Why do we trust modern medical practices? Each of my grandparents lived well into their late eighties, experiencing such world changing events as 2 World wars, the Great Depression, Polio, Small Pox, and living under the constant threat that the Russkies might send an ICBM our way.
They lived on a diet of meat and meat derivatives, with everything being fried in bacon fat. They rode rail cars to the west, in the dead of winter, travelling over 1000 miles, just to try and survive. Dam the thirties would have been so much easier with Paxil or Effexor!
Prior to a heart attack at the age of 89, the only prescription medication my grandfather ever took was penicillin for a bout of Pneumonia. At 34 years of age, I apparently have Hypertension, and my doctor would like me to take Lipitor, because my HDL/LDL ratio is elevated.
When did a primary care physician’s first line of defence become a pharmaceutical intervention. 50 years ago the phrase “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger,” was fact, not cliché.
A downward spiral, perpetuated by HMO’s and Insurance companies alike, and in turn socialized medical systems like Canada have followed suit. The drug company guru’s have convinced the health care providers of the billions upon billions they will save with the latest and greatest panacea that they have. Less costly therapy and hands on treatment, more (cheaper) wonder drug cures
and in turn more Billions in profit for the Pharma Giants.
The following is my synopsis of a drug’s life span.
1. Find a disease/illness or disorder, that already has a proven, safe, effective therapeutic treatment (or just make one up)
2. Take former treatment and lambaste in the media and medical circles, as ineffective, and potentially lethal.
3. Take the molecule from the former treatment, and throw a couple of free radicals at it. Hence, giving you a new molecule and therefore many more years of patent exclusivity. (Or you can just change the name and market it for some other bullshit condition. See PMDD and Serafem.)
4. Perform animal trials, and conclude that your findings are favourable.(Make sure to cover up the fact that even more critters died on the new drug than the old one)
5. Start human trials of the new drug, while adopting a Clintonesque “Don’t ask, don’t tell” adverse reaction screening protocol, while only administering the drug to your trial subject for a fraction of the time that you would therapeutically use it in a real world scenario. Oh, and try to only test it on men. It seems that they don’t have nearly as many adverse reactions, or pregnancies.
6. Have studies published in every reputable medical journal, by doctors attesting to the efficacy of the new treatment and extolling how revolutionary this treatment could be. Ensure all potential conflicts of interest are obfuscated, and that doctors have no freaking clue what the data, that has been authored in their name, actually says. (Really Dr. Biederman, I’m sure you just forgot about the extra $1,596,500 you were paid directly by drug companies, for your unbiased research.”) Personally, I’d sell my soul for a hell of alot more money, and I don’t even have a medical career at stake.
7. Compile a database of all the potentially lethal, life threatening and just plain nasty side effects of the new drug. My thinking is these get sequestered away in Drug Company storage facilities, because the FDA might actually notice so much data getting destroyed.
8. Submit “unbiased” trial data from 2 positive trials(could’ve had 50 negative ones) to FDA/Health Canada along with your Multi-million dollar License fee(payola) for approval.
9. Release new/old drug to consuming public, amidst barrage of multi-media frenzy on how you have a disorder and “Maybe you should talk to your doctor about it”.
10. Send out army of drones on a propaganda campaign. More affectionately known as Drug Detail Reps, they will meet with your doctor over lunch, golf, on a beach in Hawaii, to let him know that this new drug cures male pattern baldness, conjunctivitis, ringworm and the clap, all with no dangerous side effects. All in an elaborate and highly effective diversion technique to prevent them from doing their own independent research on the drug.(Also, give the doctor’s thousands of dollars of free product, so that way client is stuck with these often “exclusive” and very often addictive drugs.)
11. Doctor’s prescribe millions of prescriptions worth of the new drug over a period of several years.(Not because their patients necessarily need them, but because writing a script gets you the hell out of his office quicker.)
12. Almost like folklore, we start hearing stories of people dying, and babies being born disfigured, and the possible culprit could be this new drug. We usually hear this from a News source(TV or print), but almost never from the Governmental regulating bodies. Why? 99% of adverse drug reactions never get reported to the Government Watch Dogs.
13. After 5 or so years, and reaching the end of patent exclusivity, a first lawsuit will be filed on behalf of a victim of this drug. Really, as drug company, you have two choices. Either spend millions defending the claim, until the other party is financially devastated, or seeing that the evidence that your drug is evil toxic shit, pay a few million, coupled with a non-disclosure agreement that shut’s your great grandkids up. This will happen dozens, maybe even hundreds of times. (Hell, we’ve already made $20 billion. That’s the cost of doing business. Right?)
14. On the cusp of a patent expiring, congress will convene an inquiry in to allegations that the drug manufacturer hid information on dangerous side effects of drug . A whistleblower will step forward, with incontrovertible evidence, that the drug company knowingly marketed a dangerous drug and reaped billions of dollars in profit, knowing full well people were being harmed and killed. Company claims no wrong doing.
15. Government levies record multi-billion dollar punitive fines against drug company. However, unbeknownst to the general public, fine is levied against a subsidiary that is owned by an offshore numbered company, that has since gone in to bankruptcy. Why? Because any company that has been found culpable of criminal activity, can no longer bill Medicare. You see, this drug company also manufactures dozens of other medications, that have millions of Medicare covered people ingesting them. The government, in it’s infinite wisdom, feels it would be detrimental to the general public to stop dealing with and in turn paying billions of dollars to, a criminal organization.
16. Government asks company to add warning to prescribing information on drug. Drug company begrudgingly complies. What’s the big deal? Do those gruesome pictures on cigarette packages prevent ANYBODY from smoking?
17. Repeat steps 12 through 14.
18. Government asks company to suspend sale of drug to certain affected populations, i.e. adolescents, the aged, pregnant women and people with compromised immune system. Company uncharacteristically complies. Hell, their profit margins were slashed by 80% after their patent ran out and the generics moved in.
19. See steps 1 and 2. Wash, rinse and repeat.