Thursday, December 12, 2013
Sh*t That Drives Me Crazy! (Good-Bye Critical Thinking)
If there’s one thing that drives me nearly batsh*t crazy, it’s that so often, critical thinking skills seemed to be washed away into the gutter as soon as the topic of “Big Pharma” comes up. There’s a sudden, knee-jerk, conspiracy theory spasm that seems to paralyze some people’s brains. For instance… Advocates of complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) regularly cite “Big Pharma’s” financial “conflict of interest” in order to support their argument that it is in the pharmaceutical industry’s best interest to keep you sick and fat. It goes something like this: Big Pharma is motivated by profit and answers to shareholders, therefore Big Pharma is evil. Big Pharma makes money selling you drugs – if you get well, you won’t need the drugs anymore – therefore, it’s not in Big Pharma’s interest that you be well.However, this “conflict of interest” argument is never applied to complimentary and alternative medicine itself, which has exactly the same motivations. Last I checked, alternative medicines were not free. Last I checked, a visit to the naturopath or homeopath was not free. These people make money off your maladies, and, if argued with the same logic applied to “Big Pharma”, have no real reason to cure you, since doing so will deprive them of a source of income.This argument is completely disingenuous for a couple of other reasons…This isn’t happy dappy gum drop land, where lollipops grow on trees and people spend their days dancing merrily around in sun dappled meadows filled with beautiful yellow and pink flowers. You have to earn a living or you don’t eat. In other words, everyone is motivated by profit. Your mechanic has no reason to fix your car, since doing so will deprive him of a source of income. Same for your plumber, electrician, carpenter – this argument can be applied to everyone on the planet. We live in a capitalist society. Unless you’re advocating for communism, people and industries have a right to be remunerated for their efforts. And just because they are being paid for their efforts does not make them inherently unethical or dishonest.The drug companies spend BILLIONS in research and development. It costs a ton of money to research and bring new drugs to the market. They are entitled to recoup their costs.While the drug companies must conduct clinical studies and prove their product’s benefits outweigh its side effects, the CAM industry is un-burdened by such inconveniences. The industry is almost entirely unregulated, which means a lot of the time, folks selling CAM can do and say whatever they like – and do not have to support their assertions with anything resembling scientific evidence. Spend some time on the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s web site to get an idea of the magnitude of the scams perpetuated by those on the “side of the angels.”Now it’s important you understand that I am not arguing that…Drug companies always act ethically, or have not been guilty of terrible behavior occasionally. But painting them all with the same brush and refusing to apply the same criticisms to CAM is dishonest and unethical.Herbals, natural medicines and the like can’t work; this web site is a testament to the fact that there are a LOT of things that do. But they are supported by scientific evidence, which is why we can say that they do.Remember…Alternative medicine has either not been proven to work, or has been proven not to work. Everything else is just medicine.