Science, Misconceptions & Pharma Insights: An Insider’s View

This week on the Unstress podcast I was fortunate enough to speak to Dr Phillip Altman, whom has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over 40 years.

In today’s Healthy Bite I reflect on our conversation and the topics we talked about including what Dr Altman recognised as the three types of science, the role of the pharmaceutical industry, PCR tests, marketing and a story that is easy to miss but difficult to ignore once you hear it.

The Art of Branding a Condition… But We Could Do Better

This week, we touched on what we dived into, COVID again. And this time, we have the opportunity of speaking to someone who has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over 40 years, supervised hundreds if not thousands of clinical trials, worked for almost every big pharma company that there was or is, and worked very closely with the TGA, so he understands how medications are approved and the process involved in the TGA.

My guest was Dr Phillip Altman. Philip gives an insight into the whole COVID pandemic from an insider’s perspective, from someone who really understands what the pharmaceutical industry is all about, how trials are conducted, and scientific research. 

He spends his entire spent years and spends his retirement now, his entire career reading the classic scientific data, which he identifies as three different types of science.

Now, the classic scientific data, which was from journals, respected journals like Lancet, The Journal of the American Medical Association, The British Medical Journal, The New England Journal of Medicine, Nature Science, you name it. These are the classic journals which he would call Classic Science.


And then there’s the junk, which was someone with a lot of experience reading, scientific literature can just look at a piece of research and know that it’s been really poorly constructed and its conclusions are not to be trusted. 

He introduced me to a new term called “Scientism,” which I basically got the impression of was a sort of almost a religious form where any, just any dissension from the narrative is ignored or actively opposed. 

Anybody who descends from the narrative is either ridiculed or deregistered, or de-platformed. I think this is another word that one could use in this modern world of social media, and scientism is what he believes is going on right now. And I tend to agree with him.

Few COVID Misconceptions

We touched on a few misconceptions. One of the first misconceptions we dealt with is that there is an alarming and disproportionate high risk of infection due to COVID 19 across the general community. 

The question one needs to ask is: “What is your chance of dying if you contract COVID?” I think that’s pretty important because shutting down society, vaccinating everybody above the age of five, and it’s even now being suggested that six months old, all anybody over six months old should be boosted, should be vaccinated and boosted. 

The question in order to make an informed decision is, what is your chance of dying from this disease? It turns out that some people think it’s 5% and some people think it’s 10%. Some people think it’s even higher than that. 

The reality is that your chance of dying from COVID is between 0.4 and 0.2%. Or, to put it another way, the chance of you not dying from COVID is 99.96 to 99.98%. Now, that’s quite an extraordinary fact. So misconception 1: There is an alarming and disproportionate high risk of infection death due to COVID across the general community. 

That’s your chance of getting it. Interestingly, the average age of the person dying of COVID is, I think, for males, 86 and for females 82. Which I think is a little bit higher than actual life expectancy. So, you know, this begs the question about our response to the pandemic. 

The Projections of the Authorities

Now, in the discussion with Philip, he also firstly points out that the projections that were made by the so-called authorities when this pandemic broke out were very high. In Australia, the estimations were that we would have somewhere around 150,000, 160,000 deaths. In America, it was suggested they were five or 6 million. 

There were several million predicted in the UK as well. It didn’t turn out to be that way. Look, let’s make no mistake. When a pandemic of unknown virility emerges in a community, this is a very tough time to be a leader because one needs to air on the side of caution because if those kinds of figures come to fruition, it really is a disaster. 

Now, that is a difficult position for a politician to be in, looking for answers and turning to authorities, which give them figures like 160,000 in Australia, 6 million in America and several million in the UK. Then you would go for some lockdowns until you understood what was actually going on. 

It’s a credit in Australia at least that we as a community decided I supported that move and felt, well, we don’t know what’s going on, but we need to be careful and protect those that are vulnerable. But the results have shown that your chance of dying from this illness is extremely low, and your chance of not dying is something like 99.9%, your chance of not dying. So the first misconception was that.

