Health Supplements vs Pharmaceuticals

Medicine-whether in the form of health supplements or pharmaceuticals-is big business indeed. With profit margins that are nearly four times the average of any other business, the pharmaceutical industry enjoys a top position being amongst the most profitable businesses in the world.

The nutraceutical industry is not far behind offering stiff competition to pharmaceutical counterparts. Research is booming and science-based studies have given successful impetus to the plant-based health supplement industry. Some of the more popular botanicals like as Echinacea, gingko biloba, ginseng, garlic, and St. John’s Wort are seeing sales that put them in the same league with many prescription drugs. In fact, so popular is the health supplement industry that pharmaceutical giants like Bayer, American Home Products, Johnson and Johnson and Boeheringer-Ingelheim have all begun to sell supplements!

What is the Difference?

There is not much of a difference between nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals except for the way in which they are regulated in the United States although both are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drugs Administration. Major differences include:

* Pharmaceuticals that are derived from plant proteins for vaccines and medical treatments are not the same as nutraceuticals. The major difference is that pharmaceuticals are designed specifically for medical use under a physician’s supervision, and are subject to Food And Drugs Administration approval.
Health supplements do not need medical supervision, nor Food And Drugs Administration approval.
* Pharmaceuticals need prescription from a certified doctor for purchase. The choice of a health supplements is up to the individual. Health supplements are sold without restrictions at health food stores, grocery stores, drug stores, national discount chains, mail-order and Internet.
* There are no strict regulating laws governing health supplements. Just about anyone can put together a health supplement, notify the Food And Drugs Administration , and put it in the market. In stark contrast, it takes anywhere between 8-12 years for a new drug to be approved by the Food And Drugs Administration . Pharmaceuticals undergo intense regulatory reviews by the Food And Drugs Administration .
* Because of stricter regulations, pharmaceuticals have greater evidence of efficacy and safety. Whereas health supplements are based on tradition with insufficient evidence of safety and efficacy. However, this is changing as new research builds up to support the health benefits of some of the accepted nutrients. Eg omega 3 fatty acids.
* Pharmaceuticals are patented. Herbs and health supplements are not patented and therefore the profits are limited with stiff competition from all kinds of health supplement manufacturers.
* Pharmaceuticals spend millions of dollars for research and paperwork for a new therapeutic claim of an established drug all to satisfy Food And Drugs Administration requirements. Food And Drugs Administration requirements for health supplements are not at all stringent apart from barring them from making any false health claims about their product and adding a disclaimer: “This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”
* Pharmaceuticals come with various side effects. Known side effects are required to be disclosed on the label. While health supplements do not require a listing of side effects, there tends to be fewer cases of side effects associated with the use of health supplements.

Complaining about the high cost of traditional medicine and side effects, many people are turning to alternative medicine in the form of health supplements. A report by the Hartman Group, a leading market research firm called, “The Wellness Trends in 2002” found that Americans are beginning to place the family and good health above the daily routines of life. Among those interviewed many expressed frustration with U.S. healthcare system and wanted more control over their own health. The report said, “Dietary supplements … (allow) them a way of self-managing their own health … giving them a sense of empowerment,” the report states. This is an advantage over pharmaceuticals.According to the Nutrition Business Journal fast growth in the nutraceutical market is seen in weight-loss products.

The demand for such products is growing as you consider the more than 120 million overweight Americans and 17 million diabetics who are looking for supplements that increase metabolism, suppress or satiate appetite, and control blood sugar. Such sectors in the health supplement industry have gained footage over pharmaceuticals.In America, 60% of the consumers take some kind of food supplement and 30 to 40% take herbal supplements. Health supplements are gaining such credibility that many physicians are recommending them to their patients before prescribing riskier pharmaceuticals. Of the health supplement users 95% are satisfied with supplements.In the meanwhile, research is still booming in both industries! Health supplement manufacturers continue to unveil groundbreaking products as new evidence supporting the health benefits of nutraceuticals emerges.

