The Evil Big Pharma
If you ask a question about why America is so big on taking pills and why the medical profession places such little emphasis on preventive healthcare, making them less of a pill consumer in the long run, many people will immediately say that evil big pharma is pushing pills on Americans.
Big Pharma is one of the players, but is it only them? How does it work that in Switzerland Big Pharma coexists with homeopathy? The consumer in America likes to pop pills and the industry is happy to provide them. Yet what can the medical profession offer to the consumer who wants to go fully natural and only take pills as a last resort?
Health Care for All
Many people who compare the United States and European nations, often forget that European nations are rather homogeneous in their demographics: the wage of the worker is not that many times lower than the wage of a boss, their fertility rates are rather low, resulting in a high value of human life. There is a predictable pattern of consumption of alcohol, sugar and all the other things that can cause harm in excess.
In Europe, the culture itself tends to smooth out patterns of compulsive consumption and impulses for instant gratification. Americans would not be able to evolve such cultures without a clear definition of what it is to be “a cultural American” and how that American is meant to celebrate their surplus, how much is too much, etc.
America is also a home to many professional organizations that lobby the interests of a specific profession. The medical profession is no exception. Thus, the healthcare system resembles a compromise: patients must be treated, yet in such a way that they continue to benefit the medical profession.
If a patient is fully cured and no longer needs to see a doctor, how does this benefit the medical profession?
Many people are expecting that the discomfort will magically disappear after they swallow a pill. They pay with side effects, yet there may be another pill to fix those too. It is difficult to blame the evil big pharma for a cultural problem entirely, while public demand for quick fixes continues.
As any professionals, medical professionals also want returning customers. Certainly, people who live a more compulsive lifestyle of excess and like their “feel good” carbs, alcohol, drugs, etc. tend to be the most desired customers for the doctors who are happy to make them feel even better for the time.
A common story is that a person who lives a sedentary lifestyle has joint pain. They go to the doctor and get steroids prescribed. Then joints get brittle and must be replaced with artificial joints. I am glad that we have all this technology, yet how many such procedures could be avoided?
The best kind of customers are trained from an early age. As parents feed their children through the public education machine, the impersonal and traumatizing machine encourages parents to feed pills to their children, to lubricate the process. It can be Ritalin or antibiotics for chronic infections, yet this is how you get your most loyal customers.
By the time, those customers reach an age where they can make their own consumer choices, the damage has already been done. Now they are forever clients of the medical profession who would need regular refills for their prescriptions and sometimes – surgeries. Side effects will create the need for more and more pills, making preventive healthcare ineffective, as there is always something that needs fixing.
The Medical Profession
Also, American medical doctors are usually so indebted by the time they complete their education, that many would not be able to pay the debt if they venture into alternative medicine. Becoming a pill-pusher is a guaranteed way to pay off medical school debt and to secure a middle-class position in society, while still being young enough to start a family. My personal experience indicates that people with a medical background make the best practitioners of alternative medicine and homeopathy, yet they are very rare in society.
How do we create the economic incentive for such professionals to become more available?
To be continued…
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