Drug Industries to cure or treat?

Sample ImageI am bitter from past few days!! The company that I worked for almost wrapped up its business. I worked for a biotechnology industry that did research for cancer therapy. The drug was unique and the therapy was personalized to a patient and to its specific cancerous tumor cells. The philosophy of the drug was to cure the patient by stimulating patient’s immune system

against the cancerous tumor cell, without damaging the patient’s immune system. The concept was unique and noble and was almost a cure to those patients who had death sentence. Clinical studies and data presented to us showed that those patients who were treated by this therapy had a progression free survival. However, the government body that regulates this genre of industries cut the cord by giving the company a death sentence. To cut the long story short the reason for this death sentence, we did not meet all the criteria of the study design. The control used to perform the double-blinded clinical trial was also active and showed benefit in the patient population, as did the cancer therapy. It did not benefit the study since there was no significant statistical difference between the control and the drug product, but it did surely benefit the patient population, the data being survival of those patients. Alternative to this therapy is "Chemotherapy" that eventually damages patient's immune system that can lead to patient death from an unrelated cause. Chemotherapy is not a cure by any means, and prompts patient to return repeatedly to get it administered.

My bitterness is not so much that we may have to look for an alternative job, but to the fact that needy patients will not get this therapy again in the near future.

This incident made me wonder, if drug companies or the government body out there really wants a cure for a disease or do they just want to treat a disease? What is the more lucrative business model for these industries, a cure, where patient will not return for the drug after getting cured from the disease or a treatment where the patient will return back again and again to take the drug and keep the industry alive? In this article, I am trying to keep my judgment to myself and bring forward some quotes and interesting statistics for the readers.

Drug companies do not look for "cause." The drug company business model is based on "sustainability." Rather than find a cause and cure, patients are simply sustained. There is not a single prescription drug that offers a "cure" to any ailment. Curing a disease versus treating its symptoms does not make "business sense" to drug companies. Just like government can only profit from criminals, the drug industry only makes money from sick people – sick people with insurance. 
This business model enables drug companies to make huge profits and guarantees dependency among users. This dependency allows drug companies to pay for Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) advertising, drug trials, university research, government lobbying, and "ghost writers." Combined, these strategies are used to deceive the general public as well as medical doctors. [2006] Interview of Shane Ellison author of Health Myths Exposed

Inventing disease is not a "far out" conspiracy theory. It is a simple matter of finding ailments that naturally occur due to poor lifestyle habits and labeling them as a disease. Once "big-pharma" steals jurisdiction over the general public's common sense, they convince them of the necessity of their drugs. [2006] Interview of Shane Ellison author of Health Myths Exposed.

It has been my observation that some doctors are biased about a particular drug and sometimes they like to promote or push free drug samples. These drugs are free samples provided by the medical sales representatives. News dated March 4, 2008 in The Walls Street Journal writes that Massachusetts may ban Drug Industry Freebies for Docs. http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2008/03/04/massachusetts-may-ban-drug-industry-freebies-for-docs/

NY times had news about a doctor who pushed a narcolepsy drug for depression. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/22/business/22drugdoc.html

Science daily magazine had an article how drug company sales visit influenced doctors to advocate a certain drugs. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/22/business/22drugdoc.html

"Medications are palliatives. They are not designed to cure the degenerative diseases of the body."—-F. Batmanghelidj, M.D.
"For every drug that benefits a patient, there is a natural substance that can achieve the same effect." — Pfeiffer's Law

Let me discuss a modern epidemic. Globally, Diabetes is ranked as the fourth leading cause of death, in terms of disease. Each year, an estimated 3.8 million people die from diabetes-related causes, such as:

* cardiovascular disease (heart disease),
* stroke (atherosclerosis),
* diabetic nephropathy (kidney disease),
* diabetic neuropathy (nerve disease),
* diabetic eye disease (retinopathy and macular oedema),
* among many others.

