Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How far is it from Medical Theory to Medical Practice

The distance between theory and practice in medicine is about 6 inches.  The length of the corporate ego, and the length of the almighty dollar. If a medicine has been tested, and proven to be effective, but can't make 'make money', it will never reach the market, It can never make the leap from medical theory to medical practice. In many cases, you won't even know it was discovered, or tested.

Medicine is not about science, not about health, not about healing, not about cures, it's all about the dollars.

Many medicines are illegal today; illegal to buy, illegal to sell, illegal to advertise. Some are even illegal to manufacture yourself. illegal to give away. The corporate marketers would have you believe "it's for your own protection". I don't need to be protected by corporate law, I need to be protected FROM corporate law.

Today, in Europe, it's getting worse, and the word is, the same laws are coming to the USA and Canada, real soon now, courtesy of CODEX. CODEX: "established by FAO and WHO in 1963 develops harmonised international food standards, guidelines and codes of practice to protect the health of the consumers and ensure fair practices in the food trade" sets rules on product manufacture, and is working very diligently to tighten the screws on non-patent medicines. I don't need to have my 'health protected', I work actively to improve my health.

Here's a short quote from the book: Healthicine: The Arts and Sciences of Health and Healthiness.
"The field of medicine is patent driven.  Medicines are patented. Medical tests are patented. Medical instruments are patented, and in many cases, other treatments are patented as well. Patents, in theory, protect the rights of the patent owner, to make money from his intellectual property. But in many cases, they withhold medical treatments from patients – who have a right to the best treatments available."

Patents, in theory, create incentives for manufacturers to create newer, more effective medicines. But they also constrain those who want to market older, more effective medicines – which cannot be patented and therefore cannot be monopolized.

Today, patents are used more often to constrain our access to medicines than to create access to medicine.

"But nothing is more estimable than a physician who, having studied nature from his youth, knows the properties of the human body, the diseases which assail it, the remedies which will benefit it, exercises his art with caution, and pays equal attention to the rich and the poor." - Francois Marie Arouet Voltaire

We might like to believe that some doctors can treat the poor as well as they treat the rich, but that’s not relevant any more.  Medicine today is not administered by doctors, it is administered by corporations.  And corporations care about the dollar, not the patient.  New medicines, new patents, create shiny new dollars.  Old techniques, even if they are more successful simply generate less income. Not enough to justify investigation, or manufacture. .

Hurry up and take the new drug while it still works!” 

It's a familiar joke. But it's no longer the right joke.  New medicines are designed with short 'shelf lives' - they labels are marked to ensure you throw them away after a few months.  And the patents are designed such that the manufacturer throws them away in a few years. Even if they work. 

The joke is on you.  The joke inside the corporate medicine manufacturers is "Hurry up and sell it before the competitors develop something similar" - and "always have  new products in the pipeline." There is no interest in 'curing your disease', it's all about sales.

The top 70 best selling medicines of 2013 don't cure, they're not medicines, they're symptomicines. Designed and marketed to treat your symptoms, not your disease.  Less than 5 percent of the top sellers in 2013 actually cure the disease they treat. Corporate medicine doesn't want to cure - there is more money to be made with the message "learn to live with your disease (and keep buying our  drugs)".

The 'gold standard' of medical testing is designed to ensure that the gold moves to the largest corporate interests. It is illegal to do a 'clinical study' without government approval, and the approval bar is high.  As a result, it is not practical to plan a clinical study unless you have corporate backing - which means your study must serve the 'corporate interests'.

Even the big fundraisers are involved. Many of the big fundraisers are heavily influenced by corporate board members who keep them on the 'right path'. The path to dollars.  The path to 'growth'.  Each of the big medical fundraisers, from breast cancer to heart disease, to diabetes, to ALS would suddenly be much smaller if a 'cure' was found. If a cure was found, many highly paid board members would be out of work. They should be working themselves out of a job - that would convince me that they are 'working for me'.

If the disease does not grow, the heart and stroke foundation cannot grow. If the disease is cured, the heart and stroke foundations will die. So cures cannot be found. Medical fundraisers reassure patients with the same medical mantra "learn to live with your disease".

Ben Franklin said it well "Many dishes many diseases, Many medicines few cures." If you eat too much, you will have many diseases.  And you can take many medicines, but they won't cure.

The cure for excess is not medicine, but that's the only cure for sale.  You can't sell 'less' to someone who is consuming too many unhealthy foods and medicines, you can only sell more. Not much has changed in 200 years.

Can we change this?  "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."

I believe we can change it. But we can't change it by searching for better medicines. We can't change it by searching for 'earlier diagnosis'.

The only true cure is health.

Medicine doesn't study health. Health is all 'theory', there is no practice of 'health' in medicine.

Health is the only cure for many illnesses.  Health is the best treatment for many symptoms. Health is the best preventative. But where do we find health? Where do we buy health? If the corporate medical interests have their way, buying health will soon be illegal.

The distance between medical theory and medical practice is 6 inches - the length of the almighty dollar.

The distance between illness and health is not distance at all, it's simply perspective. We need to turn and look in the other direction.  Look away from medicines, away from treating symptoms, away from 'living with our disease'. And away from commerce.

Look towards health, tracy
Tracy is the author of two book about healthicine: