Former US Senator Wants Broad
Thinking in Medical Treatment Options
Berkley Bedell, Former United States Congressman
Founder and Chairman of the Board
"Where Is Your Courage" - Speech by Berkley Bedell
Berkley Bedell's Biography
WHERE IS YOUR COURAGE SPEECH
The following keynote speech was given by the Honorable Berkley Bedell on 12/14/93 at the public hearings of the New York State Assembly's Committee on Higher Education and Health.
Where is Your Courage?
"Mr. Chairman and members of this Committee, I appreciate this opportunity to communicate to you some of my findings since leaving the United States Congress.
I served six terms in the US House of Representatives from 1975 through 1986 as a liberal Democrat representing a conservative Republican district in Northwest Iowa. I believe I therefore have a unique appreciation of the problems facing legislators such as you, as you grapple with issues such as this.
I left Congress because I contracted Lyme Disease from a tick bite. I was treated with conventional treatments three times; each time I had a strong antibiotic injected in to my vein for periods three, four and six weeks. Each time I would feel better for three or four weeks and then my symptoms would return. Finally, I turned to an unconventional treatment.
Let me tell you about that treatment. There is a firm in Iowa that makes veterinary medicine by injecting killed germs into the udder of a cow, prior to the time the cow has a calf. They then take the first milk that comes after the birth, which is called colostrums, and process it into whey, so it will keep. The theory is that the cow will then communicate the disease to the unborn calf, and then develop in the colostrums what is needed to cure the calf of the disease in has contracted from the mother.
I obtained some killed spirochetes that cause Lyme Disease. I took them to the firm that makes the veterinary medicine and the ‘ran them through' a cow. I took one tablespoon of the whey every hour while I was awake. My symptoms disappeared, and I clearly no longer have Lyme Disease.
This treatment cost about $500 as compared to the approximately $26,000 that had been spent on my unsuccessful pharmaceutical treatments.
After I left Congress, I was also diagnosed with prostate cancer. Again, I went the conventional route. I had my prostate removed and had six weeks of radiation. When tests indicated my malignancy was returning I again turned to an unconventional treatment. I learned of this treatment from a scientist in Quebec, Canada.
He claims that cancer has a tremendous affinity for nitrogen, and that it robs the immune system of the nitrogen it needs to function effectively. His treatment consists of an injection of a compound into one's lymph area; this floods the area with nitrogen so that one's immune system can fight off the cancer. I went to Mexico, where I purchased the medication, and, coming home, I gave myself daily injections for two 21-day periods. That was four years ago and all tests indicate that I no longer have cancer. That treatment cost me $600, as compared to the over $10,000 that I calculate was the cost of the conventional treatment I had previously received.
These experiences have caused me to spend my retirement years in the investigation of alternative treatments for disease. I have been shocked at what I have found.
Americans are repeatedly told that they are unable to make sound decisions about their own health, and are therefore vulnerable to practitioners who would wish to take advantage of them. But I have found a group of dedicated practitioners and scientists who are working with findings that I believe hold great promise.
And they are stopped at every turn by a government bureaucracy that is opposed to everything except pharmaceutical drugs, and by state health boards and medical boards that consider anything new, not taught in medical school, as quackery.
Mr. Chairman and members of this committee, I had no idea of the influence the international pharmaceutical companies have on the health care available to our people:
- At medical school, students are taught to use pharmaceutical drugs to kill germs and relieve symptoms.
- For continuing education, doctors go to seminars put on by pharmaceutical companies
- Salesmen from pharmaceutical firms are constantly calling on doctors to inform them about new pharmaceutical drugs and to give out free samples
- Medical journals depend upon advertising revenues from pharmaceutical companies, and their editorial content reflects that face.
- Colleges and universities get grants from pharmaceutical firms for research on drugs
Who can blame a doctor, a member of a board of health; or a licensing board; and indeed, even a legislator for believing that anything except pharmaceutical drug treatment is quackery? That is all the information we receive.
But the sad fact is that whereas pharmaceutical drugs such as antibiotics are very effective for some communicable infectious diseases such as meningitis, pneumonia and the like, they have not proven to be similarly effective for degenerative diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's, MS and the like.
And whether the medical profession and licensing boards are aware of it or not, the public realizes it. Just be told that a member of your family has cancer, Alzheimer's or MS. In fact, a recent study found that there were more visits to providers of unconventional therapy than to primary care physicians.
I come from a business background. I started a fishing tackle manufacturing business when I was in high school, with $50 saved from my newspaper route. Today, Berkley and Company is one of the world's largest fishing tackle manufacturers. As a businessman, I grade the international pharmaceutical industry with an A+ for public relations and marketing, and a D for performance of product for major degenerative diseases.
If one has a product that is not very effective, it is greatly in your interest to keep everything else out of the market. The problem is, in this case we are not talking about fishing line or golf clubs. We are talking about people's health.
Are we going to let people be treated by non-toxic treatments that hold great hope, or are we going to let the international pharmaceutical industry maintain a monopoly with toxic medicines of limited effectiveness?
Mr. Chairman, I told you that I am a liberal Democrat. I became a Democrat because I saw the abuse of power in corporate America. I became a Democrat because, among other things, I felt that the Democratic Party was more supportive of the people as compared to large corporations.
Now it breaks my heart that some of my Democratic colleagues in Government seem to be on the side of the international pharmaceutical industry instead of the rights of the people.
I do not think they mean to be on that side. I believe they have simply been incorrectly informed. By their desire to "protect the people," they have been playing right into the hands of the giant pharmaceutical firms.
Make no mistake, Mr. Chairman and members of this committee: there is a worldwide battle going on. It is whether the international pharmaceutical drug industry is going to be successful in maintaining a monopoly and prevent the use of lower cost non-toxic treatments.
They have already succeeded in cutting back on the availability of over-the-counter vitamins and supplements in Europe and in Australia. They are trying to do the same here in the United States. They have succeeded in selling their message to many members of the medical community and some members of government.
But the people are not to be fooled. There is a growing army of angry people who are demanding a great say in their health care. They have seen the limited effectiveness of conventional treatments for major diseases. In increasing numbers they are demanding the right to be treated by the treatment of their choice.
It was not easy for me to come up here from Florida. I could be fishing in Naples Bay this morning. But someone has to point out what is happening. I care about the health care available to my friends, children and grandchildren. I hope you do too.
Alaska, Washington state and North Carolina have already enacted statutes that give the people greater freedom of choice by preventing the removal of a practitioner's license just because that person may be treating in a non-conventional manner. The legislation before you is a weak effort that goes part way towards that goal.
My gosh, Mr. Chairman and members of this committee, where is your courage?
The public knows that current treatments for diseases like cancer, Alzheimer's, MS and the like are of limited effectiveness. Surely you do too.
I urge you to not just pass this legislation, but to show that the government of the great state of New York is as supportive of its citizens as are the states of Alaska, Washington and North Carolina, by striking those weakening provisions that remove some of the protection those states have given to the freedom of choice of their people.
How can we ever find better treatments if we say that a practitioner can lose his or her license for using anything other than treatments that do not work very well?
Can anyone really believe that in America we should have policies that say in effect, "If your ‘allopathic' doctor sends you home to die, you cannot be treated by a different doctor who has a treatment he or she feels might help you?"
What a disaster for the American public.
[First bold is an insert from Dr. Schaller]
Due to political nature of the issues in this article, Dr. Schaller neither supports nor opposes the ideas discussed above. Discuss them with your health care practitioners.