Pharmaceutical Advertising in the Health Care

Pharmaceutical advertising is the dynamic process by which a market for pharmaceutical care is actualized. It includes all the activities and processes executed by groups, agencies, and organizations to fill a gap (in this case, a market) in the pharmaceutical care. Marketing, on the other hand, is the process of planning and carrying out the creation, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, good, and services that satisfy the needs of individuals and organizations.

Pharmaceutical advertising has played a fundamental role in the delivery of health care since its outset. And to fully understand its impact, one has to consider the various roles it plays in the health care continuum.

As research and development focus on chemical compounds and its direct effect in the human body, pharmaceutical advertising becomes the channel at which these crucial information is delivered to prescribers. Marketing provides physicians an informed choice of carefully characterized agents, specific to the needs of individual patients.

Pharmaceutical advertising allows research concepts to be transformed into usable tools. The data gathered in these researches are communicated and made readily available to the health care system via marketing.

Certainly, one objective of promotion is to increase sales. But the marketing communications activities of the industry are primarily informational and serve to educate the medical profession regarding how, when, and when not to use a medicine. These are among the most important activities of the pharmaceutical industry. At its core, this research-intensive, high technology industry is also an information service industry.

Marketing also plays an essential role in pharmaceutical innovation. Without a concrete channel where information about new drugs can be delivered, there will be no innovation in the health care delivery. Prescribers are unlikely to be aware of a new product unless companies make a systematic effort to communicate its availability.

In an advertising perspective, pharmaceutical advertising gives physicians other alternatives when prescribing. Advertising is a cost-effective mechanism for creating awareness about new products, approved new uses for existing products, new formulations, and new adverse effects.5 Although advertising medical products have rational limitations, as required by organizations such as the FDA, advertising does play a major role in supporting the flow of medical information in noncommercial channels.

The very nature of drugs is to alter the health of the consumers and thus the drug industry, including the pharmaceutical advertising industry, plays a prominent role in changing and sustaining the society. And with the presence of constant technological innovations, such as social media, pharmaceutical advertising will continue to play these important roles in the evolution and development of the health care continuum.

Pharmaceutical Health Products

In a world inundated with all manners of personal care products it might be hard to distinguish those which are of true value from those which are not. Though difficult, it is generally important that one does this, and especially so in regard to health related products where the cost of using ineffective or even harmful products can be very high. Although there is no easy way to individually determine the value of each of the millions of health products currently in use, the world of health products is roughly divided into two groups, and identifying some distinguishing characteristics between these two can help one start to sift through the otherwise mind boggling multitude of health products available today. The two groups of products are generally natural herbal and Ayurveda products on the one hand and synthetic drugs on the other. Let’s explore a couple of the distinguishing characteristics of these two types of health products.

The different manners of production of Ayurvedic products and synthetic drugs render no small difference between the constituents of their respective products. Whereas synthetic drugs isolate and extract individual chemicals from plants or synthesize their own analogs, Ayurveda products utilize the plant in specific parts or as a whole, and this creates a fundamental difference in the nature of the products. Due to this method of production, synthetic drugs often include one, two, or at most a handful of active ingredients, while Ayurveda products include an often uncounted range of subtly distinct and natural analogs.

Although the simplicity of composition of synthetic drugs may seem to be a safer, more precise, and more effective means of treatment, it ultimately detracts from their effectiveness. In a plant, there are hundreds and thousands of chemicals some bearing only slight variations to one another and which work synergystically with each other to render their effects more thorough and well rounded. This diversity is appropriate and necessary for the treatment of not only the complexities of a single person’s body, but even more so the diversity of bodies of the human race. The isolation of a single of chemical strips the chemical of its full effects which is found in only its natural synergistic environment and greatly limits its applicability. The use of isolated ingredients is based upon a crude over generalization of human and plant physiology. Modern pharmaceutical science is beginning to realize this, and often conjoins several chemicals in the same drug, but even a handful of chemicals pales in comparison to the cornucopia of active agents found in one Ayurvedic herb. Furthermore, there is little known about the effects which synthesized chemicals have on the human body, both in the short and long term.

