Recently a discussion about healthcare in America turned to Big Pharma, and some commented that pharmaceutical companies deliberately make “bad medicine.” And there were the usual calls to conspiracy theories that Pharma exists merely to get us hooked on drugs.
I’m not down with conspiracy theories.
I think the medicines pharma businesses make work just fine, but they charge too much for them. And they spend more on research and development for “caretaker” drugs you have to take for the rest of your life (thereby making the company more profit) than ones that would fully cure a problem with one dose.
That’s not the result of evil. It’s not a conspiracy to get us all hooked. It’s what happens when you have a healthcare system built on profit, not on health. Pharmaceutical companies have to make a profit to stay in business, and each company has to make bigger profits to compete.
It’s different in many other industrialized countries with nationalized or fully subsidized healthcare. Their citizens are happier and healthier, especially mentally, with one less existential worry hanging over their heads.
Capitalism is fantastic — but not for healthcare. When you make health a matter of corporate profit, it elevates profit over a person’s well-being.
One more thing and this is crucial: Do not confuse this with a statement against the coronavirus vaccines. The vaccines are safe. At least, they’re a lot safer than getting COVID. Get vaccinated as soon as you can.
And really, COVID vaccines illustrate my point about subsidized medicine over for-profit medicine. Governments subsidize the vaccines. They pay for and provide the vaccines for the sole purpose of stopping the pandemic and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.