I finished Infectious Madness this evening and felt compelled to share my thoughts.
As I stated in the previous blog “Random Connections”, Ms. Washington has an equitable and journalistic writing style, not point-of-view. I was correct that my bias did lead the charge on occasion. However, regarding the writer’s bias, I have to say that she is properly justified, but just as guilty as any other human.
That being said, I could not put it down and when I did, I could only think of the next time I would be able to read more. I finished the book in 7 days; a record reading binge in the non-fiction realm for me these days.
Infectious Madness and the science that the writer introduced peaked my interest and made my mind wander at times. Remembered anecdotal stories, articles, books, and even family illnesses played out as microbial who-dun-its in my mind. (We have a history of dementia and Alzheimer’s in my father’s side of the family, but it has been very strangely ‘selective’…)
The scientific data and theory she introduced was high level and intricate, but approachable. And the writer makes a compelling case for a needed paradigm shift in medicine.
I have to say that the part of the book most compelling for me was her take on the pharmaceutical companies and their approach to production of life-saving medicines and research for the developing world.
The writer goes out of her way not to call it ‘capitalistic’… and is wise to avoid it. I mean, what is the opposite? The dreaded ‘socialist’? As an American, we are wont to even consider an alternative economic and political system. (Even though we currently entertain multiple examples of socialist ideals like public school, health care access equality, but I digress…)
One of the aspects of our family health issues are regarding my husband and younger daughter’s consistently low HDL (High Density Lipoproteins) and super-sensitive triglycerides. Here’s a snippet of what these components of cholesterol are in a previous blog.
Two things that are known to affect it are Resveratrol and Whey Protein. However, as of May of 2016, only 5 studies were being done to determine if they worked. Meanwhile there were pages of studies in the last 2 years on using Whey Protein as a packaging preservative to replace BHT, BHA, TBHQ and other acronyms linked to cancer.
Ms. Washington rightly rails against the pharmaceutical companies that are failing the people in the developing world. But I take issue that they are the only ones suffering from the capitalistic approach to managing health and wellness businesses and corporations.
My question and challenge is this simple:
Is there a better way to manage these companies? One that removes the allowance of PROFIT from companies that provide medicine and healthcare? (This includes insurance companies)
Because the ethical question remains… should entities that provide health and wellness be allowed to make commissions and profits and control the cost of their products however they see fit?
Should they lose money? No. Of course not.
Health and pharmaceutical companies are allowed to make insane amounts of it at the expense of the human condition.
Unlike the ownership of a car*, human beings don’t quite have the option yet to change models, well, unless they can afford it.
What about patents? Should they be allowed?
Here’s a research question for free: “How much profit from pharmaceutical companies actually goes back into the company in the form of research? And, how much profit goes to pharmacy representatives in the form of kickbacks, payroll, commission, and, of course, advertising?”
I think it is time for more than just a paradigm shift for how we view microbes. I think we need to turn our microscopes to the other parasites in our midst. Because if we understand how to change that part of the culture, however we can, perhaps through policy, then maybe all of the other things might become less divisive and controversial?
*(see page 236 for the deplorable statement from a pharmaceutical rep regarding “Renault” cars as an analogous replacement for ‘life-saving medicine’ in his counter-argument.)