Is Big-Pharma Silencing You?

Every once in a while someone asks me if I’m afraid that Bayer or Johnson & Johnson will retaliate against me for speaking out about the dangers of fluoroquinolones, and specifically the fluoroquinolones they manufacture, market, and distribute–Cipro and Avelox by Bayer, and Levaquin by Johnson & Johnson.

The answer is no.

No, they haven’t done anything bad to me, and no, I don’t think or fear that they will.

Not that corporate pharmaceutical companies like Bayer and J&J haven’t been evil before–they have, and I’m sure they are currently being evil, and will continue to be evil into the future–I just don’t think that they’ll be evil or vindictive toward me.

As a patient, patient advocate, and blogger, I don’t think I’m on their radar. Perhaps I’m naive for thinking that–I just have a hard time believing that big bad Bayer actually cares what little me (Lisa) has to say. In some ways, I wish they did. If they cared, it would be because they felt threatened, and to be capable of threatening big-pharma would be pretty amazing. I don’t think I’m on that level though–for better or for worse.

When I first started this site I asked an attorney how I should protect myself. She said, “always tell the truth,” and “they can’t argue with your story – it’s yours.” Just like my story and truth are valid, your story and truth are valid too. This site has my story, and the stories of others like me who have been hurt by fluoroquinolones. Our stories are true. They are our testimonials. They are what happened to us. No one can take away our experiences, our truths, or our stories. Our stories are valuable beyond measure, and they are making a difference in how people think about fluoroquinolones specifically, antibiotics generally, and even about how pharmaceutical reactions are connected to various illnesses and symptoms.

I want everyone to be empowered to share their story. Stories of pain and injury caused by fluoroquinolones are important and they matter. So, it bothers me when people refrain from telling their stories/truths out of fear that Bayer or J&J will retaliate against them. I can’t know what will happen to anyone in the future, but I can tell you that over the past 4+ years of running this site, having my story of fluoroquinolone toxicity available, and writing about the dangers of fluoroquinolones, neither Bayer nor J&J have done anything bad to me. (And while this means that I’m not as threatening to them as I want to be, it also means that I’m not having my life ruined, and, well, that’s a good thing IMO.)

What bothers me even more than fear-based self-censorship of patients is fear-based self-censorship of scientists, researchers, and doctors. A floxed friend approached a research scientist she knew personally and professionally to ask if he would do some research into fluoroquinolone toxicity, and he declined while flippantly saying something about not wanting to jeopardize his future funding prospects. I have no idea whether or not researching fluoroquinolone toxicity would affect this research scientist’s future funding prospects, but the fact that he fears pharma reprisal, and is willing to overlook horrifying fluoroquinolone reactions in his friend and colleague just to avoid the possibility of big-pharma’s reprisal, is bothersome. Unfortunately, reluctance to take on and question pharma seems common among researchers. As the saying goes, “don’t bite the hand that feeds you,” and so much research (even academic research) is funded, at least in part, by pharmacuetical companies.

Pharma money controls the conversation. They don’t have to make overt threats. They don’t have to ruin the lives of scientists (though they do, as seen in the story of the battle between researcher Tyrone Hayes and big-ag chemical giant Syngenta or the destruction of Andrew Wakefield’s career over his questioning of the effects of the MMR vaccine on the gut biome). They just have to control the purse-strings, and many people will fall in-line.

When research scientists limit the questions that they are willing to ask in order to avoid rocking the pharma boat, they are doing us all a dis-service. There is nothing thoughtful, curious, righteous, or even scientific about failing to research adverse drug reactions out of fear of reprisal from pharma, and drugs will continue to be more and more dangerous if all incentives are for research scientists to look away. I hope that my friend’s friend is unusually timid, and that most research scientists are willing to challenge big-pharma. Though I hope that, I don’t believe it. I believe that most research scientists are falling in-line with what their funders want, either consciously or unconsciously, and that because of biases toward their funders, we, as patients and consumers, are less safe.

I have hope that individuals will get over their fear of big-pharma, and speak out about the harm that they have experienced as a result of fluoroquinolone toxicity or other adverse drug reactions. (Shout your truth – tell your story – it’s empowering – trust me, it really is!) I even have some hope that individual scientists will face their fears and confront their big-pharma funders. But I have less hope that the system of corporate, academic, and even government “science” will go against the big-pharma, big-ag, and big-chemical giants that fund and feed them. It’s too scary. Even if the fear is largely self-inflicted, it’s still too scary for most people to question and challenge paradigms.

