HEALTHY BITE | “P” is far more than just “Pandemic”

Sadly, in our health system, whether we’re talking about chronic disease management, whether we’re talking about mental health, physical health, whether we are talking even about the pandemic I have identified this list of Ps that seem to drive our approach in many of our approaches to health in our system. Join me in this Healthy Bite as I talk about immune function, the Ps affecting our approach in this pandemic, and the highlights of my conversation with Dr Olivia Lesslar.

“P” is far more than just “Pandemic”

Now, this week, I spoke to Functional Medicine, a medical practitioner, Dr Olivia Lesslar, and we talked about immune function and touched on how one would approach if we had a choice, how one would approach this pandemic from the prevention point of view and from an early treatment point of view. In other words, from a public health point of view. It kind of reminded me of the fact that I’ve come to look at this pandemic as well.

Identifying Ps

I think, I’m up to about five or six Ps and I’ll share them with you and let you decide whether I’m right or not, in which would you would put them. For the first five or six, I’m open to discussing or suggestions about which order that should be in but I think indisputably the final P I think we can all agree is indisputable.

P – Profit

Let me start with the first P. One of the first four or five Ps and that is Profit. This pandemic has profited many people, not many ordinary people, but many people. I had heard some estimations saying that wealth, redistribution of wealth has occurred to the tune of around $3.8 trillion, and that is not in the direction of ordinary workers or ordinary people but in the direction of those that are in big corporations, particularly social media, Amazon, et cetera et cetera, and the pharmaceutical industry, of course.

In fact, the pharmaceutical industry is one of the big ones to profit from. Now it’s worth mentioning, and I had mentioned this in a previous podcast that the pharmaceutical industry currently has an annual revenue of, and this is in US dollars, $1.2 trillion. 

When a pharmaceutical industry company hits on a really wonderful drug that can generate up to a billion dollars worth of sales, they are referred to as a blockbuster drug and that is a huge deal in the pharmaceutical world. Lipitor is an example of that. Prozac was another example of that. Nexium for heartburn and reflux and indigestion. 

Another example of that there is probably some other anti-depressants that would fit into that category, but a billion dollars worth of sales is a really huge landmark. Interestingly, OxyContin many years ago celebrated its breakthrough into the blockbuster drug world, even though it ended up killing 600000 people on the way and counting, I might add. So that is a blockbuster drug.

When I say Ps for Profit, let me just share with you one statistic and that is that Pfizer, a name you are now all familiar with, has generated $33 billion worth of sales in the first year of the use of its vaccine. Not just one blockbuster, but the equivalent of 33 blockbusters. 

The US government paid a significant amount for the development of the drug and then all governments in the world and all media in the world and all health experts in the world then joined willingly or wittingly or, I suspect, unwittingly, the marketing division of these companies and rolled out the mandate, some quite mandates, but it is almost so. Profit is a big one. 

P – Power

Power is another one. I think the power has certainly shifted towards social media and governments. I think individual power has been undermined, and one could certainly argue that at a time of pandemic where global communities are threatened, then that’s entirely appropriate. I would agree with that, perhaps in the first month or two of this pandemic before we knew what we were dealing with but that was another aspect of it that has happened. 

P – Politics

Politics is another P. When politicians are looking for solutions to difficult problems and I don’t envy people in power, I think it’s an extremely challenging thing to do at the best of times. When unprecedented occurrences occur like the pandemic, you know, there’s no rulebook there or perhaps there was actually. 

They did go through various scenarios in modelling for this. I don’t think they followed many of those rules. When a politician is struggling to look for a solution and someone can come up with a vaccine, one solution for the problem, it’s a very easy message to… It’s an easier message to roll out and so politics plays a big part in this pandemic.

P – Patents

Another P that comes to mind is Patents. Patents is an interesting one because when one is looking at prevention, here’s another P that we haven’t heard a lot about, but that’s coming towards the end of this list of Ps then prevention and early treatment. We need to look at all things that are available to us. 

