Clinical Trials -v- Testimonies of success

Anyone who studies new claims for 'wonder drugs' and new 'cures' will swiftly understand the vast gap dividing the traditional 'white coat' scientific approach to medical matters versus the alternative treatments/health section of society.

This hub does not seek to argue who is correct and who is wrong, for each individual will already have an opinion on that issue, and like many other situations, we become entrenched in our opinions by agreeing with one position or the other.

But there are two distinct positions and they are diametrically apart.

Anyone reading my other articles will quickly see or know that I am in favour of natural alternative medicine, so I will not labour that point further.

What I do wish to do is propose a new way of dealing with new drugs, and one which I reason will lead to better and more efficient medical treatments eventually at a lower cost to the 'end user' being those of us who become afflicted by disease and sickness, and who want to get better.

Currently most clinical trials are commissioned by BigPharma (by which I mean one of the main pharmacutical companies) who seek FDA apporval for the new drugs they have produced.

These drugs, when approved, and as they are patented, will then be sold for great profit, via the public health system, at a high price, ostensibly required to cover the cost of ongoing research.

The fact remains that despite whatever BigPharma may say, they make stupendous profits for their shareholders, without fail, indeed it seems that they have increased profits during the current depression caused by the bankers.

Now profit in itself is no bad thing, we need profits to return to shareholder to generate business advancement and capitalisation, so this is not some communist rant against profit.

However your health should NOT be determined by political or financial considerations, and therefore those with vested financial or politically motivated interests are not the best people to govern what happens in health care.

From a perspective of natural health proponents, the playing field is less than level. Most people involved in natural heath and alternative health are not in it to make vast profits, indeed, they tend to be idealistic healers who are more concerned with curing sickness than selling drugs which may be approved to treat the symptoms of the disease, but will not stop the disease from afflicting you.

That is not to say there are no fraudsters selling snake oil, sick folk are just as susceptible to buying snake oil as they are to taking chemical drugs that have horrendous and even lethal side effects.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in a 1998 report, prescription drugs were found to kill over 100,000 Americans each year – that’s three times as many as are killed by automobiles—making prescription drug death the fourth leading killer after heart disease, cancer and stroke, in 1998.

Do you think that has got better or worse?

Is this a positive reason to trust BigPharma?

There should be a better, safer way to handle healthcare.

Clinical trials for natural remedies are simply too expensive to conduct, after all, if BigPharma will not do them as they cannot make a profit, why should a small company attempt to compete?

But despite having no clinical trials, millions of people chose natural medication (and self medication) over traditional white coat medicine for the simple reason that there are stacks of testimonies that endorse cures that medical science shuns and even attempts to drive underground.

Try to find a news article where anyone has died from using natural medicine. According to a report published by the U.S. National Poison Data System, the number of people killed in 2009 across America by vitamins, minerals, amino acids or herbal supplements is exactly zero.

Private equity firm Blackstone sold its 21.8 percent stake in Southern Cross Healthcare Group, the country's biggest operator of care homes, for 169 million pounds on Thursday.

LONDON | Thu Mar 8, 2007 7:26pm GMT (Reuters)

Morgan Stanley sold 41 million Southern Cross shares on behalf of Blackstone through an accelerated bookbuilt placing.

The shares were sold for 412 pence each, and valued the company at about 770 million pounds.

Southern Cross shares jumped 80% after its initial public offering (IPO) in July 2006, when the company raised 175 million pounds from the sale of shares at 225p each.

Blackstone BG.UL owned 88% of Southern Cross prior to the IPO, but its stake fell to 48% after the flotation.

The current scandal that is happening in the UK, where Former Southern Cross owner Blackstone have come under condemnation for the way they handled the 'investment' highlights what happens when a vulnerable and essential health care situation is manipulated for profit.

The UK press reported that Blackstone created the problem, Blackstone counter on their website with a rebuttal, in which they quote:

"Blackstone’s investment thesis was predicated on growth, investment in the management infrastructure of the business and on the creation of a company with a reputation for quality: a company viewed as a responsible operator by its local authority funders and its residents.

Blackstone made a positive return for its investors on this investment because it helped to create a sector leader which was successfully floated on the London Stock Exchange. After the IPO, Southern Cross’ share price nearly tripled." End Quote

Nearly tripled the share value.... so in March 2007 they sold a company at a share price which valued it at £770 million (US$1,287 million)and netted them £169 million (US$282 million) profit, and which today is worth £11.85 million (US$19.81 million) however you look at it, that is a loss for someone (those who bought the shares from Blackstone when they bailed out) of nearly 98.5% of the supposed value at IPO.

