Who Should Develop New Medicines?

lunamoth

Episcopalian
Messages
3,915
Reaction score
2
Points
0
Location
Wild, Wild West
Reading the Swine Flu thread this question popped into my mind.

The big Pharm companies spend a lot of money on advertising and lobbying, and get protection from competition for new drug production (generics) once a new medicine is launched.

Medicines are very expensive to buy, but they are also incredibly expensive to develop. The research and development stage for new drugs is astronomically expensive, and (often) once the drug is proven it is pretty inexpensive to produce and distribute. At least part of the cost of drugs is justified by the huge up-front cost of development.

Also, who takes on the risk of new drugs? Even with extensive testing, there is always potential for adverse side-effects or reactions in some individuals, or under varying conditions of drug use. I think we want to take on the expense of extensive clinical trials to guard against this, but still there will be deaths and law-suites to be dealt with.

Do we want to stop developing new drugs and medicines?

Do we leave this kind of research to competing private companies?

Do we turn it over to government-funded research and development (which would start to cost tax-payers a LOT more money in taxes)?

Just curious what you all think.

luna
 
Do we leave this kind of research to competing private companies?

Keep it in private hands, but return the FDA to the regulatory agency it was intended to be before it became toothless and ineffective.
 
Here is a herbal supplement that has been recommended to me for my fibromyalgia and inflammatory arthritis: New Chapter's Zyflamend.

Zyflamend by New Chapter is a unique blend of herbal supplements that have been researched and proven to work together for outstanding, anti-inflammatory purposes. It is a natural and effective treatment option to help regulate the body’s inflammatory pathways. Numerous studies have been performed to show that Zyflamend acts as a COX inhibitor and plays a valuable role in cancer treatment. It has also shown to help reduce inflammation and pain associated with arthritis and sports injuries. Zyflamend can increase energy levels throughout the day as well.

For more see: Zyflamend Benefits, Treatments & Side Effects

Of course, healthcare insurance doesn't cover the cost so a person has to have some extra money to pay for it and a box on the bottle says that none of the claims made by New Chapter have been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. So I take this herbal combination on faith that it works by inhibiting COX-1 and COX-2, which cause inflammatory response. The prevention of COX-1 and COX-2 releasing in the body has been very successful in reducing inflammation and pain associated several physical conditions such as arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and more.

This is the case with most of the alternative herbal treatments since they are not regulated, we don't know if they are effective or not. Should the FDA be involved with protecting consumers or is it my responsibility to take these products knowing that they may just be "snake oil" (and a waste of our hard earned cash)?

A friend of mine spent $20,000 one year on alternative treatments for her many health concerns and she is still quite ill (in fact her liver has been permanently damaged from these herbal supplements) . When a person suffers from a chronic pain condition, they become a prime target for all kinds of herbal rememdies that cost a fortune.
 
The reason New Chapter's Zyflamend hasn't been reviewed by the FDA is because New Chapter's Zyflamend hasn't paid for the double blind studies. If New Chapter's Zyflamend wants to hold their patent and make their profits they need to do their own tests.

Now I'm of the opinion that if some pharmaeceutical or farmaceutical company has some product they want tp test they should have to not only go against the placebo but some natural open market product (like melatonin, tryptophan, vit c, etc) that is purported to have similar effects.
 
New Chapter makes some very good products.
I would recommend them (if I was legally allowed to).

I caution everyone concerning any herbal products:
1-research thoroughly, and then research some more;
2- consult with herbal therapists who have studied professionally;
3- everyone is different, so what works for 1 may not work for another
(this is an area which needs far more study on a professional level)
(I have read about the blood types being a factor here, there is a book called eat for your type, or something like that which one could look into.)
4- a blood analysis will reveal what you are deficient in and what you have too much of (as will hair and urine analysis).
5- don't mix too many different herbs at the same time as they have a synergistic effect which may not be what you are looking for.
6-most vitamins are not very useful as they are elemental and therefore not "bioavailable" (meaning you will just p1ss them out, or they will gum up your inner workings with kidney stones, etc).
7-physician heal thyself, so don't be lazy and dependent on someone else to figure out what is wrong with you, put some brain cells into it and figure things out for yourself.
 
Shawn, I'm hesitant to throw cold water on our love affair, especially since I'm all warm and tingly in the afterglow of its first bloom.

But whether we're talking about herbs or homeopathy, conventional remedies or unconventional, we need to make sure that they are proven to be more than mere placebos.

