Mike: This is Mike Adams with
Truth Publishing welcoming Dr. Ray Strand. He is the author of
Death by Prescription and is one of the most courageous doctors
to speak out about the health effects of prescription drugs.
Welcome, and thank you for joining us, Dr. Strand.
Dr. Strand: Well, thank you for having me here.
Mike: Itís a pleasure to be tapping into some of your wisdom
today. I, as well as many of our listeners, must be curious: You
are an MD, and yet you speak out quite directly about the
dangers of prescription drugs. How does that happen?
Dr. Strand: Well, I have been in the practice for 31 years of my
medical career and I think all physicians appreciate the
inherent risks all drugs present to their patient. We are always
weighing the risk of medication, or the risk of adverse drug
reactions, to the health benefits they can obtain.
really got my attention was an article written in The Journal of
American Medical Association back in 1998, in which they showed
that properly prescribed medication, prescribed and taken
properly, is the fourth-leading cause of death in the country.
Then, when you add the improperly prescribed medications to this
that are not taken properly, that is another 80,000 deaths,
making it the third-leading cause of death.
Yet, no one in this
country is talking about it. We donít even keep statistics on
it. Yet, all other researchers present the fact that over half
of these deaths could be avoided if people just knew what to do.
So I think that was the purpose and reason for writing the book.
It's just to warn people that they don't need to take so much
If you really need to take medication, take it. But
I have always had the philosophy: You should take medication as
a last resort, not a first choice. Do not have blind faith in
the FDA, the pharmaceutical industry, the doctor or the
You need to take some personal responsibility to
protect yourself and your loved ones from an adverse drug
Mike: Thatís an interesting term - "blind faith in
institutions." I think, across the board, people tend to trust
and have faith in what the pharmacist and doctor tells them.
They believe that the FDA is really looking out for their best
interest. But it seems that a lot of your material indicates
that that's not necessarily the case.
Dr. Strand: Well, right. There is a chain of events that occurs.
You will find that you have to rely on the pharmaceutical
industry to perform the studies. They are the one that are
required to perform them.
The FDA reviews those studies, looking
for obvious health benefits or an effective medication and
balances it against the risk the medication presents. Then you
have to have a doctor who understands all of that and prescribes
it properly. You have to have a pharmacist who is going to fill
that prescription, and then the patient takes it and must take
So this chain of events is always occurring.
problem that most people have is that they just trust the
pharmaceutical industry, the FDA, the doctor and the pharmacist,
and they just have that blind faith, which I try to point out in
the book. As I go through the first part of the book, you canít
read without starting to realize what the truth is.
The truth is
that, yes, they are doing their best job, but there is still an
inherent risk for taking medication, and we have to be aware of
Mike: So I would encourage readers to just check out the first
20 pages of Death by Prescription. I don't think they will ever
look at their medicine cabinets the same way again.
Dr. Strand: Thatís true, you know. I always use one thing that
really points out the fact, which is that, once the FDA approves
the medication or a drug for use by the general public, they
know less than half of the serious adverse drug reactions when
that drug is released. It is just impossible to know them all.
Well, they find out, and the next question should be,
they find out the others?"
Well, it's owing to you, the public,
or what I call in my book, ďthe great clinical trial.Ē It is you
who finds out.
But it is a voluntary reporting system. Less than one percent of
these adverse drug reactions are really reported back to the
FDA, because doctors and hospitals are not required to report
them back. It is voluntary. Then, it is reported to a committee
in the FDA that has no authority. Once enough of these red flags
come in on a drug, then they'll send it back to the original
committee that approved the drug in the first place.
I do not
feel that they have an unbiased representation when they look at
this. Thatís why over 99 percent of the time all that happens is
a change to the drug label or what we call a package insert.
This usually goes unnoticed even if they send out a "dear
doctor" letter warning doctors about these drugs, and that they
better be careful here.