OK, fair game, people bought to make money, Blackstone's whole business is to make money and let buyer beware (and sorry if you are one of those who got caught in the trap) that's why they always state that the value of shares can also go down!

In shares, nobody makes money unless somebody loses money.

But the broader issue here is that the care of 31,000 elderly people is now in question, and the "reputation for quality......a company viewed as a responsible operator by its local authority funders and its residents." sounds hollow now, especially to the 3,000 staff that Southern Cross have said they will need to lay off.

Where is the justice in a firm that describes itself as an: alternative asset management company being allowed without restraint or future guarantee to buy a Care Home company with the expressed purpose of driving up the share price, taking a substantial profit, and then leaving it in the hands of others to sort out?

I show here Roche profits, which amount to nearly $10,851,000,000 in 2010. I chose Roche at random, but all BigPharma make the same huge profits.
I show here Roche profits, which amount to nearly $10,851,000,000 in 2010. I chose Roche at random, but all BigPharma make the same huge profits.

So how does this tie into clinical trials?

Having set the scene and accepted that profit, is not a bad motive, we should however concur that there are some areas of life where pure profit should not be the issue, indeed, profit should be separated from them.

Health, and health care is patently one of those areas.

I propose that rather than BigPharma controlling the drug industry, and more specifically the research and licensing of new drugs, via their chums at the FDA (were you aware that once you have worked for the FDA in a senior position, you will always find a cushy job advising a BigPharma company for a very high salary) we should adopt a new system where scientists, chemists and researchers would work developing new drugs for independent non profits who are forbidden to receive any funding directly from BigPharma, or indeed any other entity, except the government by way of grant.

The government would of course administer those grants, which could lead to vested interest pressure groups (lobbyists) ensuring that they favoured BigPharma (who have much 'invested' in controlling the market), so we would need lots of Ellen Brockovich style people on the committees of control also (i.e. whistle blower activists and people of integrity) to ensure fair play and impartiality.

We may even find members that actually put healthcare and people before profit!

These non profits would then be required to investigate and conduct clinical trials on ALL new drugs, medicines or supposed cures for anything, and report objectively concerning the efficacy of the drugs they trailed.

In this way the development and testing costs would be recovered, as the company who sold the drug would return a profit to the system as well as shareholders.

Once a new drug or natural therapy had been approved, anybody would be able to bid to hold the exclusive marketing rights on it for a given period, and the highest bidder over and above the development costs would win.

So if one BigPharma company proposed a new drug, and it was approved, then any other company could still outbid it for the marketing license, which would recoup company ones investment, and the cost of non profit development and trials.

Sales prices would be fixed by central government after analysing the development and research costs.

A fair and reasonable profit should be allowed.

In short, BigPharma should revert to being drug manufacturers, rather than the controller of the whole market place.

A proviso would need to be inserted that the winning bidder must prove effective marketing of the new product within a set time period, or the rights would be cancelled and the product would be in public domain, in order to stop BigPharma buying up successful natural cures (and there would be many I believe) and burying them in the backwoods to stop competition with their expensive chemical products.

I fully understand that commercial drug companies choose not to develop natural cures that will earn them much lower profit margins, that is the nature of business, and it is their business to make maximum profits, but in health matters, we need to focus on finding out what works best for each situation, not on what is the most profitable.

Currently the USA has the highest healthcare costs in the world, it's drugs are artificially kept at high prices and it's citizens are the least well provided for in terms of value for money. Nearly 20% of Americans have no health insurance, over 45% of bankrupcies are due to medical expenses, and the United States life expectancy ranks 42nd in the world.

In 2008 the top twenty drug companies which make up BigPharma sold almost US$500 billion of drugs, invested just under US$71 billion in research and development, and made US$110 billion profit. Between them they employed 1,342,700 employees. Which means that each employee made them about UD$64 million

This is madness.

Message to BigPharma from the natural health folk...

Do not miss this....

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Comments 12 comments

Unchained Grace profile image

Unchained Grace 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

Aquasilver, I read this through three times as there was a lot of information to retain and it (every bit of it) is absolutely essential to understand the overall situation.