Snake oil sells for a reason. People, in desperation, will try anything to find relief. This is why I called for the re-implantation of teeth in the FDA. We need more testing, not only for medicines produced by big pharma, but all medicines, including herbs and alternatives.

If you can't prove it is medicinal, you shouldn't be able to sell it as medicine.
 
I am all for efficacy.

I am not a fan of snake oil (having invested a small fortune into such potions and nostrums already).
I must add that most herbal things work due to their providing missing nutrients, elements and vitamins, etc, to people who are missing these things.
They work on a different principle from medicine in the allopathic model as they are preventative and strengthening as opposed to curatives, for the most part.
So don't take any oily nickels.
 
I don't know how much help it is, but I have a condition that has been linked to fibromyalgia in many patients and in my case, I found it was environmental toxins that cause the chronic pain. When I eliminated all pesticides, food dyes, preservatives, etc. from my food (basically, cook organic from scratch) and, as much as possible, eliminated non-natural household cleansers, detergents, paints, laquers, dyes, etc. from my environment... my pain got much better. I rarely have acute episodes now. Another person I know had severe migraines (so bad he was tested for a tumor) and it ended up that he was allergic to white flour and white sugar. Just a thought. You might try eliminating certain things if you've never tried it before rather than adding things.

I'm pro-natural medicine as much as possible, but sometimes people forget that herbal stuff not only may or may not work, but like Shawn warns, can actually mess you up worse if it's the wrong thing for you or if you're mixing herbal stuff. This is why a good natural medicine doctor can help. But I tend to think many of our problems are related to nutrition, stress, and exercise. Not all, but many. The human body was built to be a hunter-gatherer, and we're a long way off from that evolutionary design. I find that if I do my best to exercise and eat the way a forager does, my stress levels decrease and I get healthier and happier.

As for the question- we can't do this government-funded. There isn't enough money. But I wonder how it is working oversees? Because in many places (England comes to mind), from what I understand drug prescriptions are somehow cheap. Is the government funding the private industry or ??? How much of the slack of pharma development could be taken up by universities, and then funnel the funds into education rather than business? And I wonder how mega-non-profits such as the Gates Foundation will affect this. A while back, they more or less said they have more money than the pharma industry and draw in better talent in their scientists... and they said if pharma won't work with them to provide drugs more cheaply to the people who need them, they will simply eventually out compete the pharma industry. It's an interesting thought, if the megarich continue the trend of mega-philanthropy.
 
I have friends who come from Europe to the states to buy VITAMINS!!

Because their health care systems foist drugs on them willy nilly. yikes.
 
I'm pro-natural medicine as much as possible, but sometimes people forget that herbal stuff not only may or may not work, but like Shawn warns, can actually mess you up worse if it's the wrong thing for you or if you're mixing herbal stuff. This is why a good natural medicine doctor can help. But I tend to think many of our problems are related to nutrition, stress, and exercise. Not all, but many. The human body was built to be a hunter-gatherer, and we're a long way off from that evolutionary design. I find that if I do my best to exercise and eat the way a forager does, my stress levels decrease and I get healthier and happier.

Good points Kim.

I usually do not trust herbal remedies and especially homeopathic treatments. It seems to me that if there was anything to them, a scientific approach would be able to detect it. However, I know people who are closer to traditional medicines, having grown up in native american or chinese cultures, and they frequently turn to traditional cures (including a number of scientists I worked with). I think that if it was something I had grown up using, my personal expererience would help me trust them.

However, the remedies and viatmins people buy at Vitamin Cottage to cure all kinds of things do not convince me. At best a waste of money and time (when other meds would work), at worst dangerous because of the lack of quality controls/dosage/side effects.

So, what do others think about the efficacy and safety of non-traditional cures? Why can't science describe the benefits if they are real?

What about chiropractors? I would never go to one...have heard horror stories about them.

What about acupuncture? Does it really help?

Does anyone here use homeopathic therapy? Isn't it just pseudo-science? If it really is beneficial, are there studies to show this, and what principles are at work?
 
But whether we're talking about herbs or homeopathy, conventional remedies or unconventional, we need to make sure that they are proven to be more than mere placebos.

Absolutely! I myself am a strong supporter of prescription strength placebos versus the over-the-counter variety.:D
 
I usually do not trust herbal remedies and especially homeopathic treatments. It seems to me that if there was anything to them, a scientific approach would be able to detect it.

However, the remedies and viatmins people buy at Vitamin Cottage to cure all kinds of things do not convince me. At best a waste of money and time (when other meds would work), at worst dangerous because of the lack of quality controls/dosage/side effects.