While the novelty and apparent power of synthetic chemicals is attractive, the lack of knowledge the human race has about these drugs can be disconcerting to the attentive mind. Most of the pharmaceutical products which are available for use today are not more than 10-15 years old, and almost none of them more than a century. The chemical synthesis which is done today is a relatively young science which has yet to really show its effects. Although, the manufactures and purveyors of pharmaceutical drugs do research their products, most testing is done on rats and the inescapable demands of the market do not allow them time to truly test the products. Furthermore, even if the products were thoroughly tested in the short term, the science is just too young to allow for much generational or multi-generational testing. Consequently, those who use such drugs now are inescapably the long term, and occasionally even short term, test subjects.

Conversely, the many of the ayurvedic products which are available today are made using plants which the human race has utilized for thousands of years and according to specific formulations which date back as long. Ayurvedic herbs and treatments have been tried and tested for generations upon generations, and have thoroughly proven both their safety and efficacy. Through this time ayurvedic products have been carefully honed to perfection, and with the advent of modern technology and analytical techniques these products have been yet further perfected. There is no need to play the part of the guinea pig when it comes to ayurvedic medicine.

These are two differences between ayurvedic products and synthetic drugs which arise from the fundamentally different approaches to medical treatment formulation. Though there are many other differences which one can explore, understanding the implications of these two will give one quite a bit to chew on when deciding which route to take regarding treatment. These present important things to consider and questions to ask oneself before using any health product. For example, “What kind of side effects is this product going to have on my body? How do I find out? Does anybody know? Is it worth the risk?” It is important not to be overwhelmed by the multitude of products and information out in the world. Start by making clear and simple distinctions and discover what is right for you. It could have a significant impact on your life.

Scenarios For Health Care Reform

With the health care debate raging in the United States, many experts have already forecasted many possible scenarios for what could be the end result, but are they accurate? As lawmakers continue to wrestle over such issues as the public option, and extending coverage to the uninsured, there is no debate that the government is looking to cut costs in the health care system, which could spell trouble for the pharmaceutical industry.  The pharmaceutical industry knows that with health-care reform on the way, the prescription drugs industry will be the first to get the axe, losing major pricing power, especially in the Medicare market.  While it is still up in the air whether a public option will pass, the pharmaceutical industry knows that a strong government controlled pricing plan spells big problems for the industry.

Even though the pharmaceutical industry has reason to be concerned, according to some pharmaceutical sales consultants all over the country, health care reform is not all bad news.  Because of the 46 million uninsured U.S. citizens likely to get some form of health care in the next 5 years, that equates for big profits for the pharmaceutical industry.  With more insured Americans getting more access for branded and generic prescription drugs, this will only mean more business for drug makers and a boost in demand.  But the pharmaceutical industry is not so convinced.  Because half of large drug company sales come from overseas, they see this boost as being inconsequential to the money they are going to lose on the federal price gauging that is likely to take place.

Here are some possible health care scenarios, some which may be good for the pharmaceutical industry, some which could even be disastrous.  One scenario is that the government will use its buying power, through Medicare programs, to demand lower drug prices from the pharmaceutical industry.  This program could lower the drug prices in Medicare up to 15%, with the burden of cost falling directly on the pharmaceutical companies.  However, with Medicare only representing about 20% of drug spending in the United States, and roughly half that world-wide, it would only amount to about a 2% decrease in the cost of pharmaceutical drugs.  However, this is not the only scenario.  Some expect that with the increase in coverage from formally uninsured citizens, the government will demand Medicaid pricing for this group, possibly slashing prices of U.S. drugs up to 10%.

Even though the pharmaceutical companies support health care reform, they may not be eagerly supporting a nationalized health care plan.  A nationalized plan, although unlikely at this point, could cut prescription drugs up to 15% even to 30% if the national plan offers very little choice for consumers.  Under this worst case scenario for the pharmaceutical industry, they could see their stock values fall up to 40%.  Any pharmaceutical consultant will tell you this scenario is unlikely, but it is speculations like these that fuel the passion and uncertainty that has become the health care reform debate.  Only time well tell.

Health Supplements

Our genes hold the key to our lifestyle and nutrient well being. With health care costs rising, many people are taking their health into their own hands and searching for alternative health care solutions. Not only are they seeking treatments for what already ails them, but also for what they can prevent in the future. There is a company that now utilizes DNA testing to pinpoint various deficiencies each of us may have, and create a truly individualized nutritional product based on those results.

