Events that Changed Recent History of “Health” Care
Did you know that in the 1800s, John D. Rockefeller, Sr., founder of Standard Oil Company, played a role in establishing medicine and the pharmaceutical industry in the U.S.?
At the time, healthcare was largely decentralized and fragmented, with little standardization or regulation of the profession. In this context, the Rockefeller family saw an opportunity to monopolize the petroleum, chemical, and medical industries and purchased part of the German pharmaceutical company I.G. Farben.
His plan, however, faced a major obstacle: natural and herbal remedies were hugely popular in America during the early 1900s, with almost half of medical colleges and physicians practicing holistic medicine, drawing on a wealth of knowledge from both European and Native American traditions. In order to gain complete control of the medical industry, Rockefeller would need to eliminate his competition.
He hired Abraham Flexner to submit a report to Congress in 1910, which claimed that natural healing modalities were “unscientific quackery.” Based on the Flexner report, Congress changed laws related to medical practice, and allopathic medicine became the standard.
Rockefeller (and Andrew Carnegie) funded medical schools all over America on the strict condition that they only taught allopathic medicine. They systematically dismantled the previous curricula of these medical schools, removing any mention of the healing power of herbs or natural treatments. After removing traditional medicine from medical schools, Rockefeller secured his monopoly by launching a targeted smear campaign against his competitors.
Efforts to suppress alternative health included funding propaganda campaigns to discredit alternative medicine and practitioners, lobbying against alternative treatments, controlling what was taught in medical schools, and even owning patents on chemicals used in drugs. These tactics have been used to maintain the dominant position of allopathic medicine in the healthcare industry, often at the expense of alternative approaches that have been proven to be effective in treating certain conditions.
One of the most influential figures in the Rockefellers’ efforts to shape healthcare policy and practice was Morris Fishbein, who served as the editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) from 1924 to 1950.
Fishbein was an American physician, editor, and influential figure in the medical establishment. During his tenure as JAMA editor, he wielded significant influence over the medical establishment, using JAMA as a platform to promote allopathic medicine and to criticize alternative medicine. He was known for his aggressive tactics in discrediting alternative medicine practitioners and their therapies, and was at odds with those who promoted natural and holistic health practices. Critics accused him of being more concerned with promoting allopathic medicine and protecting the interests of the medical establishment than with promoting the health and well-being of patients. He also played a key role in promoting the Rockefeller Foundation’s efforts to standardize medical education and training, which helped to consolidate the dominance of allopathic medicine in the United States.
The over-reliance on allopathic medicine has led to criticisms, including a focus on symptom management rather than addressing the root causes of disease, limited focus on prevention, and commercialization and profit-seeking. The Rockefellers’ investment in pharmaceutical companies and medical research institutions allowed them to profit from the sale of expensive synthetic drugs, which are widely prescribed. This system of profit-driven healthcare often leads to over-medication, unnecessary medical procedures, and a lack of attention to alternative, less invasive treatments. There are also conflicts of interest in today’s allopathic medicine due to the significant influence of the pharmaceutical industry and corporations, which many believe has led to a system that prioritizes profit over actual health care.
Natural remedies and holistic approaches to healing were the primary methods used to promote health and wellness before the influence of the Rockefellers and pharmaceutical companies. Natural health practices integrate mind, body, and spirit and give attention to lifestyle factors such as nutrition, exercise, and stress management, which can play a major role in preventing and managing chronic diseases, especially considering that approximately 80% of all chronic diseases are caused by diet and lifestyle. While allopathic medicine is important for acute emergencies and injuries, natural health provides a viable alternative for long-term health and wellness.