University of Virginia "Drug Whores" attack Echinacea...

Opinion by Consumer Advocate Tim Bolen

Thursday, August 4th, 2005

I had a good laugh this last week.  The University of Virginia Medical School showed the world how easy it is for "Big Pharma" to buy the appearance of science, from a University, with their so-called "Echinacea study." 

Then the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) ran a pompous editorial on the subject by one of the best known, and laughable, CRACKPOTS in the US, Wallace Sampson MD.

Then the New York Ad agency (the one that runs the "quackbusters" ), sent out, to every media outlet in the US and Canada the story that "Echinacea had been discredited."

(Insert laughter here)

I love it when "Big Pharma" does something this dumb - and traceable back to them.   It shows how weak, and afraid of the US "health" movement, they really are. 

And the New England Journal of Medicine?  Well, after all of the criticisms leveled, recently, against so-called "peer-reviewed" journals about "credibility," due to accusations of their "peer-review" being bought off by "Big Pharma," you'd think the editors would think twice, perhaps three times, about who they use to write editorials - but they didn't. 

Wallace Sampson has been officially declared in a PUBLISHED Appeals Court decision, that any idiot (like an editor at NEJM) could find on the internet, to be "biased, and unworthy of credibility."  More, the Court pretty much declared, officially, that Sampson, "scientifically," couldn't find his own back pocket with either hand.  Read, by clicking here, the original Court statements about Sampson.

Apparently though, NEJM must have felt the need to emote pompous-ass-ity - because, with Sampson, they certainly did THAT...  but, more likely, a New York agency pointed out to them just how many of the pages in the actual printed journal were bought by "Big Pharma."

(Insert more laughter here)

Before we go further into how "Big Pharma" organized this "hit," an ad agency public relations "black-ops" against Echinacea , let's take a look at some facts in the matter - as provided by a friend in the "health movement," Larry Trivieri.  Larry, you may or may not know, is the Founder & Publisher of The Health Plus Letter - -  and can be reached at

Larry is the "Author of Health on the Edge: Visionary Views of Healing in the New Millennium; The American Holistic Medical Association Guide to Holistic Health; co-author of The Complete Self-Care Guide to Holistic Medicine; and editor and principal writer of the 1st and 2nd editions of Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide (over 750,000 copies sold)."  Here is what he says:

Debunking the Recent Echinacea “Study”

Last week, prominently trumpeted throughout the mainstream media, came word that researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine had found that Echinacea, a popular herbal cold and flu remedy offered no benefits for preventing or alleviating colds. (Some news articles that I read reporting this story editorialized that the millions of dollars annually spent each year on Echinacea supplements was “a waste of money.”) The findings were given further legitimacy by being published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Needless to say, the so-called “study” was accepted at face value and no serious inquiry was made as to how such a finding could suddenly occur after more than 30,000 previously published studies on Echinacea confirmed its improve immune function (thereby strengthening a person’s ability to fend off colds, flu, and other conditions that suppress immune function). Had such an inquiry been made, it would have soon become apparent that the “study” was seriously flawed from its onset. Among the most noticeable flaws are the following:

1) Rather than using commercially available Echinacea extracts, the researchers prepared their own extract. That raises the first question? What expertise do the researchers have in this area? This is a fair question, since the American Botanical Council, a highly-respected nonprofit research organization focused on herbal research, issued the statement after the “study” was reported stating the Echinacea preparations  the researchers used “do not correlate with commercial Echinacea products currently available to consumers.”

2) The dosage used in the “study” was less than a third of normal Echinacea dosages found in commercial Echinacea products and recommended by practitioners of her/bal medicine. Why? Because this lower, less effective dose is the one being recommended by the German government, which is aligned with the German pharmaceutical corporations that are leading the charge in Europe towards significantly reducing the dosage range of both heibs and nutritional supplements for sale worldwide (something that has already been done in German and many other European countries; there, higher doses of such supplements can only be obtained with a doctor’s prescription and at much greater cost than what we pay here in the U.S.) Consider for a moment the outcry from Big Pharma if researchers studied a pharmaceutical drug using far less than the recommended dose and then determined the drug didn’t work.

3) All of the subjects in the “study” were college students, which in itself is a serious flaw, since participants are hardly representative of the general population that uses Echinacea supplements and, being so young, typically have healthier immune systems than would a more inclusive, representative study group.

