A Satirical Video On The Drug Industry

June 23, 2011

Pineapple-Shapped Lamps, an improv troop based in North Carolina, has made a video entitled “Literal Drug Commercial”.

It’s a fine piece of satire, with a good knock at our current drug approval process: “Drug…the legit sounding medical breakthrough that just got FDA approved last week thanks to intense pressure from pharmaceutical lobbyists”.

In all fairness, it is incredibly hard to develop new drugs that don’t have serious side-effects, or side-effects that considerably outweigh the benefit of the drug.

Many drug patents are in the twelve year range, which barely allows time for research and development of new drugs, much less testing and approval before the patents expire and all the money invested is lost to cheaper competitors selling “generic” versions of the drug. (Other countries have cheaper drugs often because US patents don’t extend there, although it’s painted as a health care/political issue).

Of course, with examples like DCA (Dichloroacetic acid), the drug that might be an improved treatment for cancer, there is hope that funding for new drugs may come from charitable sources. In the future, we may even see “crowd sourced funding” for drugs as sites like kickstarter prove successful for funding projects, creative and otherwise.

But there are other problems that exist in the system, too: a focus on treatment rather than prevention, doctors who are quick to prescribe without a thorough examination or offering alternative treatments, certain ingrained practices that aren’t ideal (efficiency, cost, side-effects).

These drug problems have long, complicated causes that obstruct an easy solution, and so it’s up to individuals to begins to enact change in medicine. Take care of yourself with as much prevention as you can (even moderate exercise, a free activity, can go a long way to many health problems), seek doctors who focus on quality treatment and who are willing to engage thoughtful questions, and support others who are in difficult health situations, when it is easy to capitulate to whatever the system demands–even when you wouldn’t normally make those decisions.

Did you like the video? What do you think of our current medical drug culture?

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