Posted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 12:36 am Post subject: Why are there no cures?
There are no profits in cures, only in disease management. I don't believe there is a conspiracy amongst drug companies, I just don't think they actively research cures. Periodically you even here of "breakthroughs" regarding diabetes or cancer but they never turn into anything.
If drug companies put as much effort into curing disease as they did managing them we would have cured cancer and most other major diseases long ago.
Perhaps you have forgotten the existance of such diseases as polio, and TB. Until the 1950's they were two of the most feared diseases in Canada. Every summer thousands contracted polio, Many did not survive. Others were left partially or totally paralized. Some survivors were confined t an iron lung for the rest of their lives. In the fifties, there were still facilitiessolely devoted to the care of TB patients. There has been a huge reduction in many other diseases .
The medical conditions that remain large problems require a much deeper understanding of biology than has been available up to now. Today we are on the verge of having the knowledge of how the body works at the molecular level that will enable us to cure many of the remaining diseases, such as cancer. From 1900 to 2000 the life expectancy at birth increased by almost 30 years. This increase was mainly the result of the elimination of diseases that caused the death of many children and young adults. The life expctancy of people aged 65 has also increased, but by much less.
I don't think your complaint has much validity, considering the progress made in the last century. Treating symptoms is almost always easier than finding a cure, so when a disease is first researched treatments for the disease usually are available before a cure is found. many of the leading causes of death in 1900 are nowhere to be found on the list for 2000. I have no doubt that the 2100 list will look much different from the 2000 list
I think a rather substantial part of the problem is competition and lack of research sharing. Realistically that is both an advantage and a disadvantage - Of course, the last thing we want to do is make that research all public domain(although a lot of that research is being done in the public domain through things like the NRC, universities etc..
Although I do agree with you to some extent craig - pharma companies are interested in profits, and realistically profits exist in management.
Similar to energy companies - energy companies don't want to research renewable energy because it cuts into potential profits; of course, one could argue that they should corner the market in order to exploit profits and not get stuck trying to play catch-up later.
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