Getting Healthy, Getting Free

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A friend from LinkedIn and a colleague in the community of alternative medicine, Brenda Vanta, MD, recently sent me a copy of her first book, called Free from Health, Relationship and Money Hiccups: An Easy and Effective Solution.

I’ve read the book and wanted to help spread the word about it.

While the “easy” in the subtitle may be a relative turn, the book does offer information on various methods by which we can all become both more whole and more healthy. Brenda Vanta has developed an exercise she calls “Stage Technique” that seems a very useful tool for the average person to use to free himself or herself of emotional/mental/energistic blocks. Blocks that keep us from attaining the level of health (and in the terms of this book, health = freedom) that we might otherwise enjoy.

I think that book well titled, in that it is all about the ways in which we can be set free. And I recommend that book to anyone who would like a basic primer on healing and how it takes place.

Free is available both in print and e-book forms, and both may be found at Amazon. The cost of the e-book is just $5.98 in Kindle format, and $10 for the print format. I hope you’ll take a look.

A little book on a great big topic

The Thing About Colchicine

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On first consideration, you may not think that this is very important. After all, it likely doesn’t involve you directly. However, as a warning sign, this is something that should alarm every American and drive them to action. So read on:

Colchicine is a drug that has been in use literally for thousands of years. It is made from the flower the Meadow Saffron, also called the Autumn Crocus (Colchicum Autumnale). As the allopathic drug (the planet is also made into a homeopathic remedy called Colchicum, which, happily in not affected by the events discussed here) is still taken more or less directly from the plant and not from a chemical equivalent, it might almost be considered an herbal remedy that has, for generations, been used by allopaths in the treatment of gout.

In fact, as a treatment for gout, Colchicine has likely been around for as long as gout has. First recorded treatments for patients with gout date back to 1500 B.C., when physicians in Egypt began using the medicine for patients with rheumatism. It began being used specifically for gout in Rome in 500 A.D. After hundreds of years of being used in Europe, none other than Benjamin Franklin brought Autumn Crocus plants to America so that he could grow the herbal medicine for the treatment of his own case of gout. And it was “purified” into an allopathic drug for the first time in 1833. It has been used in exactly the same way ever since.

Colchicine works by leeching uric acid from the human system; and as uric acid build-up is the cause of gout, the medicine is effective not only for gout attacks, but can be used daily as a preventative, in that the medicine will keep the amount of uric acid in the system low enough to keep attacks from occurring. Note that Colchicine is also an anti-inflammatory, although it is not effective against other forms of arthritis or realted conditions.

For years, Colchicine was the go-to medicine for those with gout. It was easy to get a prescription for, it was cheap and it was effective—on average, a thirty-day supply cost as little as five or six dollars. And the drug was effective enough that, for many patients with gout, it was the only drug needed to keep their disease under control. So, what’s the issue with Colchicine? With everything going so well, a safe, effective, readily available and cheap medicine for one of the most painful conditions known to mankind, what could have possibly gone wrong?

Why the FDA, of course.

It is important to note that Colchicine was such an old drug that it actually pre-dated the FDA itself. There are a number of other drugs that are in the same position of having been grandfathered in when the FDA was formed, drugs that had been in use for decades and were an established part of the allopathic pharmacy, in regular use all over the United States on a daily basis. But of certain, specific reasons, Colchicine suddenly was targeted by the FDA.

Although no deaths or other catastrophic reactions to the medicine were uncovered (indeed, Colchicine is one of the few allopathic drugs that a person like me—someone who is almost rabidly dedicated to homeopathy to the point of avoiding almost all aspects of allopathic medicine at all times—could feel good about. It was as close to natural as possible and still be a part of the allopathic pharmacy.

And it was fairly safe to use. The only negative side-effect associated with the drug that I know of is that it will cause diarrhea if over used. And, indeed, many patients using Colchicine chose to take it until it caused diarrhea, knowing that, in doing so, the uric acid would be flushed away more quickly, if not more comfortably.

But a few years back, the FDA very quietly decided that Colchicine was not safe. That it had never been tested effectively enough. And so they very quietly once more (and the FDA can become remarkably stealthy when they want to) removed the drug from the market, saying that they had reason to suspect that it was not safe. Which was, let’s face it, much like the Bush administration insisting against all evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction as an excuse for declaring war.

Here’s the thing about Colchicine. The FDA turned the drug over to URL Pharma, with whom they had entered into a new agreement for the medication. URL Pharma agreed to invest $100 million in the drug, $45 million of which went to the FDA itself as an “application fee.” After Colchicine (I really shouldn’t call it that at this point, because the drug formerly know as Colchicine had been taken from the market and legally no longer existed) passed the various tests and was officially declared safe, was it simply put back on the market under the same name for $6 for a thirty day supply?

Of course not.

Colchicine was renamed Colcrys and returned to the market. And who has been given an exclusive license for the drug? URL Pharma. And what is the cost of a thirty-day supply of Colcrys? Ninety dollars.

That’s right: in “proving” that a drug that has been used for thirty-five hundred years is safe and effective, a pharmaceutical company has been given the right to increase the cost of the exact same drug from five dollars to ninety dollars for a one month supply. But why? Why is Colchicine worth re-licensing?

It’s all about gout.

You see, in our nation, somewhere around fifty million people have high blood pressure. And many, many of those patients are given diuretics in treatment for hypertension, with the idea that, if the amount of fluid in the blood flowing through blood vessels is reduced, then the pressure of the blood beating against those vessels will be reduced from an unsafe higher level to a safer low level. All well and good.

But what the doctors prescribing diuretics don’t tell their patients is that one common issue with using them is that they can cause gout. As the amount of fluid in the body is reduced, then the amount of uric acid is increased. And because uric acid weighs more than water, the acid flows down to the feet, where the acid crystals (the excess of the acid) are stored by the body in the joints of the feet, most often the joints of the big toe, with the result of a gout attack.

Because of the misuse of diuretics, millions of Americans now have gout, a disease that, once established in incurable. The condition can be managed (with the use of Colchicine—excuse me, Colcrys), but not cured.

And so, over the past twenty years, literally millions of hypertension patients have become gout sufferers as well. And those patients needed a medicine for that condition for the rest of their lives. But what did allopathic medicine have to offer? The best remedy was this old, old medicine, one that was nearly worthless in terms of profits. But not, it turns out, if it were taken off the market and remarketed as a new drug under a new name. Then you can increase the cost of the medication nearly twenty times and, as a result, profits are huge.

Can anyone tell me how, in any way, shape or form, the FDA was looking after the interests of the American pubic in the way it dealt with the drug Colchicine? Instead of investigating the use of diuretics in the treatment of hypertension, something that leads directly to the creation of gout symptoms in many patients, the FDA instead takes a medicine that has been used safely and effectively for thousands of years and declares it safe so that it can pocket a huge fee and then allow a pharmaceutical company to extort the members of the public who need that medicine.

This result is that those patients without insurance can no longer afford their medicine, and that insurance companies are forced to pay a much higher amount for those who do have the medicine (this results, of course, in higher medical costs for all). When will the FDA actually make a decision, take an action that is in the best interests of the American public, a community that they are sworn to protect?

The thing about Colchicine is that it proves that they are not doing it yet. And there are other drugs—and plenty of them, that were grandfathered in, that the FDA could use to perform the same magic act of taking a drug with little profit and turn in into a new profit center. So the question is: where will the FDA strike next. And that’s not a very nice question to have to ask about an agency of our own federal government. I’d like to think that my government is working for me, and not against me, as it did with Colchicine.