How absolutely wonderful of Eunice to offer to take care of your folks, NL; and how great of you to be there for them. In reading your post, I couldn't help wanting to offer my own ideas of what should happen, or my ideas about diet and drugs, etc., but I have to respect your good judgment and keep such thoughts to myself. All I can say is I completely concur with your dim opinion of our health care system. And, of course, I hope your folks begin to feel better soon.
In 2008 I became interested in the medical industrial complex, specifically how it related to the pharmaceutical industry, with breast cancer as my focus. So I did a bit of research and wrote about it back then. What follows is an excerpt of that essay, with apologies for the length of it. (I don't think I've posted it here on this forum before, but maybe parts of it...)
"According to the Million Women’s Study, for one (The Lancet):
• Estrogen-progestin use increased breast cancer by 19 per 1,000 women.
• Estrogen-alone use increased breast cancer by 5 per 1,000 women.
Regardless, in the year 2000, according to IMS Health, U.S. doctors wrote 23,454,000 prescriptions for Premarin.
Okay, correct me if I'm wrong: 23,454,000 @ 5 per 1000 women = 117,270 extra cases, among the prescription holders who will get breast cancer, assuming the group stays on Premarin more than five years—this, from the use of Premarin alone.
But physicians and gynecologists are still prescribing it, still advertising it in their offices, and still lamely defending its use, as if they don’t look like ethical morons to claim that stopping hot flashes is worth the risk of developing breast cancer.
The FDA still has not banned this horrible drug, nor limited its use.
Let’s face it: we live in a culture where greed is good and the profit motive is sacrosanct. As patients we like to think the pharmaceutical industry that instructs and assists our hapless doctors in treating us are good people who would love to rid us of our diseases. But the reality is that breast cancer is an industry, a cash cow for the entire medical industrial complex; and, whether those who profit from our sickness admit it or not, they don’t want to find a cure for cancer— think of the profit losses, were a cure to be found!
Paranoia? Conspiracy theory?
Consider this example: DCA, dichloroacetate, is a drug that shows real promise as a cure for many kinds of cancers, including breast cancer. Dr. Evangelos Michelakis, a professor at the University of Alberta Department of Medicine in Canada, is currently researching this 'inexpensive, relatively harmless,' drug. Has the pharmaceutical industry rushed to fund this research, or to do the research itself? Gosh O golly, NO! Don’t you know DCA is not patented—there’s no profit to be made off the drug? Did you think the industry would be interested in finding a cure anyway, for the sake of humanity, for the sake of you and me? Are you dreaming? As reality has it, Dr. Michelakis will just have to scrape up the funds for his research from independent donors. The big guys just don’t care.
Consider another example, as a clue to the moral character and motives of the corporate owners and managers who bring our world of chemicals and pharmaceuticals to us:
• In 2000, Novartis —insecticides, the herbicide, atrazine— and AstraZeneca —agro-chemicals and pharmaceuticals— formed Syngenta through the merger of their agricultural divisions.
• Syngenta makes and sells both aromatase promoters and inhibitors, both atrazine and Arimidex, for example.
• Atrazine, a widely used weed killer, is an aromatase promoter, an endocrine disrupter. Atrazine was denied regulatory approval in the European Union—it’s banned in Europe. It CAUSES breast cancer.
• The United States uses about 80 million pounds of atrazine every year. It is in the water, folks.
How tidy is that vicious cycle? With one hand, they cause breast cancer, by contaminating the environment with atrazine; with the other hand, they treat the breast cancer they caused in the first place, with aromatase inhibitors, to the tune of billions: 'Worldwide sales of aromatase inhibitors have increased from approximately $340 million in 2001 to more than $1.2 billion in 2004, representing an annual growth rate of 52%.'
Of course, Syngenta denies that its product causes breast cancer and has bribed researchers and quashed the findings of honest researchers, using the full force of its power to attack the truth about atrazine. You would think, if the CEO’s and managers at Syngesta cared about the health and safety of people and the environment, they would listen to bad news about the dangers posed by their product and remove it from the market. You would think...but that would be in a world where people come before profits. This, clearly, is not that world.
You would also like to hope that Syngenta, and companies like it, would not want be responsible for contributing to an epidemic of breast cancer. But that would be a world where corporations were peopled by folks with consciences, where corporations are not peopled by sociopaths. This is not that world. Instead, this is a world where killing people for profit isn’t personal— it’s business, so that, if people die, well, “everyone dies”. Why not make a profit, while the gettin’s good?
Just between you and me, it seems to me that if corporations insist on being legal “persons,” with all the rights afforded to persons in the Constitution, then they ought to be judged as persons in the criminal justice system—that is, if they kill people for profit, then try to suppress the evidence, they should be prosecuted for murder. The CEO’s, managers and boards of directors of these criminal entities need to go to prison. Enough of this lawsuit crap; they just count those losses as part of the cost of doing business. (Although verdicts can serve to validate the common sense finding of damage done.) No. They need pay a real price for first contaminating the environment, then, when we get sick, profiting again from our sickness.
'The profit motive corrupts all things.' —Ralph Nader.
'A foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of truth.' —Albert Einstein"