Breathing Retraining: Asthma Insights & Medication Realities

Do you or any of your family have asthma? Well if so, this week’s episode is for you. This week on the Unstress, I spoke to Roger Price. He brought to mind two terms, which I will discuss in this Healthy Bite.

Come learn more about asthma, why nasal breathing is important, and how our management structure is a great economic model but a poor health model.

Breathing Retraining, Asthma and Medication

Well, this week, I enjoyed talking to Roger Price. Roger has been a guest on the podcast before, and Roger is a health advocate and educator with over 60 years of experience in the functional medicine space for the last 20 or 30 years and has been particularly focussed on breathing and breathing retraining. It was a great opportunity to review what breathing is, why we do it, and why it’s so important.


We also discussed asthma, and there were two terms that he reminded me of. One of those terms is called Idiopathic. An “Idiopathic relates to,” I’m just quoting here, “or denoting any disease or condition which arises spontaneously for which the cause is unknown.” Idiopathic is often used to describe asthma. 

There’s a genetic component, obviously, and there’s an environmental component, but some people are more susceptible than others. Idiopathic is when you really don’t know what the cause of the disease is.


Another term that I thought was worth mentioning because he touched on it as well, and that is the term Iatrogenic. Iatrogenic relates to illnesses caused by medical examination or treatment. Roger actually pointed out that the examination of the diagnosis for asthma actually almost guarantees that you may be diagnosed with it when you may not have it at all. Iatrogenic and Idiopathic are two names which can often be associated with asthma. 

It’s also interesting to use asthma as an example of a condition which is often misdiagnosed. Professor Pete Smith, a few weeks ago, mentioned that 30% of asthma sufferers are misdiagnosed. They actually do not have asthma. Roger upped the ante on that by suggesting that it was up to 90% in his clinical experience.

Whether it’s 30 or 90%, it’s a lot of people are misdiagnosed with asthma. What’s so interesting about this is that the solution for managing asthma, and we’re talking about managing it. We’re never talking about curing; it is pharmaceutical intervention. 

Affinity for Phenotarol

Roger shared with us some stories of what we used in the 1970s, and particularly popularised in New Zealand, a thing called affinity for Phenotarol, which actually resulted in many deaths. It has been used for about six or seven years in New Zealand. 

When it was discontinued, then those deaths reduced significantly. I think it was a really interesting example of a pharmaceutical product which is approved, used in the community, causes unnecessary deaths and then is eventually removed. The reason that’s significant is because so many pharmaceutical products have a similar effect.


I’m just going to draw your attention to a couple like Pradaxa. Pradaxa was another pharmaceutical introduced by Boehringer Ingelheim, and that’s a pharmaceutical company that Roger references. Where again, Pradaxa is an example of an anticoagulant which was FDA-approved and actually caused 60,000 deaths before it was taken off the market. But it was FDA approved, and there is OxyContin.


Now, OxyContin is a painkiller, which the FDA it’s actually an opioid. The FDA and the pharmaceutical company Purdue convinced the FDA to put a label on it, which said it is not addictive. Now, every doctor knows that one of the features of opioids is that they are addictive. 

But somehow, Purdue convinced the FDA that OxyContin wasn’t addictive, and that has resulted in over 500,000 deaths, I think maybe up to 600,000. The deaths were something was tragic enough. The impact that this had on communities and individuals who were still alive was huge. There is another example of a pharmaceutical industry working in tandem with the FDA to gain approval for its medication. 

It went on for over ten years. Over ten years. If you want to see how Big Pharma operates, I would recommend that you look at a programme called Dopesick, which is a six-part mini-series. Michael Keaton is a doctor in, I think, Kentucky. Anyway, he’s a rural doctor who himself becomes addicted to OxyContin. But the devastation that this drug caused with FDA approval was huge.


Depakene, another one for epilepsy by Abbott Laboratories that cause birth defects. They knew it caused birth defects, but they suppressed the information on that. Vioxx, an anti-inflammatory made by Merck, the makers of Molnupiravir, caused 60,000 deaths which eventually saw it being taken off. 