There have been studies that show
doctors donít pay much attention to that. So itís not a very
Mike: Yes, and just to clarify - because I think the force of
what you just said is easy to miss if people arenít paying
attention - there is really no process in place, no mandatory
process, to report dangerous, even fatal, side effects from
these prescription drugs. Is that what you are saying?
Dr. Strand: Thatís what I am saying. I list a lot of the drugs
in my book that have been taken off of the market.
One of them,
the first non-sedating antihistamine, called
Seldane, did not
come off of the market for 12 years, even though they started to
realize that when you combine drugs like erythromycin with
Seldane - which will be a common combination because of
allergies, colds and sore throat - they had an unusual side
effect called sudden death.
It took 12 years to find this out
and actually get it off of the market. So itís a very poor
system, and we are seeing drugs being pulled.
Baycol was another
one pulled from the market because of multiple damages, kidney
failure and death.
It was taken off about two years ago. So you
start to look at the process, and itís really not a very good
Mike: The timing of all this is quite interesting, because,
since the time your book was published, the marketing and
propaganda about prescription drugs has skyrocketed.
Dr. Strand: It was even before that. As a physician, I always
was amazed when the pharmaceutical industry started advertising
their products to the general public.
My gut reaction was,
are they doing that?"
Because people need a prescription to get
the medication they are advertising.
Dr. Strand: When I did the research for the book, it was really
interesting to find out that various studies show that between
70 to 90 percent of the time when a patient comes in to the
doctor and asks for a specific drug that he saw on a commercial
or in an advertisement, he walks out with a prescription for
that very drug.
So the drug companies know that it is effective,
and it doesnít really shine a great light on physicians and
their prescribing habits.
Mike: Do you see this as well in your practice? Do you see
patients coming in and asking, or even demanding, a drug they
have seen on TV?
Dr. Strand: I mean that's what it is all about. They will
actually make an appointment specifically for an advertised
drug. Whether it's the purple pill, an allergy medication,
Viagra - or all of the impotency medications that are out there
- people come in and specifically ask for them. You see it all
It happens every day in our practices.
Mike: In the world of modern medicine and all of these
pharmaceuticals, your voice is not exactly the majority voice
from, say, organized medicine. Do you receive a lot of criticism
for this? How does the industry treat you?
Dr. Strand: Well, I had a few arrows shot at me. That certainly
happens. I have written a book on nutritional medicine, and I
have just finished a book on the obesity-diabetes epidemic.
you are finding is that physicians have pretty much been
pharmaceutically trained and were disease-oriented. So
physicians find their comfort in writing prescriptions. They
understand their drugs, at least most of them do, and thatís
what they are trained to do. We are looking for disease and the
treatments that we know we can prescribe.
But what has happened is that the art of medicine has kind of
gone out the wayside, because we do not spend time with
patients. We donít teach them how they can best avoid high blood
pressure medication, or cholesterol-lowering drugs, or diabetes
medication, because number one; we donít have time, and number
two; we donít believe the changes they can make will be
We want to rely on our medication, despite the fact
that every time I go to a medical meeting, they are always
talking about a first-step therapy. If someone comes in with
high blood pressure, or elevated cholesterol, or they are
starting to become diabetic, you should at least give these
people a chance on healthy lifestyle changes so that they donít
have to take the medication - thatís called first step therapy.
But I am sorry to say that I think most physicians just give
this recommendation lip service, while, in actuality, they write
the prescription. Thatís what is happening.
It is partly demand
by the people and the patients, but it is also due to our
training, and being inundated by the pharmaceutical reps that
come into our office promoting their products.
Mike: I have heard a statistic that says the pharmaceutical
companies spend an average of $10,000 per year, per physician
just marketing to the physicians in the United Stated.
