Thursday, March 11, 2010

How is this "Medicine"?

I saw another of those "you MUST have this drug" commercials today which left me shaking my head. Then again, most of them do. This one is a drug intended to treat people who suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis, however, the list of possible side-effects makes one wonder if it isn't simply easier to suffer with a stiff joint or two.

Without naming the medication in question, the voice-over warns of the following, possible side-effects:

* Loss of resistance to infections.

* Development of Cancers, especially lymphomas.

* Depending on the other medications you might be taking, adding this one may make you too big a risk to be vaccinated against others, especially if the vaccine is a"live" one (like a flu shot).

* You might develop hepatitis.

* Your chance of heart failure increases.

* You may develop Multiple Sclerosis.

* You might destroy your liver.

* You might come down with Lupus-like symptoms.

* Severe psoriasis is possible.

* The more common side-effects include: nausea, more frequent respiratory infections, abnormal liver function, high blood pressure, sinus infections, numbness and tingling sensations in the extremities.

At what point would you decide that taking this "medicine" is simply not worth the risk? How many people do you think will fork over a shitload of money for a prescription, only to show up in their doctor's office looking for another bunch of meds to counteract these side-effects, and develop another batch of severe side-effects as a result?

How much money do you think goes into developing and marketing a drug like this -- which probably causes more and worse problems than it solves?

How is this medicine? I mean, when I was a kid, the idea of medicine I guess I had formed was that doctors and drugs actually cured things, or at least cured the things it was possible for medical science to cure. Since when has it become standard practice to replace one, usually minor, complaint with a laundry list of severe side-effects and perhaps more painful and fatal problems, and consider it "healing"? Because you know how this goes: I take this drug for my arthritis, and then I need another to ward off the tuberculosis, but that drug causes another problem for which I must get another script, and the next thing you know, I'm taking seven meds, my system is completely fucked up, my liver is failing, I'll have explosive diarrhea for 12 hours a day (that's when my bowels aren't completely blocked, But Jaime Lee Curtis sells a $3 cup of yogurt to fix that!!) -- and I'll still have an achy knee.

But the drug company, doctor and insurance company will all have gotten paid.

If you really want to "reform" medical care in this country, in terms of how it's delivered and how much it costs, you can start here. Expensive, heavily-marketed prescription drugs which purport to improve people's "quality of life" in one area while making them sicker and more miserable in another is NOT medicine. It should be considered criminal.

I blame baby Boomers who are so desperate to achieve the Fountain of Youth in such a Brave New World kind of way that they'll plunk down their hard-earned money (soon to be hard-earned, and extorted by increased government power money of other people) for anything which will save them from the even tiniest inconveniences with which their parents' generation simply accepted as a natural part of life. They used to call it "getting old".

You should get used to the idea that when you're old, nothing works the same again, and no pill will ever change that. In the meantime, I'm wondering how it is that a drug which might actually cause cancer in the process of 'curing' arthritis is able to be sold legally in this country.

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