Who is to blame for high insulin prices in the USA? Big Pharma?

insulin prices

Insulin prices are a big issue in the USA because they seem to be skyrocketing upwards much faster than inflation or anything else. Of course, people are blaming Big Pharma, because they seem to be the major culprits behind the gouging of diabetics.

However, like everything else, the facts behind insulin prices are much more complicated than what you might be reading in the most recent Facebook meme or post about the subject. Because a 4-line meme is so much easier than writing a complicated article about the world of insulin prices.

And I’m going to try to guide you through the travesty of how pharmaceuticals are priced and how it’s a total mess. And remember, this is only about America’s pharmaceutical pricing mess — hopefully, the rest of the world does this better.

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Genetically modified corn is safe according to a large meta-review

genetically modified corn

As I have written, the scientific consensus says that genetically modified crops, like corn, are safe for humans, animals, and the environment. The real science, published in real scientific journals and not anecdotes, beliefs, misinformation, and lies, tells us that genetically modified agricultural products are safe.

A large meta-review of research into genetically modified (GM) corn has supported several findings that there are no safety signals — you can consume GM corn all day long and you will suffer no ill consequences.

Genetically modified crops are one of those modern technologies that many people avoid, mainly for irrational and unscientific reasons. Of course, many people push fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) about GMOs using little or no scientific evidence to support their claims.

But I’m here to provide real, published, peer-reviewed scientific evidence that contradicts that fear about GMOs – well, at least about GMO corn.

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Genetically modified wheat gluten that can reduce sensitivity

genetically modified wheat

Gluten-free diets are mostly a quack food fad for 99% of the population, but now we might have a genetically modified wheat that has modified gluten so that it doesn’t induce sensitivity. Scientists have developed some new strains of wheat that will produce a genetically modified gluten that may not trigger a gluten sensitivity.

Let’s wrap our minds around that – genetically modified wheat gluten. I’m sure that won’t be problematic for those who have medically diagnosed issues with gluten. They’re going to be thrilled that they can eat real bread, pizza, or pasta. I’m sure they’re not going to be concerned with any label that says “this product contains GMO gluten.”

Of course, the real scientific consensus about GMOs is that they are safe for humans, animals, and the environment. And provide humans with more and healthier food. Like genetically modified wheat gluten.

On the other hand, I’m certain (but I have no scientific evidence) that the Venn diagrams of those who buy into the nonsense about GMOs also buy into the pseudoscience of gluten. Those people might faint because of the irony of a GMO wheat gluten

Let’s take a look at gluten, the real medical issues of gluten sensitivity, and then what is this new genetically modified gluten in wheat. 

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Glyphosate is not linked to cancer — examining the systematic reviews

glyphosate cancer

I keep reading the claim that somehow glyphosate is linked to cancer, despite numerous large epidemiological studies that have yet to provide evidence of a link that would convince us that the herbicide has any link to any cancer.

One of the major issues with the tropes and myths about glyphosate is that many anti-science liberals tend to conflate glyphosate with genetically modified crops. This leads to a lot of unsupported hatred of GMO plants, despite the overwhelming scientific consensus that says that GMO agriculture is safe for humans, animals, and the environment – a consensus as broad and powerful as the one that states that climate change is caused by humans. Glyphosate is used as a strawman argument to stigmatize GMO crops.

Glyphosate is so hated, I don’t know how many times I write that GMOs are safe, and they are safe — then someone will write back, “yeah but Monsanto is killing us with their cancer-causing glyphosate.” It’s frustrating, but that’s the usual state of my mind when dealing with pseudoscience-pushing people.

But I have actual scientific evidence that supports the claim that there is no link between glyphosate and any of the 200 or more types of cancer. I know some people, especially greedy attorneys, will cherry-pick poorly designed primary studies and ignore the larger systematic reviews and meta-analyses that show no link.

I’m going to give you a brief review of some of the most powerful studies, which are at the top of the hierarchy of biomedical research, that reject any claims that glyphosate causes cancer.

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GMO and vaccine DNA – they’re not going to change your genes

vaccine GMO DNA

One of the more pernicious tropes in the world of pseudoscience is that the vaccine and GMO DNA are going to magically incorporate into your cells changing you from a human into a sasquatch with ears of corn growing out of your head. Now that would be fun to see, but unless there’s a mad scientist out there trying to grow ears of corn out of a hirsute humane that looks like Sasquatch, it will probably never happen.

And most certainly consuming DNA from GMO foods or injecting DNA in a vaccine is not going to cause anything changes in your genes. You are not going to suddenly turn into Sasquatch.