New Generation of COVID Vaccines

The second misconception is that the new generation of COVID vaccines has been proven to be both safe and effective. Now, that is a statement that everyone has accepted. This is a story not just for the layperson but for doctors and health practitioners, and administrators. 

It’s a story that is easy to miss because keeping up with the scientific literature requires something like 600 hours of reading a week. It’s clearly not possible. There are only 168 hours in the week. We’re spending 56 of those hours asleep. Just over 100 or 105 and 110 hours of people are just not going to be able to keep up. 

But if you do try to keep up, as Philip did, as he was looking at his classic science and following all those journals, you would be excused for thinking that if something was published in a journal, then it was valid. Unfortunately, that is just simply not the case, and any regular listener of this podcast will know exactly what I’m talking about – The Illusion of Evidence-Based Medicine.

The fact that the vast majority, in fact, I’ve asked Philip this. Philip, what percentage of the science in medicine is funded directly or indirectly by the pharmaceutical industry? He had to admit that it was probably almost all. When we see a statement like the new generation of COVID 19, vaccines have been proven to be both safe and effective. We need to also approach this in the same way we don’t know what the disease is doing. 

We approach this very in a very cautious way. We should also approach the vaccines in a very cautious way because this is a money exercise. I mean the fiduciary duty of other pharmaceutical companies to shareholders. This has the potential to generate tremendous profits, which is exactly proven to be the case. 

It’s why it takes four, six, seven, 7 to 10 years for vaccines generally to be approved. Many fall by the wayside because they don’t stack up, and these have been proven to be both safe and effective and are also both actually incorrect.

PCR tests

Coming back to the actual diagnosis, it’s interesting that Philip mentioned the PCR or the Polymerase Chain Reaction technology that was used to diagnose the condition of COVID and the PCR tests were certainly not designed to do that. 

In fact, the inventor of the PCR test, Kary Mullis, got a Nobel Prise for it in Chemistry in 1993. Unfortunately, he passed away from Pneumonia last year at the age of 74. But there was no doubt that he considered the PCR test inappropriate for detecting a viral infection.

The reason is that the intended use of the PCR test was and still is to apply it as a manufacturing technique, being able to replicate DNA sequences millions and billions of times, but not to be used as a diagnostic tool to detect viruses.

In fact, using the PCR tests to detect viruses can end up in a bit of a disaster, which was exactly what happened in the UK when they used the PCR test. There was an outbreak of a cough in a hospital, which the PCR tests suggested could be whooping cough. It turned out to be cold. It was a false reading. 

When you spin use the cycles that are used in a PCR test, you can pick up fragments of even just one virus. That doesn’t mean you have COVID. It can even pick up fragments of the virus. That doesn’t mean you have COVID and the authorities know this. It’s a bit of a mystery to me and to Philip as to why that was the case and why PCR tests were used as the gold standard.

Unvaccinated Individuals

Another misconception that we talked about was that unvaccinated individuals represent an unacceptable risk, both to themselves and to others. In that, unlike vaccinated individuals, they can transmit the virus and contribute to its spread in the community. I think it’s fairly well and accepted now that even if you are vaccinated, you can still get and transmit and be hospitalised from the vaccine. 

In fact, you can die still from the COVID vaccine because the efficacy goes down after each injection. Perhaps after the two injections, the efficacy may have been in the order of 4 to 6 months after the booster that came down to about 3 to 4 months after the next booster, it’s about ten weeks.

I remember going out to dinner with some friends and asking them, “What was acceptable to you. If you need to be boosted every year, would you do it?” Well, a lot of people do with the flu vaccine. I personally have never had a flu vaccine in my life. “What about if you got it every six months?” A lot of people said yes. 

Then no problem with that. I’d have that. “What about every three months?” Oh, yes, yes. I think I’d still do that. “What about every month?” Few people were enthusiastic, but people were still willing to submit themselves to that. 