It was on the market for a good five or ten years. Another drug called Avandia, which is from GlaxoSmithKline, was another one that actually was a diabetes drug and the problem with that diabetes drug, and again it got FDA approval was that 50% of people who took it developed cardiovascular disease and 20% of those of people who took it went on to die.

I use these examples, and there are many others. Let’s not forget that the world’s biggest drug maker, Pfizer, has been was fined $2.3 billion in 2010. That was the biggest criminal fine in U.S. history. Pfizer, I think that’s a name many of you will be familiar with. It has been fined for health care fraud and illegal marketing. 

I’ve mentioned this before, but actually, the pharmaceutical industry has been fined something like $70 billion over the last 20 years. That’s an average of $3.5 billion a year. That would be enough to finish any industry off. But when you’ve got revenues of $1.2 trillion, that’s just petty cash. 

I mention these because it’s an example of when we put our trust in the pharmaceutical industry. And who are the major stakeholders in the pharmaceutical industry? Well, they are shareholders, and the company’s fiduciary responsibility is to return as higher profit to its shareholders as possible. Any follow-up of the pharmaceutical industry over the last two years will know that this period has been nirvana for Big Pharma.

If a pharmaceutical company can get sales of $1 billion, that constitutes what they call in the pharmaceutical industry a blockbuster drug. Examples of blockbuster drugs are Lipitor the statin. Another one is Nexium which is a protein pump inhibitor for acid reflux and heartburn, and indigestion. Antidepressants. There are quite a few blockbuster drugs that have generated more than $1,000,000,000 worth of sales. 

Well, guess what? Pfizer has hit the jackpot because in I think six months, they generated $39 billion worth of sales $39 billion. Moderna, a company that was facing financial ruin prior to the pandemic, registered something like $16 billion worth of sales. There are drug companies who are. That’s why I call it nirvana for big pharma, and not only that, but they have governments actually marketing on their behalf. 

You may know many people who unwittingly have become marketing and compliance officers for the pharmaceutical industry feeling vitriolic about anybody who doesn’t vaccinate their children over the age of five or themselves or has gone back for boosters.

Vaccinations and Medications 

This is one of the reasons why I think we need to approach this whole vaccination story. But medications in general, but vaccinations in particular, with caution, because the pharmaceutical industry are not focussed on public health, they are focussed on profit, and we are reminded of that in this discussion this week on asthma and the pharmaceutical interventions which are used to manage a disease which has been misdiagnosed somewhere between 30 and 90%.

Nasal breathing and mouth breathing are important

It’s also a great discussion about why nasal breathing is important and mouth breathing compared to breathing through your mouth. It’s an episode well worth watching, but I wanted to really draw your attention to it because it was such a great example of: A) misdiagnosis; B) the management of chronic disease without any cure that generates billions of dollars worth of profits for the pharmaceutical industry. 

And also, it allows doctors to be seen to be doing something for idiopathic conditions for which we really are not sure about the cause. If we go back to the basics of anatomy, biochemistry, and physiology, if we understand nutritional and environmental medicine as triggers for these conditions, then we can do a far better job of managing disease and enjoying good health. If, on the other hand, your preference is to take the medications, don’t worry about it. You’ve got an industry waiting there with open arms to embrace you and manage you through your life. 

If you’re listening to this podcast, I doubt whether you fall into that category. At this point, I might also mention that we have some exciting things in Unstress Health, which is a whole new platform that takes our message to another level. I hope this finds you well. Until next time. This is Dr Ron Ehrlich. Be well.



This podcast provides general information and discussion about medicine, health, and related subjects. The content is not intended and should not be construed as medical advice or a substitute for care by a qualified medical practitioner. If you or any other person has a medical concern, they should consult with an appropriately qualified medical practitioner. Guests in this podcast express their opinions, experiences, and conclusions.