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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

So, Why is it so?

In my last post I stated that here in Australia we like to conduct "redo" not "research".  If you didn't read it I suggest you do by clicking this link.  The question remains why we do this?  In case you are expecting me to give you reasons why it all makes sense that we do it this way, I apologise.  These are not reasons that work for the greater good or are in the best interests of patients or the community at large.  They either serve a minority or make no sense.  I have four reasons:-
  • First is a reason my friend and reader of my blog, aminfla, alluded to in a comment on my last post.  Big pharma.  Big pharmaceutical companies like one kind of research and one kind only. The research that leads to them making a profit.  The latest and greatest wonder drug that they can pedal to the masses for millions.  Don't get me wrong some of these drugs that have been developed over the years have changed the face of modern medicine.  But sadly, when research is available that has the potential to do the opposite to their bottom line it is seen as a threat.  So they protect their interest by pushing their own research on specific charities that specialise in funding medical research (which is quite successful as they donate quite heavily to these charities) or finding ways to discredit the other research.  Is it illegal?  I don't know, you'll have to ask a lawyer.  Is it unethical?  Absolutely.  I'm not saying that these companies should fall on their sword and support the other research, but they should certainly not actively try to hinder it.
  • Politics.  Research is about knowledge, expanding our understanding and making new discoveries.  Politics should be about the successful running of a country or state but it's not.  Politics is about winning.  Therefore, whoever is the current government they don't want research, they want wins and unfortunately research involves a lot of failure or from a political perspective, losses.  As Thomas Edison said, "I haven't failed, I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work".  Politicians don't want to fund the 10,000 ways, they just want the victory, the one and in order to make sure that happens they just fund redo.  However, being politicians they do not admit to this.  No that would be political suicide.  Instead they point to my third reason...
  • Thalidomide.  Most of us have heard of this drug.  If you haven't, here is a quick recap.  Thalidomide was developed in West Germany for a variety of conditions and was also deemed to be a safe drug in the treatment of morning sickness.  It was then marketed in a varieties of other countries without receiving proper scrutiny.  Only after that all happened it was realised that the drug caused severe deformities in the unborn babies.  Since then strict regimens have been in place for all research done outside Australia.  Now, I do understand that this was a horrible tragedy.  Many babies died before they even had a chance at life and those that lived had to live with severe disability.  BUT, should that mean we have to redo every single piece of overseas research?  I don't think so.  Firstly, the mistake that was made in West Germany could have been made anywhere.  Germany is actually quite strict, rational and regimented about its medical research (disclaimer: I have no idea what it was like back in the 1950's and 60's) and it is somewhat arrogant to think that we as Australians (or any other nation) are incapable of making the same mistake.  We are.  After all, money hungry pharmaceutical companies that like the idea of fast tracking their chemicals to market reside in every corner of the globe.  Lastly, there has to be better ways of safeguarding people against such problems, but more of that later.
  • Lastly, the medical fraternity.  Have you ever been treated by a doctor that displayed some degree of arrogance?  There are plenty of them out there and many of them are simply too arrogant to admit they are wrong.  Doctors can formulate an opinion based on little evidence and once that has happened it is almost impossible to convince them otherwise.  Or maybe they are told that the best solution lies in a different field of medicine and they are 'no longer requires'.  Ego kicks in and hey presto!  They suddenly don't like the new idea.  There are plenty of examples.
Anyway, they are the reasons I have come up with.  If you have any more I'd be happy to hear them.  Especially if you disagree and believe you have that "all makes sense" reason.  I'd love to hear it.  Until next time, stay well:)

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