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Medical freedom is poisoning America The alt-med lobby is preying on the poor

Giorgio Viera/AFP/Getty Images


April 27, 2023   5 mins

At his “Miracle Ranch” in California, Robert O. Young would charge up to $5,000 per day to treat cancer patients. As part of his recommended six-week stay, the father of the alkaline diet would analyse the blood of patients, make them veggie smoothies, and supply a range of pH-branded supplements. He would also offer a treatment of baking soda solutions, injected into the veins.

As you may have guessed, Young is no doctor. But for 25 years, up until his most recent arrest in the summer of 2022, the retired pro-tennis player from Utah peddled his life-threatening cures to sick and desperate Americans. He is not alone. Far beyond the familiar landscape of yoga, chiropractics and aromatherapy lies a Wild West of supposed cure-alls, many of them driven by small-scale entrepreneurs who hope to parlay a unique product or brand into a sprawling business empire. Such characters have always floated around the margins of America’s healthcare scene, but right now, fringe practitioners are having a moment. The alternative-medicine lobby that backs them has never been more powerful.

The story of its rise to power begins in the mid-Nineties, around the same time that Young first started dabbling in alternative health: pairing tennis-related diet and exercise advice with a line of branded dietary supplements. The supplement industry was going through a sea change, thanks to the nascent alternative healthcare lobby, which scored a massive and improbable victory in the halls of Congress in 1994. The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act broadened the definition of a food supplement to include almost any vitamin, mineral, plant or hormone. It also, critically, shifted the burden of proof away from manufacturers to the federal Food and Drug Administration, which had to identify dangerous products on a case-by-case basis, a resource-intensive prospect that allows tens of thousands of quacks to sell shady products with relative impunity.

This lax regulatory environment made selling supplements far more profitable. Between 1994 and 2002, the US supplement industry mushroomed from $4 billion in annual sales to $18.7 billion, and the number of dietary supplements advertised grew too, from 4,000 to 29,000. Bolstered by the efforts of its Republican Senator, Orrin Hatch, the supplement industry was centred in Utah, which became a sort of Silicon Valley of suspect health claims.

This was the ideal environment for Young, who rose to fame after publishing a bestselling book on the importance of an alkaline diet, The pH Miracle Diet, in 2000. The book was innocuous enough — it recommended exercise and a plant-heavy diet, and offered a blend of American can-doism and hucksterism that is tolerated, or even looked upon fondly, by the American public. This is where Young might have stayed, had his fantastical beliefs not led him down a much darker path.

The problem was that Young thought he had made a paradigm-shifting discovery: that germs were a myth, and that all diseases were caused by the body becoming overly acidic. When he began treating cancer patients at his upscale resort, a former grapefruit and avocado ranch in Valley Centre, he took his groundless theory even further. His de-acidifying treatments denied patients the chance to seek proper healthcare: Naima Houder-Mohammed, a 27-year-old captain in the British military with advanced breast cancer, drained her family’s finances to raise more than $77,000 (£62,700) to fund a visit to the Miracle Ranch.

Young might never have gone so far had the healthcare profession maintained its integrity. In the early days, there was a fairly clear division between people like Young and licensed medical doctors, a division that was enforced by state laws and various gatekeeper institutions — public health agencies, medical universities, and legacy media outlets, none of which would consider Young’s medical theory to be worthy of consideration.

But the alt-health lobby, swelling with profits and energy, began seeking ways to bypass these gatekeepers and make unfettered health claims directly to consumers. By 2005, supplement manufacturers were partnering with libertarian lobbyists to aggressively court small businesses in the alt-health community. Lobbyists held hundreds of Health Freedom Expos, where fringe practitioners gathered to hear them out. Their sales pitch focused on an appealing libertarian message: medical freedom. Instead of convincing the established gatekeepers of medical science that, say, herbs could treat cancer, practitioners should instead convince the public and their elected representatives that Americans had a fundamental right to buy the medicine of their choosing, whether it worked or not.