To this date there is no cure for diabetes. There are devices out in the market that makes monitoring blood sugar level easy for the patients, devices such as “One Touch” so on, so that number of pricks can be reduced (I happened to work for a company that intended to manufacture non-invasive way of monitoring blood glucose level, that did not take off to the market due to medical insurance issues). Diabetic patients can manage their conditions administering insulin (a protein that regulates blood glucose). Pharma industries got very creative how that can be administered that ranges from injections to inhalers.

 

Manufacturers of diabetes drugs faced major market setbacks as a result of diabetes drugs that were discontinued (Avandia, Actos, Exubera, etc.).

The inhaled insulin product, Exubera, was discontinued in the third quarter of 2007 as a result of lacklustre sales… and Pfizer took a $2.8 billion charge. During the same quarter, GlaxoSmithKline’s sales of Avandia declined 38% because of growing concerns over heart failure risks.

Does doctor communities support an alternative way of controlling this disease or a medicine should always be the answer?

The Asian Diabetes Association has revealed research about a natural product that has been used in China for many years to treat Type II Diabetes: the Goji berry. Its polysaccharides have been shown to help balance blood sugar and insulin response.

In his first clinical trials, Dr. Victor Marcial-Vega, M.D., researcher on the effects of goji juice for years, discovered that “blood sugar levels decrease in 64 percent of the patients with diabetes, and more than half of them decreased or eliminated their medications.”

Dr. Victor Marcial-Vega, M.D. has been studying the before- and after-effects of various treatments on the blood, with thousands of his patients.

He discovered that when the blood is too acidic, the red blood cells tend to clump together, and there is normally a higher level of bacteria in the blood as well.

Dr. Marcial-Vega discovered that in only 24 to 36 hours after drinking Goji juice, the blood became more alkaline, and the red blood cells had separated, making oxygen delivery to the cells more efficient. Some of his research was published in the August 2006 issue of Breakthroughs In Health magazine (vol. 1, issue 1) , as follows:

He noticed that as the alkalinity changed, so did the reversal of all illnesses, including cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic renal failure, obesity, high cholesterol, arthritis and other illnesses associated with physical or mental discomforts, including attention deficit disorder, anxiety and depression.

“Blood sugar levels decrease in 64 percent of the patients with diabetes, and more than half of them decreased or eliminated their medications”.

The ancient Himalayan healers were also aware thousands of years ago that people were much healthier, stronger, had more endurance, and even lived longer when they consumed goji.

A well-known story is told of Li Qing Yuen, a Chinese man born in 1678, who lived to be 252 years old! His life span has even been verified by scholars, who found that “each day he consumed a ‘soup’ made of the Goji berry.”

And like with most natural products, there are no unpleasant side effects associated with normal use. Will the drug industries, doctors, governing bodies allow alternative approaches?

What could be a cure for diabetes, a gene therapy, pancreatic transplant?

Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis recently reported a “major development” in the search for a cure for diabetes.

The research doctors report they have successfully transplanted embryonic pig pancreas into diabetic monkeys, and within weeks the monkeys showed dramatic improvement in insulin production.

Dr. Marc Hammerman of Washington University says, “They are a lot healthier. We’re very close to being able to cure them. So if this is carried forward it is a cure for diabetes, potentially juvenile diabetes and adult onset diabetes. That’s huge.”

Additionally, Dr. Hammerman also says the transplants were done without the need for risky immune suppression drugs that prevent rejection, and that more research on monkeys is needed.

What does this mean for diabetics today?

First of all, human trials are still at least five years away. Full approval would be yet another 4-7 years — or longer — assuming those human trials prove effective and problem-free.

And secondly, most diabetics simply cannot afford to wait that long… especially since about 80% of diabetics can already reverse their diabetes by using far safer, less expensive, and already-proven treatments.

You can learn more about this breakthrough research here: Escaping The Diabetes Trap .

All the above quotes although seem like conspiracy theory, but they have some truth hidden behind them. Can we name a single drug to this date from the history of drug development that has catered to a cure of disease?

Are there more drugs to just suppress underlying root cause rather than a cure? Will the philosophy of drug industry change some day?

“Drug industry runs on a business model that largely supports treating disease, rather than cure” , do you agree or disagree?

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