Money in chronic sickness

Capitalism is a form of mental illness.

This is actually rather easy to prove. All one needs to do is read the Goldman Sachs report from April. In it, they explained that one-shot cures for diseases were problematic, because cures resulted in a “gradual exhaustion of the prevalent pool of patients.” In plain English, they were pointing out to the medical research community that the real money was in treating sick patients, not in making them healthy.

This is reminiscent of the the cautionary tale about being careful not to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. The example used was the recent hepatitis treatment. This was heavily marketed to 50- to 70-year-old people in a $100 million-plus ad campaign designed to instill fear in people so they would ask their doctor to prescribe the $1,100-a-pill medication. This scare campaign was quite successful, bringing in around $15 billion in sales for the drug peddlers. Why was this seen as a disappointment to Goldman? Because it worked, it actually cured people. The drug had a 90-percent-plus efficacy rate. It was so successful at decreasing the number of people who needed it that sales declined to a paltry $4 billion this year.

Apparently, $4 billion just isn’t enough for the investment firms that fund Big Pharma research. They prefer the more reliable long-term profits they can get from treating and maintaining long-term chronic illnesses. Cures are nice to think about, but they are just not reliable at creating the long-term revenue streams chronic, long-duration illnesses bring in.

From my perspective, anything that can be done to alleviate human suffering should be done. I see no scenario where carefully maintaining a sick person in a chronic state of illness so they can be milked as as a cash cow is acceptable. Viewing our fellow humans as revenue sources to be kept sick till they eventually die is, to me, ghoulishly despicable.

While this doesn’t preclude the saner people in the industry from doing research and seeking cures, it does create a funding bias that makes it plain where the investment money is going to be and where it won’t be.

As disturbing as this is to most of us, it makes perfect sense from the perspective these fans of capitalism view the world. Sorry, to me it just looks like a manifestation of mental illness. How do you see it?

Don Hoover,