It was an ingenious strategy. By 2010, Americans were spending $34 billion out of pocket for alternative healthcare, and industry analysts estimate that spending increased by more than 50% between 2010 and 2020. An estimated 72 million American adults now use some form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

The political makeup of CAM users shifted too. In 2003, it was extremely progressive Leftists who favoured alternative medicine, a hangover from America’s hippy movement. Twenty years on, it is mainly Conservatives, particularly when it comes to taking dietary supplements. A 2019 industry survey found that the American South has higher rates of supplement use than anywhere else in the country, while a 2008 survey found Republicans were twice as likely as Democrats to be heavy users of supplements.

How did a culture known for peace, love, happiness, marijuana and socialism transform into a hotbed of gun rights, anti-vaccine conspiracy theories and nationalism? The answer lies in the “medical freedom” movement, which very quickly found synergy with Republican politicians in the early 2010s, after 18 House Republicans, led by Georgia’s Tom Price, first floated the Medical Freedom Act. Not only were Republicans loathe to decry freedom in any form, but presidential candidates including Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee and Herman Cain also found that they could monetise their campaign email lists to sell quacky medical products to their supporters. At the same time, Right-wing media personalities including Tucker Carlson, Alex Jones and Ben Shapiro began promoting supplements and other alt-med products.

It wasn’t long before millions of conservative Americans found themselves bombarded with glowing sales pitches about herbal Viagra, brain-enhancing pills, pendants to ward off electromagnetic frequencies, and handheld lasers that could cure cancer. The pandemic only hastened this trend, as medical freedom lobbyists touted their miracle health cures and rail against mandatory mask-wearing and vaccines.

Of course, not all alt-med users are poor Conservatives. The field tends to be associated with well-to-do urban women, who spend significant amounts of money on Gwyneth Paltrow-style toxic cleanses and reiki therapy. And it’s true that, among white women, the more money they make, the more likely they are to use mild alternative therapies (mostly mind-body medicine such as yoga) — but that’s alongside routine visits to their private doctors.

Instead, the real victims of the alt-med lobby are poor Americans who struggle to pay for proper healthcare, and who are far more likely to seek out alternative cures for serious diseases. A National Health Interview Survey found that having unmet needs in medical care or having delayed care due to cost were associated with a higher chance of CAM use.

And as long as America’s justice system remains ill-suited to combatting the problem of medical misinformation, that looks unlikely to change. Despite serving several months in jail in 2017 and being ordered by a judge to pay out $105 million in damages to a single patient in a civil lawsuit in 2018, Young has refused to give up his operation. In May 2022, he was hit with further criminal charges related to his treatment of a patient, including that he had committed “wilful cruelty” to an elderly woman suffering from liver and thyroid disease.

It is unclear whether this will lead to a penalty that finally puts Young out of business — but, either way, the alt-health movement is unlikely to disappear soon. In the years since the pandemic motivated many Republicans to oppose Covid vaccines and mask mandates, Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis has brought other aspects of the medical freedom movement out of the libertarian fringe and into the conservative mainstream. He has emboldened Republican state lawmakers across the country to introduce hundreds of public health bills this year in the name of liberty: critically, they go beyond targeting Covid-specific mask and vaccine mandates by weakening evidence-based care.

Under the DeSantis agenda, Florida’s proposed medical freedom laws would give doctors and insurers the freedom to refuse treatment to vulnerable Americans and force doctors to inform patients of alternative Covid treatments, regardless of FDA approval. As other red states follow Florida’s lead, America’s alt-health lobby will continue to prey on the poorest in society. They have created a world we cannot escape: where Left is Right, medicine is poison, and the doctor’s white coat is a harbinger of death.


Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling is a freelance investigative journalist. His latest book is If It Sounds Like a Quack: A Journey to the Fringes of American Medicine.

hh_matt

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J Bryant
J Bryant
1 year ago

The author presents the rise in alternative medicine as a sort of right wing conspiracy, but what about the role of pharmaceutical companies and even the government?
Skepticism of the pharmaceutical industry long predates the pandemic. Consider the tragedy of the opioid epidemic which was deliberately fueled by pharma companies such as Purdue Pharma, or the Merck Vioxx scandal in the early 2000s. Even the push in recent years by big pharma to reduce the blood pressure level considered “high”, and therefore dangerous and requiring life-long medication, is coming under scrutiny because there isn’t clear evidence that intermediate blood pressure levels are dangerous enough to justify the side effects of long-term medication.
Americans of all economic and educational levels have long distrusted the medical industry. Couple that with the high cost of care and people not unreasonably look for alternatives. I’m not justifying con artists like Robert Young, but the rise in alternative medicine reflects an increasingly aggressive and unscrupulous health care industry more than some sort of right wing conspiracy.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I agree, and this type of thing goes back a long way. Watching old-style Westerns in the 1960s, “snake oil salesmen” cropped up frequently in dialogue.

