Global trends that affect how people choose to manage their health are increasingly driven by seemingly opposing forces. On one hand you’ve got ‘consensus’ science that could just as easily – and often more accurately – be referred to as ‘conspiracy science’. Then you’ve got influencers. These individuals may or may not have truckloads of ‘evidence’ to back their views. They may be avid health bloggers who have incredibly healthy bodies or a special way with words. They may be super-athletes who can do things most of us can only dream about. They may be busy parents with hectic lives, who’ve found interesting ways of keeping themselves and their families healthy. They are also sometimes sick people with rare diseases who believe they’ve been saved by a particular experimental drug.
Enter Milton Packer MD, presently Distinguished Scholar in Cardiovascular Science at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. In anyone’s book he’s a top-level cardiologist and clinical researcher. Heart failure protocols in the Western world have been built around ones that he’s developed and tested through large multi-centre trials. He’s no stranger to drugs either, being, for example, a firm advocate of ARNi drugs for heart failure.
Milton Packer MD, distinguished clinical researcher in cardiology
(image retrieved from baylorhealth.edu)
So when Milton Packer – who’s definitely an influencer – decides to speak out, and, more importantly, speak out negatively about Big Pharma, it’s rightly news. Of course, it won’t make Big News, because that’s pharma controlled. But Dr Packer published a very interesting blog on Medpage Today on 18th April, that deserves to be read widely.
Read Milton Packer MD’s full blog: “It’s Official! Curing Patients is Bad for Business”
Dr Packer’s take-homes
- Most drug development of late has focused on cancer and rare diseases because these are the main two areas that can tolerate exorbitant pricing, sometimes in excess of $1 million per treatment
- The burden of these costs, that pay for treatments for a few, impact the majority (who don’t have cancer or rare diseases) who then have to put up with second-rate, cheaper healthcare services and drugs
- Drug companies are avoiding developing drugs that work well especially if they provide one-off cures because they will lose on-going revenue.
- Biotech companies innovating in the field of healthcare are struggling to get investment if their products are too effective (even with sky-high pricing) and provide an actual cure for disease.
The final words in Dr Packer’s blog say it all:
“When the most important investment banking enterprise in the world wonders whether it is a good idea to support companies that want to develop cures, we truly have reached rock bottom.
What is next for health care? We always knew that prolonging life was expensive. Now it seems that curing people isn’t profitable enough.
Want to make money? Develop drugs that cure nothing, but yet promote long-term use and dependency, and shorten life. Bankers and payers will love it.
Oops! I forgot. We have those drugs already. They’re called opiates.”
What now, then?
Let’s not leave it in the hands of the mainstream healthcare system. When a doctor with Milton Packer’s background and pedigree says there’s a problem relying on the drugs mainstream healthcare provides – there’s no doubt that a big problem is afoot.
Take things into your own hands – become empowered, fully informed and take the natural route as far as it will take you. For most of the common diseases today – that’s all you’ll ever need. Not that you’ll hear that from the mainstream healthcare (pay and deliver) system.
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