cells, tissues and
organs are injured. This requires a major
intellectual adaptation, and that is unsettling for
physicians trained only in drug therapies.
Preventive medicine cannot be practiced with
drugs—this is self-evident. Disease prevention
requires management of the environment, nutrition,
stress and physical fitness. However, no real effort
is made in drug medicine to address these issues.
Indeed, physicians who practice nutritional and
environmental medicine are aggressively persecuted
by those who sit on hospital governing and state
licensing boards. Americans pay an exorbitant price
for this—in missed opportunities for healing with
natural therapies, in escaping the toxicity of
avoidable drugs, and in avoiding the high cost of
unnecessary diagnostic and treatment procedures.
Medicine Is Maligned in the U.S.
A core problem in the U.S. today is that we have
raised generations of physicians who believe that
diseases can be treated only with drugs or scalpels.
They dismiss as quackery all empirical therapies
that have been proven effective by extensive
clinical experience in the hands of physicians who
practice empirical medicine, employing nondrug and
nontoxic nutritional, environmental and physical
work. It is profoundly ironic that those who speak
vehemently against empirical medicine seem to have
the least understanding of how poorly prevailing
medicine measures up to the standards of science in
medicine. Consider the following quote from The
Journal of the American Medical Association
Much, if not most, of contemporary
medical practice still lacks scientific
Open Letter to the U.S. Congres
Two elements characterize medicine in the U.S.
today: The cost of health care continues to
escalate, and the health of Americans continues to
deteriorate. If the two trends were to hold, a time
can be foreseen when the nation's total resources
will have to be committed to health care, and
everyone will be unwell.
On December 28, 1993, the Commerce Department
announced that total health care spending in the
U.S. will exceed $1 trillion in 1994 (The New York
Times News Service, Dec. 12, 1993). As far as the
deteriorating health of Americans, consider the
1. Pediatricians in Baltimore County
prescribed drugs to six percent of the
children there for disciplinary purposes (JAMA
260:2256; 1988). There are communities in
the U.S. in which a still larger number of
children are administered Ritalin,
amphetamines and other drugs to control
hyperactivity/attention deficit disorders.
2. The incidence of chronic fatigue among
our children and adults is pervasive—one in
four Americans saw his family practitioner
for chronic fatigue according to some
studies (JAMA 260:929; 1988).
3. It is felt that as many as 44 percent
of adult Americans need antianxiety drugs (N
Eng J Med 328;1399; 1993).
4. One in four American males is
considered to suffer from disordered
breathing while sleeping and is thought to
require a machine to assist breathing (N Eng
J Med 328; 1230; 1993).
5. The incidence of cancers of the breast
and prostate is increasing in epidemic
proportions, while progress in cancer
treatment during the last 35 years is
considered a failure (N Eng J Med 314:1226;
6. Deaths and the risk of death from
asthma and other respiratory disorders are
increasing as are immune disorders among
Americans of all ages (N Eng J Med 321:1517;
7. Coronary angioplasty and bypass
surgery do not reverse coronary artery
disease; notwithstanding, the number of
these procedures is skyrocketing.
The more we spend, the sicker we get. How can
this be? The two core problems of American
medicine—in my view—are these: 1) We address the
21st-century problems of environment, nutrition and
stress with the 19th-century notions of disease and
drugs, and 2) We have raised generations of
physicians who believe all nondrug, nonscalpel
therapies are quackery.
Nutrients—not drugs—heal injured tissues. Drug
medicine is a medicine of blockage. Drugs—essential
as they are for acute, life-threatening
diseases—work by blocking essential physiologic
processes, i.e., calcium channel blockers block cell
membrane channels, ACE enzyme inhibitors block
enzymes that are necessary for the production of
certain essential hormones, beta blockers block beta
receptors on cell membranes, antidepressants block
the uptake of some neurotransmitters.
The fact that nutrient therapies work is
suppressed today. Herbal prescriptions in
experienced hands are both safe and effective for
chronic disorders. Americans prefer nondrug
therapies to drug regimensxx (N Eng J Med
328:246;1993), yet the leadership of organized
medicine in the united States continues to
vehemently oppose natural, nondrug therapies. The
nutrient and herbal therapies are considered
effective by those who prescribe them. Why do we
allow those who neither prescribe such therapies nor
understand them to dismiss them as ineffective? The
U.S. Congress must answer these questions before it
can change the direction of medicine in the U.S.
Medical research in the U.S. is outstanding. We
outspend all other nations in new drug and
development. Our hospitals are far better
equipped than those of any other country. American
physicians, by and large, are well-trained,
knowledgeable, diligent and caring professionals. So
why are we Americans so disappointed with results?
Why do so many Americans look to natural, nondrug
and nontechnology solutions to our health problems?
Why is it that the more we spend, the sicker we
What can be done? I make five specific proposals
to the U.S Congress:
First, it should enact legislation that will
ensure freedom of choice in health care for all U.S.
Ironically, although Americans are known to hold
dear their right to the pursuit of freedom of life,
liberty and happiness, people with chronic illness
in this land of Jefferson have less freedom of
choice when it comes to therapy than those in any
other country. The dogma of drug medicine
emphatically denies Americans thousands of effective
and inexpensive nondrug therapies widely used
elsewhere. The principal reason for this is that the
prevailing standards of drug medicine hold that any
therapy that cannot be double-blinded and
crossed-over cannot be scientifically valid. All
nondrug therapies are considered unproven,
unscientific and irresponsible. This frivolous
notion is utterly irrelevant to holistic medicine,
in which neither the practitioner nor the patient
wants to be—nor can be—blinded to the true nature of
therapy for extended periods of time.
Second, it should enact legislation that will
liberate physicians who practice empirical medicine
with natural, nondrug therapies from the tyranny of
Physicians who use the nondrug therapies of
empirical medicine live in constant—and
well-founded—fear of harassment and revocation of
their licenses, regardless of how impeccable their
credentials might be. Anyone can ascertain the
legitimacy of this statement at conferences of the
American Academies of Preventive and Environmental
Medicines and the American College of Advancement in
Medicine, the two three organizations committed to
preventive medicine and use nondrug therapies.