It wasn’t just Donald Duck going “Quack!”.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

You articulated my feelings for more eloquently than I could have done.

The medical profession has been breathtakingly arrogant and rarely acknowledges its own terrible failures, now wonder people distrust them.

Simon Tavanyar
Simon Tavanyar
1 year ago

Yes! And read the truly excellent “Black Box Thinking” by Matthew Syed for an eye-opening comparison of the scrupulously safe airline industry vs. the blame-avoiding medical establishment.

Simon Tavanyar
Simon Tavanyar
1 year ago

Yes! And read the truly excellent “Black Box Thinking” by Matthew Syed for an eye-opening comparison of the scrupulously safe airline industry vs. the blame-avoiding medical establishment.

Michael Askew
Michael Askew
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Medical care in the USA is primarily a high cost financial transaction from the patient perspective. The doctor and the pharmaceutical company are on the other side of the deal apparently trying to extract as much money from you (or your insurance company) as they can. Doctor and patient have competing interests. Not ideal for creating trust.

Fafa Fafa
Fafa Fafa
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Askew

What you don’t see is that the patient and the insurance companies also have competing interests. The patients’ interest is to get as much service as possible for their premiums paid, while the ins cos try to limit paying for medical services as much as possible (they call it “medical loss”). That is how they create profit for their shareholders and multimillion dollar salaries for their CEOs.

Fafa Fafa
Fafa Fafa
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Askew

What you don’t see is that the patient and the insurance companies also have competing interests. The patients’ interest is to get as much service as possible for their premiums paid, while the ins cos try to limit paying for medical services as much as possible (they call it “medical loss”). That is how they create profit for their shareholders and multimillion dollar salaries for their CEOs.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I agree, and this type of thing goes back a long way. Watching old-style Westerns in the 1960s, “snake oil salesmen” cropped up frequently in dialogue.

It wasn’t just Donald Duck going “Quack!”.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

You articulated my feelings for more eloquently than I could have done.

The medical profession has been breathtakingly arrogant and rarely acknowledges its own terrible failures, now wonder people distrust them.

Michael Askew
Michael Askew
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Medical care in the USA is primarily a high cost financial transaction from the patient perspective. The doctor and the pharmaceutical company are on the other side of the deal apparently trying to extract as much money from you (or your insurance company) as they can. Doctor and patient have competing interests. Not ideal for creating trust.

J Bryant
J Bryant
1 year ago

The author presents the rise in alternative medicine as a sort of right wing conspiracy, but what about the role of pharmaceutical companies and even the government?
Skepticism of the pharmaceutical industry long predates the pandemic. Consider the tragedy of the opioid epidemic which was deliberately fueled by pharma companies such as Purdue Pharma, or the Merck Vioxx scandal in the early 2000s. Even the push in recent years by big pharma to reduce the blood pressure level considered “high”, and therefore dangerous and requiring life-long medication, is coming under scrutiny because there isn’t clear evidence that intermediate blood pressure levels are dangerous enough to justify the side effects of long-term medication.
Americans of all economic and educational levels have long distrusted the medical industry. Couple that with the high cost of care and people not unreasonably look for alternatives. I’m not justifying con artists like Robert Young, but the rise in alternative medicine reflects an increasingly aggressive and unscrupulous health care industry more than some sort of right wing conspiracy.

Hendrik Mentz
Hendrik Mentz
1 year ago

Ironic headline surely (‘Medical freedom is poisoning America’) following almost two years of mandatory laboratory-coded mRNA laced with polyethylene glycol, wrapped in lipid nanoparticles injected into billions of arms, and circulating in blood streams and lymphatic systems for no one yet knows how long, on an experimental basis.

