Medicines that Kill

Cardiologist Says Prescription Drugs Often Do More Harm Than Good

By Conan Milner, Epoch Times
January 29, 2016

Dr. James Marcum is a cardiologist at the Chattanooga Heart Institute in Tennessee, but his message of healing spreads far beyond his patients. He’s an author, as well as a radio and television host of the programs Heartwise, the The Heart of Health Live.

A key point of Marcum’s message is something you don’t often hear from an MD. According to him, pharmaceutical drugs don’t heal people. In fact, much of the time they do more harm than good.

Marcum’s message stands in stark contrast to the modern American medical model—by far the most drug-centric system in the world—where patients largely reach for pills to treat their health issues. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the U.S. holds five percent of the world’s population, but takes 75 percent of the world’s prescription drugs.

And our reliance on drug treatment only continues to grow. A study published in the November 2015 issue of JAMA found that U.S. prescription drug use increased from 51 percent in 1999-2000 to 59 percent in 2011-2012, while those taking five or more prescription drugs increased from 8 percent to 15 percent.

Relaxed rules on drug marketing is one reason why national drug use rates are so high. Aside from New Zealand, the U.S. is the only industrialized nation where drug companies can advertise directly to consumers.

Weighing the Risks

Cardiovascular disease, cancer, and stroke are typically acknowledged as the leading causes of death in the U.S.—combined they take well over a million American lives every year. But according to Marcum, medicine may actually be the nation’s number one killer.

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His latest book, “Medicines That Kill,” discusses what he calls the “hidden epidemic” of drug related deaths. They can stem from mistakes (made during production, at the pharmacy, or at home), adverse reactions, and drug interactions, as well as the high rates of addiction and overdose that continue to ravage the country. Yet, unlike cancer and heart disease, many prescription drug related deaths often go unreported.

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