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If you’re interested in discovering the effects of vitamin C on the common cold, where do you go? Health-conscious consumers are encouraged to frequent research sites like pubmed.gov in order to find sound scientific research. Likewise, online search engines like Google are supposed to be the safe and reliable places to begin these searches.
Sounds reasonable, right?
Odds are that you yourself have used such tools as you search for answers regarding your health situation or that of a loved one. We assume that the “trusted sources” really can be trusted and that the mechanisms we use to get to those sources have our best interests at heart.
But what if the majority of medical information we see is, in fact, skewed toward the interests of those who want to make a profit?
All We Want Is the Facts (Not Politics!)
We get it. We’ve been there. When you or a loved one is diagnosed with a health condition, all you want is the right information to make the best decisions for yourself and your family.
If you have been on a health journey for a while, however, you know that this is not always so easy to do. You have probably come across information that is confusing, contradictory, or just plain doesn’t make sense. What’s more, many times this information is coming from those who are supposed to be “authorities” on the subject!
What we would like to do in this article is help you to be able to navigate the murky world of online research in the climate which we find ourselves in now. That way, no matter what you are researching — be it a recommended drug, a natural remedy, or a particular health condition—you can come out of the experience with the information and insight that you need to take sound action towards your good health and the health of your family.
The History of Modern Medical Research is the History of Big Pharma
To do that, a little backstory into the foundations of modern medical research is in order.
We won’t beat around the bush; The origins of medical research in the US aren’t pretty. This is because both the beginnings of modern medicine and the beginnings of modern academia are tied to the origins of Big Pharma. And Big Pharma can be described in two simple words: patents and profits.
This is not to say there have never been good-intentioned people working within academia or medicine. Of course, there have been many and still there are many today. In addition, advances made through conventional academic research have saved countless lives.
However, it also has to be acknowledged that the ability to patent substances in order to make a profit is the basis of nearly every major research project that has ever been conducted over the last 100 years. This fact is important for you to understand, because it affects what information you will intake when you do your own research.
The Flexner Report
Perhaps the one event that affected modern medical research more than anything else was the publication of the Flexner Report in the early 1900s. The Flexner Report was created by American educator Abraham Flexner, with major funding by the Carnegie Foundation and the Rockefeller family.
On the surface, the objective of Flexner’s research was to present an unbiased account on the state of America’s medical colleges in response to growing concern regarding the quality of medical education at the time. In reality, the report and its backers had a more nefarious agenda. It was written with the purpose of discrediting homeopathic and natural health-focused educational programs and effectively putting them “out of business.” At the same time, the Flexner Report’s purpose also included establishing a system of medical education and research that would be at the mercy of the robber barons who ran the newly developing pharmaceutical industry at the time
At this time, the pharmaceutical industry was run by the petroleum-producing Rockefeller family, the Carnegies, and the IG Farben cartel in Germany. (Most pharmaceutical drugs are petroleum-based, which means they’re made with products derived from petroleum, aka crude oil.) Interestingly, it can be noted that in roughly the same year that the Flexner Report was released, the Federal Reserve was also established by some of these same players.
The Death of Natural Medicine Education
To be sure, in a lot of ways, the medical education system in the U.S. at the time did need some reforming. This was the era of the “snake oil salesman”; there were certainly some who were taking advantage of non-existent medical accountability at the federal level in order to mislead people and make personal profit.
The truth is, however, that those who took advantage of the system were most likely the minority. The majority of both orthodox and homeopathic doctors were well-intentioned and highly qualified. More importantly, a large percentage of the roughly two dozen American homeopathic medical universities and countless numbers of chiropractic and other natural health-focused colleges at the time were doing a sound job of providing future medical professionals with an education that relied primarily on the principles of natural health and the individual needs of each patient.
The medical climate over 100 years ago was very different from today. Homeopathy, in particular, was experiencing a resurgence in popularity in the United States in the early 1900s. Most of the populace, from the elite class to the poorest of the poor, saw value in it and used it to some extent.
Indeed, American homeopathy earned its place of honor. It had been wildly successful in treating infectious diseases during the 1800s, including the cholera epidemic of 1849 and the yellow fever epidemic of the 1870s. During the yellow fever epidemic, death rates for those under homeopathic care were approximately one-third the amount of those who used orthodox medicine, according to medical historian Harris Coulter, Ph.D. Even J.D. Rockefeller himself referred to homeopathy as “a progressive and aggressive step in medicine” and attributed his long life (he lived to be 97) to being under a homeopath’s care during his later years.
Nevertheless, business is business. Homeopathy simply got in the way of the “a pill for every ill” goal of the newly blossoming Big Pharma industry and Rockefeller, who ran the show.
When the Flexner Report was published, its determinations were no surprise. Its sweeping conclusion was that virtually all of the homeopathic colleges in existence in the U.S. were not fit to be called institutions of higher learning. This caused much debate in Washington, although not much in the way of hard funds to “fix the problem.”
