Are you one of the 245,386?
In an answer to a question put by Lord Pearson of Rannoch on Herbal Medicines in the House of Lords, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health, Earl Howe, reported on records of adverse drug reaction (ADR) obtained from health professionals, patients and indirectly from the pharmaceutical industry via the Yellow Card Scheme. Earl Howe said that since 200o, in England and Wales, 245,386 ADR reports have been received of which, 10,446 (4 per cent) recorded a fatal outcome. (Corresponding figures for herbal medicine were quoted as 837 ADR and 8 fatalities.)
Despite the preciseness of the figures, Earl Howe qualified the statistics. Firstly, they may be too optimistic. He said that “The number of reports received via the Yellow Card scheme does not directly equate to the number of people who suffer adverse reactions in the general population to medicines as this scheme is associated with an unknown level of underreporting.” Alternatively, they might be too pessimistic, “It should be noted that healthcare professionals are asked to report suspected adverse reactions on a voluntary basis and the submission of a report does not mean that the reaction cited was definitely caused by the medicine or herbal.”
Either way, they are LARGE numbers.
(In the United States, the equivalent figures are staggering. According to JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, in 1996 108,000 Americans died in hospitals alone “from adverse reactions to Federal Drug Agency approved drugs properly administered by licensed medical professionals”. In the same year, 2.2 million Americans had adverse reactions to FDA-approved drugs.)
The Internet didn’t exist as a public entity which could host a Yellow Card Scheme for the recording of ADR the last time I took a drug, just over 30 years ago. My experience would have fallen comfortably – well, uncomfortably! – into the ADR category, though. The anti-biotics prescribed for my sinusitis were a failure in causing a cure and a “success” in bringing about a bodily reaction that stayed with me for months after that particularly painful bout of sinusitis had dulled down into a distant memory. I wasn’t freed from the sinusitis until I was introduced to Mind-healing in my early twenties, when I found that a sensible spiritual understanding was able to permanently relieve me of the condition.
That’s not to say that anyone is totally prone to ADR. A relative of mine almost died from medicine given to him as a new-born baby yet gratefully credits his recent survival of pneumonia to the ministrations of medical professionals.
It is, though, to ask whether, for the sake of society’s well-being and happiness, some more intelligent thought could profitably be given to the downside of the side effects associated with the near-monopolisation of healthcare by material approaches to medicine? It is crucial that we all respect each other’s healthcare choices and continue to legislate fairly for the variety of preferences that exist.
I certainly respect those who choose western medicine, although I would say to anyone among the 245,386…if you want to explore more options, read some of the articles on healing on spirituality.com, or peruse Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, and see if it works for you, as it has worked for many like me.