A real life horror movie: suckered by Big Pharma marketing. Part 2

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Recently, after we watched a semi-scary movie about being suckered, a friend brought up my blog post of last July where I described a terrifyingly-real horror movie.

The plot: stunningly convince hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide that what is obvious, isn’t. i.e. it’s all in your head, you are adequately treated on Synthroid, Levoxyl, Eltroxin, Norton, et al,  and not only that, we’ll bandaid your continuing problems with more medications.

A second plot: also completely hoodwink those with top notch higher medical educations and experience by churning out the the exact same poppycock, and reward their stupidity with gifts.

The central villian: Big Pharma, followed by the doctors who bought the lie

Exactly a year ago this month, Science Daily came out with an article, citing two York University researchers who estimated that the U.S. pharmaceutical industry spends almost twice as much on promotion as it does on research and development, contrary to the industry’s claim. In other words, the researchers estimated that $57.5 billion in US dollars was spent on pharmaceutical promotion in 2004–the year they were studying. Yes, I said BILLION.

Breaking that down, Big Pharma spent approximately $61,000 per physician in promotion of their products.  And they concluded that both figures were UNDERestimates.  In other words, they concluded that the US pharmaceutical industry is marketing-driven rather than “life-saving”.

And adding fuel to the fire: most doctors believe every thrust of that marketing. I recently participated in comments with other wonderful patients in response to a DO/Endocrinologist, Dr. Thomas Repas, who has clearly bought the Big Pharma marketing when it comes to levothyroxine. You can read his posts and our comments here, here, and here.   Dr. Repas is exactly the kind of doctor who has  starred in our horror movie, and the kind of doctor that patients have lamented about for years.  Read the  Give Me a Break list of comments made by doctors, as well as further comments on the January 1st blog.

But Dr. Repas is in good company. Doctors have believed the Big Pharma lie about T4-only medications, and against desiccated thyroid like Armour, Naturethroid, etc. for 50 years.  In the patient-to-patient  Stop the Thyroid Madness book, you can read about the first tableting of Synthroid in 1955 and the strategic and successful promotion of T4-only, in spite of the fact that T4 was known to be unstable for decades.

And today, more than 50 years later, very few of us have been untouched by the Big Pharma push for levothyroxine T4-only treatment.  My own mother was suckered, and I was suckered.  And until patients started to make a huge push for desiccated thyroid treatment the last few years, nearly every single doctor around the world had been suckered.

We still have a way to go. But we’ll get there, bit by bit.

5 Responses to “A real life horror movie: suckered by Big Pharma marketing. Part 2”

  1. Monica Koziol

    I am fighting with doctors ALL the time because they don’t know as much as I do about thyroid and its many manifestations.

    My mother – little did I know- probably did NOT need open heart surgery for atherosclerosis. She was already taking Armour – but not enough. She was only checked for additional thyroid dysfunction cursorily by the freakin’ TSH baloney test. I argued with her doctor about the AMA’s “statistics” that state a person who is so-called “at risk” should have a cholesterol number at “70”!

    I said: “But she did not have a heart attack” Literally I asked her doc if she was crazy – for mentioning such a low number. Mom had atherosclerosis–a condition that USED to be one of the major symptoms for hypothyroidism. So people were treated with dessicated thyroid.

    Today these”doctors” want to give out myriad pills and scare us to death with the dangers of “food” especially fat! “Animal fat will kill you!” they say. For more years than I care to remember I watched my fat intake – ate canola oil [something only cars should eat] did not eat cow meat [bless them!] And still I had a high cholesterol and triglyceride reading. Oh yeah, I also had high TSH and probably low FREE T3 and low FREE T4 – but nobody bothered to take those readings. Nobody bothered to check my muscle mass, my tendon reflexes, my very low body temp 92-94 on a good day. Nobody bothered to realize that my extraordinary weight gain of 80 lbs in 6 months might not be from overeating. AND boy would one have to overeat, especially if one remained as active as I once was.

    I am angry and am looking for an actual job I can do from my home computer relating to actually helping people with hypothoidism. How long will it be before these “practicing” doctors stop practicing on us!!!?

  2. Theresa Roberts

    I thought I recognized your posts when I read the blog by Dr. Repas. Thanks for giving the patients’ perspective. Keep up the good fight. I finally got Thyroid (Canadian brand equivalent to US Armour) a couple of years ago, and am now waiting to see my doctor yet again about my ultra-low TSH. I will have to again point out that my free T4 and T3 are within “normal range” to stave off a reduction (currently I take 240 mg daily, divided, but probably should be up to 270 mg).

    I only wish I could get support for my stressed adrenals (not gonna happen, sadly). Also, my female hormones are also now depleted, and while I am on bio-identical (not recognized by some pharmacies) progesterone, I could really use some estrogen. We can dream.

    Thanks again for speaking up for us.

  3. Rose warren

    Dear Janie I have some questions and wondered where I could write you. Rose (from Janie: if you have questions pertaining to the website, etc, just use the Contact Me at the bottom of any page. If you have questions about you or your treatment, I’m just little-ol-me and would be spread too thin helping everyone, so I need to send you here: http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/talk-to-others 🙂 )

  4. Amy

    I was so disgusted when Dr. Repas said how he couldn’t believe patients were trying to teach HIM about thyroid! In his mind, we are all just popping Armour as a weight loss aid. ha!

  5. jgirl

    Janie! Wow! This is awesome. The amount of information here. There are over 40 different pathways that can be out of balance in regards to the thyroid. Hence the value of knowing your numbers. Using the testing wisely and looking at how the body functions. Not just one piece, the interaction.

    And so many of us have some kind of challenge. Me? No symptoms, great weight, little adrenal fatigue…who would have known that years on the pill would knock my pituitary out of balance (though that is what synthetic hormones do…) and cause a SECONDARY hypo pattern. Um, secondary?? So while I was running myself into the ground, I just kept depleting my Hypothalamus Pituitary Adrenal and Thyroid Axis for years.

    I was finally fortunate to attend a practitioner lecture who might have well been Roberta Flack – killing me softly – telling my life story in front of the whole forum. I sat in amazement as he described my adolescence through young adult, child bearing and where I stood at that moment. And as for auto-immune, it is no longer about the thyroid if you are diagnosed with autoimmune, that’s why the numbers never read…you have to support the immune system. The switch has been flipped, move with it. But logical thinking has no place in big pharma :-(.

    You are on it. You have fabulous information. Thank you for your experience and story. I will spread the word. ~j


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