WebMD partners with FDA

WebMD partners with FDA

Many news commentators, including Diane Rehm of NPR and Lou Dobbs of CNN, have called the FDA an inept and failed agency, one that is much too cozy with the industry it is supposed to regulate.

Many news commentators, including Diane Rehm of NPR and Lou Dobbs of CNN, have called the FDA an inept and failed agency, one that is much too cozy with the industry it is supposed to regulate.

by Mary Budinger — 

WebMD announced a partnership in December 2008, with the FDA to distribute FDA consumer health news and alerts on WebMD’s Internet and print outlets.

The FDA’s consumer health site gets just 130,000 viewers a month, while WebMD gets almost 50 million. “We are enthusiastic about this collaboration with WebMD because it will enable us to reach more consumers with accurate, science-based information that can help them improve their health,” said Andrew C. von Eschenbach, M.D., now former commissioner of food and drugs.

WebMD said, “This joint effort reflects the FDA’s emphasis on using innovative, technology-based strategies to carry out its foremost mission, which is to promote and to protect the public health.”

Many news commentators, including Diane Rehm of NPR and Lou Dobbs of CNN, have called the FDA an inept and failed agency, one that is much too cozy with the industry it is supposed to regulate. Critics say that the WebMD-FDA partnership will merely increase the influence of the pharmaceutical industry.

A case in point is the list of the “12 major advances that made cancer treatment and prevention a lot better in 2008,” published by WebMD. The list was compiled by the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO):

  1. Erbitux for lung cancer
  2. Gemzar for pancreatic cancer
  3. Treanda for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
  4. Avastin for metastatic breast cancer
  5. Long-term hormone therapy for breast cancer
  6. Zometa for breast cancer
  7. Pegylated interferon for melanoma
  8. Targeted Erbitux for colon cancer
  9. The Pill cuts ovarian-cancer risk
  10. HPV vaccine may cut oral cancers
  11. Oncologist shortage looms
  12. Caring for childhood cancer survivors

The list’s top ten “advances” are all prescription drugs. Although the title of the list speaks of prevention, no non-pharmaceutical prevention is listed.

Headlines about the cancer-reducing properties of vitamin D made it to the front pages in 2008, but nature’s free sunshine was not mentioned as a preventative measure. Dr. William Grant, Ph.D., internationally recognized research scientist and vitamin D expert, has stated that if people around the world optimized their vitamin D levels, cancer deaths would decrease about 30 percent.

In 1966, Nobel Prize winner, Otto Warburg articulated his hypothesis that “the prime cause of cancer is the replacement of the respiration of oxygen in normal body cells by a fermentation of sugar.” As holistic medical professionals are well aware, controlling insulin levels is key, therefore. Yet there is no ASCO recommendation that the food industry dump high fructose corn syrup, or sugary breakfast cereals and soda pop.

The list says nothing about prevention by lessening the body burden of environmental contaminants. We know that heavy metals, for example, contribute to the cancer epidemic. They can poison the immune system so it cannot effectively perform its job to look for cancer cells. Heavy metals also can act as carcinogens themselves by directly inducing cells to become cancerous in nature.

Clearly, we are losing the war on cancer. It is expected to supplant heart disease as the number one cause of death worldwide next year. In the United States, it is expected that one in two men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, and one in three women.

According to WebMD, “For continued advances in cancer treatment and prevention, ASCO calls for increased federal spending on clinical cancer research and for removing barriers to participation in clinical trials of new cancer treatments.” Read — more drugs coming, and no prevention.

 

Mary Budinger is an Emmy award-winning journalist. She is a freelance writer and researcher about and for alternative medicine. 602-494-1999.

From the AzNetNews library, February/March 2009.

 

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