America’s Medical Apartheid
About a decade ago, my late colleague Dr. Martin Feldman and I were invited to be keynote speakers at a conference on anti-aging and alternative medicine in Chicago. The hall was packed with several thousand clinicians, physicians, medical professors, scientific researchers and doctors of non-conventional medical disciplines who were interested in the latest anti-aging research. Marty and I presented a paper based upon a year-long clinical study we had conducted. Following the presentation, a professor at a California medical school asked me to meet privately with some physicians in a separate conference room. I was only anticipating a handful of doctors; therefore I was taken aback to see several hundred MDs and PhDs crammed into the space. The physicians and professors were likely board certified; what they held in common was their inclusion of non-toxic, non-drug therapies in their protocols to treat patients. The professor who invited me had published dozens of papers in peer-reviewed journals, but she was unable to get her own clinical research using alternative medical therapies published. This was despite the fact that there is already tens of thousands of studies in print supporting the scientific basis for what she and thousands of other physicians are doing.
What I learned from listening to these doctors’ complaints is that they feared speaking out publicly about their personal successes. They worried that they would be attacked and could face interrogation from state medical boards for breaking rank with the status quo. One professor from the University of Chicago’s medical school stated that he and his colleagues felt as if they were in held silent in the closet. However, what surprised me was their knowledge about the causes of disease and non-toxic therapies that could reverse them. For the following hours Marty and I listened to in depth conversations for preventing, treating and reversing diseases their colleagues using orthodox protocols were unable to achieve. California professor made a remark I would never forget. He stated it was almost Orwellian that those of us who are able to use alternative medicine must apologize for the success of our treatments. We are attacked and punished for succeeding while they are rewarded for failing. The room burst into applause. A woman physician from Baylor University said she has never been able to discuss her accomplishments in treating childhood autism because she did not use an conventional therapy. One those occasions when she tried, she was confronted with disdain and rebukes. All the doctors in the room had similar stories to share.
My advice was for these doctors was to start collaborating together and bring their results and protocols to public attention. They argued it was too risky. Therefore nothing happened and alternative medicine’s acceptance in the mainstream continues to worsen. The consequence has been that tens of thousands of trained medical practitioners have been forced to suffer, remain silent and practice quietly.
The bitter irony is that with tens of millions of patients turning towards non-conventional medicine, and with this trend increasing rapidly as conventional drug interventions repeatedly fail, these are the real heroes who are being isolated and shunned from the mainstream. Yet they have the support of the scientific literature to back their health claims as well as countless patient testimonials.
It cannot be emphasized enough that a significant proportion of modern medicine is a failure but nevertheless mythologized as a success. In the US, a 2012 National Health Interview Survey recorded that 2.1 percent representing over 6.5 million Americans use homeopathy. The website Homeobook estimates there are about 3,000 board certified American physicians incorporating homeopathy into their clinical practice. Twenty-seven million people turn to Chiropractic. Globally, 80 percent of the world’s population use traditional botanical medical therapies. There are no accurate estimates for traditional Chinese medicine and Indian Ayurveda users in the US; however there are over 6,000 practicing naturopathic physicians and more than 27,000 licensed acupuncturists. After we add other holistic therapies such as meditative behavior modification, hypnosis, energy medicine, various mind-body therapies, therapeutic massage, etc. we find a growing percentage of Americans resorting to alternative medicine whether or not they follow allopathic protocols as well. Unfortunately the real pioneers in these healing arts have no voice and more often than not they are ridiculed and damned. The message is clear: stay in your corner, remain silent and don’t bring attention to yourself.
During the course of my career I have spoken with thousands of physicians who incorporate some form of alternative medicine into their clinical practice. It is fair to say many are terrified of the industrial medical complex and its henchmen in the government agencies and media. With very rare exceptions such as the groundbreaking work of Dr. Dean Ornish, will we ever read in medical journals the profiles of the men and women who are pioneering safer and more effective ways to prevent and reverse disease outside of the dominant matrix. The simple reason why a board certified physician would jump ship and turn to these alternative therapies is because they work and they have experienced first hand the trail of severe complications, injuries and deaths caused by conventional medicine. Even the AMA’s journal noted that iatrogenic death is the third leading cause of death in the US after cardiovascular disease and cancer. A conservative figure places the number at approximately 300,000 deaths annually. Our own analysis suggests drug complications and medical error may be first. But if we multiply this figure over the course of the previous ten years, we are looking at 3 million people who have died at the hands of modern medicine.