In the episode this week, I talked to Dr Olivia Lesslar and she goes through some of the steps that she would take in preventing a pandemic. I’ve discussed this with Professor Ian Brighthope, Dr Richard Cheng, Dr Thomas Levy, Dr Andrew Saul. You know, we’ve gone into this in quite a bit of detail with various guests on the podcast, but we’ve heard nothing about that from the so-called experts who have been leading the charge in managing this pandemic. 

Patents is a particularly interesting one because medications like ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine are very cheap and very accessible and very effective, but they are not very profitable. They have been largely pilloried by the press. 

Now, when we hear a drug like ivermectin referred to as a horse dewormer and promoted by social media and right-wing influencers and right-wing nutters, or might have been social media nutters and right-wing influencers. Anyway, when we hear of ivermectin referred to in that light, we know there is something terribly wrong with the way the media is reporting this pandemic.


And you? I’m sure my listeners would be very well aware that ivermectin is so much more. If you are not aware of it, then you should know that ivermectin, in fact, was awarded the Nobel Prise in Medicine in 2015, not that long ago because of its incredible safety record, having gone for been treated with over four billion doses. I think there is a total of about 5000 adverse reactions, and it is not just an anti-parasitic drug, it has been shown to be effective as an antiviral drug in the treatment of SARS-1, MERS, of other viruses that have come along. 

Ivermectin is a very cheap and accessible drug. It is a drug that was produced by Merck, one of the big pharmaceutical industry companies. Merck then produced a copy, sort of, of ivermectin. Not as effective. It’s called molnupiravir, and it had probably few studies done by the drug companies and was immediately accepted and fast-tracked by the FDA and by the TGA here in Australia.

It was approved and it was rushed through, and it has been found not to be as effective as ivermectin. It’s interesting to note that a course of molnupiravir costs something like $750. Whereas a course of ivermectin costs about $2.50. Now I’ll just repeat that. $750 for one course of a less effective drug, but a patented drug than ivermectin. You know you can make your own conclusion there. It is so much more than a horse dewormer, but it is what has been reported.

Hydroxychloroquine is an interesting one. Now, I am certainly no fan of former President Donald Trump, I have a feeling he could be back in 2024, nothing would surprise me but Donald Trump you know, I guess when you roll out 20 or 30000 lies in the presidency when you say something that is actually true and you have the entire Western press trying to undermine you, then when you say something that is true that hydroxychloroquine is an effective drug, then it is again pilloried and because it is cheap and off label, it is also demonised and actually taken off the availability.

The TGA, I might add, made it illegal for medical practitioners in Australia to prescribe ivermectin for COVID, even though it is effective, and it has been awarded a Nobel Prise in Medicine. The TGA, which is an industry-funded body, made it illegal to prescribe ivermectin. Hydroxychloroquine similarly was demonised and ridiculed as a ridiculous alternative. 

When we’re talking about a complex disease like COVID, one drug never does it, one vitamin never does it, it’s always a combination of things. When we say ivermectin is effective, it is not effective in and of itself. It’s usually combined with an antibiotic like azithromycin and doxycycline and usually with zinc and vitamin D and magnesium. When we talk about ivermectin, we’re talking about a combination of cheap and accessible and effective medications.

Similarly, hydroxychloroquine in and of itself is not effective. In combination with antibiotics azithromycin and zinc and vitamin D and magnesium, it is very effective, but it does not have its patent anymore. Hence, the Patent is another P and a good example there, again, is the drug remdesivir. 

Now, when I was President of the Australasian College of Nutritional Environmental Medicine, Ian Brighthope, who was the founder of that college, Professor Ian Brighthope wrote several, many, many letters to the Chief Medical Officer in Australia to the TGA, the AMA, either the health minister and I was saying, “Look, please, the research is out there to show that vitamin D deficiency and zinc set you up for viral problems. 

