Many Medicines Contain Animal Products: Are They Okay For Vegetarians?
    By News Staff | February 5th 2014 04:00 AM | 6 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments

    Most medications prescribed in primary care contain animal derived products.

    Are they suitable for vegetarians?

    Dietary preferences are common in the general population. Influences such as religion, culture, economic status, environmental concern and personal preferences all play a part in the foods that people choose to consume. Most doctors are unaware that commonly prescribed drugs contain animal products and would be surprised that it matters. But most patients are not aware either and if they have a dietary preference it might impact the medicines they are willing to take also. 

    Ingredients such as lactose, often extracted using bovine rennet, gelatine (sourced from cows, pigs and fish) and magnesium stearate (traditionally sourced from cows, pigs and sheep) might all be a concern for vegetarians, if they know about them. Last year, for example, a campaign to vaccinate children in Scotland against influenza was halted because Muslims community were concerned about pork gelatin within the vaccine.

    Levels of animal products in many medications are likely to be minimal, somewhere between homeopathy and worth thinking about, but the authors say doctors still need to consider this when prescribing to avoid non-adherence to medications. 

    To ascertain the scale of the problem, Dr. Kinesh Patel and Dr. Kate Tatham identified the 100 most commonly prescribed drugs in UK primary care in January 2013. Of these, 73 contained one or more of lactose, gelatin, or magnesium stearate. But they found that information on the origins of the contents was difficult to obtain, unclear, inconsistently reported, and sometimes incorrect.

    "Our data suggest that it is likely that patients are unwittingly ingesting medications containing animal products with neither prescriber nor dispenser aware," they write.

    They call for improved drug labeling, similar to those advised for food. However, they acknowledge it is unlikely that any labeling standard could address all dietary requirements, "and the ultimate solution would be to eliminate animal derived products where possible from medications."

    They point out that lactose is already produced by some manufacturers without using rennet, magnesium stearate can be made chemically without animal ingredients and vegetarian capsules to replace gelatin are already available. But people who are against meat are likely to find chemical substitutes acceptable also.

    "Although vegetarian friendly ingredients may be more expensive than those produced by traditional processes, the costs would diminish as production expanded and they would limit the exposure of patients to products they find unacceptable," they speculate. Though food preferences have historically caused costs to go up, as gluten-free and other trends show. 


    Well that would rule out vaccinations as they all contain animal matter and quite surprising creatures such as guinea pigs, monkeys, pigs, cows, mice cells. In addition vaccines contain washed sheep red blood cells, chick embryonic fluid, and aborted foetal tissue. See this link which lists package inserts for vaccines and pay particular attention to the far righthand column. I don't think vegetarians would be impressed, nor the general public if they knew but people rarely if ever see the package inserts of vaccines.

    Bravo, Zeus, for supplying that vital information. Here in Toronto one woman went to a local "free flu shot" clinic and asked to see the package insert before accepting the jab. The pharmacist replied that they did not have the package insert. The woman asked what happens if someone wants to see it, then?

    The reply: "Oh, we aren't supposed to show them that...."

    What?!! We aren't allowed to see what's IN the vaccine? Why not? Gosh, could there be something iffy in there? I'd say so... because aside from the inclusion of the animal products (including aborted tissue from human animals) there are things like mercury (Thimerosal), Aspartame (It's not sweet enough?), Aluminum, methylene glycol (antifreeze), detergent, and a host of other lovely items more suited to a hardware store than a medical procedure.

    If you do not exercise your right of informed consent, you are risking disaster, which is the very reason for informed consent in the first place. Vaccines and other medications all carry risks, and not all of those risks are related to philosophical concerns like Veganism, which is more about the eschewing of slaughtered food than the nutritional value of the food itself. Vegan or not, those who do not inform themselves properly are contributing to two things: first, the risk of their own health, and second, the risk of the health of others, such as minor children, whose lives are also at risk. The information is there. Use it to your own health!

    This is false equivalence. The number of kids harmed by the animal content in a vaccine, or any vaccine itself, is minuscule compared to the harm of not using vaccines at all.

    An anecdote from an unidentified person who says one idiot pharmacist maybe said something stupid doesn't change that, it is just confirmation bias for people who are anti-vaccines. 
    Hey Hank, dig your head out of the sand, bud.... I did not say people did not have a choice of what to slam into their bodies, now did I? If you want to research, fill your boots and get going. You will find out what I found out, provided you do not listen only to vested interests. So what's your problem with informed consent? Do you think we should all just say "Yes, sir!" every time somebody suggests we put stuff into our bloodstreams, or our children's? Or do you think we should do our due diligence and find out? How many adverse events does it take before you get off your butt and protect yourself? Don't you read labels on the food you buy? This is the very same thing.... only you try to characterize someone as an "anti-vax looney" instead of actually rebutting what has been stated. In fact, you don't even rebut what's said, because you would be stupid to do so: I merely told people to do their research . And if you had any idea how many years I've spent as an activist for health freedom, which I treasure, or where I get the research I use to protect myself, you might just run screaming into the night. Perhaps you do not realize that properly-prescribed and used pharmaceutical products kill 106,000 Americans every year, or that medicine itself is the third leading cause of death in the USA today (Starfield, NEJM, 2000), killing 2.25 MILLION Americans every decade. And if you do real research, you discover immediately that no vaccine has ever cured anything, and proof abounds of that statement (Obomsawin et al, National Aboriginal Health Organization October 2009)
    But you want to just trust the "system"? The more fool you. Pity.

     So what's your problem with informed consent? Do you think we should all just say "Yes, sir!" every time somebody suggests we put stuff into our bloodstreams, or our children's? Or do you think we should do our due diligence and find out? 
    Your attempts at framing are going to fail in any discussion that involves evidence and people who aren't agenda-based. I don't even like to take aspirin, so claiming you know anything about me is idiotic, however I don't spend my days looking for confirmation of a Vast Big Pharma Conspiracy. Simplistic 'follow the money' hysteria has been shown to be flawed more often than not. Like homeopathy, it works just often enough to be in placebo range, so people who want to believe it, do.

    I like in California, where the closer you get to the coast a common set of beliefs is prevalent and being anti-vaccine is a big one - it doesn't make them informed just because all of their neighbors agree that poor kids should be vaccinated in order to provide herd immunity for their precious cherubs.
    You need to read this interview with an ex-vaccine researcher, who says he would rather leave the country than have a vaccine or get his kids vaccinated.
    It is just common sense not to want animal matter and things like anti-freeze and formaldehyde injected into your body.