Part of the failure of the drug industry to provide a genuine contribution to health care is due to the fact that modern drugs and treatments, like the proverbial snake oil, are designed and packaged primarily to make money and only incidentally to cure disease or promote health. They may do what is claimed, which is most often symptomatic relief rather than cure; but they may also do what is disclaimed in the contraindications and label warnings in fine print. The same tradeoffs and mercenary interest apply in many sophisticated and costly medical procedures, which gain glory and wealth for specialists and surgeons in the name of medical science. An aging and relatively wealthy population is held hostage to the fear of dying and disability, by an obliging medical establishment which promises delay of the inevitable unraveling of life that has been compounded by the debilitating effects of the lifestyle it implicitly condones. Fear of unhealth and death are good business. But the gain in average life expectancy modern Western populations have enjoyed is far more a result of improved sanitation, diet, working conditions, and hygiene than it is of medicine. The spin doctors who vaunt globalism would have us believe that the health and prosperity of the world depend on the operation of large corporations being unhampered by public control. In truth, economic health depends far more on physical health, which is steadily eroded by corporate practices—including the industrial production of food. The medical establishment, and the pharmaceutical puppeteers behind it, would have the public believe our wellness and very life are at the mercy of the ransoms they demand. In truth, responsibility for our health and quality of life remains in our hands, where it has always been, expressed through local political will. If we seem to have lost control over our lives, it can only be because we have allowed power over the common good to pass into private and often distant hands to which we defer.
RELATED TAGS: [failure of/enslavement by drug/pharmaceutical industry, symptomatic relief, high cost of medicine, iatrogenic disease, fear of illness/disability/death, contraindications (of drug), medical nemesis/glory/heroism/establishment, growing life expectancy, privatization of medicine/the commons, localism, universal health care, medical extortion, the commons, commodification, botanical commons, botanicals, selling water by the river]
© Copyright Dan Bruiger 2008. All rights reserved.