The Broken Medical Model
The only thing more dangerous than the threat of chronic disease itself is ignorance, resistance, and flat-out denial. If there’s anything we can gather from the past 50 years of modern conventional medicine attempting to treat chronic disease, it’s all of those things.
Conventional medicine does not work for chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, digestive difficulties, hormone imbalances, depression, obesity and chronic pain.
All that said. I thank GOD every day for conventional medicines expertise and effectiveness in treating critical care and acute injuries.
But when you find yourself in a hole, the absolute worst thing you can do is keep on digging.
And that’s exactly what we have just witnessed with CVS purchasing Aetna for $69 billion.
CVS Pharmacy Buys Aetna Insurance Company
CVS pharmacy spent $69 billion to purchase and merge with Aetna, an insurance powerhouse.
To put that in perspective… over 100 countries in the world do not make $69 billion per year in gross domestic product by comparison. The merger registers as a major event in the health care market and creates a position to change how health is delivered.
CVS intends to create a new comprehensive healthcare model that allows consumers to fill more of their healthcare needs at a pharmacy rather than making trips to the doctor’s office or hospital.
Having an insurance company and pharmacy under one roof aims to fulfill customer needs according to the medical model of sick care. It’s obvious that our current “sick care” model is one that promotes the usage of prescription medications over everything else. It’s also a model that obviously is not working. Especially when you look and study the facts.
FACT: Chronic Disease is By Far the Biggest Health Challenge we Face.
- 1 in 2 Americans has a chronic disease, and one if four has multiple
- 27% of kids now have a chronic disease, up from just 13 percent in 1994
- Chronic disease is responsible for 7 out of every 10 deaths
FACT: The Consequences of Chronic Disease are Severe
It’s literally destroying our quality of life, shortening lifespands, bankrupting people and their governemnts and threatening our future generations.
- Spending on chronic disease will reach $47 Trillion by 2030. This is the equivalent to the GDP of the 6 largest countries in the world.
- This generation is the first in which kids are expected to live shorter lifespans than their parents
FACT: Conventional Medicine Has Failed to Address Chronic Disease
- Our modern diet and lifestyle are out of alignment with our genes and biology
- Our medical paradigm is not well suited to tackle chronic disease
- Our model for delivering care doesn’t support the interventions that would have the biggest impact on preventing and reversing chronic disease.
Sure, people will hear a publicized message about accessibility and the availability of medical solutions that all rest under the blanket of convenience. But the hidden truth of this merger and projected model of care also accompanies a much more concerning outcome.
This merger will certainly result in increased accessibility to drugs. But does an increase in drugs equal greater health?
What if all the drugs and surgeries were free tomorrow… would that result in increased states of health?
Accessibility to drugs and pharmaceutical solutions do not promote long term health and wellness.
Prescription medications do not solve the causes of health issues. Approximately 50% of U.S. adults and 9 out of 10 adults over the age of 60 are taking at least one prescription drug. If that model works, then we should have the healthiest population in the world. We don’t.
Masking symptoms with powerful drugs lowers the standard of health across the country as people perceive a union between health and pharmaceutical drugs due to the temporary relief that drug use provides.
Millions of people associate their use of pharmaceutical drugs with obtaining better health and wellness. The incentive for insurance companies to recommend and support the use of more medication through the CVS merger becomes an even bigger conflict of interest between sick people and their pursuit of better health.
Experts are predicting that the CVS merger will change the delivery of health care and bypass the need for hospital and doctor visits in order to secure drugs and treatments.
The new accessibility benefits a portion of the populace with legitimate needs and specific cases where cutting out the middle man does prove advantageous to the consumer. However, a downside also exists where the potential for chemical dependency and adverse outcomes associated with pharmaceutical drugs increases.
Why More Drugs Isn’t the Answer
Without a doubt, medications for acute infections save lives – every day. As a Functional Medicine physician, I’m not anti-medication; I believe in making sound, sensible use of prescriptions when necessary.
However, one of the biggest problems with our current system is the degree to which it relies on drugs to address issues that they are ill equipped to address.
Drugs by and large are used to do one thing: suppress symptoms. If you have high blood pressure, you’ll be given a drug to lower it. If you have high cholesterol, you’ll be given a drug to lower that.
There’s rarely any investigation into what caused the high blood pressure or high cholesterol in the first place.
How Are We Doing Taking all Those Pills?
- 1 out of 2 Americans die from heart disease yet more than half are on a heart medication
- 7 of 10 deaths in the U.S. are caused by heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis and obesity
- 50 million Americans (approximately 1 in 6) have an autoimmune disease (more than cancer and
heart disease combined)
- Nearly 1 in 3 Americans have either prediabetes or diabetes. (100 Million)
- At any given moment, roughly half of the adults in the U.S., including 9 out of 10 adults over age
60, are taking at least one prescription drug
- Almost a third of adults take two or more drugs.
