November 3, 2009 in Letters

Health practices questioned

The Spokesman-Review
 

Dr. Otis Brawley is shocked and concerned that people may question current medical practices and follow alternative treatment suggestions by celebrities (“Star treatments,” Oct. 27).

“We use current treatments because they’ve been proven to prolong life,” he says. If only it were so. Unfortunately, many of the most popular drugs and surgeries have not been proven to prolong life and in many cases shorten it while destroying quality of life as well.

Most of the true innovations in health care, such as the idea that physicians should wash their hands between surgeries, were rejected and ridiculed by the medical establishment at the time. And vested financial interests keep dangerous and ineffective drugs and surgeries in use today. Only when definitive studies finally come out do we see that widely prescribed treatments such as hormone replacement therapy are not only ineffective but have done untold damage to millions of people. I am afraid we will see the same results with statin drugs and other current medications.

Alternative treatments are certainly safer (prescription drugs kill over 200,000 annually) but in many cases are more effective in treating chronic diseases. And much cheaper. But I am afraid that is the real problem.

Richard League

Spokane

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