Alan Gore
Alan Gore
1 year ago
Reply to  Hendrik Mentz

following almost two years of mandatory laboratory-coded mRNA laced with polyethylene glycol, wrapped in lipid nanoparticles “
The side effect of which in my case was never getting Covid. How horrifying!

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
1 year ago
Reply to  Hendrik Mentz

Exactly… I’ve also just realised that, implicit in the title is that we should NOT have “medical freedom”, that our bodies should be subjected to whatever the state dictates is done to them. This is deeply sinister.

Alan Gore
Alan Gore
1 year ago
Reply to  Hendrik Mentz

following almost two years of mandatory laboratory-coded mRNA laced with polyethylene glycol, wrapped in lipid nanoparticles “
The side effect of which in my case was never getting Covid. How horrifying!

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
1 year ago
Reply to  Hendrik Mentz

Exactly… I’ve also just realised that, implicit in the title is that we should NOT have “medical freedom”, that our bodies should be subjected to whatever the state dictates is done to them. This is deeply sinister.

Hendrik Mentz
Hendrik Mentz
1 year ago

Ironic headline surely (‘Medical freedom is poisoning America’) following almost two years of mandatory laboratory-coded mRNA laced with polyethylene glycol, wrapped in lipid nanoparticles injected into billions of arms, and circulating in blood streams and lymphatic systems for no one yet knows how long, on an experimental basis.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
1 year ago

Oh give me a break. You really want to know how we got here? It was when doctors started prescribing massive amount of medications for almost anything. I grew up in the days when it seemed every little kid was diagnosed with ADHD and numerous other “disorders” and then pumped them full of meds at their parents expense. Old people had medications for their symptoms, medications to counter their side effects, and medications to counteract their interactions. For some reason they seemed more unhealthy than ever. TV ads were everywhere “ask your doctor if ____ is right for you!” Wait I thought my doctor was supposed to tell me if I needed something? The only reason this happened was because the medical establishment lost the trust of the public through years of abusing prescriptions.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
1 year ago

Oh give me a break. You really want to know how we got here? It was when doctors started prescribing massive amount of medications for almost anything. I grew up in the days when it seemed every little kid was diagnosed with ADHD and numerous other “disorders” and then pumped them full of meds at their parents expense. Old people had medications for their symptoms, medications to counter their side effects, and medications to counteract their interactions. For some reason they seemed more unhealthy than ever. TV ads were everywhere “ask your doctor if ____ is right for you!” Wait I thought my doctor was supposed to tell me if I needed something? The only reason this happened was because the medical establishment lost the trust of the public through years of abusing prescriptions.

Emmanuel MARTIN
Emmanuel MARTIN
1 year ago

There are lots of shortcomings to classical medicine in the USA : incredibly expensive up to unaffordable, arrogant, sometimes wrong, sometimes unhealthy (sport is a better cure for kid hyperactivity than Ritalin) ….
There is also the fact that alternative medecines can show very good results for disease prevention , cures, as long as it is used in parallel zith classic medecine. For a strong flu, use antibiotics complemented by herbal tea and proper sleep
Deitary supplements of vitamins or magnesium are indeed very good, especially if your diet includes a lot of industrial grade food.
Medical freedom is more than welcome, even if some crooks need a visit to prison. Maybe in a cell next to Fauci or the Sacklers.

Last edited 1 year ago by Emmanuel MARTIN
Emmanuel MARTIN
Emmanuel MARTIN
1 year ago

There are lots of shortcomings to classical medicine in the USA : incredibly expensive up to unaffordable, arrogant, sometimes wrong, sometimes unhealthy (sport is a better cure for kid hyperactivity than Ritalin) ….
There is also the fact that alternative medecines can show very good results for disease prevention , cures, as long as it is used in parallel zith classic medecine. For a strong flu, use antibiotics complemented by herbal tea and proper sleep
Deitary supplements of vitamins or magnesium are indeed very good, especially if your diet includes a lot of industrial grade food.
Medical freedom is more than welcome, even if some crooks need a visit to prison. Maybe in a cell next to Fauci or the Sacklers.