The DNA between any two humans is 99% identical. With the exception of identical twins, just a fraction of variation in our DNA makeup will account for the major difference in one human to another. These small variations are called single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs, scientists have identified approximately 1.4 million single based differences in human DNA.

Lets break this down into simple terms. The chemical based pairs in DNA are defined by the letters A, G, C, and T. DNA is a string of 3 million of these letters, all following a specific pattern. Sometimes, there will be just one letter variation in this string, making each human individual. This one letter is the SNP. SNPs on average occur once every 2000 letters in the DNA string.

This explains why different people will have different reactions to pharmaceuticals, health care products, and topical skin treatments. They are the first and only company to utilize this scientific testing so that people can live healthier and longer lives; testing approximately twelve key SNPs so that you can obtain optimal health.

For every SNP tested there are unique compensating nutrients to help you achieve optimal health. Take the guess work out of which supplements and skin care products are most suitable for you. The laboratory will look at your DNA and find the SNPs and provide you the most comparable nutritional and skin care product. You will know your body is receiving exactly what it needs, and it will be delivered directly to your door.

New Health Care Overhaul

Now that the year long, and oftentimes ugly journey towards health care reform is coming to an end, many are curious as well as concerned about what this health care overhaul means for them. What we have heard is that this new landmark legislation will extend health care coverage to 32 million Americans who are currently uninsured, and stop insurance companies from discriminating from patients with pre-existing conditions.

But what else will this milestone legislation cover? With so many half truths being spoken it is not surprising that the misinformation about health care circulating has confused most Americans. Now the question being asked by many is what does this change actually mean for them personally and how will it change their lives?

While many of the provisions in this bill do not officially start until 2014, there are a few key provisions that will be effective immediately. One of these provisions is that starting this year, children and young adults will able to stay on their parents’ health plan until they are 26 years old. Another immediate provision, as we mentioned earlier, is that insurance companies can no longer discriminate towards people who may have pre-existing conditions, and these people, for the first time, will also be eligible for high risk insurance programs.

Other reforms starting this year include a small business tax credit of up to 35% of the cost of any premiums. Also, insurance companies will be banned from lifetime caps on coverage and are no longer able to cancel a policy.

And yet another new provision that will take effect in the upcoming year is the provision of prohibiting insurance companies to enable pre-existing condition policies when it comes to the coverage of children.

While these reforms will be taking place immediately, the major bulk of the bill will take into effect as of 2014. This is when new insurance marketplaces, or exchanges, will be set up in states all over the country to offer individuals competitive health policies for businesses or individuals that don’t have coverage. Lifetime and annual limits on coverage will also be eliminated at this time. Other stipulations include, starting 2014, that any persons who do not obtain coverage will have to pay a penalty of either $95 or 1% of their income, whichever one is the highest.

While many of these stipulations are real positive steps toward true health care reform, one of the main questions being asked is how these new laws will affect your current health care plan. While there is still no consensus on this matter, many in the pharmaceutical industry like manufactures, pharmaceutical consultants, even doctors do not feel this will affect your plans in any way. Many news reports about this health care bill, they feel, have been distorted in the way the spirit of the bill was intended.

Many believe that, not only will this new health care reform not change your existing insurance, it will be a positive step in the right direction towards true health care reform.

Comparative Effectiveness and Health Care Reform

As the debate rages in the United States over health care reform, some are seeing good signs for the public sector, but bad signs for the pharmaceutical industry. Despite Republican-backed legislation that prohibits any use of comparative effectiveness, which means that the government can’t use research to dictate care, they are receiving major pushback from the pharmaceutical industry.

Comparative effectiveness is a hot bedded issue because it challenges the power of the government over the power of the public sector. The big pharmaceutical companies have been attacking this for years, as they fear head-to-head studies would favor the lower-cost treatments over typical, more expensive branded medicine. While the government, on the other hand, simply sees this as just another way of cutting cost. The large pharmaceutical companies don’t want these research mandates being the final decider in treatment guidelines and insurance coverage, while the government sees this as unnecessary and wasteful spending, as well as being bad for the common citizen. And the debate rages on.

