In the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to really ask myself what is holding up medical progress?
Through taking with many leaders in today’s leading edge sciences, I’ve concluded that there are two forces working in tandem:
- Massive revenue streams
Large pharmaceutical industries chase large revenue streams. One pill can cost a billion dollars to take from idea into a consumer product, but the profits are massive. Some patented drugs, especially those for blood pressure or cholesterol bring in billions per year.
So what keeps money coming into large pharmaceutical companies?
Sick people and patents.
Pharmaceutical companies actually have a very strong financial incentive to produce products that make a measurable difference but do not actually cure people. This is because cured people no longer need the pharmaceutical company’s services, in essence there would no longer be any demand. Pharmaceutical companies in turn have a strong incentive to create demand. They may create a drug to treat a vague syndrome, and then play up that syndrome in a massive advertising campaign. Physicians and the FDA work in partnership with Pharmaceutical companies because the FDA must approve the pharmaceutical company’s drugs and physicians then prescribe the drugs to their patients. After seeing a compelling add about a syndrome that patients may or may not have they will set up appointments with their physicians who in turn get paid to see people. A sales representative from a pharmaceutical company has already stocked the doctor’s office with pills and educated him/her about their drug. The doctor in essence is ready to deliver their supply for the demand.
If drugs are patented, this means that generic drugs by law, cannot be created and sold and the patented drugs can be sold with a very high profit margin. Here is more about how drug patents work to the pharmaceutical company’s advantage.
On the other hand, as our technology and science evolves and develops, we as consumers become increasingly more and more lazy. We rely on pills or treatments to take care of issues that a healthy diet, exercise and lack of stress can prevent. We as a society are being trained not to make effort, not to take health into our own hands and trained to rely on a quick fix rather than a permanent, healthy solution.
Academic or government research doctors are also lazy. Instead of taking big risks, they add a side chain to a molecule, or work on a delivery system. Researchers rarely probe issues from an angle that has not previously been accepted. Medical researchers are lazy because they do not conduct research that is outside the box. They push the edge of medicine forward in microscopic increments so as to save their self image and to save them selves from having to tackle issues in a novel and challenging way. Bizarrely, researchers who do approach treatments from a novel angel are often chastised, ousted and even penalized by peers or the establishment.
So what are some solutions?
- Learn about prevention and treatment for your condition the natural way. The internet can be a great resource. Learn what foods to eat and to avoid to keep you at your healthiest. Explore different exercises that help keep you at your best.
- Don’t see your doctor for every little ailment. Explore ways to treat things yourself. Stop the demand that is putting billions into the Pharmaceutical industry’s pockets.
- Don’t watch so much television so as to avoid medical persuasion by the million dollar advertising campaigns.
- Demand that pharmaceutical companies create drugs that work. Talk to your health care provider, talk to your local and state representatives, talk to your pharmacists. Blog about it. Let it be known that you are fed up with how health care runs in the United States.
- If you work in health care, bring these things up. Talk to others about it. Only we the people can alter how we live and work together and subsequently, what kind of a world we create together.
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