A friend shared a blog post with me the other day. It was brilliant, so I’m linking to the post below (I couldn’t find a WordPress share button).
“Big Pharma” & Privilege: Or Why I Wish Allies Would Stop Using This Phrase” by Camilla Laurentine.
Luckily in the UK we aren’t quite as conspiracy-theory driven as our friends over the pond (well, apart from when Princess Diana died!) and if I’m honest we find some of the rhetoric about drugs over there a bit crazy. I’m with Camilla, the blog post author, on the whole “big pharma” thing. Drugs have kept my Mum alive for the past 4 years. They keep my lovely little dog (almost) pain free. I would personally give my left arm to be able to take proper antacids, painkillers and muscle relaxants, let alone anti-inflammatories, anti-histamines and migraine preventatives. I face an osteoporosis riddled old age as I can’t tolerate HRT.
My ME went from bearable to I-wouldn’t-put-my-worst-enemy-through-this-nightmare awful after having a holiday vaccination, but it doesn’t make me anti-vaccine. Vaccines have rid the world of smallpox and almost eradicated german measles, polio, diptheria, tetanus and a range of other killer diseases. I had the german measles vaccine as a kid, yet still got german measles. Obviously it was a very potent strain that year and without some protection from the vaccination I was told it would have been so bad I might have died. Girls in the UK are now being vaccinated against HPV which reduces their chance of getting cervical cancer in the future to almost nil.
I’m sure both drugs and vaccines could be made safer, but let’s not chuck the baby out with the bathwater. We lived for millennia on herbs and ‘natural’ medicine and it was for the most part ineffective and killed people – there’s a reason drugs were needed and invented.
Again in the UK we’re lucky enough not to regularly face the ridiculous opinion that all physical ailments are caused by unrepressed emotions. Genetic diseases are determined in the womb, and airborn viruses don’t care how you’re feeling when you breathe them in. I find this whole notion so ludicrous I can’t even put it into words so thankfully someone as eloquent as Camilla has done it for me.
I watched an episode of ‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ this week where the girls were nearly all agreeing that the cause of Yolanda Foster’s illness must obviously be her unhappy marriage and that now she’s getting divorced she’ll recover. Are they out of their tiny minds?! She was happily married when she succumbed to Lyme Disease – it was the resulting ill-health from Lyme which caused her marriage to disintegrate, as it does for many relationships, not the other bloody way round. I find it incredible this group of supposedly intelligent women can’t just accept she was infected by Lyme and there is no effective treatment – it’s that simple.
It seems to me we, in the West, are just spoiled. We think nothing bad should ever happen to us or, should it happen, it should damn well be fixable. We simply can’t accept that shit happens, it can happen to anyone and it’s no-one’s fault.