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As I continue my series on functional foods and functional food facts, I’d planned to share my “gold standard” for detecting foods that might be causing imbalance in body systems.

I decided to wait, though, and instead  share some recent statistics I find shocking.  

These statistics remind me how critical it is that functional healthcare providers, clients, and patients continue to work to change this profoundly expensive, ineffective, disease-focused healthcare system   .

According to a published report from January 2022 in Statista, in 1980 the U.S. spent 12 billion dollars on prescription medication.  In 2020, that number was 348.4 billion. (The pandemic did not significantly change the projected yearly percentage increase.)

Billions spent.

Even more startling, this number, reported by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, only includes retail drug spending and excludes non retail sales taking place in doctor offices, clinics, and hospital settings.

Statista also reports that the U.S. has the highest total spending and highest per capita pharmaceutical spending among developed countries, sometimes three times as high, because the U.S. leaves drug pricing to market competition. As a result, the U.S. is the most profitable country for pharmaceutical companies.

Nearly half of all Americans have taken at least one prescription drug in the previous month. This has become so normalized, many people won’t even find that surprising or disturbing.

Drugs of choice.

Also in January of 2022, the Congressional Budget Office published a report that stated the rapid growth in drug expenditures after 1995 was a result of a number of drugs reaching “blockbuster” status.

These top sellers were in high demand because they offered new treatments for common health conditions: statins for high cholesterol, ACE inhibitors for high blood pressure, proton-pump inhibitors for acid reflux and  gastric ulcers, and antidepressants and antipsychotics.  

The costs leveled off and began to fall in 2013, not because of fewer prescriptions being written, but because patents began running out and lower generic substitutes were introduced.

Where has it gotten us? 

So how have  the billions of dollars spent improved health outcomes?

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, in 2019, the U.S. spent twice as much on healthcare, yet had the worst health outcomes. The U.S. has the highest rate of hospitalizations and premature deaths from conditions considered preventable, and the highest load of chronic disease. In addition, the U.S. now has the shortest life expectancy of all industrialized peers.

Gaining clarity.

So, regardless of the emerging storm that’s swirling around all the above-mentioned medications, their use, true effectiveness, and previously minimized side effects are being called into question.

 A report first published in September 2015 reviewed, for the first time,  the morbidity end result of statin trials.  It showed the average or median life expectancy gained from the use of statin drugs to be less than five days.

Comparatively, if a person quits smoking it can add ten years to life expectancy; the same if diet is improved Exercise can add seven years to a person’s life and meditation can reduce the risk of death from all causes by 23%. 

Even better? All cost virtually nothing and ultimately put money back in a person’s pocket.

We know for a fact, all the “common health conditions” the current healthcare system prefers to treat with prescription medications have equally effective and non-harmful alternative options that they are reluctant to  acknowledge. Most are rooted in lifestyle and diet changes that don’t support patents.

Never stop taking medication without first consulting your primary care physician. My only hope in sharing this kind of information is that you’ll be empowered to ask the questions needed to ensure your best health interests are at the forefront of any decision you make when it comes to your long-term wellness goals.

What can you do?

My goal in sharing these facts is not to discourage, but to reinforce my commitment to the message that regardless of age, condition, or prognosis, there are real ways in which health can be regained without the use of pharmaceuticals, expensive supplements, or complicated treatments, and it all begins with functional foods and lifestyle.

The best thing  you can do, especially if you’re a holistic healthcare practitioner, is to continue educating yourself and your clients about effective, affordable, and preventative steps everyone can take to regain or sustain their ideal wellness.

My Nutritional Endocrinology Practitioner Training (NEPT) provides practitioners with what they need to accomplish this.   It takes practitioners to the next level and supports the advancement of holistic and functional health which is so desperately needed.

Another way to help is by sharing great content. Recently my good friend Ocean Robbins, CEO of Food Revolution Network,  featured the remarkable cardiologist Dr. Mimi Guarneri.  Her impactful TedX presentation, Shifting the Healthcare Paradigm, is another example of how badly change is needed.

I’m also very excited to play my part by hosting a free Metabolic Restart Clinic where I’ll be providing you with great tools and resources to help you to jumpstart your metabolism and get back your energy, focus and ideal body weight, all critical in reaching your best health.  

Working together I know we can make the difference needed to change this broken healthcare system, even if just one person, one success, at a time.  We can do this!

What’s next?

As I continue with the vitally important topic of functional foods, enjoy my next blog article where I reveal my “gold standard” for detecting food culprits that could be throwing off body system balance. 

For now, take a moment to download my functional food guide packed with functional food lists and charts you can use to gain a better understanding of how the messages in your food influence your health.

Listen to my podcast, ReInvent Healthcare, where I deepen the conversation about how practitioners who want to make a real difference can empower clients to achieve their wellness goals. 


Shifting the Healthcare Paradigm: Dr. Mimi Guarneri at TEDxAmericasFinestCity – YouTube

National Health Expenditure Projections 2018-2027

Prescription Drugs: Spending, Use, and Prices

Prescription drug spending in U.S. 1960-2020 | Statista

Controversial New Study Reports Statins Useless – Carolina Total Wellness

Efficacy and safety of statin therapy in older people: a meta-analysis of individual participant data from 28 randomised controlled trials – ScienceDirect

The effect of statins on average survival in randomised trials, an analysis of end point postponement | BMJ Open