Your Health For Sale


Modern medicine is a marvel! Medicines like the polio vaccine, antibiotics, and cancer cures, and more have increased the number of years we can expect to live. Furthermore, the quality of life has improved along with these medicines. I am grateful to the pioneers, scientists, and doctors that have made it so.

However, I am beginning to wonder and worry about the emphasis on the “for profit” at all levels of the health care system. “For profit” appears to be the only reason the health care system seems to exist these days.

Philosophically I am not against the “for profit,” motive. In fact, I have no problem with “for profit” when it comes to things or goods. But I some times wonder how far “for profit” should go when it comes to our health.

The Hippocratic Oath first says, “Do no harm.” According to Wikipedia,

12th c. Byzantine manuscript of Oath; Source: Wikipedia.

“The Hippocratic Oath is an oath historically taken by physicians and other healthcare professionals swearing to practice medicine ethically.” [Emphasis mine.]

Today the pharmaceutical industry has a profit motive that appears to be designed to never ever let you or me get well or away from their tentacles. Or if I do get well they find some thing new that is wrong with me. Like I don’t have permanent eyeliner in my makeup kit. Give me a break. I do not need a prescription for make up!

The drug companies these days seem to be in the business of selling sickness in order to make a profit on their drugs.

The “for profit” pharmaceutical industry is in the business of disease mongering. That is they promote real and some times not so real diseases and they exaggerate other conditions in order to increase their profits by selling you another pill.

As I wrote yesterday, drugs are big business in America. It is a multi-billon dollar industry.

A recent Washington Times article exposed the worst side of this business. In Drugging America: The drug industry exposed, the underbelly of this multi-billon dollar industry was laid bare for all to see.

Washington D.C., March 27, 2011 – Pharmaceuticals are a $650 plus billion dollar a year industry. For years the most profitable business in theU.S. has been the pharmaceutical corporations, which routinely top the annual fortune 500 list. Doctor prescribed drugs support an industry which out-earns the GNP of many nations.

The key player in this money making business is:

The pharmaceutical representative. [Salesperson] The men and women we see meeting with physicians, walking into offices with gifts of lunch for the staff, meeting with the doctor while you wait for your appointment.

According to the article, Gwen Olsen was a top level pharmaceutical rep for some of the biggest in the industry……

In her second interview for the first company she first worked for she was asked why she wanted a job.

I said ‘well I really want to help people, that’s what I want to do’.

He kind of laughed, smiled, and said “Well, I’m not so sure about that. If altruism is what motivates you, then you better join the peace corp.” Then he smiled, turned around to his desk and started working on his calculator. He said “however, if money is what motivates you, let me tell you how you can retire a millionaire from this job young lady.”

In the article/interview Gwen goes on to say that she was actually trained to misinform people. They are trained, she said,  to become, “psychological profilers and people pleasers. The reps learn how to be people analyzers, so they know how to best influence people.”

You have to learn verbatim the company’s position and their marketing lines- you can’t even vary from that. You practice and practice until it flows naturally and doesn’t sound rehearsed.

I started recognizing really that I was being trained to divert doctor’s attention away from his/her concerns. So, I was learning to misinform and disinform- to counter the doctor’s valid concerns. I wasn’t trained to say “this drug is bad for that patient” or “watch out for this drug’s interaction with that one.” Any information perceived as a negative was always being candy coated.

Gwen was good at what she did. She was a number one sales person for several different pharmaceutical companies.

However, she came to recognize that her job was a life and death matter when she convinced a skeptical doctor to use free samples of a new drug on his most difficult patient; that is one who had not responded to other therapies. The patient the doctor choose was his own mother. And she died.

The pharmaceutical company and Gwen pushed the drug without telling, or brushing aside, the doctor’s real concerns over potential problems and side effects of said drug. Olsen said:

I was acutely aware that it had been my over-zealous and persistent marketing of the product  that had influenced him to do something against his better judgment and, as a consequence, his own mother had paid with her life!

If this story does not make you mad then nothing about the pharmaceutical companies and their tactics will!

The entire article/interview is worth reading, especially the part about using military boot camp techniques during training sessions on the sales reps:

The indoctrination is usually done at the home office during the initial training and is similar to how they do boot camp in the military. They tear you down physically and psychologically,…….

If you read the entire article you will see the techniques used to promote and sell drugs is nothing but naked high pressure sales tactics on our doctors to prescribe more and more pills to an unsuspecting public. 

Do we really NEED all these pills? That is my question.

And I have not even gone into the high amounts of money doctors are paid by the pharmaceutical industry to make speeches at medical conferences and meetings to promote this or that drug.

Nor have I mentioned direct marketing via TV and magazine ads making you believe you have every disease in the world and then demand that your doctor give you the pill du jour.

So don’t get me started!

Featured Recipe       
Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Pineapple

This incredibly delectable side dish is another recipe from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Foods.

