Thoughts On Pharmacology and The Search For A Cure

Cash

In the ten years since I was diagnosed, I have tried eight different medications to manage my symptoms and progression, and never gave much it much thought or questioned my choices until the last few weeks. What changed? I’ve noticed a number of posts from various bloggers about their experiences with the drugs they take for MS and other chronic conditions, and two truths have become painfully obvious.

The first is that pharmaceuticals are the primary, and in some cases, the only option provided to us. The second is that trying these drugs is similar to purchasing a lottery ticket, in the hope of hitting the jackpot, only to be left with a hangover.

I’m not anti-drug, just anti Big-Pharma. After all, doesn’t it seem ludicrous that the entire idea of legalizing marijuana, medical or otherwise, still meets a ton of resistance as it’s labeled as a gateway drug, yet scripts of opiates are dispensed like candy, creating an addictive culture that turns to heroin when the supply is cut off, and the outrage is muted? Don’t get me started.

As I was saying, I’m not anti-drug, and there have been a handful that have helped me, but let’s be honest. Even with the drugs the FDA has approved, we’re still participating in a never-ending clinical trial, serving as lab rats or human petri dishes for Big-Pharma and the medical community in general.

Is that a harsh assessment? Maybe, but we willingly take stuff we know may not do a damn thing, and make us feel like shit in the process, but don’t think twice if that occurs, and gladly move onto the next option. Maybe that option will be better, but if not we keep trying other things until we find something that works even a little. After all, what’s the alternative?

I know that the stuff that I’ve been putting into my body all these years isn’t healthy. The chemo I took for over eight years isn’t good for the liver, and necessitated monthly blood tests to ensure my liver enzymes weren’t all fucked up. I know Ocrevus isn’t much better. So yes, I do think about what the long term health consequences of what I’m doing might be, but that does not get in the way of continuing the path I am on or trying something new. It’s a safe bet I’m not the only person who feels this way.

That may sound desperate to someone not living this life, and I know holistic options exist, diet for one, that might be worth pursuing. But I’m brainwashed like everyone else in thinking that pharmacology is the best option. Either that or I’m following the gospel of my neurologist without reservations. I trust him and think, perhaps foolishly, that if the drugs were doing more harm than good he’d tell me.

Having said that, I believe that pharmacology is not going to provide the ultimate solution if a “cure” is ever discovered. I’m of the opinion that if a cure is out there, stem cells will provide the key. After all, if you’re going to try to regenerate myelin, I doubt a pill is going to do it. Doesn’t it make  sense that something organic will create something new and better? Be that as it may, I’m not holding my breath hoping that a cure will either be found in my lifetime, or happen before I’m primed for the Dirt Nap.

As far as brain lesions are concerned, I don’t think they will ever crack that nut. That organ is the final frontier in the medical community, and we are light years away from truly understanding how to treat it.

I suspect all of us ultimately reach a point where we’ll get off the medical treadmill of procedures, injections, infusions, and pills. I know the day will come where I’ll jump off and focus on rest, diet and more holistic approaches. But I will first have to conclude the results no longer justify the effort, and am tired of going to hospitals, tired of getting poked, prodded and stuck, and tired of the expense.

Reading the posts I mentioned also made me reflect on the economics surrounding finding a cure for anything. More specifically, there are millions being poured into research through grants and donations to find the elusive cure for various chronic and deadly diseases, cancer and MS to name two,  but don’t you sometimes think it isn’t in a lot of people’s best interest to actually find one?

If Big Pharma found the answer, which I doubt will happen but let’s stay on that thread, then that premise doesn’t ring true. I mean, can you imagine what they would charge for the magic pill or shot that prevents cancer or cures MS? They could name their price and nobody would flinch.

But what if, as I believe, the answers do not lie with pharmacology. What would happen to the big organizations that champion the chase for a cure? How much would they lose in funding and donations?

My intent is not to imply that those who run these groups are only in it for the money, but let’s be realistic. Isn’t it in their best financial interests to keep chasing that cure than to actually discover one? After all, a significant percentage of revenue goes to overhead for some of these organizations. What happens if the money runs out or the flow is reduced to a trickle? Maybe I’m in a cynical mood tonight. I’d like to think it wouldn’t matter, but isn’t that naive?

It’s an interesting discussion, but probably pointless. After all, the medical community would actually have to find something that works, and in the immortal words of the neurologist I saw at Johns Hopkins during the early stages of my MS journey, when has medicine cured anything?

 

Author: Steve Markesich

I am loving husband, a doting father, a Red Sox fanatic, an aspiring novelist and MS advocate

23 thoughts on “Thoughts On Pharmacology and The Search For A Cure”

  1. Amazing post with SO much truth! I am with you 120%, I am anti Big-Pharma! The drugs companies are SO greedy and have not one decent bone in their bodies. All the drugs that are approved for MS are SO expensive and who knows if they are really helping. I have been on some type of drug for almost 18 years, it was not continuous because of my stubborn personality wanting to question everything and then being difficult by refusing to take anything. I personally think medical Mariana would be a smart and helpful thing to those in need. They prescribe addictive pain medications without too much thought. Although now there is talk about ending that, but we will see. I think there is too much money in it for them to stop with the addictive medications. More than 1/2 of the states have come to their senses by legalizing it, but too many others refuse. I think the states in the south where I live will be among the last to every do anything that makes any sense at all!
    Thank you Steve for this fantastic post!!! I hope you and your incredible wife have an incredible weekend. Hopefully you will not have the entire weekend be filled with rain like I am going to have!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. > Isn’t it in their best financial interests to keep chasing that cure than to actually discover one?