Those who are responsible for this medical genocide are never held accountable. In fact they are rewarded. This presents a double standard because these are the same leaders of the modern medical regime who most viciously attack safer natural protocols. They make every effort to contain alternative medicine, which they perceive as a threat to their control over the nation’s healthcare. We have discovered a term that describes this phenomenon well: Medical Apartheid.
Many of the most innovative health practitioners and those speaking out about the risks of conventional medicine and the proven benefits of the alternatives, find themselves stuck in a medical gulag. Notable examples include Drs. Rupert Sheldrake, Deepak Chopra, Larry Dossey, Andrew Weil, David Perlmutter and hundreds more. The guards over this apartheid encampment are the CDC, the leading medical associations, mainstream media, radicalized Skeptic organizations espousing scientific materialism such as the Center for Inquiry and the Society for Science Based Medicine, social media platforms such as Wikipedia, and of course the pharmaceutical companies that bank their efforts. One is no less responsible than another. They work in unison for the sole purpose of advancing the pipelines of the drug makers while roping off the opposition. Consequently, the apartheid regime acts as a court that both charges and convicts without a jury. It plays the role of judge and executioner. And this apartheid is now being demonstrated everywhere.
An excellent example is the career of Dr. Linus Pauling, one of the most prolific medical researchers in American history. Pauling had a distinguished career at Cal Tech University for over three decades, published over 1,200 scientific papers and books, and was the rare recipient of the Nobel Prize on two separate occasions. Yet despite his spectacular career, it was his discovery that large doses of Vitamin C could prevent and reduce the severity of colds and flu infections that turned him into a pariah within the medical establishment. His later discovery that mega-doses of Vitamin C could be used to treat terminal cancer further labeled him as a dangerous heretic.
During a private conversation with Dr. Pauling, he shared with me his personal disappointment with the conventional medical community and predicted that in the future his entire career would be reduced to having been an advocate of pseudoscience. Indeed, his prophesy was fulfilled. Wikipedia describes Orthomolecular Medicine, a modality of alternative medicine co-founded by Drs. Pauling and Abram Hoffer, which is based upon maintaining optimal health with nutritional supplementation, as “food faddism” and “quackery.” And despite the tens of thousands of peer-reviewed studies showing a wide range of health benefits for hundreds of different nutrients, Wikipedia only presents several dismal and poor quality studies that claim the opposite. Dr. Pauling’s case is a lesson to better understand why thousands of medical doctors and followers of non-conventional protocols are fearful that their work to heal patients may actually destroy their careers and reputations. And this identifies a tactic of the Medical Apartheid: frame alternative medical practitioners and its advocates as enemies of public health and detain them in a prison of anxiety so they are fearful to reach out beyond the barbed walls of their gulag.
Definitions for apartheid vary slightly. However what they all share in common is that apartheid is a form of discrimination sanctioned by the law of the state. Apartheid’s ultimate goal is to segregate a race, ethnicity, belief system or group in order to exclude them from the state privileges awarded to those to whom a regime holds in favor. The victims of apartheid find themselves entrapped in an open-air detention center. Although apartheid conjures images of Afrikaners’ discrimination against minorities in South Africa, the Australian government’s treatment of the Aboriginal peoples, the state of Israel’s vicious repression of Palestinians, and the southern states of the US during the days of segregation, and Native Americans being forced on ghettoized reservations, apartheid is an appropriate term to describe ideological repression, discrimination and segregation waged against the followers of alternative points of view. The dominant medical paradigm’s unceasing offensive against all forms of natural and alternative medicine has been with us for over century. This assault is being undertaken by a wide network of players in the pharmaceutical industrial complex, the federal health agencies, bought off politicians, universities, professional medical associations and journals, the mainstream media, and Silicon Valley firms including Wikipedia.
