Years ago, when I first started working as a nurse, I believed everyone in the medical field was dedicated to providing the best healthcare possible. Perhaps I was naïve; but, after witnessing changes over the last half century, I believe that previously appreciated caring has been replaced by a desire to make money off people’s illnesses.
Over the years the pharmaceutical companies have convinced our population that they can eat anything they want, fail to exercise, smoke and drink all the alcohol they want – they can get a pill for anything that might result from their bad habits. They have also convinced society that any undesired behavior of spouses, children, even pets, can be corrected with mind altering drugs. A pharmaceutical representative actually told me that his company was experimenting with making bubble gum flavored Prozac to make it more palatable for young children; and adding herbs to narcotic combination drugs would make them attractive to a more health conscious person.
During a discussion at the hospital one day, a coworker asked about my efforts to help people stay healthy. A doctor overheard and added this to our conversation – “Why would you want to do that; there’s no money in keeping people healthy!”
I find it very interesting that clinics in Europe have very impressive results in treating diseases like Cancer; yet the treatments they use are not allowed in the United States. The claimed reason is that the oversight of the research does not meet US standards. However, there have been alternative treatments being researched in our country that, when found to be successful, attracted the attention of the pharmaceutical companies. When agreements could not be made to transfer control of the sale of these treatments from the original researchers to the pharmaceutical companies, the funding for continued research was cancelled or the product was banned in this country.
I have worked in several hospital settings over the last 50 years, in several different specialties, in several different states. The problem of the business of medicine ruining healthcare is not geographic; it’s systemic. The Insurance, hospital and pharmaceutical industries fill in most of the top five positions for lobbying influence in Washington. We face a difficult time now, trying to find a way to ensure all Americans have access to affordable health care, and yet Medicare has not been allowed to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to lower medication costs!
I have a suggestion – let’s boycott the system by staying healthy!