Below is an excerpt from an [article](http://ethics.harvard.edu/blog/new-prescription-drugs-major-health-risk…) that makes my blood boil (if you can tolerate a crazy level of boiling, check out this [amazing book](http://www.amazon.com/Deadly-Medicines-Organised-Crime-Healthcare/dp/18…) that goes into great detail concerning why the drug cartels - I mean Pharmaceutical Companies - are more like the mafia than you can even imagine):
"Few know that systematic reviews of hospital charts found that even properly prescribed drugs (aside from misprescribing, overdosing, or self-prescribing) cause about 1.9 million hospitalizations a year. Another 840,000 hospitalized patients are given drugs that cause serious adverse reactions for a total of 2.74 million serious adverse drug reactions. About 128,000 people die from drugs prescribed to them. This makes prescription drugs a major health risk, ranking 4th with stroke as a leading cause of death. The European Commission estimates that adverse reactions from prescription drugs cause 200,000 deaths; so together, about 328,000 patients in the U.S. and Europe die from prescription drugs each year...
"Despite fewer superior drugs, Marc-André Gagnon has shown that sales and profits [for drug companies] soared. Net return on revenues (ROR) rose from about 10 percent in the 1970s to 12.5 percent by 1990, then to 16 percent by 2000, and to 19 percent in 2010. Pharmaceutical ROR has increased from about 2.5 times to 3.2 times the return for the Fortune 500 giants, largely as a result of raising prices and getting more physicians to prescribe more drugs.
"Risk for the major companies is much less than claimed for several reasons. First, they spread risk over many projects. Second, once inflators and public subsidies are taken out, net research costs are a fraction of the $1 billion to $5 billion per new drug claimed, and big companies largely invest after the public and others have paid for the high risks of research to discover new drugs. As new drugs enter clinical trials, their risks are just 1 in 5. Third, companies cut losses by stopping development of drugs whose profit potential is not as high as they want. We never will know how many beneficial drugs never get approved because companies estimated they would not be profitable enough.
"Over the past 35 years, this hidden business model based on marketing power and prowess more than innovation has caused an epidemic of harmful side effects. Given estimates that about 30 adverse reactions occur for every one that leads to hospitalization, about 81 million adverse reactions are experienced by the 170 million Americans taking drugs..."
**Some Other Interesting Articles:**
-- A sobering piece on the Charleston Massacre: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vincent-warren/the-charleston-massacre-t_…
-- I think it was Chris Kresser who said that "we eat a plant-based diet that just happens to include some meat". [Here](http://chriskresser.com/are-vegetarian-diets-better-for-the-microbiome/…), he discusses the way plants vs. animal foods impact the microbiome (here's a follow-up [study](http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3402009/#_jmp0_)).
-- ["Luckily, the world is quite flexible and everyone is here to help."](http://northstarteens.org/millions-of-goodbyes-that-arent-really-goodby…) The former Programs Director at North Star is moving on, to start [an urban teen center in Holyoke](http://lighthouseteens.org/). I so so want something like North Star for my kids someday! And I totally want to be the chef for the Lighthouse unschool lunch program.
Here's another really great illustration of [what North Star is](http://northstarteens.org/presentations-week/), written by the outreach director.