Now, this article will not discuss mRNA vaccines somehow changing your DNA, because that’s been thoroughly debunked.

As we all know, good science rarely gets in the way of good pseudoscience for anti-vaxxers and anti-GMO zealots. That’s why this old feathered skeptic in the dinosaur clade is here, to make sure the science is clear and to mock the pseudoscience.

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Humans have genetically modified crops for 10,000 years — yes, it’s true

genetically modified crops

The anti-GMO movement says that nature does it better for food, ignoring the fact that humans have been genetically modified crops for over 10,000 years. In other words, some people believe that our ancestors’ foods are somehow better than modern foods. But our ancestors were selectively breeding plants and animals since the dawn of agriculture. They just didn’t know about DNA, but they knew what they were doing.

Strangely, people seem to endow “nature” with a special status that is ridiculous. As if nature was for the benefit of humans, rather than being just plain random events.

Evolution proceeds along a random process where environmental changes select for certain mutations over time (and yes, I’m oversimplifying the process), which is called natural selection. Moreover, there are random mutations that just occur that provide no benefit to the organism, although they might in the future because of some environmental change.

Nature has no goal. It has no guidance. It has no underlying value of good or evil. Unless you believe that some higher being controls it, and at that point, you’re a creationist, claiming that “nature” is better than the alternative is ridiculous.

So, we’re going to talk about how humans genetically modified crops have moved from the early days of waiting for a random, beneficial mutation to the modern world of bioengineering.

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GMO science — consensus says they are safe for humans, animals, environment

GMO science

I keep reading statements that there is no GMO science that says that they are safe for humans and the environment. And that they harm the productivity of farms. But GMO science says something completely different.

There is a scientific consensus that GMOs are safe and increase the productivity of farming. They help feed and protect humans all across the world. But still many reject this consensus of GMO science and block important foods that could save hundreds of thousands of lives. Just read about “golden rice,” a wonderful development of GMO science but is being blocked by many anti-GMO groups.

I want to review the scientific consensus behind GMO crops for those who think that there is no science supporting its safety and productivity.

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Golden rice — anti-GMO activists keeping it away from children

golden rice

Golden rice is a genetically modified rice that is a cost-effective way to combat vitamin A deficiency which has killed millions of children in less-developed countries for at least 30 years. Unfortunately, activists who are opposed to transgenic and genetically modified foods raised false concerns that led governments to delay the approval of golden rice.

This is sad since the safety of GMO foods has been firmly established over the years. Because of the pseudoscience pushed by the anti-GMO forces, the world hasn’t been able to provide a nutritional food source for children who are dying across the world. I’m not one to push morality or ethics, but what is the morality of fighting against this life-saving food? There isn’t any based on the science of GMO foods.

Let’s take a look at vitamin A deficiency and golden rice.

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Genetically modified mosquitos are coming to Florida – saving humans

genetically modified mosquitos

A plan to release over 750 million genetically-modified mosquitos in the Florida Keys in 2021 and 2022 has been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and various Florida regulatory authorities. Predictably, activists who reject science are attacking this decision.

Basically, the genetically-modified mosquitos will help combat the invasive Aedes aegypti mosquito, which carries several dangerous diseases like the Zika virus and Dengue fever, passing it to humans. 

There have been numerous cases of Zika virus infection in south Florida, and, because of the lack of effective preventative vaccines and treatments, public health officials have looked at other methods to prevent the Zika virus. The most effective way is to eliminate the carriers of this virus, mosquitoes.

I have written several articles about these GMO mosquitoes, which some have called the “Frankensquito,” a complete misuse of both the genetic modification of the mosquito and a misunderstanding of the Frankenstein myth. It’s just a scare tactic.

Let’s take a look at the real science behind these genetically-modified mosquitos, and why it will save humans.

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Alan McHughen, author of “DNA Demystified” – chatting about GMOs, vaccines, science

alan mchughen

This is the second of my interview articles, this time with Professor Alan McHughen, who has recently published a fascinating book, “DNA Demystified.” As the title suggests, the book delves into what is DNA and how it became a part of the technology of our modern world.

I have had a chance to meet Alan McHughen at a Taco Tuesday science gathering, just before COVID-19 stopped all social interactions. Because of his new book and because he has a fascinating background, I asked Dr. McHughen to do a quick interview with your not-so-humble, ancient, anti-quack raptor. Continue reading “Alan McHughen, author of “DNA Demystified” – chatting about GMOs, vaccines, science”