What the medical establishment shares with repressive, racist governments is a mission to go beyond the boundaries of social and civil rights in order to establish its authority and control over its targeted victims. In effect, America’s Medical Apartheid against non-conventional medical practice is nothing less than institutionalized prejudice. In effect, the non-conventional and natural medical disciplines are being corridored off into indentured serfdom.
One feature of apartheid is that it permits the “other” to exist in isolation. In South Africa, apartheid was a rule of law that enabled Afrikaners and South African Blacks to development independently under segregated conditions. The ruling Afrikaner government was fully aware it could not extinguish minority groups altogether. Therefore a repressive system was created to sequester Black communities. Likewise, the conventional medical establishment is making every effort to quarantine alternative medical systems. More important are the efforts to smother the successes of its practitioners and the enormous body of peer-reviewed scientific literature indicating that these non-drug based therapies are far more effective and safe than the pharmaceutical model.
One of the most nefarious federal laws on the books that perpetuates our nation’s Medical Apartheid is to forbid any health claims to be associated with foods, vitamins, supplements, and medicinal herbs that have not gone through the FDA’s regulatory hurdles for drug approval and licensing. During the 2009 “fake” H1N1 epidemic, the FDA harassed and threatened Dr. Andrew Weil for his claims that the popular Asian herb astragulus could prevent and treat swine flu infection. The warning came despite an enormous body of research in the National Institute of Health’s database of peer-reviewed medical literature showing that the plant possesses powerful antibacterial and antiviral properties. The FDA has also led SWAT raids against the walnut and cherry industries for advertising these food’s health claims. The sole reason for this unwarranted harassment was because astragulus, walnuts and cherries are not licensed medications. Few are aware that the FDA employs armed goons eager to invade dairy farmers providing raw milk to their communities. As ridiculous as these examples might appear, it is regrettably the law of the land. And the pharmaceutical industry and its abettors at the highest levels of the CDC, FDA and HHS are determined to maintain this apparatus of surveillance, repression and persecution.
Another characteristic of America’s Medical Apartheid is our healthcare system’s differential attitude towards basic human rights and its regressive policies that sustain medical discrimination. America’s healthcare now ranks at the bottom of the pack among developed nations. Not only is it incompetent and economically unsustainable, it is also thoroughly corrupt and biased by solely benefiting the pharmaceutical and insurance industries and their shareholders. You cant place your bets on the stock market for a potential boom in Chiropractic or Traditional Chinese Medicine or the discovery of a new effective natural treatment. The delivery of medical services solely within a private insurance-based dynasty intentionally refuses to cover most preventative and alternative medical practices, which are substantially cheaper and more effective than the drug and surgical interventions being covered. Again, we find money and power favoring and providing gratuitous privileges only to those who are fully obedient to the dominant medical paradigm. By excluding holistic medicine from insurance coverage, patients are forced to pay out of pocket if they wish to follow a natural and less risky course of treatment. Imagine if the US were more like Switzerland, which universally covers most alternative forms of treatment, including homeopathy? We would surely have a much healthier citizenry.
Article 25 of the Universal Declaration states, “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and the family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services.” However, in a Medical Apartheid the ruling establishment controls the legislature and federal health agencies that determine what is accepted medical practice. If health and wellness are basic human rights, then this apartheid perverts the very definition of “health” within its warped parameters that exclude other definitions and the more scientific means to restore wellness.
Consequently, another characteristic of an apartheid is “structural discrimination.” Discrimination against alternative medicine filters down into additional laws limiting the public freedom of choice and access to vital health information. Examples are the recent flurry of laws being passed in a growing number of states that mandate vaccination and efforts to restrict all nutritional counseling, including advice concerning vitamins and supplements, to certified dietitians who follow only the system’s accepted guidelines. Any naturopath, alternative nutritionist, food counselor who follows a different medical model is presumed to be inferior. Therefore the apartheid makes every effort to hamper the influence of their practices. This is one reason why a Medical Apartheid is analogous to other forms of institutionalized racism.
South African apartheid acknowledged completely the potential political strength in the non-Afrikaner communities. It fully realized its capacity to upset the status quo of White rule. Therefore, an apartheid will recognize the existence of the “other” while simultaneously denying and undermining its value to the nation or larger community. Simiiarly, a Medical Apartheid promulgates a culture of cognitive dissonance within the medical community. While acknowledging that there is a vast body of scientific literature to prove alternative therapies’ efficacy, at the same it is determined to never advocate on behalf of these therapies. Preference is given to drugs over safety and cost-savings.