Dr. Strand: Well that wouldn't surprise me because if I could
line up pharmaceutical reps or the detail-people who come in my
office, I could see as many as ten of them as compared to one of
my patients. You have to limit them, but they're there, selling
They know itís effective because they wouldnít
spend the money if it didnít work. Free samples are another
thing that they spend a lot of money on - much more than people
realize. So itís a concern. We are seeing this more and more,
and there are problems that are coming up.
I just feel that we
have an over-medicated society because of all the pressure to
Mike: With this over-medication, do you think that there is any
looming backlash or some kind of crisis that is going to occur?
Dr. Strand: Well, yes. We are already seeing it with the
antibiotic use and abuse that has been going on. For years,
since the advent of sulfa and penicillin, we have been able to
come up with newer compounds and molecules to fight off
infectious disease. But we are running out of these new products
as we are starting to see more and more resistance to these
Itís a major concern for hospitals and doctors, and
there was a tremendous effort placed in the 1990s through the
American Academy of Pediatrics and various health organizations
to make people aware of the overuse of antibiotics on viral
colds. Through that ten-year period they were really excited to
see that antibiotic use had dropped by one-third.
But what was
really interesting was that the office visits for those same
problems dropped by one-third. So what really happened was that
the people, the parents, became more aware of what was a virus
and was not.
The antibiotics donít help viruses, so they didnít
just take their kids into the hospital or the office.
But when they finally did go into the office, the percentage of
antibiotics prescribed by doctors never changed. So it really
was owing to people becoming more aware, and that was an
encouragement to me in writing the book, because we need to
start educating the patient about the use of medication.
could become more proactive with their own health, and if they
do take medication, they could take it more wisely and avoid
these adverse drug reactions.
Mike: For those reading, we are talking to Dr. Ray Strand,
author of Death By Prescription. His websites are
releasingfat.com. Do you have an email newsletter on that
site that people can subscribe to?
Dr. Strand: Yes, I do. I have an email newsletter that comes out
monthly, and it's about various subjects. People can go to
releasingfat.com and sign up for my free newsletter. It's there,
and it's available.
I have raystrand.com, where they can see my
nutritional recommendations, and that is more of a membership
webpage. Plus, it has some basic information.
Mike: I just want to point out how remarkable it is that you
have been classically trained as an MD through medical school
and with all the experience of clinical practice, but you are
able to maintain an open mind and really see the big picture
here. That is not so common today. How does that happen, and
what sets you apart?
Dr. Strand: Well, what happened was that my wife had suffered
from a disease called fibromyalgia chronic fatigue, and we had
lived with this for twenty-plus years. In the 80s and 90s, she
just started to go downhill. Every year, she got worse and
suffered more pain and more fatigue.
In 1995, she came down with
serious pneumonia, and we were able to get through that, but she
was left with serious chronic fatigue; she really couldnít get
out of bed for more than one to two hours a day. This went on
month after month after month, and in spite of seeing four
different specialists and being placed on nine different
medications, she really did not improve. I didnít get much hope
from the doctors.
Well, at that time, someone gave my wife some nutritional
supplements - which I strongly did not believe in at that time.
I was a typical doctor, and I thought that it would just create
expensive urine or be a waste of money.
But I told my wife,
"Honey, you could try anything," because we were just not
When that happens to your family, it really hits home,
being a physician. I have to admit that, within weeks, she got
better. Within months, she was off of all of her medications,
and within about five or six months, she was better than she had
been in nine or ten years. That got my interest and caught my
attention, and thatís when I started researching.
So I have been
researching nearly ten years now on this subject, and I am
finding a wealth of information that I was never taught in
Mike: Can you offer some examples?
Dr. Strand: I mean, [there are] well-documented health benefits
for taking supplements and health benefits that we know of from
exercising and eating a healthy diet. If people would just do
that, then they wouldnít have to see me that much.
starting to see about six or seven types of causes of death in
the country, outside of prescription medication, which are
really closely tied to our lifestyle. People need to know that
heart disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, stroke - I mean
the list goes on and on - are really closely related and can be
prevented by a healthier lifestyle.