However, the Senate is currently working on a compromise to resolve this issue, but will it be enough? The Senate is currently working on many comparative effectiveness provisions in its new version of the health care bill, which contains some interesting elements. The Democrats in the Senate supports either non-affiliated pharmaceutical consultancy firms, or non-profits, to conduct all the research, instead of a government appointed agency. The bill would also negate any medical practice guidelines or insurance coverage recommendations as being the final say in recommending treatments, as the pharmaceutical companies fear.

However, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, as well as the National Institute of Health beg to differ. They see comparative effectiveness as an optimum way for not only doctors, but also patients, to have the ability to pick the most effective care, as well as control health care costs. They are stating that without the proper research into these new expensive treatments, there will be no way to cut costs on these expensive treatments down the line, thus making them unaffordable for those who need them most. But the large pharmaceutical companies disagree and say that any cost comparisons would only lead to further denial of care, not the dissipation of it.

As the debate rages on, speculations on who’s really looking out for the American people are starting to surface. With the Democrats promising change in the last election, a lot of Americans are just seeing politics as usual. A lot of people in the Democratic Party are seeing conservative Democrats, called “Blue Dog” Democrats, as being the major stumbling block to this compromise taking place. It has also been reported that “Blue Dog” Democrats have received much more funding from the pharmaceutical industry in recent years, and are in the tank for the pharmaceutical industry. Pharmaceutical consulting firms believe only time will tell how this story unfolds, but as cooler weather approaches, there is no doubt that this debate about health care will only heat up, rather than cool off.

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Natural Vitamins-Minerals, Superfoods and Healthy

America is undergoing a massive experiment to determine whether pharmaceuticals really work — basically… a large percentage of our population are just lab rats. Hopefully, every rational thinking person is coming to the conclusion that pharmaceutical drugs really don’t improve the health of those who take them and that the use of super foods, natural vitamins and minerals and a good healthy lifestyle are the answer to our nation’s health problems.

The sad fact of the matter is that the more pharmaceuticals you take, the sicker you will eventually be. That’s because pharmaceutical drugs create imbalances in our bodies that eventually lead to even more and worse side effects that we originally took the drug for. It is pretty ironic that many of the drugs people take actually cause the very things they claim to prevent. Osteoporosis drugs cause hip fractures. Cancer drugs cause cancer. Antidepressants cause suicidal thoughts. Steroids, etc.cause more problems to those with auto-immune diseases such as arthritis and more obscure diseases such as itp (idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura). The list goes on ad infinitum.

It is really difficult to comprehend that nearly half of all Americans now use prescription drugs on a regular basis as documented by the Center for Disease Control in a report just recently released. (1) More than one in ten Americans use five or more prescription drugs regularly and amazingly almost a third of the citizens of the US consistently use two or more drugs. No wonder we are such a sick nation!

In the same CDC report, it was revealed that nine out of ten seniors are on drugs….and the most sickening news is that one in five children are regular users of prescription drugs. The total combined cost of our “drug” habit is over $234 billion in 2008. Honestly, what is our country doing? The most commonly used drugs were:

• Statin drugs for older people

• Asthma drugs for children

• Antidepressants for middle-aged people

• Amphetamine stimulants for children

America as a nation has become one big drug addict! Senior citizens are being drugged for nearly every symptom a doctor can locate, children are being doped up with (legalized) speed, and men and women are popping anti-depressants at an alarming rate.

Prescription drug addictions are on the rise, as well. And it’s getting worse all the time. But just wait til the new health reform insurance regulations come into effect. Most of the bill was designed to give favor to the pharmaceutical industry, so that more people can be put on medications.

This mass drugging of America has virtually reached the point of no return where the future of the US is in grave danger. Pharmaceutical drugs are known to cause cognitive decline, and when most of the nation gets to the point that their thinking is disrupted…our country will fall apart.

