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Asthma & Allergy

Allergy researchers are projecting that, by 2015, we in West Europe may have as high as a 50% chance of an allergic condition.

Asthma and allergy management is a gold-mine for the drugs industry. Numbers of patients are rising fast and as there are no cures, asthmatics and allergy-sufferers are cash-cows who can be relied on to provide revenue throughout most of their lives.

Some basic facts:

In 2004 the World Health Organisation estimated that between 100 and 150 million people worldwide suffer from asthma and this number is rising, on average, by 50% every decade.

In 2004, Asthma UK published data (Asthma UK ’04) showing that the number of asthmatics in the UK had reached 5.2 million, including 4.1 million adults and 1.1 million children.

In 2004, the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) published their report which pinpointed Britain as a trouble spot. Around 30% of Welsh adults display symptoms of asthma, the highest rates of asthma in the world. This is more than three times as many as the numbers affected in Spain, Poland and Denmark, and a staggering 13 times more than the Swiss.

Since the 1950’s there has been an allergy explosion, a global pandemic of allergy and asthma which the drug-based medical model has been utterly unable to counter (Pearce et al ’93, Sears ’97, Magnus & Jaakkola ’97, von Mutius 2000, Mannino et al ’02 ). It has got so out of control that in 2003 the Royal College of Surgeons issued a despairing document in which they stated that asthma and allergy were now so prevalent that UK medical services were no longer able to offer adequate patient care (RCS ’03).

In addition to asthma and the ‘usual’ allergies such as hay fever, which the World Health Organisation estimates have been doubling every decade for the last 3 or 4 decades, the Royal College of Surgeons singled out several specific problems:

  • Drug allergy is increasingly common. Adverse drug reactions account for 5% of all hospital admissions in the UK. Up to 15% of inpatients have a hospital stay prolonged as a result of drug allergy. These figures do not include the majority of drug allergies, which occur in primary care and remain undiagnosed and unrecorded.

  • Peanut allergy has rocketed threefold in the UK, with one in 70 primary children now allergic to nuts. Only four years ago it was one in 200.

    Some 8% of healthcare workers now have an allergy to latex rubber, which in some cases can lead to anaphylaxis. Yet until 1979 only two cases of latex
    allergy had been reported.

If it was just an issue with peanuts and latex it would not be so worrying – but the problem is general, widespread and getting worse. Right across the board, more of us are becoming dangerously sensitised to materials and compounds in our diet and environment that were, a generation or two ago, innocent and trouble-free.

The anti-asthma drugs supplied by Big Pharma – so-called ‘relievers’ such as salbutamol (Ventolin) and ‘preventers’ such as beclomethasone (Becotide) – do little more than suppress the symptoms of asthma. Anti-allergy drugs operate on an equally trivial level.

But it was not ever thus …Go back through the medical records and you will see that in the first half of the last century asthma figures were consistently low (Haahtela et al ’90).

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