- Almost 30 percent of all teens are now on a prescription drug, as are 20 percent of young children.
- America spent just under $310 billion on pharmaceutical drugs in 2015 (IMS Health 2016)
- Medical care is the third-leading cause of death in the US., according to analyses published in BMJ in
2016 and JAMA in 2000.
- Chronic disease will generate $47 trillion in healthcare costs globally by 2030 if the epidemic is
unchecked (Duff-Brown, 2017). That’s more than the annual GDP of the six largest economies in
Here’s Why Prescriptions Are Not Working:
1. Drugs rarely address the real problem. Imagine that you have a rock in your shoe and it’s making your foot hurt. You could certainly take ibuprofen or some other painkiller to reduce the pain in your foot, but wouldn’t a better solution be simply taking off your shoe and dumping out that rock? When you rely on meds to suppress symptoms, you fail to address the underlying issue.
2. Drugs don’t just suppress symptoms; they also suppress functions. Many people take NSAIDs like ibuprofen to cope with arthritis or inflammatory conditions. While these medications can be effective in relieving pain, they also reduce blood flow to cartilage. Blood carries all the nutrients and immune substances that we need for tissue repair. Ironically, taking NSAIDs chronically can worsen the problem because they actually reduce the tissue’s ability to heal.
3. Drugs often correct one imbalance by causing another—or several others. The interactions between proteins are extremely complex. If a drug interferes with one protein, it will inevitably affect many others. This causes what we typically refer to as “side effects.” But if you think about it, a drug really only has intended effects and unintended effects. The problem is that the unintended effects of a drug often far outnumber the intended effects. When we continue to address problems by creating imbalances, this destabilizes the body and compromises its ability to function.
More and More People are Looking for “HEALTH” care rather than “SICK” care.
Current studies reveal an increase in the number of people who prefer a non-medicinal solution to adverse health symptoms.
Many thousands of people do not want to take drugs and medicines to temporarily resolve their health issues while risking terrible side effects.
A wave of education and information continues to cross the globe and people understand more than ever that true health and function begins with taking care of the body and being proactive about preventing disease rather than waiting for sickness and using powerful drugs in the aftermath.
The CVS merger threatens to limit those wellness options.
Americans now realize the hefty cost of maintaining health insurance (which is largely driven by the pharmaceutical industry).
Budgets feel the strain of maintaining coverage for employees and Insurance companies maintain the power to dictate what care options are made available to these consumers.
This creates a major conflict of interest whereby an insurance company partners with a pharmaceutical distributor and the desires of the patient to pursue better wellness choices becomes jeopardized.
The truth is: those financially invested in increasing drug sales will want more people on pharmaceutical solutions, directly conflicting the health care wishes of families who want to pursue true health, healing, and function.
The use of pharmaceutical drugs accompanies both the risk of negative side effects and the reality that most health challenges never fully resolve through the use of medications.
The best solution begins with a proactive approach to health care that minimizes the risk of needing to enter into the medical delivery system in the first place.
And this is exactly why Functional Medicine is the future of medicine, today.
What Can You Do?
To start… share this article and continue the conversation!
For years I’ve said that we don’t need more doctors, nurses, hospitals, medications or technology. What we need is awareness, education and action.
The problem is not knowing what do do; but doing what we know.
This is exactly why I’ve decided to create a Health Coaching system with my new Nutrition Coaching program!
If you’re struggling with a chronic disease or you know someone who is… then ask them to find a Functional medicine practitioner or sign up for my nutrition coaching system!
What is a Functional Medicine?
Functional Medicine is an approach to medicine that views the body as a complex adaptive system, an integrated biological ecosystem in which one biological function affects another, and another after that.
In other words, nothing in the body happens in isolation, but as an interdependent part of a whole that has an effect on the whole.
Functional Medicine provides a new set of lenses through which to interpret and organize complex biological and social information so that we understand much better why we get sick and how we heal.
Whereas conventional Western medicine seeks to diagnose and manage disease, Functional Medicine guides the clinician to a more comprehensive view of the whole organism, not just organs—the whole system, not just the symptoms
Why doesn’t my doctor tell me all this?
Simple: he or she doesn’t know.
Doctors aren’t trained in any of this; they’re trained to identify and address acute issues, infection, and disease. That is, in fact, what our entire healthcare system is: sickcare.
And while it can and does save lives every day, conventionally trained doctors are simply not taught to see the body as one whole and integrated system. Your average doctor spends usually one— that is one— semester in nutrition.
They are taught to put out fires, not put conditions in place to create sustainable ongoing health. At best they can in some cases spot acute problems and stave off emergencies. But that’s it.