Prescription for Disaster
The statement by Allen Roses, worldwide vice-president of genetics at Glaxo-SmithKline (GSK), was startling: Most prescription medicines don't work on most people who take them, he admitted.
"More than 90 percent of the vast majority of drugs only work in 30 to 50 percent of the people," Dr. Roses said at a recent scientific meeting in London. "Drugs out there on the market work, but they don't work in everybody." An academic geneticist from Duke University in North Carolina, Roses also cited figures on how well different classes of drugs work in patients.
For example, Alzheimer's drugs work in only 30 percent of patients, SSRI antidepressants in 62 percent of patients, hepatitis drugs in 47 percent of patients, migraine medicines used to treat acute attacks in 52 percent of patients, cancer drugs in 25 percent of patients and rheumatoid arthritis drugs in only half of patients.
The majority of drugs, Roses said, only work in 30 or 50 percent of the people taking them. The reason for the poor response rate is because the recipients carry genes that interfere with the medicine.
Given most conventional physicians overconfident assurance that drugs are the only approach to disease treatment, I find Roses statement sobering and ironic.
Dr. Roses, whose background is in the field of "pharmacogenomics," the application of human genetics to drug development, may be trying to nudge the industry into realizing that its future rests on targeting drugs to a smaller number of patients with specific genes.
Drugs only work in 30 to 50 percent of the people,
Although this would be an immense improvement from the status quo marketing (as many drugs as possible to a large number of patients), it neglects an important aspect of pharmaceutical drugs: That even if they work they're often associated with numerous side effects, some of them life threatening.
It also continues the policy of treating symptoms of a disease rather than modifying the nutritional deficiency that may have contributed to it in the first place. It continues to ignore the far safer, holistic approach of combining nutritional supplements with lifestyle modifications. Only when conventional doctors take this approach will the consumer be the one to profit ... not the pharmaceutical companies.
Written by Robert Watson
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