Capitalism prevents medical breakthroughs. In an economy where the sick and disabled are the easiest people to exploit, it’s no surprise. If you have a severe medical condition that forces you to pay for medications, medical devices or mobility aids, the companies that make them can price gouge you, leaving you to choose between paying absurd amounts of money and dying.
The profitability of medical corporations is responsible for the lack of cures for many common health issues like diabetes and cancer.
I am a type one diabetic, and ever since I was diagnosed in 2009, I keep hearing, “There’s a cure coming in 10 years.” That was nine years ago, and there is still no sign of a magical cure for me.
There have been great technological advances, such as the continuous glucose monitor and “smart pump,” but they are still not as good as having a functioning pancreas, living without worry and not being attached to medical devices 24/7.
We are kept sick enough to depend on the companies that manufacture our medications and devices, and they keep us alive long enough that we can keep being exploited.
If there were cures for chronic diseases that last a lifetime, the pharmaceutical and biotech industry would be in big trouble.
In any system where medicine is not something that can be exploited so easily, there would be far more scientific advances.
In April 2017, Goldman Sachs analysts reported that one-time cures were not profitable and posed the question, “Is curing patients a sustainable business model?”
The example provided was Gilead Sciences, which produces a cure for hepatitis C that is over 90 percent successful. Their sales peaked in 2015 at $12.5 billion and, as more people were cured, they only made $4 billion a year.
The report also noted that focusing on treatments for things like common cancers or chronic illnesses were the best ways for biotech companies to make money.
It is true that cures are less profitable than treatments, but think of the implications of this statement.
Plain and simple, it’s better for companies to fund research into treatments that will keep the patient alive and healthy the longest.
However, why would they want to research cures? A cure would only mean a surge of income for a year or two and then drastic drops in income once there were fewer people to cure.
It is absolutely disgusting that someone’s life and well-being can be exploited simply because the rich want to grow richer.
To prevent this, we need measures like heavy regulation for pharmaceutical and biotech companies, universal health care and laws regulating that necessities like medications are not sold for higher prices than what it costs to make them.
If we treated health care this way, there would be fewer roadblocks to finding cures for chronic illness and diseases.