Remember, this is a novel piece of technology. The mRNA technology that is being used in these vaccines has never been used before. Yes, it has. In fact, Philip did mention that people who were in very poor prognosis were going to be dying in the next few months or a year or so and the mRNA experimental technology was used in those instances with varying degrees of success. 

But to be rolled out to a population whose chance of dying from this is less than a point, I can’t even work out the figure. It’s like less than half of a percent. That’s your chance of dying from this. Less than half of a percent. What’s being on offer is a novel technology which injects mRNA, which is a single strand of the DNA molecule which penetrates into the human cell and then has the potential to change the DNA of that individual. 

It was thought initially that the vaccine only stayed at the site of injection, and the body would therefore mount an immune response from that localised form. While it is now being shown in the scientific literature, which clearly we are not hearing about to the public, it does actually spread throughout the body, and that is of serious concern. 

Remember, this is a novel technology, and we must also mention that this literature, the scientific literature, and the science in medicine that is supporting this is almost exclusively funded by the pharmaceutical industry, which stands to benefit from it.

As every regular listener of this podcast knows, Pfizer has been, and many other companies have been fined billions of dollars for illegal marketing and fraud. In fact, the biggest criminal fine in history was issued to Pfizer. When we’re asking these companies to provide us with the research on a novel technology which they stand to make billions of, I have some serious concerns about that, don’t you?

The Benefits and Risks of the New Gene Vaccines

Another misconception is the benefits and risks of the new gene vaccines are generally the same for all individuals regardless of their clinical status. This raises the whole issue of natural immunity. Remember, the average age was 86. They had at least one co-morbidity. Many had three or four co-morbidities.

Look, I want to read to you an excerpt from my book, A Life Less Stressed, because this issue of the influence of the chemical, food and pharmaceutical industry on all levels of healthcare is a story that I’ve been very familiar with since the mid-eighties.

I don’t often reference my own book here, but in my research, there were over 300 references in my book. I found this article, which I thought was very telling. It’s why I now refer to the period we are in as nirvana for Big Pharma

Certainly, if the evidence is anything to go by, the fact that you know, literally billions, I mean 30, $40 billion, Pfizer, 15, $20 billion Moderna. But this is called The Art of Branding A Condition. It was written by Vince Parry, The Art of Branding A Condition, in 2003. It was in the Journal of Medical Marketing and Media. And he said this:

“Health care marketers are taking the concept of branding a condition to new levels of sophistication. Done appropriately, this type of branding helps keep both brand managers and the clinical community focussed on a single story with a problem solution structure. The brand managers, I’m assuming, are the health authorities and the pharmaceutical industry, the clinical community, the doctors and the health workers and also the public. 

The clinical community has now become you and me because so many people, and you probably know many of them, have unwittingly become marketing and compliance officers for an industry that has been repeatedly been found guilty of illegal marketing and fraud.”.

As Vince Parry observed in 2003, I can only think what he must be thinking of the current situation. But in 2003, branding it can take the concept of branding a condition to new levels of sophistication. That was Vince Parry, who was a senior in the marketing world. 

I mean, what was his CV anyway? He’s certainly very high up, and he draws many conclusions. I really should include this in my show notes for this episode. Look, there is so much literature out there about this. 

As I say, for a busy clinician, a busy researcher like Phillip Altman was like many doctors are like perhaps chief medical officers of Australia or perhaps the head of the TGA are so busy keeping up with all the scientific literature that he can’t see the wood for the trees. 

That’s why I say the group that called themselves the Friends of Science in Medicine, if they were being honest, should really call themselves the Friends of Big Pharma, and if they were being really honourable, they call themselves the scrutineers of the science of medicine. But no, no. 

Without a hint of irony, they are the friends of science in medicine, and many of those are in senior positions making decisions about your health and my health and my granddaughters’ health and grandchildren’s health and my children’s health. I’m a bit concerned about that. 

