Conspiracy Theory

A friend recently posted that the conspiracy theories swirling around the pharmaceutical industry and its relationship to the FDA and etc don't make sense because they and their families get cancer too, so of course they'd want to find cures...

But that argument doesn't hold up under scrutiny.  I'll get back to the specifics of that particular argument in a bit, but first let's discuss the reasons that Big Pharma and the FDA might have for obstructing the testing and approval of promising new treatments for cancer.

Pharmaceutical companies have lots of political clout; observe, for instance, political campaign contributions to both sides of the aisle from pharmaceutical, insurance, and tobacco companies over the last 30 years, and think about what value they were/are expecting from the money spent.  They have HUGE incentives to get in the way of research on anything but their own extremely profitable drugs (common chemo treatments cost up to $50,000 per month at one treatment per week, some cost more). 

Notice who benefits from the system set up currently in terms of getting treatments approved - the requirements for publishing, patenting, the bureaucratic hoops to be jumped, the insane amount of money required for even the smallest 'acceptable' human trials (which will not be anywhere near sufficient to get your treatment approved). 

Check out who is on the board of the FDA, who pays them money for their services, where their investments are held, what their own patents and patents pending are.  Check out the FDA rules about how and when drugs are approved.  Check out the trials going on for the last few years, see how many are on new treatments vs. various combinations of the same old stuff that doesn't really work.  Notice who is funding the trials. 

Think about what these things mean for the big pharmaceutical companies, in terms of keeping the profits going on the drugs they already have patented.  Think of what their stockholders expect.  Look at what is happening to Eli Lilly at the moment because of their patents running out, and think what would happen to other pharmaceutical companies if their extremely profitable chemo and 'mental health' drugs were rendered pointless by better treatment.

Unfortunately, the 'they get cancer too' argument doesn't hold up, unless you also think that somehow the families of tobacco bigwigs (as well as the farmers and pickers and factory workers) were either immune from cancer or that they all TRULY believed that cigarettes don't cause cancer (in spite of the mountain of evidence waved in their collective faces). 

In the end, the officers at pharmaceutical and tobacco companies have to weigh their options - do they give up their livelihoods right now, or do they take a little gamble on a potential risk down the road? 

Also remember: like those of the tobacco industry, families of the officers of big pharmaceutical companies can well afford to go to Europe for the latest treatments, and they do so.  

You and I don't have that luxury.

I'm not saying we should spend our hours sitting around in a stew of fury - that wouldn't be healthy for us, and we have troubles enough.  But it's not good to close our eyes and pretend that everything is okay when it's not, either.  The system is flawed, and it's not working for people with the deadliest forms of cancer.  The survival rate (including median survival times) for breast cancer is exactly the same as it was in the 1930's.  Do we find that acceptable, when we actually think about it?

We changed the system for children's cancers, and it has led to some significant advances in survival and treatment.  We should be doing the same for adult cancers.  But that won't happen until we stand up, yell loudly and put our votes where our mouths are.  That happened when our insurance companies tried to decimate our treatment options for catastrophic/chronic illnesses back in the 1980's; we can do it for cancer, if we have the will.


Delighted Hands said...

Unfortunately, cancer patients die and then they can't complain. That sounds so brutal but if the Big Pharm just wait and drag their feet , which they are so good at, their opponents will pass on and then others have to start on square one again-this is to their advantage . Science is working but there is definitely a gap between research and patient benefits....

Nancy K. said...

Eloquently stated but I still don't believe that anybody is deliberately trying to prevent a cure for cancer from being recognized. To me it seems more likely that if a particular vitamin or mineral combination could be proven to prevent or cure cancer, the big pharms would be a big hurry to find a way to replicate the results and get it patented.

Call me naive but I just don't buy into the conspiracy theories.

Eileen said...

It isn't possible to patent vitamins or minerals in their natural form. It is possible to patent them in a synthetic form - but usually those don't actually work the way the natural forms do, and people generally won't buy the expensive patented forms when the cheap and effective natural forms work. And yes, they are finding (for instance) that D3 is an effective preventative for cancer... luckily supplements are not required to go through the same trial/study process that drugs are, so reasonably good studies are able to be funded and done by people with somewhat shallower pockets than the huge pharmaceutical companies.

Unfortunately, the CURE for cancer is likely to be either a drug or some sort of treatment (tumor ablation, bone marrow transplant, ultrasound treatment, whatever), and THOSE things have to be approved by the FDA, having passed through the uber-expensive (and time-consuming) trial process. So most of the promising possibilities lay languishing in research labs, and will continue to do so indefinitely.

More importantly, unfortunately, it is in many cases a matter of 'life and death' to many companies that a more effective alternative to current chemotherapies not be found. Where HUGE money is being spent to make and keep laws set up to obstruct advancement, one must be naive to believe that the entity/entities shelling out that money is not taking advantage of those laws.