So I have really changed my
practice to be more involved in wellness and health - a part of
which is teaching people healthy lifestyles. Thatís where I have
gone in the last ten years.
Mike: What a fascinating journey. I am curious, do you prescribe
nutritional supplements to your patients, then?
Dr. Strand: I certainly do, and I believe that there is a strong
health benefit. When my peers come up to me and ask,
do you recommend vitamins to your patient?" I will look at them
and say, "Well, have you ever recommended exercise to your
patients?" They reply, "Well, of course I do."
I ask, "Why do
you do that?" They respond, "I think that my patients who
exercise have a health benefit over those who donít."
"Well, what do you base that on?" They answer, "I base that on
the medical literature."
I tell them, "You are treating a
disease, then." They say, "No."
I could say the same thing about
the healthy diet - eating your fruits and vegetables.
health benefits from eating eight to twelve servings of fruits
and vegetables each day. When you study the medical literature,
you understand, without a doubt, that patients who take a
complete balance of optimal levels of high-quality nutritional
supplements have a health benefit over those who donít.
So I donít look at it as treating a disease. I look at it as a
health benefit that improves their health. So we are just
building up the bodyís natural immune system - the natural
repair system, or what is referred to as the antioxidant defense
You start to understand that nutritional supplements can
decrease what I call the free radical damage, or the dark side
of oxygen - we're basically rusting inside. You start to
understand this more and more. You start to realize that drugs
arenít going to be the answer for decreasing the risk of cancer,
heart disease, Alzheimerís or dementia.
But when we initiate
these healthy lifestyles, we can actually reduce our risk and,
in a lot of cases, eliminate that risk.
Mike: I think that most consumers who take the time to educate
themselves about wellness and disease prevention would agree
with everything you just said. But let me play devil's advocate
for a second here.
There is so much information in the popular
press about how all you need is three balanced meals a day, and
about how nutritional supplements are a waste of money. I mean,
even the American Heart Association has now come out against
vitamin E, and their stand against vitamins is legendary.
you account for this great disparity between the medical
literature and the popular line?
Dr. Strand: Well, first of all, the American Medical Association
came out two years ago stating that multiple vitamins should be
taken by everybody, which is a major change for them. The
problem that you run into is that everybody looks at vitamin E,
or calcium, or selenium, or something else as a drug, and thatís
how we do our research. So everybody looks at it as a drug, and
thatís the way the doctors look at it.
But what you really find out, is that vitamin E is really not a
drug. It is just a nutrient that we should be getting from our
food. Because of supplementation now, we can get it at levels
you can't obtain from food. If you really study the medical
literature, an overwhelming number of studies, even when they do
a study on one nutrient at a time, show a significant health
However, there are studies out there that show that if
you use one nutrient by itself at higher level, it can actually
cause oxidative stress or more free radical production. That is
where the problem comes in when you see a negative study.
They have to understand synergy and the use of all these
nutrients in a complete and balanced fashion, just like you do
in your food. So there is a concept that I have presented in my
book called cellular nutrition.
Cellular nutrition is providing
all the nutrients to the cell at these optimal levels, which
have been shown to provide a health benefit in our medical
literature, and not at Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)
levels. RDAs have absolutely nothing to do with chronic
degenerative diseases such as cancer, Alzheimerís, dementia,
macular degeneration and arthritis.
So when a doctor says that you can get everything from your food
because you can obtain RDA levels, less than one percent of the
population actually does it, even though it is theoretically
possible. So, for example, you take the RDA of vitamin E now at
30 international units. Well, you donít even see a health
benefit in the medical literature until you get over 100
The health benefit seems to go up to 400 IUs to be the optimal level. There are even a few studies
showing that maybe there is a health benefit above that, but at
least most people who really studied the medical literature show
that 400 IUs is an ideal amount or an optimal level. Well, I
could go out and eat 400 IUs of vitamin E.
