As a patient, what is your intention when visiting your doctor? Do you want a diagnosis? √ Do you want to know what caused your condition? √ Do you want to know what measures you need to take to avoid the condition from returning or advancing? √ Finally, do you want a prescription? √√√ If you are not offered a prescription, do you feel your money was wasted on the visit?
If you said YES to wanting the prescription, what makes you think this adds value to the visit? Are you more interested in treating SYMPTOMS or CORRECTING UNDERLYING PROBLEMS? Do you believe most prescription medications FIX chronic problems or help MAINTAIN them? Do you care if the doctor intends to keep you on prescription medications for the rest of your life?
The reason I ask all these questions is because I have observed (as a physician) the average consumer’s way of living. They no longer concern themselves with the “details” and rely on licensed health care “professionals” to do what they believe is in their (the patient’s) “best interest.” There are NO CHECKS AND BALANCES in this relationship. The doctor says, “do it,” and the patient is expected to comply.
Since the prescription is perceived as the VALUE, let’s evaluate 1 drug (HUMIRA) and see if the same perception exists after I present the case from the DRUG COMPANY’S PERSPECTIVE AND EXPERIENCE.
At the end of this post is a commercial that is 61 seconds long. 26 seconds (42.62%) of this commercial is dedicated to expressing the damaging side effects this drug HAS CAUSED. Since the commercial goes by so fast, I will provide the 26 seconds for you:
“Humira can lower your ability to fight infections including Tuberculosis. Serious and sometimes fatal infections and cancers including lymphoma have happened as have blood, liver and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions and new or worsening heart failure. Tell your doctor if you’ve been to certain areas where fungal infections are common. If you’ve had Tuberculosis, Hepatitis B or are prone to infections or have flu like symptoms or sores, don’t start Humira if you have an infection.”
This drug is used to provide SYMPTOMATIC relief from rheumatoid arthritis. It works by reducing inflammation TEMPORARILY. Reducing inflammation slows down damage to the joints (a good thing.)
Let’s look at the RISK/REWARD scenario:
Temporarily reduces inflammation and pain in the joints.
Lowers ability to fight everyday infections. This means you might be sick more frequently requiring additional prescriptions to treat those infections.
This medication has also caused, “Serious and sometimes fatal infections and cancers including lymphoma.” This would require further medical evaluation including diagnostics, likely hospitalization as well as additional prescriptions. It would also likely affect the quality of living.
It also has caused blood, liver and nervous system problems. This too, would require further medical evaluation including diagnostics, likely hospitalization as well as additional prescriptions.
Allergic reactions. This would likely include emergency hospital or urgent care visits (outpatient) as well as additional prescription medications.
New or worsening heart failure. This would entail hospitalization, new patient cardiology follow up, new prescription medications (likely lifetime) and a reduction in quality living.
Since rheumatoid arthritis is an auto immune condition causing inflammation and connective tissue damage, removing inflammatory conditions from one’s life would simply make sense. This is why many people with this condition use tumeric, ginger and EPA/DHA omega 3 fish oil. These products naturally reduce systemic inflammation. They also change their diets to mediterranean or vegetarian style eating which also reduces inflammatory pathways in the body. Even John Hopkins recommends:
“All individuals, and especially those with RA, should make efforts to consume a well-balanced diet, full of nutrient-dense foods and limited in additives and processed foods.”
The VALUE we place on pharmaceutical drugs in many cases is unjustified. In the case of Humira, the consumer doesn’t even believe the REAL DANGERS the drug causes. These dangers are real enough that the drug company’s spend 42.62% of their advertising dollars on the side effects ALONE in this commercial to protect themselves from liability.
This is just one of thousands of drugs I randomly chose to demonstrate the RISK/REWARD “VALUE.” It offers further proof the GOAL is “treating” rather than “curing” disease and other chronic health problems. New drugs are released on the market regularly, but society continues to LACK EVIDENCE of being healthier as a result.
Living longer does not mean living healthier.