    Win/Lose, Lose/Win. That describes the system that is best served by a social solution.

    If pharmacorp wins: they keep making drugs for sicker and sicker people — society loses.
    If society winds: pharamcorp creates a cureall drug — pharmacorp loses (and dies).

    When faced with a win/lose – lose/win situation the ONLY solution is a societal one (read government).

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Steve, another head scratcher… what makes the most sense vs. what is the moral thing to do? Money vs. best interest of the patients. Well, this is America! Capitalism is the name of our game.

    Have you ever participated in any clinical trials? I ask because I am in somewhat of a ‘partnership’ with a company called Antidote. (I make no money, just believe in the company.) All they do is match you with medical clinical trials in your area. You can accept or decline participation if you are matched to a trial. I have a Clinical Trial Match (box) on my blog in the side widget section. I think you should sign up. I am waiting for an RLS trial and a cannabis trial… So far I have turned down one trial, but am still waiting for more matches in my area. Just a thought…

    Unrelated question. I read awhile back you were working with Kaiser. They want to stock my book in one of their bookstores and I have been waiting for a contact person to call me from the bookstore in (Redding? now I cannot remember the name of the store in CA, I have it written down somewhere.) Are you still in touch with anyone at Kaiser?

    See, look at me trying to capitalize on a possible resource you may or may not have access to! HAHAHA… will it ever end??? Whew… Great post as always, Steve. ~Kim

    Liked by 3 people

    1. First on Kaiser, I never have worked for them. Sorry, but I will look into the name of the bookstore to see if I can get a name for u.
      Regarding clinical trials, I’m not sure if they would benefit me. I still work full time and don’t live with a lot of pain. The only thing that keeps getting worse is my mobility. But I will check out the link you mentioned because I am curious. Thanks for pointing it out

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I understand and agree with where you are coming from both in the big pharmaceutical aspect and the “loss” of funding in the industry if a cure is found. I’ve said it 100 times for something as simple as weight loss. A billion dollar industry and for that I do believe there is a simple pill.
    I also agree with the pharmaceutical connection they don’t always do the right thing it’s about money. Rituxan has been on the market for close to 15 years. The patent is running out. It was already shown to show improvement in MS. However because of the lack of the patent, they turned around and made this a drug called Orocovi I also agree with the pharmaceutical connection they don’t always do the right thing it’s about money. Rituxan has been on the market for close to 15 years. The patent is running out. It was already shown to show improvement in MS. However because of the lack of the patent, they turned around and made this a drug called or Ocrevus with minor changes like a chemical-based antibody to human based antibody Went through the trials for MS got FDA approval change the price tag and Walla. Doesn’t sound like they were looking out for the patient does it? However, I was vegan for over year and now I follow a plant-based diet except I eat fish now. Our use therapeutic grade oil’s take therapeutic grade vitamins, I still need to take Parker thi doesn’t sound like they were looking out for the patient does it? However, I was vegan for over year and now I follow a plant-based diet except I eat fish now. Our use therapeutic grade oil‘s take therapeutic grade vitamins, I still need to take Ocrevus. I WILL have an MS relapse without the drugs. It is the lack of the drugs in 2014 for two months that caused the attack that disabled me. So I ask, what choice do we have but stay the rats in the science project?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. We don’t have a lot of choice, which is why we do what we do and keep searching for something that works. I made the mistake of stopping certain meds and treatments early on because I didn’t see any improvement. Things went to hell on certain occasions, which taught me that it was helping maintain my status quo. That is about the best I can hope for these days.

      Thanks for reading

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you Steve, for another honest and insightful post. It is so distressing to live in a place where we and our health are the commodities, and I can’t help but feel as if, in most cases, the patients, the people, really don’t matter at all. It is all about money. Of course, there are doctors and researchers who care and are honestly looking for and striving to find cures for so many diseases, but they seem few and far between. It is incredibly disheartening.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. You’re making a good point, Steve. I am so anti-Pharma too. I recently put them in a poem, to express my disgust.
    I was struggling once and it was a damn roller-coaster and trying out new drugs a killer. When a doctor in Germany presented me with all the cons of yet another medicine, I kindly asked for pros, to which her replied that was an experimental drug so he couldn’t tell. But, then, what do I have to lose?! For starters, just my life. It was easy for him. It wasn’t his.

    Excellent post.

    P.S. Always try alternative medicine. You really can’t lose anything there.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Another fantastic entry, Steve. We are victims here, in America, of the big con. You spelled it out nicely. What is best for all of us doesn’t matter; the only master is greed. It wasn’t hard to predict the ultimate outcome of unhindered capitalism. Now, the ultra-elite companies and people have to protect their cherished investments and grow their net worth, on the lives of the common people. And to think that at least a quarter of the common folk will do anything they can to help them with their greed, though they get nothing palpable in return for that. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  8. great post! my husband is an ancient Chinese medicine acupuncturist and we constantly discuss these issues (he treats people with MS, Parkinson’s) and the big pharm slash insurance problems..the government needs and requires us to maintain our sickness in a world infused with power and greed making harder for DR to be true healers instead of pill pushers in business of corruption..

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Our health is a commodity in a trading culture of money..they have people by the balls with established fear in the western practice of medicine.. so sad! Thankfully my husband was able to build a successful practice without the need for insurance because slowly people are wanting an out to a maze of health care problems with a light at the end of the tunnel.. best of healing to you! ❤️👍🌈

    Liked by 1 person

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