I would only need to
eat 27 pounds of butter or 5 pounds of wheat germ. I mean, it
just goes on. You cannot do it.
We are so stuck on RDAs, because thatís how we were trained in
medical school. We donít understand that taking supplementation
in a completely balanced form really has a true health benefit;
thatís the same kind of thing Kenneth Cooper ran into when he
started to say that there is a health benefit of exercise.
talked for ten years about this, starting in the early 70s, to
convince physicians that we should get our patients exercising
and moving. They didnít believe it for a long time, but he
finally convinced them. I think for healthy diet and
supplementation, it's going to be the same.
I am not a
conspiracy theory expert, but I really believe that when people
start to understand the health benefits of supplementation,
people will be taking less pharmaceutical drugs. So there is a
great debate out there because the pharmaceutical industry would
like to get all of the vitamins off the show. It is an economic
They'd rather see people taking drugs.
Mike: I am one of the people who talks about that and, like you,
I donít think itís a conspiracy. I think it's just corporate
greed. I mean, they want to make more money.
Dr. Strand: Oh, yes! It's an economic decision. In my book,
Death by Prescription, I have a chapter called ďDeadly
Partnership.Ē A lot of people donít realize that in 1992
Congress passed a law called the "user-fee" law, which required
pharmaceutical companies to actually pay a user fee so that the
FDA could review their drugs.
This was a quarter million dollars
per new drug application. Well, that has grown so much by now
that the pharmaceutical industry is actually contributing over
half of the FDAís budget. So, instead of the FDA being an
isolated group that really scrutinizes all of these drugs, they
have actually formed a partnership.
There is pressure on the FDA
now not so much on,
"How should this drug be approved?" The
attitude has changed to, "How can we get this drug approved?"
We see this, and there is a great deal written in many studies.
So it has really changed the atmosphere of drug approval, and I
think it is going to come back to haunt us because it is a very
poor system. I think that the pharmaceutical industry, being a
very powerful, very wealthy industry, is really flexing its
muscles in all of these avenues, such as alternative health and
integrated medicine. They are all being attacked and put down by
doctors. But the pharmaceutical industry needs to start paying
attention, because there is so much literature now that supports
the health benefits.
They can't just keep ignoring it.
Mike: What kinds of reform or change would improve the FDA and
make it more accountable to the public rather than the
Dr. Strand: First of all, I think the FDA should be funded by
our federal government Ė completely. I mean, we are spending a
lot of money elsewhere. I told you that this is the
third-leading cause of death in this country. I think we should
follow in Europe's footsteps, especially England.
doctors to report all adverse drug reactions that are suspected
within the first three years after the drug is released; in
other words, it's not volunteered - you have to do it. That
would improve quicker transmission of information, and not give
the FDA and the pharmaceutical industry an out.
You will see drugs like Rezulin that came out as a diabetes
drug, and the typical pattern is when a drug is starting to run
into trouble, first of all, it is not the drug that causes the
problem. It has to be that the patient develops liver disease or
something like that.
Then, more and more deaths are reported
and, finally, the pharmaceutical company has to admit,
drug can cause liver disease (for this example), but it only
happens one in one hundred thousand times."
I have heard that in
my office so many different times with different drugs.
Eventually, there are so many cases coming in and so many people
dying that they finally have to pull the drug off the market.
Then you hear the whole truth. In this case, it actually ended
up that one in eight hundred people who took the drug, Rezulin,
either died of liver failure or had to have a liver transplant.
Thatís a pretty high number, and that drug was in the market for
about two and a half years before it was pulled off. It caused
thousands of deaths.
So I think that we need to have a more aggressive reporting
I think that physicians need to be aware because the
warning system we are using now does not seem to work; people
are not listening to it. I think it's all up in the air for
discussion. In the meantime, the reader, the patients and
parents have to be protecting themselves, their children and
their elderly parents, because those are the people who are
taking most of the drugs.
