The whole damn system is screwed up.
People are being harmed and some of them even die, and one is too many. Drug makers know what they're doing and they should be held responsible for the damage they do in spite of knowing better.
I'm talking about personal responsibility not those silly financial "punishments" dished out every so often, such as the fines mentioned in the above article. GlaxoSmithKline is paying out $3 billion in fines - $1 billion to settle criminal charges, and $2 billion to cover civil liabilities. In 2009 Pfizer was similarly fined $2.3 billion to settle similar charges.
Who the heck actually pays those fines? The customers. You. The "company" and it's officers don't pay a nickel and they take no personal responsibility and nobody goes to jail for any nefarious thing they do. Instead of punishing people who knowingly sell toxic drugs to unsuspecting patients, we throw kids in jail for smoking weed. The shareholders allow the criminals to stay in their jobs because the company's stock values remain high. In fact, the same people who mislead and distort the truth about their products receive beautiful bonus checks on a regular basis. If, by some remote chance, they run afoul of the stockholders of one drug company, they lay low for a short time and reappear at the head of just another drug company. They all seem to be in it together and there is no shame and certainly no effort to change the way they do their business. Yes, the pun is intended.
Let's keep in mind that the problems I'm focusing on are not unique to the drug industry. There has been almost a universal change in attitude, mostly in the "west", the industrialized countries - usually lead by the United States. Nobody is responsible for anything anymore.
A teacher once punched me in the mouth for being a "wiseass". I surely had it coming. I called my dad to pick me up and take me to the orthodontist because my braces were screwed up. What did dad do when I got in the car? I got a quick backhand and a verbal dressing down. I was solely responsible for getting bonked and he had to pay for it - just because I was his kid. There wasn't a single mention about how that teacher had overstepped his bounds. Today, a dirty "look" from a teacher seems sufficient grounds for a complaint to the school... "Nobody looks a MY KID that way and gets away with it!" The blame is ALWAYS focused on someone else.
Fixing it all is fairly straight forward. Sadly, nobody seems to WANT to fix it. It would mean that we'd all have to pull up our big girl panties and understand that when we point a finger of blame at anyone, we are pointing three at ourself.
The blame game is ongoing: The current president blames the last president. The Democratic party blames the Republican party. The movie stars blame their current temporary companion. The states blame the Federal government. The wage earners blame those who get government benefits. People blame their genetics and believe that there are things that MAKE THEM sick - and that it is someone's fault.
There is a constant din about "health care', yet there is nary a word spoken about real health. Instead, all the whining is about the cost and who is going to pay for it. Health care costs would drop in a heartbeat if people stayed healthy instead of running to a doctor for every sniffle. And, this mania about annual doctor visits add huge amounts of cost - often based on treatments for diseases that don't even exist, such as "pre hypertension" and "pre cancer".
Today I heard an ad on the radio warning us to get our vasucular systems checked and get treatment if we have a possibility of an aneurysm. I'm confident you've heard you ought to have your uric acid levels checked - even when you don't have any symptoms of gout. Your levels could be rising and might cause a problem. Of course there's a drug treatment for that. More drugs and treatments for diseases that don't exist and probably never will. All adding to the overall COST of health care. We aren't healthier by any means, yet the costs keep going up.
Cancer has long been a "problem" and it will remain so for a long time - or at least until the money runs out. Wear your pink ribbons. Walk here. Run there. Give, give, give. All that effort. All those dollars. Do you know that the options for treating breast cancer are barely different than they were forty years ago? However, in that time, there are significantly more breast cancers diagnosed. Throwing money at it doesn't seem to help, yet we will throw more money at it.
The issue is money, not health. It is always about money.
Some researchers are finally acknowledging that PSA tests for prostate cancer are inaccurate and misleading. While the government is now suggesting that they NOT be done, numerous urologists are arguing that men still need the tests. They don't work. They are expensive. They cause unnecessary surgery, drug use, and radiation therapy. They are an abomination, yet the medical specialists are insisting we still have the test performed.
Doctors pour statin drugs down our throats and we pay for them - and suffer the debilitating side effects - even though there is no evidence that cholesterol does any harm. Want some obvious evidence? You've heard that you probably need vitamin D supplements. Why? Vitamin D is made in our bodies by the combination of cholesterol and sunlight. Wait. We're taking drugs to lower our cholesterol and we slather on gunk to keep the sun off our skim. No cholesterol plus no sunlight equals low vitamin D.
The newest craze is "LOW T", the shocking discovery that men's testosterone levels decline with age. Of course, a few office visits, some lab tests, and some prescriptions will cure the "disease". I could write reams on this scam, yet all the guys I know are queuing up to pay for the visits, tests, and testosterone - even though they don't need it AND it might be harmful.
Seems that nobody cares as long as the money continues to flow.
Mammograms are harmful, yet they are still recommended for practically all women over forty.
- More costs.
- More limp diagnoses.
- More squashed breasts.
- More pain.
- Less health.
Those in charge have no interest in cures, health, or affordability. It is about power and money - mostly money.