Last edited 1 year ago by Emmanuel MARTIN
Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
1 year ago

This piece is quite ridiculous in its hysterical desperation to cling onto the preposterous “covid” narrative that was promulgated by nefarious actors seeking to profiteer from the pharmaceutical industrial complex. Look at the health of people who get pumped full of “vaccines”, antidepressants and chemotherapy. Then look at the health of people who choose alternative, non-toxic remedies to heal their bodies when they get sick. The evidence will be right before your eyes… that stuff that George Orwell predicted the state would make you reject. Right. Before. Your. Eyes. Stop pushing pharmaceutical propaganda. Please.

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
1 year ago

This piece is quite ridiculous in its hysterical desperation to cling onto the preposterous “covid” narrative that was promulgated by nefarious actors seeking to profiteer from the pharmaceutical industrial complex. Look at the health of people who get pumped full of “vaccines”, antidepressants and chemotherapy. Then look at the health of people who choose alternative, non-toxic remedies to heal their bodies when they get sick. The evidence will be right before your eyes… that stuff that George Orwell predicted the state would make you reject. Right. Before. Your. Eyes. Stop pushing pharmaceutical propaganda. Please.

Peter Christine
Peter Christine
1 year ago

Pfizer itself is a convicted felon paying nearly $3B in fines for deliberately mis-marketing a drug for extra profit. This is one example among many throughout the industry. Who do you trust these days? Yourself, as always. Read studies, not just articles about studies. Read the Abstract, the Discussion, the Results/Conclusions, and the Conflicts of Interest declarations. Get opinions from many and various qualified sources and take control of your own health care. We couldn’t escape hearing Fauci’s opinions, so we also had better read the Harvard, Stanford, Yale, and Oxford doctors who dissented with supporting data. Anyone in mainstream or alternative medicine pushing or mandating a treatment or protocol should be your red flag to start digging. Having the mantra, “Follow the money”, won’t steer you wrong.

Marla Mullen
Marla Mullen
1 year ago

And don’t forget to read the “Method” section of those papers! Look for legitimate control experiments. And I keep hearing that the peer review process has become hopelessly corrupted.

Lee Wood
Lee Wood
1 year ago

Pfizer has even been guilty of mis-representing vitamin supplements under the Centrum brand. Court case convicted. Reuters.
As you say -if the people can’t reason things out for themselves – then they will be had – ALT medicine or not !

Marla Mullen
Marla Mullen
1 year ago

And don’t forget to read the “Method” section of those papers! Look for legitimate control experiments. And I keep hearing that the peer review process has become hopelessly corrupted.

Lee Wood
Lee Wood
1 year ago

Pfizer has even been guilty of mis-representing vitamin supplements under the Centrum brand. Court case convicted. Reuters.
As you say -if the people can’t reason things out for themselves – then they will be had – ALT medicine or not !

Peter Christine
Peter Christine
1 year ago

Pfizer itself is a convicted felon paying nearly $3B in fines for deliberately mis-marketing a drug for extra profit. This is one example among many throughout the industry. Who do you trust these days? Yourself, as always. Read studies, not just articles about studies. Read the Abstract, the Discussion, the Results/Conclusions, and the Conflicts of Interest declarations. Get opinions from many and various qualified sources and take control of your own health care. We couldn’t escape hearing Fauci’s opinions, so we also had better read the Harvard, Stanford, Yale, and Oxford doctors who dissented with supporting data. Anyone in mainstream or alternative medicine pushing or mandating a treatment or protocol should be your red flag to start digging. Having the mantra, “Follow the money”, won’t steer you wrong.

Juerg Kuoni
Juerg Kuoni
1 year ago

cost of conventional medicine rose much more than “a-healthcare”
the “poor” are not victime of alternative medicine but of the deplorably poor performing US healthcare system which absorbing almost 20% of the National Product is one of the worst systems worldwide.
“a-healthcare” can damage, conventional healthcare damages a lot: Vioxx (60 – 80 thousand deaths), perioperative betablockers (>80’000 deaths), opioid deaths, debilitating unproven surgical procedures (mastectomies after Halsted, bone marrow transplantations for breast cancer etc etc)
supplements are not patentable, big pharma reaches out to get that market by relentless attacking the producers
since Hippopcrates medical freedom has always been a cornerstone of medical practice and advancement, since Flexner and his backers the medical curriculum is influenced more and more by big pharma and politics
characterising alternative medicine as right wing consipracy or antivaxx movement is not an argument but simple defamation
I would like to encourage the author to think twice before reaching for the pen
Juerg Kuoni, Switzerland, retired MD