People need to become proactive, know
what these adverse drug reactions are, know the dangerous
combinations or, at least, research the medication that they,
their children or their elderly parents are taking.
Mike: I am glad that you brought up Rezulin, by the way. Itís a
good example of the disparity between the FDA and pharmaceutical
regulatory bodies in other countries. This was a drug that was
pulled from the shelves very quickly in Europe, yet it was
pulled quite slowly in the United States.
Dr. Strand: Thatís really true. Rezulin was never actually taken
off the market. What happened was that two other drugs came out
and the FDA kind of let the company just take their drug back
because they had better options on the market. It was never
theoretically ever withdrawn, and that's scary. When you start
to research this and you read my book, Death By Prescription,
you start to gain a respect for these drugs.
Itís not only old
people who are dying from these adverse drugs reactions, it's
also young people. There have been a lot of fluoroquinolone
antibiotics - two or three of those have been removed from the
market. Just looking at over-the-counter medications, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories
- that's your Aleves and
Motrins of the world - result in 100,000 admissions each year
because of upper GI bleeds and over 16,000 deaths.
interviewed these people, less than a third or 40 percent of
these people didnít even know that it can upset their stomach or
cause GI bleeds. So it's really something that we do a very poor
job of, and it's like we canít see anything bad about drugs. We
therefore donít even listen. Hospitals tend to hide them,
because they donít want people knowing that drugs they are
receiving in the hospital can cause problems.
But it's something
we have got to get over if we're going to protect the people out
there who are taking all these medications.
Mike: One of the latest drugs to earn a lot of popularity and
receive a lot of advertising funds are the statin class of
drugs. It seems they are being marketed as miracle drugs to
treat practically everything. I have even heard physicians say,
"I am taking them every day for the rest of my life
- whether I
need it or not."
Dr. Strand: Well, I never saw this report, but I read in
York Times that they actually said we should be putting it in
Mike: Yes, I saw that as well.
Dr. Strand: Here is a very classic thing: They just lowered the
recommended level of LDL cholesterol, or the bad cholesterol, to
be below 70 in high-risk people.
Well, I have not seen less than
4 or 5 percent of my patients have LDL cholesterol below 70. In
other words, almost everybody would then be on
This is a real shot in the arm of the pharmaceutical industry,
because they have got a government agency - about nine leading
people in this industry - making these recommendations.
then you find out that at least seven of these nine physicians
who were major key people on the studies and recommending these
changes were receiving money and, for some of them, pretty good
stipends from the pharmaceutical industry.
Mike: A big surprise, right?
Dr. Strand: Yeah, a big surprise. So that is how it is being
done, and they keep lowering it. All that means is that more and
more people have to be on medication. But, you see, heart
disease is not a disease of cholesterol. Over half of the people
who have heart attacks actually have normal cholesterol levels.
Heart disease is an inflammatory disease of the artery.
cholesterol is not even bad. It only becomes bad when it becomes
oxidized or modified by an excess of free radicals. So you start
to look at all the causes of inflammation which are caused by an
excess of free radicals caused by diabetes, hypertension,
cigarette smoking, fatty meals, high-sugar meals, high-glycemic
meals - these will cause your arteries to go into spasm because
of the inflammation four to six hours after a meal.
You start to
look at homocysteine, and LDL cholesterol is a factor that's
oxidized. You put them all together, and almost all of those
causes of inflammation can either be significantly reduced or
eliminated by the healthy lifestyles that I have recommended on
my web pages.
So what the physicians and the medical community
are going to do is to come up with ways to reverse the
inflammation after it has already begun, whereas in preventative
medicine, wellness and health, it's going to be,
"How do we
avoid the inflammation in the first place?"
Thatís going to be
the big war that you are going to see in the next 10 years.
Mike: And thatís raging right now.
Dr. Strand: Oh, yes.