Just roll out or suggest that people keep their vitamin D levels and zinc.” And he asked me to be a co-signatory on one or two of those letters, and when we got a response back, it was said there is insufficient evidence to support the use of vitamin D having any role or zinc having any role in COVID 19. 

Literally, the next week, remdesivir was approved. A new patented drug that reduces your stay in ICU. Instead of being 14 days, it might reduce it to 12 or 10 days. That is the effectiveness of remdesivir but it’s $3000 a dose, and it was immediately passed through and approved because it was an important product to get out there.

That’s the P in Patents. If a drug does not have a patent on it, it will be ridiculed and not made available to the public. What are we up to? We’ve talked about profit, we’ve talked about patents, we’ve talked about power, we’ve talked about politics. 

P – Polarisation

We’ve certainly should mention polarisation. Unfortunately, with the presidency of Donald Trump, and I mean, this is, you know, this highlighted how the world became very polarised and this was perhaps setting up for the perfect storm that facilitates an increase in polarisation to the point that now if anybody mentions those horrible words like “natural immunity” or alternatives to early treatment or the use of lots off-market and no longer patented drugs, you were pilloried. You were actually threatened with deregulation. I think that’s a very sad state that we’ve come to, and this has become now a subject of whether you’re a vaxxer or an anti-vaxxer. 

I think what we should recognise here are a few things in this polarisation anti-vax effects of debate. It’s not about being a vaxxer or an anti-vaxxer because vaccines are a very, very effective treatment. In my experience, the reason you got a vaccine was so that you didn’t contract the condition. 

For example, smallpox. You got a smallpox vaccine so you would not get smallpox, cholera, whooping cough, measles, mumps, rubella, polio. I remember when I was a kid, and this is quite a while ago, there were one or two kids in our class that had callipers on their legs. You don’t see that anymore. 

Polio was a real thing in the 50s and 60s, and polio vaccines were rolled out in the 60s and 70s. OK. It was a condition that was going down. I understand that. But the idea of a vaccine is you don’t get the condition you are being vaccinated for and therefore you don’t transmit it.

If on the other hand, you’re being given medication, oh, let me just say about those vaccines. They have been incredibly safe, relatively safe over 40 or 50 years, and they typically involve a protein, you know, the spike protein. There are proteins associated with each virus, and the body can set up an immune reaction to that protein or you get an attenuated virus, which is a virus that has had the power cut out of it. 

It’s still a virus and the body can recognise it like that, and it sets up an immune response. That is what vaccines have been for the last 40 or 50 years. They stopped transmission of the disease and they were given as either a protein or via attenuated virus, and that was relatively safe and very effective.

OK, what are the new vaccines or so-called vaccines? They are an MRI and DNA vaccine, and Pfizer and Moderna – mRNA, AstraZeneca – DNA, that gets inside the cell and starts to produce a protein. That’s a whole new form of technology that we have no long term studies of. When we talk about how you are a vaxxer or an anti-vaxxer, we are really not talking about vaccines. We’re talking about new technology, which people might feel cautious about and the studies for which have come from the drug companies.

Now the drug companies have been given emergency use authorities, which have absolved them of all liability. Now, I don’t feel particularly reassured by that because over the last 20 years, almost every big drug company you know, has been fined for fraud and illegal marketing. And so, you know, that is of concern to me when they are given complete immunity for any liability. So their track record is not good. 

They have been fined over the last 20 years, a total of $70 billion. Now $70 billion would wipe out many industries if you were getting on the average three and a half billion dollars a year of fines. You would think that would have a significant impact on an industry that’s over 20 years, $70 million. But remember, I said the pharmaceutical industry, the revenue is $1.2 trillion a year so that $70 billion or $3.5 billion a year would equate to 0.005% of revenue, which I think would not even make it into an inconvenient marketing expense. 

Yet these companies are the companies we are relying on upon new technology to give us an end to rolling this out being mandated by government and media alike. In fact, ordinary foot soldiers citizens are also mandating or becoming compliance officers. I think we need to exercise a little bit of caution. I think that is entirely justified. So, Polarisation.