When I got floxed, I couldn’t help but question my existing paradigms. A pharmaceutical, an ANTIBIOTIC no less, hurt me. It made me ill for a long time, and there was nothing that doctors could do to help me. I didn’t gain any acknowledgement, support, or solutions from traditional doctors (some people do though, everyone’s experience is different). It made me realize that when the medical system hurts people, they don’t know how to put them back together, and all my assumptions about the ability of the medical system to solve human health mysteries went out the window. I realized that the doctors in the Western medical system have no idea how to treat complex illnesses like fluoroquinolone toxicity (or other multi-symptom, chronic illnesses), and that the patients dealing with mysterious illnesses are largely on their own. When I realized that pharmaceuticals are hurting people and leading to chronic illness, I started to question whether or not the good done by pharmaceuticals is worth the harm. I started to see that many of the illnesses of modernity can be linked to pharmaceuticals (and antibiotics specifically, and fluoronated drugs specifically), as well as the endocrine-disrupting chemicals of big-ag and other corporate chemical companies. My paradigm shifted when I got hurt by ciprofloxacin, so it wasn’t a risk to my world-view to actively criticize Bayer, J&J, or the other pharmaceutical companies after-the-fact. There are many obvious disadvantages of getting hurt by ciprofloxacin and other pharmaceuticals, but a silver lining was that my world-view shifted, and my fear dissipated.

I’m not afraid of big-pharma. Maybe it’s because I’m naive about their power, influence, and ability to ruin my life. Maybe it’s because I’m not a threat to them, and neither of us have any reason to fear the other. But I like to think that I don’t fear them because my world-view doesn’t give them power any more. Of course they have actual power–they have money, influence, and the ability to poison and hurt me, every other human, and the earth–but they no longer have the power of me believing that they are the answer. I don’t believe that they are the answer. I believe that they are the problem. And I believe that challenging them is the right thing to do. I also believe that answers to the problems caused by pharmaceuticals are in the stories of patients who are willing to speak out about what happened to them, and in the willingness of researchers and scientists who are willing to buck-the-system and question the pharma paradigm. Some bravery is required on behalf of both patients and scientists who question and challenge big-pharma. The bravery is worth it though, and others may find, like I did, that there is nothing to fear but fear itself.

 

 

 

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15 thoughts on “Is Big-Pharma Silencing You?

  1. Bronwen Duncan November 6, 2017 at 8:10 am Reply

    Very well said, Lisa!

    • Lisa November 6, 2017 at 4:56 pm Reply

      Thanks, Bronwen!

  2. jat92517 November 6, 2017 at 9:06 am Reply

    Did you the FDA is not funded by tax dollars but by fees for approval studies?

    Did you know the US is the only country that allows meat to be packaged in styrafoam trays?Styrene is the the strongest carcinogen known to man. FDA studies say it causes colon cancer after 10 years (of meat tray exposure) but not after 5. So it is approved by the FDA. I buy my meat in polyethylene (clear plastic like a turkey comes in) only. Polyethylene is inert. We vote in the marketplace and more meat is coming this way.

    We vote. And we can vote for an FDA that works for us.

    • Lisa November 6, 2017 at 4:57 pm Reply

      The system is definitely broken. That’s why it’s so important to speak out about all the ways we are getting poisoned.

  3. Jane November 6, 2017 at 10:20 am Reply

    Could not have put it better Lisa, well done. Sucks to Big Pharma. Jane xxx

  4. L November 6, 2017 at 10:29 am Reply

    I am so glad you aren’t (weren’t) afraid Lisa because you have singly done more to help floxie health than any other individual (not to take anything away from public citizen, Dr Charles Bennett, the late great Dr Jay Cohen, the “dear doctor” letter writers, and others.) I think you have reached more people, and made more people aware…aware enough to make the connection, to stop taking the toxins, to find treatments. For me personally, I have to thank my ND for FINALLY believing me and giving me hope and turning things around. And how did I find him? Your site!