Mike: I want to come back to
statin drugs, because I'm reminded
of a full-page advertisement that I saw for a brand-name statin
drug, which essentially said that healthy lifestyle changes
arenít enough. You can follow the right diet, you can exercise,
but itís not enough. You need statin drugs. I found that message
Dr. Strand: They have always been very good about saying that
you should use statin drugs only after a trial of healthy
lifestyles. Thatís kind of been the standard approach, but that
doesnít surprise me at all. I feel this is where we are going.
The sad thing is that statin drugs are not that safe.
I mean, I
canít tell you how many patients I've had to take off of those
drugs because of muscle aching, muscle weakness, or because
their liver enzymes went up. What happens is that you struggle
with this, and you are taking statin drugs for the rest of your
The other thing is that a lot of people do not realize the
fact that statin drugs Ė while they do block the production of
cholesterol - also block the production of a very important
nutrient called Coenzyme Q10.
There are some studies appearing in the medical literature
hinting to the fact that once you have been on these drugs for
over eight years, you significantly are increasing your risk of
CoQ10 is a very important nutrient for our immune
system, and it protects our bodies from cancer and illnesses. So
I find that this is a really sad situation, because itís the
promotion of drugs. I strongly believe that the new
recommendations are not right, that this is not the way we
should be going.
Yes, LDL cholesterol and oxidized LDL are a
problem, but it is only one in about a dozen problems you have
to address when a patient who is either at high risk for heart
disease or has had a heart attack comes in.
We are not paying
attention to the fact that it is inflammation that we have to be
working with; not cholesterol.
Mike: Interesting. So once again, we're back to the grand
experiment: Americans as guinea pigs. Ten years down the line,
we might see astonishingly negative side effects from statin
drug use, right?
Dr. Strand: Well, I think so, too. I think we are seeing them
already. But you know what? See, we donít keep statistics. We
donít see adverse drugs reactions appear on death certificates.
We just donít do it. It was the studies that had to actually
come up with [the statistics]. I think thatís why physicians
donít even believe the statistics that I am telling.
In my book, Death by Prescription, I give a tremendous bibliography.
It documents everything that I say, and it's there. All they
have to do is go and look at it themselves. But we need to pride
ourselves, as physicians, to become more active in looking at
third-party information. We don't need all these new drugs. If
someone comes out with a blood pressure medication, the next
time you turn around, we've got ten on the market.
Or these new ARB blood pressure medications
- I think there's six or seven
of them out there. We've got 15 nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories,
and there's not really much advantage of one over the other. I
call them "me too" drugs; they all just come out. So we need to
go with the "tried and true" ones, because once a drug's been
out over five years, we know most of the adverse drug reactions.
Doctors are familiar with them, they cost less and they're just
as effective. Occasionally, they'll come up with a new molecule
or a new compound that is a revolutionary new drug. But that
doesn't happen very often.
Probably less than one percent of the
Mike: What's your take on the situation with drugs from Canada?
The FDA insists that they're unsafe, yet some states are trying
to allow their citizens to purchase drugs from across the
Dr. Strand: Well, it's the same drugs as we're getting here in
the United States - unless someone is being fraudulent and
substituting some scam, which is totally illegal. I've had my
patients go to Mexico and Canada and pick them up. I look at
them, and it's the same drugs that they're getting here. The
same pharmaceutical companies are making it.
It's only that they
can get more money from the United States than from anywhere
else. How much this medication costs is really a sad situation
for those people who have to take it. Generics are part of the
answer, and using older drugs are part of the answer. But there
has to be some kind of economic pressure put on the
pharmaceutical industry to get these drugs down to a reasonable
and affordable price.
The prices are increasing at 17 percent
per year, and they're shooting up costs. Yes, drugs cost a lot
of money to develop; these companies spend over $500 million
each time they want to get a new drug approved on average.