Despite these serious flaws, the “study” was accepted as gospel by the media that reported on it and the end result is that an unsuspecting public, most of whom have little if any awareness of the 30,000-plus studies that support Echinacea’s health benefits, are led to believe that Echinacea is “a waste of money.”

Needless to say, the American Botanical Council’s comments on the study (which are far more diplomatic that my own) did not receive widespread media coverage. (To read the ABC’s full statement, visit

Recently, similar stories were widely spread in the media claiming that vitamin E doesn’t work, either. These stories, which continue to run as I write this, are equally suspect. As I’ve mentioned in past issues of this newsletter, there is a media campaign underway to erode the public’s faith in natural health supplements. According to health freedom advocate Tim Bolen (see for daily updates on all matters related to health and health freedom), this campaign is being orchestrated here in the US by a New York PR firm in the pay of Big Pharma. Given the fact that so many mainstream journalists are little more than stenographers these days, complacently repackaging press releases as news without any follow-up research or inquiry, I encourage you to take such media stories with a large grain of salt.


So, how does this New York ad agency public relations "black-ops" work?

A lot of people in the "health" movement have the misconception that "the big media" is against them, because of the media's inattention to facts, and reality, about health care. For far too often do we see stories, like the "hit piece" against Echinacea - and it seems that no one in the media seems to check the truth of them, or their authenticity.  They just print them.

But, that's not what actually happens - the situation is more mundane than that.  The truth is that "the big media"  is, these days, a big bureaucracy, and as such, as an industry, is S-T-U-U-U-U-U-P-I-D.  Kind of like a herd of sheep bleeting its way around a field of grass - any good sheepdog can herd them over a cliff - and that's exactly what "Big Pharma" does to them with their New York ad agency - herd them over a cliff - like they did with the "Echinacea" story.

Put this together - (1)  The University of Virginia does a so-called "study" on Echinacea.  (2) Practically minutes later, after the so-called "study" is done, and before anyone in the public sector is made aware of the "study," the New England Journal of Medicine publishes a scathing editorial by someone, Wallace Sampson, billed as "from prestigious Stanford University"   (Sampson was NEVER on the staff at Stanford).  (3)  Seemingly, minutes after that, the story almost magically appears in newspapers, and on TV news, all over the country. 

Smell the stench? 

Want to know how it's done?

There's nothing "magical" about it - it's all done in Manhattan.  Like most "quackbusters"  operations, the process is designed, and funded, out of a New York ad agency.  Want  to prove it to yourself?  Easy to do.  Simply call your local newspaper - the one that ran the "hit" against Echinacea - and ask them to give you, in detail, the source of that story.  You won't be disappointed.

This happens ALL OF THE TIME.

The important questions to ask are (1)  who is paying this ad agency to run this "black-ops?"  (2)  How much are they getting paid?

What happens next? 

I think that one, or more, American manufacturers of Echinacea will be raided by the FDA - with guns drawn - and the whole "raid" will be covered on TV network news.  The story will be run for at least three days.  The owners, and employees, of the companies will be dragged out in chains from their offices, and "child pornography" and "automatic weapons" will be found in someone's home - just to set the "tone" of the story in the people of America's mind. 

Since "Big Pharma" Controls US TV NEWS, ALL of the network TV news channels will, almost "magically," (sarcasm intended) run the same story at the same time.

"Big Pharma" works every day to kill the worldwide "health" movement, and maintain the "drugs, drugs, and more drugs" paradigm.  This will continue until the MUCH larger "health" movement, as a service to humanity, kills "Big Pharma." 

It's time...

Why is "Big Pharma" doing this?

Because a National Science Foundation study, a few years ago, discovered that 88% of all US adults used, and believed in, some "alternative" to conventional medical care. And, since about 1999, about half of the total US health dollar is being spent on those "alternatives."

Stay tuned...

Tim Bolen - Consumer Advocate

This "Millions of Health Freedom Fighters - Newsletter" is about the battle between "Health and Medicine" on Planet Earth. Tim Bolen is an op/ed writer with extensive knowledge of the activities of a subversive organization calling itself the "quackbusters," and that organization's attempts to suppress, and discredit, any, and all health modalities that compete with the allopathic (MD) paradigm for consumer health dollars. The focus of the newsletter is on the ongoing activities, battles, politics, and the victories won by members of the "Health Freedom Movement" against the "quackbusters" It details "who the quackbusters are, what they are, where they are operating, when they appear, and how they operate - and how easy it is to beat them..."

For background information on the "Battle between Health and Medicine" go to: A copy of THIS newsletter, and older ones, are viewable at the website

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