Thursday, May 03, 2007

Quote of the Time Being #10

Prometheus sums up precisely what I think of "The Big Pharma" gambit:

The rather worn-out CAM canard about pharmaceutical companies ("Big Pharma") being only interested in the money is true to a point. They are interested in the money, because that is what pays their salaries and keeps the factories running and the research happening. And, I suppose, they would disregard human health if it interfered with profits, except that:

[1] People getting sick or dying from your drugs is really bad advertising.

[2] They have to prove that the drugs are safe and affective before they market them - it's the law.

[3] They also have to monitor their drugs after they go to market in order to pick up problems that weren't detected in the Phase III study - it's also the law.

[4] They are legally liable for any injury caused by their drugs.

So, even if the companies were run by money-grubbing sociopaths with no conscience (and some may be), their own best interests (i.e. profit margin) depend on producing a quality product that works and is safe.

CAM, on the other hand, is delightfully free of most (if not all) regulation, without even insurance company oversight to keep it in check. And the profit motive is - alas! - alive and well in CAM, as it is in all human endeavors, as evidenced by their fees and sales of proprietary "medications". If the CAM practitioners were solely interested in promoting "wellness" and "optimum health", they could charge much less than they do.

There is a double-standard in play here. "Mainstream" medicine and "Big Pharma" are suspect because they make money within the framework of a maze of rules and regulations, while CAM practitioners - many of whom are making money hand over fist with no regulation at all - are held up as saviors and saints.

Like I often say: If they wanted to make the most money with minimal fuss, they'd be homeopaths or acupuncturists.


King Aardvark said...

That's always pissed me off about the alternative practicioners. They have little to no regulation and can charge buttloads of money for stuff that doesn't even work, whereas real doctors have tonnes of bureaucracy to deal with and (in Canada) are highly limited to how much money they make because fees are controlled by the government.

Dikkii said...

I remember once reading a stat that showed that there was just as much money flowing through naturopathic/homeopathic/complementary medicine in the US as what there was in the pharmaceutical industry.

All care and no responsibility is what I said at the time.