Last edited 1 year ago by Juerg Kuoni
Juerg Kuoni
Juerg Kuoni
1 year ago

cost of conventional medicine rose much more than “a-healthcare”
the “poor” are not victime of alternative medicine but of the deplorably poor performing US healthcare system which absorbing almost 20% of the National Product is one of the worst systems worldwide.
“a-healthcare” can damage, conventional healthcare damages a lot: Vioxx (60 – 80 thousand deaths), perioperative betablockers (>80’000 deaths), opioid deaths, debilitating unproven surgical procedures (mastectomies after Halsted, bone marrow transplantations for breast cancer etc etc)
supplements are not patentable, big pharma reaches out to get that market by relentless attacking the producers
since Hippopcrates medical freedom has always been a cornerstone of medical practice and advancement, since Flexner and his backers the medical curriculum is influenced more and more by big pharma and politics
characterising alternative medicine as right wing consipracy or antivaxx movement is not an argument but simple defamation
I would like to encourage the author to think twice before reaching for the pen
Juerg Kuoni, Switzerland, retired MD

Last edited 1 year ago by Juerg Kuoni
Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago

No! Force doctors to inform patients there are effective, inexpensive alternatives to, say, Pfizer? Yikes. Next we might learn that masks weren’t effective and the Covid shots don’t prevent Covid..
Those white coats are currently happy to prey on emotionally fragile children and teens who claim to be in the wrong body. What’s that? You say you’re a girl? We have drugs and surgery for that, young man, er, miss!
Shill.

Terry M
Terry M
1 year ago

Good point. While the alt-med hucksters are bad, those so-called legitimate doctors are inflicting their pseudoscience on the entire nation and alternate views are silenced.
Doctor, heal thyself!

Terry M
Terry M
1 year ago

Good point. While the alt-med hucksters are bad, those so-called legitimate doctors are inflicting their pseudoscience on the entire nation and alternate views are silenced.
Doctor, heal thyself!

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago

No! Force doctors to inform patients there are effective, inexpensive alternatives to, say, Pfizer? Yikes. Next we might learn that masks weren’t effective and the Covid shots don’t prevent Covid..
Those white coats are currently happy to prey on emotionally fragile children and teens who claim to be in the wrong body. What’s that? You say you’re a girl? We have drugs and surgery for that, young man, er, miss!
Shill.

karlheinz r
karlheinz r
1 year ago

An anti deSantis hit job as far as I can see. Truely Unherd.

karlheinz r
karlheinz r
1 year ago

An anti deSantis hit job as far as I can see. Truely Unherd.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago

In my, admittedly very limited experience, the people who go in for these “alternative treatments” have been given terminal diagnoses, or doctors have been unable to do anything about their conditions. It is very likely that these “treatments” won’t work, but I understand why a person might want to try everything that they can, and it’s only in the case of the treatments’ being proven positively to be dangerous that I would be inclined to want to control or ban them.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago

In my, admittedly very limited experience, the people who go in for these “alternative treatments” have been given terminal diagnoses, or doctors have been unable to do anything about their conditions. It is very likely that these “treatments” won’t work, but I understand why a person might want to try everything that they can, and it’s only in the case of the treatments’ being proven positively to be dangerous that I would be inclined to want to control or ban them.

TheElephant InTheRoom
TheElephant InTheRoom
1 year ago

If you’ve ever sat in a hotel watching American tv, you can see dozens of new medicines being promoted every hour by Big Pharma, for the most obscure of conditions. Its obscene. While there are indeed some quacks, many people with their plastic pill trays labelled Monday through Friday are being poisoned by over-prescription and unforeseen and/or incalculable drug interactions. While supplementation had often been laughed at, Vitamin D (a hormone, not a vitamin) is now known to be critical for immunity. Doing insane things at the Miracle Ranch is one thing, but seeking health through a macrobiotic diet is quite another. If you’re in possession of a pill tray and just received your Covid booster, you’re just where Big Drug wants you.