Finally, we should note the important role the powers of private lobbying play to enforce laws that in turn marginalize and limit the practice of non-conventional medicine. Lobbying favors our medical regime which has become increasingly defined by financial incentives rather than restoring the health of ill patients. By encircling alternative health systems with bad press, with vitriol and abuse on social media such as Wikipedia and Facebook, with regressive laws limiting public access to invaluable treatments, and by erecting prejudiced obstacles to bar non-conventional medical achievements from entering professional journals, conferences and medical schools, natural medicine has become imprisoned for the sole purpose to reduce its exposure to the public. Medical Apartheid is not an accidental development of a healthcare system in decline. Rather, similar to Israel’s strategic fragmentation of the Palestinian people, the dominant establishment oppresses its presumed competition by means of distinct laws, rigid policies, coordinated harassment and inequitable practices.
Once ensnared in the apartheid’s detention zone, there is no recourse unless a physician renounces his or her life’s work, repents to the medical authorities and publicly voices hostility against the very treatments used successfully to treat patients. This is the case of several prominent alternative health practitioners who converted to Skepticism, such as former Chiropractic Samuel Homola and more notably Edzard Ernst, a former professor of complementary medicine at the University of Exeter in the UK. Today Homola and Ernst are now regarded as heroes by Skeptics, given awards by Skeptic organizations and are often referenced as a proof-of-concept that non-conventional medicine simply doesn’t work, is dangerous, and therefore should be regarded as quackery.
Wikipedia is the principal holder of the virtual keys to the Internet’s Medical Apartheid. Wikipedia’s co-founder Jimmy Wales and his minion of militant Skeptics serve as the final arbitrators as to whether a physician will be awarded a laurel wreath or be condemned with a professional death sentence. Our investigations during the past year have convinced us that there is no reason whatsoever to question that Wikipedia’s Skeptic editors have direct and/or indirect lines of collusion with the apartheid’s drug industry and enablers in government, universities and professional associations. Their critical role in denigrating alternative health professions can not be over-stated. Wikipedia is in fact the virtual face of the apartheid at its worse.
By now, we should have learned the lessons of how our federal officials handle scientifically proven dangers to the public: adverse effects of drugs that should have never been approved in the first place, the health risks of agricultural chemicals such as glyphosate, the probable escalation of autism and other neurological disorders by imposing mandatory vaccination upon the population, 5G technology’s peril to human health and the environment, the dietary and environmental factors associated with our epidemics in obesity, diabetes, autism, heart diseases, etc,. And of course there is the evisceration of consumer protection laws, such as the Clean Water and Clean Air acts, and the erosion of laws protecting our civil rights and freedom of medical choice. Rarely do we ever read an honest, truthful expose about any major media source about the institutions and organizations that hold power over our lives, such as the dilettantes in the drug and insurance industries, American Medical Association and other professional organizations, the CDC, FDA and the Department of Human Health Services. All of these entities are the architects and helmsmen of a medical regime that earned the reputation of being a major threat to the health of the nation.
The culmination of Medical Apartheid brings us to the final step to denounce, ridicule and shame all alternative medical therapies and their practitioners.They are called quacks or in Jimmy Wales’s words “lunatic charlatans” on Wikipedia and they risk being banned from Google and Facebook. Consequently their careers are frozen forever in a virtual reality with no rights to sue or given recourse for removal. And finally, the major thought leaders of non-conventional medicine, as well as their patients who become activist voices for wellness, such as the countless mothers and fathers of vaccine-injured children, are labeled as a serious danger to pubic health. Hence they face endless harassment and even arrest or imprisonment. And sadly this strategy of the Medical Apartheid is succeeding.
Richard Gale is the Executive Producer of the Progressive Radio Network and a former Senior Research Analyst in the biotechnology and genomic industries.
Dr. Gary Null is the host of the nation’s longest running public radio program on alternative and nutritional health and a multi-award-winning documentary film director, including The War on Health, Poverty Inc and Silent Epidemic.