P – Pandemic

Well, there’s another P we can go into, and it does surprise me at how this seemingly irrational approach to science has been… Science typically is about hypotheses, open discussion, challenging hypotheses, proving or disproving them, building a new hypothesis, proving or disproving that. But actually, that’s not what’s happened. 

All discussion, all criticism, any criticism has been shut down uniformly from government health experts, media right across the board. And this is unprecedented. And I’ve often wondered how to how do things like this occur? How did, for example, an intelligent culture in Germany in the 1930s turn out to be such psychotic killers and how did they follow one person in such a seemingly irrational way? 

It’s a term that I’ve just become familiar with, and it’s called Psychosis, and that starts with the letter P as well, which fit conveniently into my many Ps of the pandemic. I think there’s an element of that, Mass Psychosis.

The elements of a mass psychosis are that you are scared, that the population is scared, that it is isolated, that’s another feature that a level of anxiety is maintained and you only have to look at the bombardment on media of stories about this to think that we are anxious and for there to be one person with the answer. In the 1930s, we know who that answer was. 

It didn’t turn out really well, but in this scenario, vaccination is the answer to everything. If two vaccines aren’t enough, then let’s do three. If three vaccines are enough, let’s do four. And so it goes on. A great economic model, creating many blockbuster drugs. I’m questioning whether it’s a great health model, which brings me to the final P.

P – Public Health

There is indisputable you could argue about the order of the last few Ps that I gave you, but in my opinion, this is by far the furthest down the track and that is Public Health. Why do I say that? Because in Australia, let me give you an example. 

In Australia, have you heard about early treatment? And early treatment, I’m not going to mention the name, but one of Australia’s leading clinicians, a professor who treats some really intractable conditions and for the sake of his own safety, I won’t mention his name, but I know for a fact that he has a protocol which includes ivermectin, doxycycline and zinc, which has been very successful and that has been going on, I think, since March 2020 in Australia. 

Has anybody out there in Australia listening to this or heard that story? No. There was another article in 2013 which showed that people in ICU, 70% of people in ICU were deficient in vitamin D. Now you would have thought that people in ICU and vitamin D is critical to every immune function in the body. You would have thought that would have been a basic thing that would have occurred, and zinc similarly is known to be an important antiviral.

If Public Health were really the number one priority and right from the beginning of this pandemic, I have thought this is an incredible opportunity for us as a global population, particularly in the West, to really focus on these chronic preventable degenerative diseases — cardiovascular disease, cancer, autoimmune conditions, diabetes, obesity — because we have an audience, a global audience focussed on health like never before. Prevention? Early treatment? But no. 

Therefore I place Public Health on the list of priorities by buzz would be as a very, very low priority. And throughout this time, while income has been redistributed, you know, as I said at the beginning, $3.8 trillion has changed hands. When you look at small businesses, when you look at people in hospitality and entertainment, in tourism, in education, in small businesses, all suffered. 

The big players have not. But the small people out on the street, ordinary people and also in health care as well have really suffered badly through this. Not to mention the incredible burden that the health care professionals at the coalface of this have had to bear. Not to mention the mental health problems that this has affected not just the young, not just the old who have been isolated, not just the young who have been isolated, but every single one of us.

So this has been a pandemic of many Ps, and I just thought I would share that with you today. The episode I spoke to Olivia Lesslar about certainly went into immune function, as has many of our other podcasts recently. 

In case you’re wondering why somebody talks about vitamin C, and someone else talks about vitamin D, and someone else talks about this and that, that’s because it is a complex process in the human body requiring a nutrient-dense diet. Look, I won’t spoil it. That’s a lot of what Olivia talks about. 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 as a substitute for care by a qualified medical practitioner. If you or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately qualified medical practitioner. Guests who speak in this podcast express their own opinions, experiences, and conclusions.