    I do think fear is warranted in the cases of natural practitioners, many of whom have been threatened with having their practices closed down, or with researchers, not because of fear of funding, but fear for their lives. I can’t find the article now, but I had one about a researcher who mysteriously died around the time of getting ready to submit for publication his research about some devastating side effects of fluoroquinolones. There have been other mysterious deaths of natural practitioners that have gone unexplained. Bayer goes back to Nazi Germany as part of IG Farben which was at one of the death camps, and I don’t think they have changed much since then. They KNOW and have known for decades about the devastating side effects and done nothing to try to stop them or help the victims. In fact, they have fought against every warning that was requested by groups like Public Citizen. So do I think they are capable of “taking someone out?” Without a doubt. But I think they go after the biggest threats from the medical/research community.

    But you Lisa…..YOU ARE AMAZING!

    • Lisa November 6, 2017 at 5:00 pm Reply

      Thank you so much, my dear friend! xoxoxoxo!

      I have read articles about natural practitioners dying under suspicious circumstances too, and it IS scary – for them, for us, and for our society (do we really live in a place where hits are taken out on doctors who aren’t mainstream?). I just think that responding to those stories with fear and self-censorship does more harm. It’s understandable, it’s just harmful. I wanted to go on the record in saying that no one from pharma has ever threatened me, so that others can feel safe to speak up too. Hopefully that does something good.

      Hugs,
      Lisa

    • Lukasz November 16, 2017 at 12:05 am Reply

      “Bayer goes back to Nazi Germany as part of IG Farben which was at one of the death camps, and I don’t think they have changed much since then.”

      Two things have changed. They’ve changed up the uniform. Instead of military attire, they now dress in white coats and instead of gas chambers and execution walls they now use something called chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

      F**k Bayer.

  5. Barbara Arnold November 7, 2017 at 4:02 am Reply

    Thankyou Lisa. You are so right. My anger about the lazyness of some Doctors who are not willing to get off their butts and do the research on this but continue to dish this poison out willy nilly because as I was told by a stupid Doctor “This doesn’t happen to everybody” it must be something to do with me as “its rare” keeps me unafraid. Every chance I get I am informing them whether they want to hear it or not, and they generally dont because I get my information off “the internet ” so it can’t possibly be viable. I have written to “Big Pharma” a dozen times, they make me even angrier with their patronizing answers. So no, I am not afraid, I am only small fry, but one day, yes one day, the small fry will develope into a HUGE SHOAL. Thankyou for being an AMAZING GRACE in all of this xxx

    • L November 7, 2017 at 9:32 am Reply

      Preach, Barbara! I’m with you. I have sent some of the docs that threw me under the bus articles from reputable journals (eg Neurology), or copied pages from Dr Cohen’s book. (Had I the money I would buy dozens of them and just distribute them all over town. Even if they never opened the book, the title says it all! “How We Can Halt The Cipro and Levaquin Catastrophe: The Worst Medication Disaster in US History.” I have written politicians, talk show hosts, Newspapers (I would like to think my several letters had something to do with Consumer Reports finally coming out with a piece on them.) I have posted on Facebook, told everyone I meet. I am not going away quietly with this.

  6. Carol Ginepro Schroeder November 7, 2017 at 7:01 am Reply

    I too am struggling with my neuropathy from levafloxcin. I am in the process of waiting to see a homeopathic doctor who I have heard good things about. Good luck to you!

  7. Barbara Arnold November 7, 2017 at 8:18 pm Reply

    L……your my kinda girl…..BRAVE

    • L November 7, 2017 at 9:14 pm Reply

      I just found out that the FDA commissioner who is charged in the Levaquin lawsuit got that position by donating to Obama and Clinton. This saddens me greatly. I have always been fond of Obama. But right now I am on page three of letter to both of them. I cant shut up. Not after living through this Stephen king novel……

      • Lukasz November 15, 2017 at 11:47 pm Reply

        Could you cc: the criminals in Canada? Politicians, Health Canada, and the rest of the corrupt slime balls, please and thank you.

  8. Lukasz November 15, 2017 at 11:40 pm Reply

    Good article but let’s not overlook the elephant in the room; these drugs are on the market to induce fear in people and create chaos in their lives. This is the REAL intention behind these drugs.

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