Again, Rockefeller and the pharmaceutical industry saw an opportunity. Through their so-called charitable organizations, they began to contribute large sums of money to certain schools who were willing to fall in line with their agenda. One of the stipulations for receiving funds was that these medical colleges must accept a “triumvirate” of individuals on their board of directors, who would oversee how the money was spent. At the time, those individuals were Frederick Taylor Gates (top business consultant to Rockefeller and creator of the “Pillsbury Formula” for charitable giving, sometimes called “efficiency in philanthropy”), Abraham Flexner, and Simon Flexner, Abraham’s brother.
According to author, filmmaker, and researcher J. Edward Griffin, “those three people wound up on the board of directors of just about every medical school in America that had accepted the money…”
The Flexner Report and the subsequent private funding of medical education in America by the founding fathers of Big Pharma also accomplished the goal of completely destroying homeopathic education in America. In 1900, there were close to two dozen homeopathic medical schools, roughly 100 homeopathic hospitals, and dozens of homeopathic pharmacies in the U.S. When it was all said and done, only two homeopathic colleges remained.
The Rise of Big Pharma-Funded Education and Research
The vast majority of today’s medical research is conducted at major universities, many in conjunction with governmental organizations, hospitals, and large scale medically focused non-profit organizations such as the American Cancer Society and the Susan B. Komen organization.
The Flexner Report also laid the groundwork for the increased importance of research within these institutions, of course, with an eye always towards patentable drugs. One of the main reasons why U.S. homeopathic schools received such “bad marks” on the Report was because, according to homeopathic advocate, author, and publisher Dana Ullman MPH, the Flexner Report “placed the highest value on those medical schools that had a full-time teaching faculty and those schools that taught a pathological and physicochemical analysis of the human body.”
In other words, homeopathic colleges that had professors in their employ who had thriving practices in addition to teaching classes were given bad marks. Colleges were also marked down if they offered classes that Flexner deemed meaningless, such as pharmacology (i.e., the science of how substances affect the human body).
The end result was that the only medical colleges which survived post-Flexner were the ones that promised to restructure their entire curriculum to focus on drug therapy research first and drug-related medical education second.
The “Academic Industrial Complex” and the Sad State of Academia Today
And that brings us to the barren state of American medical research today.
Have you ever wondered why no one has really had any major medical breakthroughs for the last hundred years or so?
A big part of the money that flows into universities as well as to individual researchers comes in the form of grants from major organizations like the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and large non-profit charitable organizations. Make no mistake, these entities are all part of the AIC as well.
On the level of the individual researcher, the grant applying and funding process itself makes it almost impossible to put innovative hypotheses out there.
For example, for an academic applying for a grant through the NIH, the “Specific Aims” section is a major factor. On paper, the section is simply a synopsis of what the entire grant app will be about. Any savvy academic knows that the goal here is really to gain the trust of the application reviewer. And in order to do that, you have to show that, for whatever hypothesis you are putting out there, either yourself or someone else has already proved it correct in some way.
The Mansfield Amendment
There was actually a time, not too long ago, when researchers did have a little more leeway in the innovation department than they do today. Interestingly, this came as a result of the way that much research was funded prior to what was called the Mansfield Amendment of 1970.
Prior to this Amendment, a large amount of research projects at American universities were funded by the U.S. military. Although this amount of money was a small percentage of the total military budget, it did represent a large amount in terms of the number of projects that it could fund each year and the number of universities who received the funding. And because the post-World War II military establishment in America had more important things to worry about than monitoring the college-level research it sponsored, individual researchers had more freedom to explore scientifically.
The Mansfield Amendment put a stop to this. It prevented the U.S. military from funding any research “unless such project or study has a direct and apparent relationship to a specific military function.”
The Mansfield Amendment is often seen as a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it did help halt questionable projects (such as mind control programs) that were happening on the military dime. On the other hand, it placed the few billion military dollars earmarked for research funding each year into the hands of the National Science Foundation (NSF). The NSF is a highly politicized, largely independent organization that is run by a board of directors consisting mainly of university heads and private business.
Exposure: A Light at the End of the Tunnel
The Big Pharma agenda to steer research and public opinion in favor of drug therapy and away from natural medicine credibility has become more and more evident.
There are so many examples of study tampering, research influencing, skewed results, suppression, and downright censoring of information that it would take many more articles to go over even a fraction of them.
There may be a light at the end of this very big tunnel, however. And it is coming from the collective voices of patients and health consumers, who are discovering the Big Pharma agenda and are saying “enough is enough!”
Whether it is the recent Epstein revelations, the rush of lawsuits against Monsanto, or the President Trump’s recent declaration of the possible withholding of funds to the World Health Organizations (WHO) amidst investigations into corruption, it is safe to say that people are waking up and demanding more.
There have always been those in academics and research who have gone the extra mile, secured funding for themselves without compromising their integrity, and pursued their vision in the name of not just science but of bettering everyone in society. Many of these brave souls have come out of the natural health tradition. Linus Pauling, Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez, Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski, and Dr. Hal Huggins are just a few names amongst dozens.
Can we expect that the current revelations, which are taking place right now, may also possibly loosen the Big Pharma stranglehold so that innovation, balance, integrity, and the scientific method (not “scientific consensus”) in research can finally emerge?
We are hopeful that it will!
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