From the November 2004 McDougall Newsletter, vol. 03 issue 11 (Republished in a McDougall email, July 2020)

The goal of every doctor should be to help make his or her patients drug-free by teaching them to become healthy.  Unfortunately, most doctors know only drug-therapy for patients' problems and the result is overweight and sick people carrying around bags full of prescriptions – and they are not one speck healthier or happier.

To make matters worse, well-intentioned doctors are making their prescription decisions based upon fraudulent and incomplete information paid for by pharmaceutical companies – blind to the suffering of their customers; these businesses manipulate the research studies in order to boost sales.  You should not be surprised by this, after all, pharmaceutical companies are in the business of profiting from your sickness and, as a result of their efforts, they are considered among the most successful of all businesses worldwide.

Drug companies spend billions of dollars and employ thousands of people to try to demonstrate the slightest benefits from their products.  From the beginning, the "investigations" used to sell their products are designed so that the results will turn out favorable – why not?  They are paying for the project.  And if the results do not turn out as expected, then these companies bury any research findings that weigh negatively upon their products.(1) [the number 1 here means reference 1 below – etc.] The US government turns a blind eye to these shenanigans.  According to top researchers, we can no longer rely upon the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for protection from useless and dangerous drugs, since this organization acts essentially as a tool for the pharmaceutical industries.(2)

All this dishonesty is very profitable; $154.4 billion dollars was spent by consumers in one year (2001) on medications that in many cases do more harm than good – and prescription drug spending rises 15% to 18% per year.(3)  All the while, hopeful patients are lulled into believing they will be saved by these miracle potions.  If the truth were to be known, more of these same ill people would take matters into their own hands and save themselves with a healthy diet, some exercise, and clean habits, rather than waiting to be saved by "technological breakthroughs."  Most new drugs released to the marketplace are simply copies of older drugs with minor variations to allow a new patent.

Most Drugs on the Market Are Useless and Harmful

People running the drug companies are aware of the fraudulent nature of their business.  According to [...] of [...] , one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies, the "vast majority of drugs only work in 30 or 50% of people."(4)  When he says "work," I assume he is giving credit for even the slightest positive change, and not talking about resolving the patients' illnesses – because essentially 100% of the drugs used to treat chronic diseases fail to cure the patient.

  Yet, the language used by pharmaceutical companies to promote their products might cause you to think otherwise.  They refer to their drugs in ways that suggest their inventions commonly cure chronic diseases, by calling their products, "antihypertensive" and "antidiabetic" – as if these chemicals would eradicate hypertension (high blood pressure) and diabetes – maybe something like antibiotics kill bacteria and cure infections.

  The truth is, no doctor has ever seen a patient cured of high blood pressure or diabetes with either class of medication, no matter how much they might wish it to be otherwise.  By and large, drugs do little, if anything, to improve the well-being and/or longevity of people suffering with chronic diseases, but are undeniably a direct source of death, disability and suffering.

   Approximately 2 to 7 % of all hospital admissions are caused by medications prescribed to patients, and approximately 70% of these incidences are judged as preventable.(5,6)  Approximately 28% of all emergency department visits are a result of taking prescription drugs.(7) The drugs most commonly implicated are: NSAIDs, antiplatelets, seizure medications, antidiabetic drugs, antihypertensives (diuretics and beta-blockers), inhaled corticosteroids, and cardiac drugs.

FDA Official Warns Us about Five Medications

On Thursday, November 19, 2004, David Graham, associate science director of the Office of Drug Safety, told a US Senate hearing that FDA agency officials "ostracized" him and subjected him to "veiled threats" when he tried to have his study cleared for publication on the hazards of Vioxx.(8)  Based on the results of Merck's own clinical trials, Graham said "between 88,000 and 139,000 Americans had probably had heart attacks or strokes as a result of taking Vioxx, and that 30 to 40 percent had probably died." 

 He described the FDA as incapable of stopping dangerous drugs from coming to and staying on the market and that the FDA's role in reviewing and approving new drugs sometimes conflicted with its duty to address safety issues.   He told the Senate that five other widely used drugs should be either withdrawn or sharply restricted because they have dangerous side effects.

[The list of Dr. Graham’s drugs and Dr. McDougall’s own list can be seen in the Nov 2004 newsletter at Return or read more: ]


1)  Antes G, Chalmers I.  Under-reporting of clinical trials is unethical. Lancet. 2003 Mar 22;361(9362):978-9.
2)  Psaty B, Furberg C, Ray W, Weiss N, MD, Potential for Conflict of Interest in the Evaluation of Suspected Adverse Drug Reactions. Use of Cerivastatin and Risk of Rhabdomyolysis JAMA. 2004;292. :(DOI 10.1001/jama.292.21.2622). 
3)  NIHCM Foundation. Another Year of Escalating Costs. Revised 5-6-2002:
4)  Dyer O. City reacts negatively as GlaxoSmithKline announces plans for new drugs. BMJ  2003;327:1366.
5)  Roughead EE, Gilbert AL, Primrose JG, Sansom LN.  Drug-related hospital admissions: a review of Australian studies published 1988-1996. Med J Aust. 1998 Apr 20;168(8):405-8.
6)  Howard RL, Avery AJ, Howard PD, Partridge M. Investigation into the reasons for preventable drug related admissions to a medical admissions unit: observational study. Qual Saf Health Care. 2003 Aug;12(4):280-5.
7)  Patel P, Zed PJ.  Drug-related visits to the emergency department: how big is the problem? Pharmacotherapy. 2002 Jul;22(7):915-23.
8)  Kaufman M.  5 widely used drugs called unsafe FDA officer says conflicts of interest compromise agency.