This is Martha at her inspired very best.

The bright fall colors look pretty.

It’s sweet smell is so divine it drives my aroma cells crazy.

And it tastes like what I want heaven to taste like.

And best of all it is super simple to make.

This would be a great Thanksgiving dish. It also would make a wonderful Christmas dish. I could eat this with a bowl of soup and bread and butter as a meal in and of itself.

Another wonderful thing about this recipe is the potatoes and pineapple are roasted. First, roasting brings out all the sugars in vegetables and fruits.

Second,  roasting heats up the kitchen which is a wonderful thing during the cold winter months. Nice and cozy and toasty.

This dish would go well with almost any meal excluding maybe pasta.  Wait. Wait!! Wait!!!  NEWS FLASH I just had a brainstorm.  I am thinking if you cut the potato and the pineapple into slightly smaller pieces, add a bit of melted butter, you could mix the finished dish with spaghetti or linguine for a luscious dinner. Serve the pasta with a green salad, and voilà, a perfect meal.

This is the third time I have made this recipe. Much as I liked it I always thought it needed a little some thing else. A little crunch maybe . So today I have decided to add some lightly browned walnuts to the recipe. But any nut would do. I simply choose walnuts cause I had them in my pantry.

I also think that instead of adding nuts, sprinkling the finished dish with some shredded coconut flakes would be wonderful too. This would place the dish close to, if not in, the candy department. But what’s wrong with that? Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down………….

The original recipe calls for adding cayenne pepper. But regular readers here know my over active super sensitive taste buds cannot tolerate that. So of course add it in if you wish.

And although the recipe calls for coarse salt, if you have none just use regular salt.

Martha’s recipe also calls for a fresh pineapple you peel and core yourself. I have done that.


Many, many years ago.

Pineapples are difficult to cut; especially so if you failed scissor cutting like I did in 5th grade. They are tough and prickly. I make a mess of them So sorry Martha. I cheated. I bought an already peeled and cored fresh pineapple at the store.

This is what you will need for 4 servings:

2 sweet potatoes

1 medium pineapple

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Coarse salt

Here is what you do:

Heat the oven to 450 degrees F.

NOTE: I know my oven runs hot, so I set mine for 425 so the potatoes and fruit did not burn too early.

Peel the potatoes.

Cut into 1-inch pieces. I do this by first cutting the potatoes into ¾ to 1 inch thick rounds.  Then I cut those into fourths, some times sixth’s depending on size.

As you know I a m a lazy cook, so I cut and dump right onto the baking sheet sitting to my left.

Now cut the pineapple into 1-inch pieces and dump on the baking sheet too.

Add the vegetable oil and pepper if using, and mix well. Make sure all pieces are covered in a light coating of oil.  Season with the salt. TIP: Also lie each of the pieces flat on the sheet so they can brown and caramalize.

Place the potatoes and fruit into the heated oven.

While the potatoes roast place the walnuts in a skillet over low heat and cook until you can begin to smell the walnuts. Then turn the heat off.

Roast until the potatoes and the fruit are tender and golden, about 30-35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

When done remove from oven and toss in the walnuts.

Serve and enjoy!!!

Bon appétit!!!


2 sweet potatoes                  $1.15

1 medium pineapple              $2.99

2 tblspns vegetable oil           $0.07

¼ tspn cayenne pepper         $did not use ?

Coarse salt                           $0.01

Total cost = $4.22
Cost per person = $1.06

Quote of the Day

There’s lots of people in this world who spend so much time watching their health that they haven’t the time to enjoy it. 

Josh Billings

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3 comments to Your Health For Sale

  • Looks yummy. 🙂 I had a different type of smaller, sweeter pineapple when I was in Tahiti and they don’t have an obnoxious fibery core you have to cut out. You can just hack off the top and stick your spoon in to eat it like it’s coming out of a cup.

    Regarding health stuff, yeah, I had a doctor that prescribed taking those expensive heart burn pills daily for me when I was in my 20s. Never occurred to her to figure out *why* I might have trouble with acid reflux and other issues when I was that young. Went to a naturopath who tested me for food allergies — gluten and dairy were off the charts. I eliminated those and my health problems (and the need for medication — at the time I was on inhalers for asthma and medicine for environmental allergies too) disappeared. It was less than $200 total for all of the allergy testing (and you can actually figure that stuff out for free by doing elimination diets). I don’t trust mainstream doctors to have a clue at all any more. None of them think to link our diets to all the diseases running amok. Duh?

    • Roberta

      Unfortunately, Lindsay, your experience is so typical. Thanks for sharing your expereince. Glad you finally got to the root of the problem and are better now.
      Those Tahiti pineapples sound great. Would love to taste one.

  • […] You can also read my posts on this same topic from way back in 2011: Popping Pills and Your Health For Sale. […]