HOW BIG PHARMA TOOK OVER MEDICINE
When Dr. George H. Simmons began in 1899 what became a twenty-five year reign as head of the American Medical Association (AMA), it was a weak organization with little money and little respect from the general public. The advertising revenue from its medical journal, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), was a paltry $34,000 per year. The AMA realized that competition was causing physicians’ incomes to dwindle, as the number of medical schools had increased from around 90 (in 1880) to over 150 (in 1903).
Chiropractic had just been introduced into the mainstream, homeopathy was thriving, herbalists were flourishing, all the while regular doctors were unable to profit from their medical practices. With the state governments reluctant to create laws restricting the various healing arts, Simmons hired Joseph McCormack (the secretary of the Kentucky State Board of health) to “rouse the profession to lobby.” With McCormack leading the charge, the AMA began to bolster their ranks, preaching ethics (like not competing with other physicians or publishing your prices) and decrying “quackery” (anything that competed with regular medicine).
Simmons was shrewd enough to have the AMA establish a Council on Medical Education in 1904. This council’s stated mission was to “upgrade medical education” – a noble goal. However, the Council on Medical Education had actually devised a plan to rank medical schools throughout the country, but their guidelines were dubious, to say the least. For instance, just having the word “homeopathic” in the name of a medical school reduced their ranking because the AMA asserted that such schools taught “an exclusive dogma.”
However, by 1910, the AMA was out of money and didn’t have the funds to complete the project. The Rockefellers had joined forces with the Carnegie foundation to create an education fund, and they were approached by N. P. Colwell (secretary of the Council on Medical Education) to finish the job they had started, but could no longer fund. Rockefeller and Carnegie agreed. Simon Flexner, who was on the Board of Directors for the Rockefeller Institute, proposed that his brother, Abraham, who knew nothing about medicine, be hired for the project. On a side note, although their names are not very well known, the Flexner brothers have probably influenced the lives of more people and in a more profound way than any other brothers in the last century, with the possible exception of Wilbur and Orville Wright. After going bankrupt attempting to run a boarding school, Abraham Flexner was hired by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The Rockefellers and Carnegies had traditionally worked together in the furtherance of their mutual goals, and this certainly was no exception. The Flexner brothers represented the lens that brought both the Rockefeller and the Carnegie fortunes into sharp focus on the medical profession.
Their plan was to “restructure” the AMA and “certify” medical schools based solely upon Flexner’s recommendations. The AMA’s head of the Council on Medical Education traveled with Flexner as they evaluated medical schools. Eventually, Flexner submitted a report to The Carnegie Foundation entitled “Medical Education in the United States and Canada,” which is also known as the “Flexner report.” Not surprisingly, the gist of the report was that it was far too easy to start a medical school and that most medical schools were not teaching “sound medicine.”
The medical sociologist Paul Starr wrote in his Pulitzer Prize-winning book (The Social Transformation of American Medicine): “The AMA Council became a national accrediting agency for medical schools, as an increasing number of states adopted its judgments of unacceptable institutions.” Further, he noted: “Even though no legislative body ever set up … the AMA Council on Medical Education, their decisions came to have the force of law.” With the AMA grading the various medical colleges, it became predictable that the homeopathic colleges, even the large and respected ones, would eventually be forced to stop teaching homeopathy or die. And that’s exactly what happened.
Published in 1910, the Flexner report (quite correctly) pointed out the inadequacies of medical education at the time. No one could take exception with that. It also proposed a wide range of sweeping changes, most of which were entirely sound. No one could take exception with those, either. However, Flexner’s recommendations emphatically included the strengthening of courses in pharmacology and the addition of research departments at all “qualified” medical schools.
It is what followed in the wake of the Flexner report that reveals its true purpose in the total plan. With public backing secured by the publication of the Flexner report, Carnegie and Rockefeller commenced a major upgrade in medical education by financing only those medical schools that taught what they wanted taught. In other words, they began to immediately shower hundreds of millions of dollars on those medical schools that were teaching “drug intensive” medicine.
Predictably, those schools that had the financing churned out the better doctors. In return for the financing, the schools were required to continue teaching course material that was exclusively drug oriented
with no emphasis put on natural medicine. The end result of the Flexner report was that all accredited medical schools became heavily oriented toward drugs and drug research. In 1913, Simmons and the AMA went on the offensive even more strongly by their establishment of the “Propaganda Department,” which was dedicated to attacking any and all unconventional medical treatments and anyone (M.D. or not) who practiced them.
The purpose was to dominate the oil and chemical (which eventually became the “pharmaceutical”) markets, and the Flexner report gave both of these tycoons the “ammunition” they needed to achieve that goal. In the end, the Rockefeller/Carnegie plan was a smashing success. Those medical schools that did not conform were denied the funds and the prestige that came with those funds, and were forced out of business.
By 1925, over 10,000 herbalists were out of business. By 1940, over 1500 chiropractors would be prosecuted for practicing “quackery.” The 22 homeopathic medical schools that flourished in 1900 dwindled to just 2 in 1923. By 1950, all schools teaching homeopathy were closed. In the end, if a physician did not graduate from a Flexner approved medical school and receive an M.D. degree; he or she couldn’t find a job.
The Flexner report was the commencement of a conspiracy to limit and eventually eliminate competition from natural, non-pharmaceutical, non-patentable treatments for disease. This is why today M.D.s are so heavily biased toward synthetic drug therapy and know little about nutrition. They don’t even study health; they study disease. Modern doctors are taught virtually nothing about nutrition, wellness or disease prevention.
Expecting a medical doctor to guide you on health issues is sort of like expecting your CPA to pilot a jet airliner. It’s simply not an area in which they have been trained. That’s not to say M.D.s aren’t intelligent people. Most of them have high IQs. But even a genius can’t teach you something they know nothing about. And, yes, doctors can be fooled, “snookered” and “bamboozled” too, just like the rest of us.