And what about the financial cost of America’s drug addiction: The more drugs you take, the more added sickness and symptoms you have, the more drugs you take and so on until it eventually kills you. Just about one out of every five dollars out of the entire U.S. economy now being spent on sickness and disease. America is stuck on the vicious hamster wheel of sickness and high priced drugs that actually cure no one… stuck in a cycle of high-cost drug treatments and eventual destruction of the health.

No one ever gets healthier from taking prescription drugs. They don’t cure and they don’t prevent disease, only hide symptoms. Pharmaceuticals only maintain patients in a kind of “pre-death state” where they’re alive just enough to keep buying more drugs. Pharmaceutical companies don’t want you dead because that would reduce their profits. And they certainly don’t want you to be healthy either, because then they wouldn’t have any customers.

It is a known fact that people manage to get the best nutrition and natural supplements are the ones who live a healthy and drug free life. Why do you think they keep lobbying congress to introduce horrible bills that control the natural health industry. It is certainly not for the good of the people, only so that they can control the population and increase profits. Pharmaceutical drugs are designed with one thing in mind….to keep you in a continual diseased state without curing your condition but also without killing you outright so that you will remain a sick and dependent drug user to increase their bottom line.

You just barely chemically exist, spending massive amounts of hard earned money while your memory fades, and your health declines. Pharmaceuticals don’t work! Don’t you think it’s obvious? If they really did work to improve health, then wouldn’t it be logical to conclude that over half of the US that uses pharmaceutical drugs should be the healthiest half? And that those people living naturally and consuming natural vitamins and minerals would be the unhealthiest? Hmmm? Something is not adding up!

Modern medicine and specifically the Pharmaceutical industry, is ravaging our country at record speed. The obvious “cure” for this problem is to get rid of what is not working (ie: pharmaceuticals) and start re-building our nation’s health with the things that are working to keep us healthy…Precisely, nutrition, natural vitamins minerals, super foods and a natural lifestyle.

Pharmaceutical Guide

If asked to name one thing that affects our life in most phases one would hardly say pharmaceuticals. But wait this is a fact that most of us since our birth depend on pharmaceuticals in one-way or other. Definitely by age our dependence on pharmacy products increases but even teenagers and young ones consume a big percentage of pharmaceutical derivatives.

Pharmaceuticals play a vital role in our day-to-day living. And hence their rising costs are destined to be our major concern. The ever growing prices of pharmaceutical products severely pinches one’s pocket, cause this is one area where there is no choice of take or leave. If a person is suffering from certain disease and the doctor prescribes him any medicines he must purchase it whether it suits his pocket or not. One is left with no choice but to pay the chemist. Hence there is a great need to regulate the prices of drugs, at least to watch that its price is not much above the cost incurred plus a marginal profit for the manufacturing company. As of now many market leaders are found to price their monopoly drugs at a very high rate. Even medicines or regular use are very costly. Drugs sold by prescription being much more expensive than those sold over the counter by the chemist. Hence, a person is often tempted to go for over the counter choice.

Big pharmaceutical players in the market also pay much attention to research and development of new medications possible. A big amount of money is invested in the R & D branch of the industry. Based on the market requirements and demands companies try hard to invent a suitable drug to cure any ailment. Millions are spend in this type of research. And once any company hopes to have created any new medicine it has to pass through many different stages to get the approval of the drug controlling authority, FDA. FDA governs the stages of research, development and manufacture that have been undergone for any new drug before being exposed to consumers. Only after it has approved and given its quality assurance any drug shall be sold to public.

Even before any drug is presented to FDA it undergoes intensive testing which is carried on animals and even humans. These tests confirm about the effectiveness of the medicine and makes sure that the invented drug does not have any serious side effects. Animals that are used to carry these tests often raise a controversy among the environmentalists. They strongly object about animals being tortured for the benefit of mankind. While the companies defend by saying that it is important to save mankind and those animals can easily reproduce. Whatever be the case this controversy goes on forever without a suitable solution. All this research work is necessary so that the ultimate consumer gets nothing but the best.

With the high growth rate in the pharmaceutical industry all the companies employed in this sector are facing though competition. There is a constant endeavor to attract the consumers by direct marketing and efficient advertising plans targeted towards customers. We all need to be aware of what types of drugs are available in the market and take our judgment meticulously and not get carried away by advertisements.