On September 17, 2003 the CDC relaunched a program, started in 1995, called “Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work.”55 This is a $1.6 million campaign to educate patients about the overuse and inappropriate use of antibiotics. Most people involved with alternative medicine have known about the dangers of overuse of antibiotics for decades. Finally the government is focusing on the problem, yet they are only putting a miniscule amount of money into an iatrogenic epidemic that is costing billions of dollars and thousands of lives. The CDC warns that 90% of upper respiratory infections, including children’s ear infections, are viral, and antibiotics don’t treat viral infection. More than 40% of about 50 million prescriptions for antibiotics each year in physicians’ offices were inappropriate.2 And using antibiotics, when not needed, can lead to the development of deadly strains of bacteria that are resistant to drugs and cause more than 88,000 deaths due to hospital-acquired infections.9 However, the CDC seems to be blaming patients for misusing antibiotics even though they are only available on prescription from a doctor who should know how to prescribe properly. Dr. Richard Besser, head of “Get Smart,” says “Programs that have just targeted physicians have not worked. Direct-to-consumer advertising of drugs is to blame in some cases.” Dr. Besser says the program “teaches patients and the general public that antibiotics are precious resources that must be used correctly if we want to have them around when we need them. Hopefully, as a result of this campaign, patients will feel more comfortable asking their doctors for the best care for their illnesses, rather than asking for antibiotics.”56
And what does the “best care” constitute? The CDC does not elaborate and patently avoids the latest research on the dozens of nutraceuticals scientifically proven to treat viral infections and boost the immune system. Will their doctors recommend vitamin C, echinacea, elderberry, vitamin A, zinc, or homeopathic oscillococcinum? No, they won’t. The archaic solutions offered by the CDC include a radio ad, “Just Say No —Snort, sniffle, sneeze—No antibiotics please.” Their commonsense recommendations, that most people do anyway, include resting, drinking plenty of fluids, and using a humidifier.
The pharmaceutical industry claims they are all for limiting the use of antibiotics. In order to make sure that happens, the drug company Bayer is sponsoring a program called, “Operation Clean Hands”, through an organization called LIBRA.57 The CDC is also involved with trying to minimize antibiotic resistance, but nowhere in their publications is there any reference to the role of nutraceuticals in boosting the immune system nor to the thousands of journal articles that support this approach. This recalcitrant tunnel vision and refusal to use available non-drug alternatives is absolutely inappropriate when the CDC is desperately trying to curb the nightmare of overuse of antibiotics. The CDC should also be called to task because it is only focusing on the overuse of antibiotics. There are similar nightmares for every class of drug being prescribed today.
This article was excerpted from Death by Medicine by Gary Null PhD, Carolyn Dean MD ND, Martin Feldman MD Debora Rasio MD, Dorothy Smith PhD. Originally printed in November 2003 on Gary Null’s website: www.garynull.com/Consumers/contactUs.aspx It is reprinted with permission.
This article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #08.
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