I personally have always had a serious issue with the government telling me what I can and cannot eat. For close to sixteen years, I was all over this globe, living in the bush and in foreign countries where you have to deal with things much differently. Between US Army Special Forces Survival Training and experience added to natural remedies learned in Southeast Asia and beyond, I survived in environments where the FDA had not a clue and yet, here I am. I fully realize the financial and profit piece that goes with BigPharm and all that.

Frankly, I see drugs advertised everyday where the alleged side-effects are potentially worse than what the substance claims to cure or stabilize.

I'll be back here for further review which is why I bookmarked it. Thanks for a terrific Hub and the serious research it obviously took to make it possible.


Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 5 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

Aguasilver: I'm happy to see you finally removed the mask you presented for so long, so that we can see the real John.

For more than 30 years now, Personally, I have come to the attitude that whatever ailment comes my way be it a headache or cancer, I personally desire to treat the pain only and ignore the cause. I place my entire being in the hands of Almighty God and His will be done.


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain Author

Hi Dave, you are indeed correct that God alone decides who dies and when, and is our only healer, but equally, God did give us the herbs and plants for food, and we are what we eat, so following what is called a 'Spirit filled diet' is the best way to go for health.

As for treatment, I seek to find the cause and ignore the pain, and of course the cause is always based upon sin, for it is only when we have allowed the enemy to have authority that he can attack us.

Nice to see you drop in!

The 'mask' was a period that happened, mainly because I have very few photos of me in any case, plus for a while I liked the anonymity it afforded, but a few weeks ago, on a short break in Thailand, my wife took a reasonable picture, so I uploaded it!

So the real me is now public!!!


Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 5 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

John: Since you and I both know that the cause is whatever but comes from sin, since only Jesus can totally eradicate sin for ever, why not simply treat the pain and let God deal with the rest. Only He can cure, eventhough we know that He uses doctors and medicine sometimes to effect a cure, we all have to die sooner or later.


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain Author

Fair comment, and no fear of moving on, we should all be happy to go home, except for missing the time we spend with our family (blood and church).

This hgub is written to protest the greed and deception of Big Pharma, it's not one of my Christian hubs, nor is it commercial, but it may make some folk think about the way the FDA and BigPharma abuse humanity!


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Great Hub, John, and a side of you I had not seen before!


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain Author

Ahhh Will, the sweet smell of 'old hippie' seeping through!

Once upon a time I thought we were going to change the world, back in the 'Summer of Love' of '66.

We did, but we changed it for the worse, our free love became debauchery, our free thinking became politically corrected and our abandonment of the work ethic became a credit crunch.

Big Pharma are one of my few hatreds, no just for the obscene profiteering they use the drug industry for, but for the way they abuse people at their most vulnerable, and keep them hanging on to false hopes of cure, whilst selling them more product.

Give me a street dealer any day for a better morality, at least they know they are the bad guys.

Morning rant over, now must get some mango and banana for breakfast!


lone77star profile image

lone77star 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Outstanding, John. Powerful stuff.

This could work. I like it. The only vulnerability I see at first glance might in the grant process; nothing I can readily put my finger on. But you cover a lot of bases with this plan. It takes great strides to remove the decision making from those who would choose poorly by their very nature.

I see the points that Dave is making, but have to wonder how God would view our inaction when the temple (our bodies) is left to fall apart. Would He view that as irresponsibility? I'm reminded of a story I've heard numerous times about a man caught in a flood, sitting on his rooftop waiting for God to save him, refusing several rescue attempts by mere mortals. And when he dies, God asks why he refused all the help He sent! Oops!

And I'm also reminded of what American WWII hero, Audie Murphy, said about why he did some of the heroic things he did. "They were killing my friends." We definitely have to do something about this.

And my wife does some nice things with mango and banana. Now you're making me hungry.


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain Author

Hi Carl, thanks for commenting, and the 'heads up' email, now amended!

See you when I am in the Philippines!

John


Jane Rooney 5 years ago

Great Hub John! Check out http://clinicaltrialsforyou.com/ for some more information on this topic!


2besure profile image

2besure 5 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

The FDA is in bed with the pharmaceutical companies. They would rather steer people to prescription drugs that are killing us, rather than holistic and natural methods of healing.


Christelle 23 months ago

Very interesting arclite. There is a lot of food for thought . I didn't understand the connection between subsidies and the cost of this food. I do understand the benefits of not eating these foods. Thanks for the great post.

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