So, what do others think about the efficacy and safety of non-traditional cures? Why can't science describe the benefits if they are real?

What about chiropractors? I would never go to one...have heard horror stories about them.

What about acupuncture? Does it really help?

Does anyone here use homeopathic therapy? Isn't it just pseudo-science? If it really is beneficial, are there studies to show this, and what principles are at work?
The problem with herbs and vitamins is that they can't be patented (formulations can but the natural product can't) So whoever does the study spends the money and benefits everyone.

For full disclosure I've been getting a checks from an herb company or vitamin company for almost 20 years...so I may be biased.

As to homeopathy I've been to some classes, know some homeopaths, and while I question it, there are some formulas that I've found valuable over the years...placebo, I don't know. But frankly I don't care...as long as relief is achieved I'm happy. Its use is sort of similar to vaccines...give your body a super minute amount in a way that your body thinks a lot more is coming and your own system goes to work to counter the issue. (overly simplified)

Chiropractor...I've been in three construction accidents, 4 roll overs, and more regular auto accidents than I have fingers and toes... Chiropractor vs. physical therapist...Chiropractor wins for me (make sure you get one that does x-rays) that being said, I use a chi machine now, it shakes your spine like one does to the pens on a chain at the bank...haven't had my back cracked for over four years...

Accupuncture...I know a number of them, I've had them twist the needle and feel instant euphoria, instant relief from pain, instant electro-reaction down the meridians or at the other end...there is plenty to it.

For the most part alternative therapists and allopathic physicians have one big failing....go to a surgeon you need surgery, go to an acupunturist you need needles, go to a chiropractor your back needs cracking...this is changing but albeit so slowly.

Vitamins and herbs there are some significant double blind studies that have shown efficacy, not for all but for many. The company I am with currently has an anti-inflamation/pain product whose main ingredient has tons of studies from around the world and their compound is currently in a university study and a Mayo clinic study.

But I've seen kinesiology (muscle testing) iridology, reflexology, tongue evaluations...all quite interesting...and stuff I used to deny I know rely.
 
Most drugs, except for anti-microbials and supplements to treat deficiency symptoms, manage symptoms, rather than offer a cure. There is more money in treating symptoms over a long period, rather than offering a one-time cure. Therefore, pharmaceuticals are financially motivated to treat symptoms, not offer a cure. Who would be financially motivated to develop cures? The medical insurance companies, for one...employers who want their employees to remain productive, for another, and governments, who can then collect taxes from healthy, productive citizens, for three...

Focus on developing cures, rather than treating symptoms, and you'll reduce costs.
 
Ah yes get to the root problem....interesting note. As to the efficacy of vitamins. A friend has colon cancer, underwent radiation and chemotherapy. Was told to quit taking all his vitamins and antioxidants as they would assist cancer cells as well as the good cells and hinder the drugs from killing them.... it was suggested he return to using them as soon as the chemo was done...

Interesting what is being discussed at Oncology tables evidently.
 
[youtube]Wm3KqG71mbw&feature[/youtube]

Something of a side issue regarding the debate on health care in America...

Congratulations Glenn Beck. You are the biggest [fill in the blank here] in the world.

Would anybody in Britiain or Canada care to describe how the elderly in your country are being put to an early and involuntary death as Beck would have us believe?
 
I live in Canada and my late grandfathers (both of the) last years were IMO diminished greatly in quality and length due to the kind of medical care they received.
"Well, we are not sure exactly what is wrong here so let's try this and then let's try that."
The volume of meds, and other meds to counteract the effects of the first kinds of meds and so on.
Their savings dwindled and they required financial help from the children as medicare would only cover certain things and only a certain amount.
Both of them died with little in the way of clarity of thought.
(So I suppose I do have a bit of an axe to grind)

I think our socialized medicine program is in some ways good, but in many other ways, very bad.
Some therapies (which have promise), you cannot receive in this country as the "medical authorities" deem them as unacceptable (good results and healed patients notwithstanding) so even if you paid for them yourself they are not allowed. So people go to Mexico and come back poorer in cash but healthy again.

Soon, the option to self-medicate will be "verboten", if certain pending legislation is passed (and that looks likely).
So we lose our freedom to choose in this arena and hand it over to professionals who often do not have your interests in mind at all.

Can you trust your doctor?
Some are, without doubt, very ethical and conscientious people, but they are not all, and how do you discern?
 
there is a wealth of safety data concerning most homeopathic and herbal medicines. Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom, America, Japan. Everybody's at it. Not silly old women in dark storerooms with cauldrons- we're talking good hard science.