They've got to recover their costs. But, again, a lot of these
drugs have no advantage over what's already on the market. I
quote [in my book] that, back in 1960, we had something like 800
drugs on the market.
Today, we've got 8,000 to 10,000. It's out
of control. We've got to realize that not every new drug around
the corner is really needed.
Mike: I have one last question for you, Dr. Strand. You
mentioned that you're writing a book on obesity and diabetes.
Would you like to give a few hints of what people might find in
that and when it might be available?
Dr. Strand: What we're finding is that the problem is insulin
resistance. Here, again, the recommendation started thirty years
ago. Because the problem was fat and cholesterol, we went to a
high-carb, low-fat diet, thinking this was the healthiest diet
in the world. Not only has heart disease not come down, it's
What we're finding is that those recommendations by
the medical community have created our obesity and diabetes
epidemic. The CDC came out last year and said that a child born
after the year 2000 will run over a 30 percent risk of
developing diabetes at some time in their lifetime. If they
happen to be black or Hispanic, it's going to be nearly 50
It's all because of processed foods, high-glycemic
foods and fast foods that this is happening.
People have to understand that there are good carbohydrates out
there, and we need them, because they contain our antioxidants,
minerals and vitamins. We need our fruits and our vegetables.
They aren't the bad culprits - it's the processed carbs. Not
all fat is bad. We're learning that there is good fat.
omega-3 fats, mono-saturated fats and vegetable fats in their
healthy state will actually lower LDL cholesterol.
total cholesterol and raise your good HDL. For proteins, it's
the same thing. There is good protein out there, and there is
bad protein. So my book pretty much focuses on eating a healthy
diet that does not spike your blood sugar, and it talks about
It is just modest exercise that gets your body moving.
It's also about, of course, taking what I called "cellular
nutrition" which, as I explained earlier, is just a good,
complete and balanced nutritional supplement thatís high in
Mike: It seems that the implied message in all of this - if
you'll allow me to paraphrase - is that obesity and diabetes
are almost universally preventable.
Dr. Strand: Correct. A lot of people donít understand that when you
spike your blood sugar, you over-stimulate insulin release,
because the body has to control blood sugar. Insulin drives the
blood sugar into the cell to either be utilized or stored as
fat. The blood sugar drops dramatically. In at least a majority
of the population, it drops below normal.
So it gets into the
low-blood-sugar range. Our bodies have to get it back up, so in
order to try to raise that blood sugar back to normal, it
stimulates the release of several hormones: cortisol, which is a
stress hormone; adrenaline, the fight-or-flight hormone;
glucagons and growth hormone.
But you are left with an
Many people talk about craving and emotional eating. It's
something that has happened because of this vicious cycle, and
we usually crave another high-glycemic or sugary meal.
keep doing this, and we tend to eat 80 percent more calories
than we normally would if we learned to eat in such way that you
donít spike your blood sugar. When people just understand this,
they feel good. They can eat; itís not a low-calorie diet.
just eat what they want, and they learn to eat the right kinds
of food. You start to exercise, and you improve insulin
sensitivity. Pretty soon you start to release fat. Your body
wonít hold onto fat, and thatís why I called it "releasing
People can actually get a copy of the book at releasingfat.com, which is available now.
Mike: For those reading, you can also check out raystrand.com.
Dr. Strand, I want to thank you so much for sharing your time
and your wisdom with us today.
Dr. Strand: I am glad to have been here. I hope people have
learned that they are the key in protecting not only their own
health, but also in protecting against any adverse drug
They have to realize that this is the role they have
got to play.
Mike: I absolutely agree, and I want to encourage people to be
interested in taking responsibility for their health and
changing their health outcome. They need to start by educating
themselves, and one of the best ways they can do that is by
reading Death By Prescription, learning about nutrition and
getting information from doctors like Dr. Ray Strand, who are
well informed and willing to branch outside the confines of
traditional organized medicine.
Thank you for your time today.
Dr. Strand: Well, thank you very much.