Pharmaceutical companies should be doing whatever they can to research and produce drugs that fight and cure medical problems. Unfortunately, the primary goal of pharmaceutical companies is generally something else entirely: to make as much money as possible. And as we tend to find, helping people and making money aren’t often complementary goals.
The major pharmaceutical companies have a great deal of power in the modern world of medicine. In fact, because they control the drugs that doctors prescribe and patients use, they are behind the scenes, pulling the strings. We’d like to think that these drug companies will always put the patients’ best interests first, and that’s certainly what the drug companies want us to think. However, there’s a lot that the pharmaceutical companies don’t want you to know.
Clinical Research and Trials are Often Misleading or Biased
Before any drug can be available to the public, it has to go through rigorous research and testing. After significant research, clinical trials will test the drug on real people. Scientific studies are supposed to be fair and unbiased, with clinical trials of pharmaceuticals, that’s not always the case. Oftentimes, the drug companies are the ones who are funding the research and hiring the scientists and doctors who perform the studies. Rather than have an unbiased third party running the trials, the people in charge have a financial interest in the results of the study.
Because of this, clinical trials are often designed to give the new drug a competitive edge, and there are financial incentives for the people involved when the studies go well. For example, a higher dose of a new drug might be compared with a lower dose of an older drug in order to exaggerate the differences in results.
Dangerous Side Effects are Often Downplayed or Ignored
Also in clinical trials, participants might not be fully informed of the potential risks of the new drug they’ll be taking. In order to get a new drug to market as quickly as possible, researchers might rush to test drugs on humans without fully exploring or disclosing the risks and side effects of it.
When drug companies market their new drugs to doctors, they often hide or downplay any research that suggests any negative consequences. While it’s a scary thought, it’s true that your doctor might be unaware of potential dangerous side effects of the drug they’re prescribing to you, or they might not know how serious the side effects really are - not because they don’t bother to find out, but because the pharmaceutical companies don’t share the information.
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Herbal Medicines Can Be Very Effective Alternatives
Herbal medicines have been used for thousands of years, and there is a great deal of information on the effectiveness of many different types of plants. The pharmaceutical companies are well aware of the research that indicates the effectiveness of herbal medicines, but they don’t embrace these alternatives because they aren’t profitable.
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Instead of using plants as natural medications, the drug companies try to figure out how to isolate the active ingredients of these herbs and turn them into synthetic medications that they can produce and sell for a tremendously greater profit. The pharmaceutical companies would prefer that you think of herbal medications as bunk science or potentially dangerous so that they can continue to sell you the synthetic medications they create.
These are just three of the biggest secrets the pharmaceutical companies are keeping from us. They’re unlikely to lose their power over the medical field anytime soon, so it’s important to keep an open mind. While the drug companies do produce many medications that improve and save lives, remember to have a healthy skepticism and learn as much as you can about the health decisions you make for yourself.