We're not talking anecdotal evidence; "Aunty Mary says this is good for piles", we're talking rigorous clinical trials. I have a great list of decent herbal sites in my cupboard- I will dig it out over the next couple of days and I will give you a link.

Now, the summum bonnum of clinical trials is... type 1- human, double blind, random, one group of random patients gets a placebo, the other the real stuff, etc... now, there isn't a lot of that- instead, most of it is type 2- tested by humans, yet the people know what they are getting, etc...
and there are also a lot of.. 3, animal (rat) tests, and 4, individual cases, anecdotal from professionals data...

There is lots and lots of information about what works, and who it works for, and who shouldn't take it. If you haven't got the intellectual capacity to do the research then you shouldn't take the herb. If you blindly imbibe some random chemical and you get sick- tough on you. You should have taken responsibility and not be so naive.

Herbal medicine is just as dangerous, potentially, as conventional medicine. Take for instance, St John's Wort. Everyone has heard of it. Well, SJW is AS EFFECTIVE as antidepressants in treating mild to moderate depression. Its a fact. However... it can cause photophobia and liver disease. People with hepatitis, etc, should not use it.

Echinacea, everyone thinks... ooh, I hear that helps colds go quicker and is good for chronic infections, yet... it works by stimulating the production of leucocytes... unfortunately if you have HIV using this herb can increase your viral load and potentially kill you.

One major problem is... the way herbal medicines are regulated. They cannot state on the bottle what this herb is used for, and nor can they give you a list of potential side effects. Most of the time you, the individual, relies on the anecdotal evidence.

This does not happen in conventional medicine. You get patients safety information inside the packet as a matter of course. The same should apply to herbal medicines. Unfortunately, most university research into drugs is funded by the drugs companies, and they do not want you to have an option, herb or drug. They just want you to use the drug. Their drug.

Who should develop new medicines? Nobody. There are millions of drugs and herbs already in existence. That might sound foolish, but...

Look at it another way. Medicine comes into two types- preventative, and symptom-management.

There may be millions of different ailments, but there are really only a few symptoms.

1Pain- we can alleiviate.
2Inflammation- we can reduce.
3too low/too high BP- we can fix.
4Bleeding- we can stem it.
5Broken bits- we fix by sewing and splinting.
6cancer- we cut it out and blast you with drugs/radiation.
7fever- we can reduce.
8infections- we already have drugs to kill most viral/bacterial infections
9parasites/toxins- kill and flush..
10abnormal levels of- various blood components/hormones/neurotransmitters- restabilisation
11psychological issues...

that's it... all the rest is window dressing...

what else is there? Any symptom you have, we can treat. Nobody said anything about cures... for most illnesses and conditions, there are no cures.

The primary causes of early death in the "western world" are...

heart disease, cancer, and obesity...

most early deaths in the western world are not related to anything except... poor lifestyle choices, greed, and poverty... we can't make a medicine to fix those things, they are social problems, untimately, which impact on health. We can't patent a drug to treat stupidity or greed or poverty.

Look at Alli... orlestat (sp?), This anti-obesity drug has been available for years on prescription in the UK. You had to have a BMI over a certain number before they would prescribe. Now it has been liscenced as an OTC preperation, not as strong as the prescription, but still...

a drug that melts away fat...

a drug that makes you poo in your pants, fatty, greasy turds, like the oil slick left behind in a cheap Balti pan... in your pants... on the train... at work... suddenly... the poop will appear, like a small brown urgent river...

it works, yes... but only because when you're on it you give up eating- you're too scared to eat- in case you poo your pants...

not... hey, here's what you need to do... you need to burn more calories daily than you consume... oh no. Instead... sure, eat the pizza and burgers, fatty, by all means, now you can take a pill and well, you might have difficulty removing the skid marks from your pants, and well, you can forget about buying that white leather sofa, but you won't be fat... ! hurrah!

I think that viewing "medicine" and "cures" and "symptom management" as our goals means we've missed a trick. We should be putting our cash, not into making new drugs, as we have plenty, but in genetics.

Looking for cures, not quick-fixes, is the answer. Genetically modified human beings is the way forward. Then , well, technically at least, we could get rid of the need for the majority of drugs.

Instead of sending rockets into space, we should all collectively, globally, put our top scientists on the case. The governments pay for space exploration. Everyone is at it. What a waste of money. Instead, put it into genetics. Let's all be supermen.
 
Back
Top