Pharmaceuticals and the Whoring of Your Health.
I admit it, I was a biggot. Not against a race, religion, or sexual preference; I was a biggot against herbal and nutraceutical products. It wasn't until I realized that drug companies were born out of the phytochemical industry. Aspirin, the miracle of modern medicine, boiled and extracted out of willow bark. Penicillian, extracted from mold (a plant). Even today, synthetic hormones are being produced by large corporations from various members of the Dioscea family (yams) using such refined practices as using gasoline as a solvent or aspegillus mold to break down its starches.
Often, the pharmas will not produce the molecules that go into their products, they purchase them from manufacturers in China and Indonesia. These practices are just good business and it results in a more affordable product for the consumer.
The problem comes in where money is involved. A drug company will spend millions of dollars developing medicinal molecules, patenting them, and then testing them. They are pushed out onto the market and ads flood your television and magazines. Jobs are created and people enjoy a better quality of life if they dont experience side effects.
Sometimes, a natural product is superior to a manufactured one; so why go through the hassle of developing another drug? The answer lies in the patent. Because drug companies cannot patent a mixture or naturally occuring compound, they cannot control who makes that product, packages it and sells it. Take for example heartburn remedies. There are several drug companies that tout their product as being the best at relieving your suffering, usually within 24 hours. Side effects may even include death. How is a product such as this superior to baking soda and water?
The problem is, they can't patent baking soda, and anyone can acquire it in any grocery store in the country for next to nothing. There is no profit in something that can be sold for ten cents per pill as opposed to a product that can be sold for five dollars a pill.
Some pharmas will take a naturally occurring molecule and modify them, adding an extra atom of oxygen, nitrogen, or hydrogen. This allows the molecule to be called unique and a patent granted, even though its natural counterpart is just as effective. So, not only did they add an atom, they added cost as well, cost that you pay.
This is not to say that "Big Pharma" doesn't have it's place. There are certain molecules that simply don't exist in nature and God bless the thousands of men and women who work tirelessly to bring us the cures for that which ails us.
Serious pharmacological manufacture started within the last 150 years; nature has been doing it for billions of years. Nature has provided us with some very effective compounds with which we can heal, from antidepressants, to hormone stimulators, antibiotics and so forth. Perhaps a perusal of herbal literature on the internet may be advised, especially if you don't have health insurance. You would be surprised by what's out there.