Though I loved the X Files TV show, I’m not big into conspiracy theories. Mostly because they seem so dark, so sure evil always has the upper hand, so convinced a secret of that size could be kept. Some theories are familiar… the Kennedy assassination for example. Some are hard to conceive let alone talk about — 9/11 is one of those. National Geographic did some fact checking earlier this spring (April 2013) using polling results where US adults were asked about their belief in the most persistent conspiracy theories that hang on, despite science.
And yet… big pharma makes me nervous, makes me wonder if sometimes conspiracy theories aren’t right on the money — $300 billion to be exact according to World Health Organization figures. Any street drug pusher will tell you that there’s good money to be made in prolonging dependance… to keeping people needy and helpless… convinced only YOU have the answer.
From where I sit there are some pretty big questions not being asked, let alone answered. Are all these medications being developed truly good for us? Do we really need to treat every disease? Couldn’t all that effort be better spent trying to refine cancer treatment, or drugs used for ALS, Alzheimer’s and other diseases? Are warning laden prescription drug ads on TV and in print really necessary?
My suspicions are further fueled by my own experience. To begin with, for most of my reproductive life I paid (not my insurance) big dollars for birth control. These days, my current insurance (a good plan I’ll leave unnamed) has no trouble conveniently supplying a cholesterol lowering medication; yet gives me all kinds of trouble getting another drug for a diagnosed digestive condition. Weird.
What brought this topic to mind was seeing this package of over the counter medication I bought this weekend. I’m not naming the drug, and have zoomed in on the area of the package that caught my eye… PLUS Helps Manage Irritability. Really… how can they possibly promise THAT?
In fact, I’m irritated at the whole idea.
Wouldn’t it be funny (not ha-ha funny, weird funny) if this promise was a glaringly honest statement about the intentions of this (and all) drugs put out to a public too doped up to read it or care? To take away the more “irritating” emotions… to make you more pliable, content, dependent… okay this sounds like the plot of a science fiction movie.
I’m making an observation here NOT an accusation.
So in the interests of “trust but verify” I’m looking at who is really benefiting from all the drugs we have available. Certainly countless patients who have their symptoms eased, their conditions managed are helped and you can’t put a price on that. Drugs keep people alive, there is no doubt.
BUT… use your own mind, your capacity to think critically, logically and without emotion. Think about the need and the risks of a drug to address that need. Drugs that maintain your life are NOT what I mean, instead I’m suggesting do your homework (online and with your doctor) about what drugs are recommended for you.
Be aware that if some long-term effect of a medication becomes known down the line, you’ll pay that price. It’s a gamble that you need to be aware of before you take any non life-and-death drug. Big pharma already has the money and clout to outlast most of us.