Companies are like people - because they are made up of people who need them to live. When push comes to shove, survival is the paramount instinct, and one does what one does to survive. People can love and empathize, so people sometimes will sacrifice their own lives in order to either help or to avoid killing others... but companies are not burdened with the same ethical and emotional concerns.

Even if you argue that since companies are made up of people, surely those people can make similar sacrifices, logic and recent social studies would say otherwise. Among other things:

1. Whistle blowers, who in the end are pretty much the people who do make the necessary sacrifices in cases like this, are few and far between... and are almost without exception people further down the corporate ladder, people who do not make the big decisions.

2. Studies show that immediacy is the largest component deciding whether someone sacrifices themselves for the sake of others. The more opportunity one has to observe others' behavior and the more time one has to think about possible consequences, the less likely self-sacrifice is.

Corporations are set up to eliminate immediacy as much as possible - as opposed to military organizations, which are set up to enhance immediacy as much as possible. There are good reasons for both setups.

Dori said...

I hate to say it but I never took the time to consider the "reason for death". It would sure make a difference in stats I would think.
I think of you everyday Eileen. I so wish we could have lunch again. I could use a good dose of your smile!

Vadim said...

Cancer researchers and their families get cancer too, so of course they'd want to find cures? Cancer is Big Business. Cancer is cured. But cancer researchers and pharmaceutical companies are keeping the cure a secret because they're making so much money. Big Pharma! The truth is that a large number of very prominent conspiracy theories have turned out to actually be true. Cancer researchers ignore iron-cancer information-1905-2014. Baba Vanga (Vangelia Dimitrova) was a blind Bulgarian mystic, clairvoyant and herbalist. Researchers claim that Vanga foretold the break-up of the Soviet Union, the Chernobyl disaster, the date of Stalin's death, the sinking of the Russian submarine Kursk, and the September 11 attacks. In 1994, Vanga predicted: A day will come and cancer will be chained in iron! A cure, which shall cure people from this illness, must contain the iron, because this element is decreasing in the human organism. The Father of Oncology (Vadim Shapoval) says that a cell needs to have iron overload (when excess iron accumulates within cellular organelles) before it becomes cancerous. In inherited forms of cancer, parents give their sons and daughters abnormal iron metabolism within various organs. Iron disorders (sickle cell disease, thalassemia, hemochromatosis, etc.) are inherited and can be confirmed with genetic testing. Genes that maintain iron homeostasis may facilitate iron uptake, storage or egress, or the regulation of any of these processes. The spectrum of known disorders of iron metabolism has expanded dramatically over the past years. Any cancer is caused by iron-related genes (numerous genes directly/indirectly involved in iron metabolism / hereditary cancers) and iron-related events (when excess iron accumulates within the cells, tissues, and organs due to various carcinogenic lifestyle events / nutrition, tobacco use, physical activity, traumatic injuries, infections, etc. / sporadic cancers). According to the Ferromagnetic Cancer Theory (Theory from the Old Testament; Iron Conception), any human cell should be interpreted: 1) as a society of atoms and molecules; 2) as a society of organelles; 3) as a society of dia-, para-, superpara-, ferri- and ferromagnetic nanoparticles that have certain local magnetic contacts. Cancer occurs through excessive accumulation of superpara-, ferri- and ferromagnetic nanoparticles within cancerous cells. Intracellular molecules FeO;Fe2O3;Fe3O4 are the main creators of intracellular superpara-, ferri- and ferromagnetic nanoparticles that produce (magnetically) genomic rearrangements, chaotic chromosomal aberrations and chromothripsis within cancerous cells. Any cancer is a subtle iron disease; intracellular superpara-ferri-ferromagnetic 'infection'. Magnetism (a class of physical phenomena; the force of attraction or repulsion between nano-objects) causes cancer. Ceramic needles can suppress any tumors and large metastases; can quickly create harmless infiltrations (harmless necroses; deposits of cells that die; benign capsules); can enter solution [sulfur (2%) + olive oil (98%); 36.6C - 39.0C] to tumors and large metastases. Anti-iron slow blood loss (even 75%) [hemoglobin control], anti-iron goat’s milk diet and anti-iron drinking water containing hydrogen sulfide can neutralize any micro-metastases and isolated tumor cells. Vadim Shapoval (Father of Oncology)

Vadim said...

Vadim Shapoval (Father of Oncology) http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/opinions/169598 ; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/opinions/170339 ; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/opinions/171142 ; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/opinions/171557 ; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/opinions/172052 ; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/opinions/172451 ; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/opinions/172864 ; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/opinions/173126 ; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/267552.php ; http://www.ovarian-cancer-facts.com/what-is-cancer.html ; http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/37661/title/Different-Cancers--Same-Mutations/ ; http://rosecoloredcancer.blogspot.com/2011/08/conspiracy-theory.html ; Together We (Rose Colored Cancer, Ovarian Cancer Facts, Medical News Today, The Scientist, TIME, Google, Facebook and Vadim Shapoval) Will Beat Cancer