance.
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Written by Lorraine Engelhart , March 16, 2011
Knowing a few MDs socially I have come to the conclusion they are so ignorant about natural approaches to health that they are a danger to patients and themselves Spoke with an MD who is "pre-diabetic" and besides diet doesnt have a clue about supplements to help lower blood sugar
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Written by MP , March 16, 2011
Excellent article. Thanks for posting this critical information. It underscores the attitude of "heroic medicine" that assumes the doctor must save the patient. Thriving, natural ecosystems serve as a model for health--supporting the body and its environment to allow for healing. Submitting to the AMA philosophy is a narrow-minded, pitiful model for maintaining good health.
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Written by James , March 16, 2011
Finally, someone has the guts to tell the truth about the medical profession. It has been taken over by greed. Otherwise prevention and natural medicine would be the first lines of defense against disease. And don't get me started on diet. Giant food manufacturers make exorbitant profits by selling us overly processed substances full of salt, sugar, preservatives, coloring, stabilizers, etc., that they call food. Deceptive packaging adds to the fraud. Grocery stores and politicians feeding at the profit trough are only so happy to go along. And so is the AMA. The worse we eat the more they make. The more drugs they give us and the more side effects they cause, the more drugs we need.
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