TheElephant InTheRoom
TheElephant InTheRoom
1 year ago

If you’ve ever sat in a hotel watching American tv, you can see dozens of new medicines being promoted every hour by Big Pharma, for the most obscure of conditions. Its obscene. While there are indeed some quacks, many people with their plastic pill trays labelled Monday through Friday are being poisoned by over-prescription and unforeseen and/or incalculable drug interactions. While supplementation had often been laughed at, Vitamin D (a hormone, not a vitamin) is now known to be critical for immunity. Doing insane things at the Miracle Ranch is one thing, but seeking health through a macrobiotic diet is quite another. If you’re in possession of a pill tray and just received your Covid booster, you’re just where Big Drug wants you.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

Talking about “Medical Freedom”, when is UnHerd going to discuss the WHO’s pandemic treaty, which parliament is now discussing?

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

Talking about “Medical Freedom”, when is UnHerd going to discuss the WHO’s pandemic treaty, which parliament is now discussing?

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago

Feel good medicine for a society that promotes the importance of feelings over facts. The triumph of placebo medicine over real medicine. What could possibly go wrong.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

And let’s pin it all on the one conservative politician who has a slight chance to succeed in potentially popping the leftist controlled narrative bubble.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

And let’s pin it all on the one conservative politician who has a slight chance to succeed in potentially popping the leftist controlled narrative bubble.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago

Feel good medicine for a society that promotes the importance of feelings over facts. The triumph of placebo medicine over real medicine. What could possibly go wrong.

Reginald Duquesnoy
Reginald Duquesnoy
1 year ago

Quackery on the right, quackery on the left, in the air, underground, everywhere!
You are responsible for your health. Not big Brother, not Big Pharma…
But Alt at least does not mass slaughter, no economies of scale in micro…
Health for profit is the giveaway. There ain’t, except for the bottom line.

Reginald Duquesnoy
Reginald Duquesnoy
1 year ago

Quackery on the right, quackery on the left, in the air, underground, everywhere!
You are responsible for your health. Not big Brother, not Big Pharma…
But Alt at least does not mass slaughter, no economies of scale in micro…
Health for profit is the giveaway. There ain’t, except for the bottom line.

Jerry Slalam
Jerry Slalam
1 year ago

This is a ridiculous article! It almost looks like it’s written by a pharma exec! Nonsense! Holistic medicine in many areas has been proven to be extremely effective! Cancer has had billions pumped into and yet outcomes are no better and the chances of getting cancer has increased, western food and medicine in some areas is simply a con! Covid showed the flawed scientists and their links to big pharma! Highlighting a highly corrupt market, we know from OxyContin how this market is now established and flawed science. Medical freedom is a right, you choose based on your belief not part of a system which is so flawed it’s laudable.

Alkaline first has been proven to reduce the acidity to help reduced cancers that’s just a fact. Journalists are just not very intelligent these days and lack critical thinking and their biases are wide open to see.

Jerry Slalam
Jerry Slalam
1 year ago

This is a ridiculous article! It almost looks like it’s written by a pharma exec! Nonsense! Holistic medicine in many areas has been proven to be extremely effective! Cancer has had billions pumped into and yet outcomes are no better and the chances of getting cancer has increased, western food and medicine in some areas is simply a con! Covid showed the flawed scientists and their links to big pharma! Highlighting a highly corrupt market, we know from OxyContin how this market is now established and flawed science. Medical freedom is a right, you choose based on your belief not part of a system which is so flawed it’s laudable.

Alkaline first has been proven to reduce the acidity to help reduced cancers that’s just a fact. Journalists are just not very intelligent these days and lack critical thinking and their biases are wide open to see.

