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Medicine from Snakes

Snakes Are Never To Be Trusted, Especially Not With Issues Concerning Health

For more than a century, the caduceus – the proverbial winged rod with two snakes twined around it has been the most common symbol for medical stuff in the United States. While the emblem might be well-intentioned, it is based on a shaky knowledge of Greek mythology.

The more obvious symbol for medicine, also used today but not nearly as much, is the rod of Asclepius – a staff with one snake twinned around it.

See, Asclepius was the demigod of medicine. On the contrary, the caduceus was Hermes’ emblem, the god of commerce and trade – not to forget thieves, swindlers, and gamblers.

If there’s a shred of irony here, it’s a sad one, given that the joke would be on the American people.

But, if we gather the facts, you realize that using the caduceus, the embodiment of commerce and traders is quite spot-on.

Well, taking the symbolism a notch higher to link all pharmaceutical executives with the snakes – or with the thieves, swindlers and gamblers would be too harsh. However, if you follow through with the image of intertwining – the comingling of lobbying, political contributions, doctors, healthcare policy, and compliant politicians, the hidden realities portray a different picture and provide a more in-depth insight into what the pharmaceutical industry is all about.

The manufacturing and sale of pharmaceuticals is a massive industry, under strict government regulation. Yet, the degree to which it has risen above its snake oil roots is contentious. This sector of the Medical edifice employs close to 1,100 proficient lobbyists – more than two for every member of Congress.

Price remains the most significant barrier to equal access to medication, and the issue of price gouging has never been more real. Often, it’s a matter of life and death – even with century-old medications like insulin.

Boasting 20 years of patent protection and five to seven years of exclusivity, the only thing determining the price of new drugs is the market’s ability to handle the product. Moreover, the law forbids the federal government from negotiating drug prices on behalf of pension schemes, Medicare, or Medicaid. Even worse, foreign companies are not allowed to import drugs.

That’s why we’ll keep seeing cases of pharmaceutical companies buying drug patents and hiking their prices dramatically.

Americans with diabetes pay more than any other citizen globally, spending an average of $571.69 monthly on diabetes treatment. Even with insurance, it’s not far from it that some Americans spend more than 50% of their income managing this condition. Sadly, there are documented accounts of people with diabetes setting up GoFundMe campaigns to raise money for insulin, then dying for lacking sufficient funds.

The most unnerving aspect of all this is when drug manufacturers use the phrase ‘value-based pricing.’ In other words, it’s okay to charge an arm and leg as these drugs will save your life – Want to stay alive? You’ve got to pay the price.

In another sorry attempt to justify themselves, pharmaceutical companies attribute their exorbitant prices to expensive research and costly research and development to develop every new formula. But seriously? These companies record annual profit margins of up to 40% and exert significant lobbying efforts to prevent price regulations.

Soon enough, you realize that the Medical Industrial Complex is concerned with the pharmaceutical industry’s health, not the health of all Americans.

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