Jul 15, 2010 - 5:25 am
I’ve made a few informational posts recently “Anticancer info online” and “Vitamin D3 and cancer.” I wanted to post a new thread to articulate something I’ve learned which has helped me put some things in perspective. This may help some of you. (fyi, I have academic training and professional experience as an information researcher).
Bear with me. I’ve tried to keep this as short as possible.
Pharmaceutical companies can only patent synthetic or laboratory-made agents. By making something in the laboratory they can patent it, “own” it, and make money off of it. Pharmaceutical companies are not invested in anything Mother Nature makes because natural substances cannot be patented; no money to be made.
It is for this reason there are VERY few studies on natural substances; no money to be made.
New medicines are tested in clinical trials overseen by the FDA, et al. Clinical trials cost a lot of money and are funded in majority by corporate interests. If these medicines, show statistical advantage in treating a disease (and with minimal side effects), they can make a lot of money for the pharmaceutical companies and their share holders for the life of a patent, on average around 10 years. After that, the drug becomes “generic” and other companies can manufacture the drug. This brings the price down. But while it’s under patent, there’s a lot of money to be made. And because it’s a new drug, there’s less real world experience with it and as time goes by more is learned about it because it is being used by a larger population. With the most recently approved drugs, we are the guinea pigs.
Doctors can run into legal liability problems if they don’t use evidence based medicine (exception is off-label use …not going there in this discussion). That means the majority of treatments are with patented medicines. Some doctors are open to compelling anecdotal evidence about natural substances and may be understanding when you talk to them on this subject, but they can’t prescribe anything natural because, again, there are usually no clinical studies to back them up and they don’t want to assume a legal liability. Also, I hate to say this but it’s true, many doctors are wooed by pharmaceutical companies and given pricey vacations and perks to manipulate them into distributing their drug. Some ethical doctors have written about this.
Anyway, hence our frustration and confusion at being pulled at times in two directions when it comes to western medical practices and wanting to use natural means to heal ourselves.
The main thing to remember is pharmaceutical companies have no vested interest in promoting diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes because theses treatments are free. Doctors are focused on clinical evidence for legal liability reasons.
Another thing I want to add is when looking at research on natural substances, please check out the source. Anyone can post anything on the Internet and/or write a book and make it look/seem authoritative. Always check the “About Us” page of a website to see who is behind it…ask yourself, “Do they really have any academic or substantial background in this?” Dig a little to find the authority. Do the same for authors of books. Scientific researchers who are spurred to research the benefits of natural compounds are the most credible (possess academic credentials, usually doctorates, and understand the sound rules of research). Remember they are not in it for the money, but the truth.
”All truth passes through three stages.