November 4th, 2014. Today is election day in the U.S. It’s a mid-term election, which means that the obnoxiousness level of the campaigning is a 9 on a 1-10 scale. During presidential elections, it gets up to a 20 (yes, on a 1-10 scale of obnoxiousness).
I hope that you all voted for representatives who are not corporate whores beholden to the pharmaceutical industry. I hope that the people who come into office with this election care more about the health and safety of the American citizens than they do about their personal stock portfolio. I hope that the newly elected representatives care more about honesty, justice, truth and protection of the people than they do about their slimy lobbyist friends who wine and dine them and tell them convenient lies.
It’s not going to happen (at least not in this election). There is no movement toward restricting the power and influence of money and corporate interests in government. Corporate interests are becoming more and more entrenched in our political system, and the voices of the people are getting drowned out.
I’m not sure that the people who are screaming are doing so in the best way to be heard though. I don’t know if I’m screaming in the most effective way. Is a blog the best way to bring about change? I don’t know, but I doubt it. Changing minds and influencing people is one way to push change in the right direction though, and it’s (part of) what I’m trying to do with this site. It’s a way to make my voice heard by significantly more people than it would be if I didn’t have the platforms of the internet and wordpress.com. I doubt that politicians are reading Floxie Hope though. (But you never know – I recently got word that several doctors referred their floxed patient to Floxie Hope, so some doctors are reading what I write. Maybe some politicians are too.)
Maybe talking to politicians is the way to change how fluoroquinolones are prescribed and viewed. I think that it’s worth a try, and that’s why I went to Washington DC in May. Honestly though, talking to politicians and their aides didn’t seem to push the dial in any notable direction either. Politicians and their aides are people just like the rest of us, and just like everyone else, they need to hear a message multiple times before it sinks in enough for them to see it as a problem. The most valuable feedback that I got from one of the aides I met with was the advice to get a lobbyist. Maybe a lobbyist who is known and respected in Washington could consistently push our message that fluoroquinolones are dangerous drugs that should be restricted. After all, that’s how things are done in Washington – through the influence of lobbyists. If only we had 10% of the money to spend on lobbyists that the pharmaceutical companies have, maybe we could get somewhere. But we don’t. (The aide that gave us the advice to get a lobbyist also said to be sure to target legislators with requests that are under their purview, and the FDA with things that are under their purview, which is, of course, good advice.)
Do we have a bunch of retired Floxies that want to move to Washington DC and chat with legislators and the folks at the FDA as if it’s a full time job? Anyone?
If I ever go back to Washington to chat with legislators, I will ask for legislation that requires that a certain percentage of pharmaceutical company revenues be set aside in a fund that goes toward research of adverse reactions to pharmaceuticals. The lack of incentives to study drugs after they go to market is a huge problem, and the result is a massive number of people being hurt and killed by prescription drugs, used as prescribed. “Every week, about 53,000 excess hospitalizations and about 2,400 excess deaths occur in the United States among people taking properly prescribed drugs to be healthier. One in every five drugs approved ends up causing serious harm, while one in ten provide substantial benefit compared to existing, established drugs.” (Risky Drugs: Why The FDA Cannot Be Trusted, July 17, 2013, Donald W. Light) That is absurd. It is wrong. It needs to be fixed.
There are a couple of politicians who understand that protecting the people from harm done by pharmaceuticals is more important than keeping the Bayer board members happy. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has THIS wonderfully scathing overview of the harm caused by medical errors on his web site. I don’t know if he’s doing anything further about it, but at least he is acknowledging that the massive number of people hurt by the medical system is a problem.
It seems as if, generally, people have become numb to the problems of toxic mitochondria damaging and endocrine disrupting chemicals hurting us. The damage done by those toxic chemicals is tricky. It takes a while to manifest and is non-linear. Our little human brains don’t like to comprehend delayed, or non-linear, reactions. They’re confusing and difficult and we prefer to think that we are immune from the damage. It is only after we get damaged that our vulnerability is revealed, and by that time, we’re too weak to fight.
This article in Newsweek, “Calls to Ban Toxic Chemicals Fall on Deaf Ears Around the World” illustrates the problem well. In it, it is noted that:
Now, for the first time anywhere in the world, the Europe Union (EU) is attempting to regulate endocrine disrupting chemicals, setting down criteria to define, identify and, where necessary, ban EDCs. Already, this is sending shockwaves through boardrooms across the world because companies selling their goods in Europe will be forced by law to comply. Everyday goods may be taken off the market; industry could lose billions. The emphasis is on the word “could” because the fightback has already begun. Already a year over deadline, the procedure has finally gone to public consultation, where it has met with uproar.
“The policy has been hijacked by industry,” says Axel Singhofen, the environment and health adviser for the Green Party European Free Alliance. “They seem to have forgotten the scientific roots of the problem and are much more concerned with appeasing business interests, whatever the costs to health and wildlife.”
And, later in the article, it is noted that “If people are scared, they’re not showing it. Since the European public consultation on EDCs opened last month, only five people have logged in to give their opinion.”
Five people. And that’s in France – where they protest about everything and consumer protection legislation is actually enacted on a regular basis.
I’m sure that the same story could have been written about the vineyards in California, or the vast agricultural spaces in the midwestern United States. People have become numb to the damage.
We have gotten to a point where the scientific consensus on endocrine disrupting pesticides, and the (admittedly, developing) effects of mitochondria damaging pharmaceuticals on human health, are being disregarded. It’s sad. Tragic, actually. Our mitochondria and endocrine systems have a huge amount of influence over epigenetic signaling, so, like all current problems, we’re pushing the pain on to our children and grandchildren.
Back to the elections – If you can find a representative who is willing to make current sacrifices of money and even political goodwill in order to protect the people from the disastrous influences of big pharma and big ag, by all means, vote for him or her. Good luck, and may he or she win.
I’m obviously cynical about the whole system, but I really do hope that all of you vote. Your voice matters. It may not seem loud enough, but it does, indeed, matter.
“Any individual who is able to raise $25 million to be considered presidential is not going to be much use to the people at large. He will represent oil, or aerospace, or banking, or whatever moneyed entities are paying for him. Certainly, he will never represent the people of the country, and they know it. Hence, the sense of despair throughout the land as incomes fall, businesses fail and there is no redress.” – Gore Vidal