Thursday, October 23, 2008

From the Bark of the Willow

I was taking some prescription drugs this morning, wondering how many pills a day people in the United States, or the world for that matter, take . It must be at least a billion. Of those, the only ones that I am sure have any efficacy are Tylenol (for fever) and Advil(for certain pain relief). For all I know, the rest are placebos, taken on faith, as promoted by your doctor or a drug company or , more likely a combination (conspiracy ?) between the two.


When I was growing up I knew of four analgesics. Aspirin, Anacin, Buffrin and St. Josephs Aspirin for Children. The drug aisle at the A&P was nothing like the drug aisle that you see at your grocery or pharmacy today. Drugs have exploded because people  demand an  instant end to suffering, in part because advertising convinces them that they should so demand. Brand names are capitalized on and are divided into niches of drugs. Once someone discovered that you could put Benadryl in just about anything and add the term “night time” or “p.m.” to the label, you could divide drugs into night time and day time medicines, the difference being that one made you drowsy, although neither was safe to take and still operate heavy equipment.. Then someone had the idea of doubling the active ingredient in any single pill (something people had been doing for years by taking two of the same pill) and you could sell it as “extra strength”.


The one thing that people should be leery of is ingesting any kind of drug. Yet we pop them each day without a second thought. It is not only that the drugs all have side effects (erections lasting more than four hours is the most popular one currently) but they are made and sold by a combination of greedy people who have, to a great extent, bought off the people who prescribe them. I know that it is popular to curse the drug companies today, but the fact of the matter is that they have always been hooligans. Take Bayer for instance. Bayer synthesized the bark of a willow tree and began to sell it as aspirin. Probably the most important drug in the history of pharmaceuticals. What kind of company was Bayer ? Well, let’s put it this way, they sponsored the Nazi medical experiments of Dr Josef Mengele during the Holocaust, manufactured the gas for the gas chambers at Auschwitz and their chairman ended up being sentenced by the Nuremberg tribunal to seven years. They have cleaned up their act since, but you get the picture. You have to keep an eye on drug companies.


It is always important to remember that the drug industry had its start in witchcraft and sorcery and managed to evolve into traveling snake oil salesmen. I suppose that there have been improvements, although I cannot say for sure. I, personally have never eaten the bark of a willow tree. For all I know the whole industry is just based on colorful packaging of folk remedies. Still, in my whole life I have never refused to take a single drug which was prescribed to me by a Doctor. Only with the advent of the internet have I even bothered to check into what the drug can do to me, good and bad. You take a lot of things on faith in this lifetime. I took three of them this morning.


Blogger Paul D. Frazier said...

You got that right. The Greek word from the Septuagint for witch\sorcerer is "pharmakos."

9:40 AM  
Blogger Jannie Funster said...

In our house were only 2 pills. Big white Aspirin for the big people and little pink chewie ones for us little people. Remember those neat little tins they used to come in? Loved using those later for treasure keeping.

Yes, it's amazing today how the OTC aisles look. I think Advil has like, 20 possibilities for headaches. I do take their Migraine ones when I need them, which thankfully has not been much lately because I got my big strong coffee going once a day now. That's teh ticket!

I had no idea of Bayer's and the Nazi conncection.

I think it's best to keep an eye on most everybody these days.

pesonally, the crepe myrtle bark is a nice little snack - just kidding.

Pity the early saps who had to do all that plant testing, bet a might few ended up deader 'n dirt.

12:37 PM  

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