This is a story that is easy to miss but difficult to ignore once you hear it. I was recently asked at a dinner party whether I would have my booster or not. My response to that was a definitive no, and I wanted to share. I said, “Look, just like you, I’ve made an informed decision.” And they rolled their eyes and said, “Really, what’s your informed decision?” I asked them what they thought the risk was of dying of COVID, and I think they came up with about five or 10%. I informed them it wasn’t. I said what do you think the average age of a person dying of COVID is? I think it’s around 65, 70 something. No. 86.

And then, I went on to say, “Look, from my study of biochemistry as an undergraduate and my study of nutritional and environmental medicine over the last 45 years, I go back to basic principles and the science, which tells me that if I have adequate levels of vitamin D, zinc, magnesium and some vitamin C, the chance of me, well, I might get the virus, but having complications from the virus and certainly die from it are extremely small.” The literature before the pandemic bore this out. It was published in all the journals. The literature since November 2021 confirmed just that.

In my armamentarium, improving my natural immunity and natural immunity still is an important thing, despite what the health authorities are telling us. That’s one thing. The other thing that I have is that if I did contract the virus, I would up my vitamin D levels and my vitamin C levels, and I’d probably throw in some quercetin, which would make it more likely that the zinc got into the cell and disrupted the viral replication. 

But I also use a hydrogen peroxide nebuliser. 3% hydrogen peroxide diluted, and I would use that as a nebuliser. And this good research from that, my podcast with Dr Thomas Levy outlined that very successfully. As a habit, use a neti pot which uses a nasal rinse of salt water. 

Half a level teaspoon of warm water in the neti pot and in one nostril flows out the other, and the other nostril for flow flows out the other. I gargle with that very effectively. When I did actually get COVID, I combined I added in 1% betadine iodine. About a few MLS of 1% Betadine to put in the nasal rinse. I knew that I had Ivermectin.


Now, Ivermectin has been pilloried as a horse dewormer. Any regular listener of this podcast knows that’s simply ridiculous. I mean, this horse dewormer, but it also won the Nobel Prise for Medicine in 2015 and, like many medications, is used off-label to treat viral viruses and has been for many, many years. It’s a safe, cheap and effective medication. 

The far more expensive ones like Molnupiravir and Paxlovid used a similar mechanism to ivermectin. Not as effective as ivermectin, but they are patented. They are more expensive. They are approved by the TGA. The TGA, in its wisdom, banned doctors and pharmacists from prescribing or using ivermectin at all. 

I can’t really work out why that would be the case if public health was at the top of everyone’s minds. But if you were trying to sell, if you were a product champion or a key opinion leader, you might do something like that.

Reduce Your Co-morbidities, and Every Disease Made Worse by an Elevated Insulin Level

The other one, of course, is to reduce your co-morbidities, and every disease is made worse by an elevated insulin level because it has glucose, it increases the amount of glucose floating around in your body. That increases oxidative stress and compromises your immune function. Focussing on improving co-morbidities would be a really sensible thing for us all to have done. 

But like many people who have, for example, type two diabetes, if they follow the Diabetes Council, they wouldn’t even know that type two diabetes is a reversible condition. Just lower your carbs, eat healthy fats, and do some exercise. Sleep like sleep is a priority. There’s a very good chance that you will reverse type two diabetes, which is a significant co-morbidity for this disease.

It was an opportunity to really touch base with an insider. I really appreciated Phillip giving me the time and the insights that he provided for us. He definitely has. It’s been a rude awakening for him these last two years, his entire career. This is a guy that’s been in the business for 40 years and has been retired for the last ten or 15 years. 

But the last two years have been a rude shock to him. They have too many other health practitioners, many of which feel reluctant to speak up or say anything because their entire livelihoods are compromised if they do. I think making informed decisions is important. 

I think natural immunity is the key. There are lots of things that we can do if you do get the condition. But it was an interesting discussion, and I hope you found that as well. This was an opportunity to reflect on that. I hope this finds you well. Until next time.

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.