Barbara Manson
Barbara Manson
1 year ago

Hold on! This article is not very well informed. Sure, let’s not have snake oil peddlers preying on desperate and gullible people.
But I even question the term “alternative” medicine. Effective natural remedies, “home” remedies (also actual medicine) have been around since long before Big Pharma began marketing pills and injections in slick advertising to the hapless public. Just because a disease remedy doesn’t have a commercial label on it doesn’t mean it isn’t medicine. Why exactly call it “alternative”?
Medical Arts, they used to call it, meaning someone who has studied the human body and the illnesses to which it is vulnerable but also has a good innate sense of the myriad aspects of human health that a good practitioner needs to take into account when treating someone who is ill — how easy is it to find anyone, white coat or not, who has that sense? How easy is it to find a health care practitioner with a broad knowledge of effective treatment and therapy options that may or may not be included in our sanctioned catalog of “standard” health care practices.
We’ve suffered enough from politicized “health care.” Sorry to see this article perpetuate that Left – Right characterization of the desire for “medical freedom” that we needed during the confusion of Covid.
Goodness! Read the stories of what people, both doctors and patients, did to circumvent the life-threatening protocols pushed by public health authorities and hospitals during the pandemic. These stories are about lives saved by “alternative medicine.”
Trust in the public health establishment is a major casualty of the pandemic, and people are right to carefully and reasonably examine whatever options they can when they are ill.

Barbara Manson
Barbara Manson
1 year ago

Hold on! This article is not very well informed. Sure, let’s not have snake oil peddlers preying on desperate and gullible people.
But I even question the term “alternative” medicine. Effective natural remedies, “home” remedies (also actual medicine) have been around since long before Big Pharma began marketing pills and injections in slick advertising to the hapless public. Just because a disease remedy doesn’t have a commercial label on it doesn’t mean it isn’t medicine. Why exactly call it “alternative”?
Medical Arts, they used to call it, meaning someone who has studied the human body and the illnesses to which it is vulnerable but also has a good innate sense of the myriad aspects of human health that a good practitioner needs to take into account when treating someone who is ill — how easy is it to find anyone, white coat or not, who has that sense? How easy is it to find a health care practitioner with a broad knowledge of effective treatment and therapy options that may or may not be included in our sanctioned catalog of “standard” health care practices.
We’ve suffered enough from politicized “health care.” Sorry to see this article perpetuate that Left – Right characterization of the desire for “medical freedom” that we needed during the confusion of Covid.
Goodness! Read the stories of what people, both doctors and patients, did to circumvent the life-threatening protocols pushed by public health authorities and hospitals during the pandemic. These stories are about lives saved by “alternative medicine.”
Trust in the public health establishment is a major casualty of the pandemic, and people are right to carefully and reasonably examine whatever options they can when they are ill.

Cho Jinn
Cho Jinn
1 year ago

“give doctors and insurers the freedom to refuse treatment to vulnerable Americans
Which treatment is a person entitled to receive, and from which doctors, and when? Does the DeSantis agenda require a person be “vulnerable” in order to a doctor to refuse to provide treatment?
It takes so much more time to pick apart nonsense then it is to spew it.

Cho Jinn
Cho Jinn
1 year ago

“give doctors and insurers the freedom to refuse treatment to vulnerable Americans
Which treatment is a person entitled to receive, and from which doctors, and when? Does the DeSantis agenda require a person be “vulnerable” in order to a doctor to refuse to provide treatment?
It takes so much more time to pick apart nonsense then it is to spew it.

Lesley Rudd
Lesley Rudd
1 year ago

Read ‘Trust The Evidence’ on Substack 
 one of the few places to get information about evidence-based medicine

Lesley Rudd
Lesley Rudd
1 year ago

Read ‘Trust The Evidence’ on Substack 
 one of the few places to get information about evidence-based medicine

John Cartledge
John Cartledge
1 year ago

You have misdiagnosed the problem, Mr. Hongoltz-Hetling. The primary driver for the medical freedom movement is the fecklessness of our “health care” system.
DeSantis is “weakening evidence-based care”? Surely, you jest. He can’t “weaken” something that never existed in the first place.

John Cartledge
John Cartledge
1 year ago

You have misdiagnosed the problem, Mr. Hongoltz-Hetling. The primary driver for the medical freedom movement is the fecklessness of our “health care” system.
DeSantis is “weakening evidence-based care”? Surely, you jest. He can’t “weaken” something that never existed in the first place.

Simon South
Simon South
1 year ago

The “Snake oil” salesman are still going strong in US. All part of the Machiavellian American dream?

Simon South
Simon South
1 year ago

The “Snake oil” salesman are still going strong in US. All part of the Machiavellian American dream?