Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
Sickness sells: It helps pharmaceutical companies profit

Anyone who has enough money and/or insurance does not die in dignity. S/he has to pass through a hospital intensive care unit en route to heaven!

“When I see some of the people who are glorified in magazines these days—who are so thin it's bordering on sickness—I just feel exhausted”—
Katherine Heigl

Every hour in the US the TV adverts for drugs runs around 80 drugs! Many of them who see these do discuss the drug with their doctors as most drugs are advertised as if they are tailor-made for you hypochondriasis. Nearly half of all those that see their doctors get to take the drug, some for the rest of their lives. Sickness sales are the highest in the world today from the commercial point of view. The pharmaceutical companies laugh all their way to their banks!

What is the result? Every symptom, however trivial it might be, gets blown out of proportion. Many of life’s normal physiological processes like menarche, menopause, pregnancy, child birth, sexuality, sorrow, old age maladies and death have all become medicalised today, thanks to the bogey of long life, and at times, immortality that these advertisements propagate. Today anyone who has enough money and/or insurance does not die in dignity. S/he has to, per force; pass through a hospital intensive care unit en route to heaven! Do not get alarmed if I told you that 90% of the hospital profits in the USA come from keeping dying patients in the ICU for the last ten days of their journey through this world! The relatives are told that they have done their best. Relatives are happy that they do not have any guilt feeling of not looking after their near and dear ones.

The screening industry is the richest of them all. The catchment area for the screening industry is the whole population of this world. They have sold the wrong idea that getting screened is the best way to remain healthy. I am told that the Government of India has even given income tax rebate for screening insurance. I am sure there is some screening gate (scam) waiting to be unearthed. One has only to read the educative article on the screening industry by the former celebrated editor of British Medical Journal, Richard Smith, to remain here in good health as long as one is destined to be here. While one is healthy (health is enthusiasm to work and enthusiasm to be compassionate) one should NEVER go for screening.

Do not go to the hospital or doctor to get health? Do not go to the police to get honour. Do not approach the court for getting justice. You will be in for a shock and some trouble. But when you are not well, when you have lost your honour and when injustice is done to you, you have no choice but to go to them. Similarly going for screening when one is healthy could be very, very dangerous. The reason is not far to seek. Medicine is not a hard science. It is a statistical science where averages are equated with normality. We have no definition of NORMAL in medical science. When average is normal where false positives and false negatives are 50%. Now imagine your position when you go for a heart check-up. You will certainly end up on the angiogram table if not on the bypass table!

What is the fall out of all these cacophony? Medical establishment today has become the leading cause of death in the west, especially in the USA followed by cancer and heart attack in that order. Inside the medical establishment adverse drug reactions (ADR) take the cake with 400,000 deaths a year, which keeps mounting by the day as more and more drug advertisements are allowed directly on the popular TV channels. Hospital infections come next due to super bugs in the vicinity. Medical errors, over investigations and over interventions are to follow. 

 We need fresh thinking in this area with a new science of man of non-linearity and CHAOS. That will end the menace of the present screening industry. Let us call that new integrated system as Post Modern Medicine.

 “Three-quarters of the sicknesses of intelligent people come from their intelligence. They need at least a doctor who can understand this sickness”—Marcel Proust

(Professor Dr BM Hegde, a Padma Bhushan awardee in 2010, is an MD, PhD, FRCP (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow & Dublin), FACC and FAMS. He is also Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Science of Healing Outcomes, Chairman of the State Health Society's Expert Committee, Govt of Bihar, Patna. He is former Vice Chancellor of Manipal University at Mangalore and former professor for Cardiology of the Middlesex Hospital Medical School, University of London. Prof Dr Hegde can be contacted at [email protected])



Atul Asthana

5 years ago

You can find equivalent/substitute medicines at http://www.medguideindia.com/ . The site also includes maximum retail prices in Indian market for each of the substitute.

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Trinamool Congress set to formally break ties with UPA on Friday

After Trinamool's withdrawal of support, the UPA government's support in Lok Sabha will come down to 254 from 273 and it will have to heavily dependent on Samajwadi Party and BSP for majority in the House

New Delhi/Kolkata: Trinamool Congress (TC) is all set to break its ties with the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) by withdrawing its ministers and the support tomorrow but the Union government remained unfazed over its stability even as outside ally Mulayam Singh Yadav sent mixed signals, reports PTI.


With the Centre not in a mood to yield to her demands for withdrawing the decisions on diesel, LPG cylinders and FDI, Trinamool Congress Chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said in Kolkata that her party's six ministers will submit their resignation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday.


"We have already taken a collective decision. Our ministers will submit their resignation. Commitment is commitment. We have also sought an appointment with the honourable President tomorrow, if he gives time," she said in an apparent reference to plans to give a letter of withdrawal of support of 19 MPs to the government.


Trinamool has six ministers, including one of Cabinet rank, in the UPA government.


Banerjee said there is no room for negotiations on the issue of FDI in retail and ruled out going to Delhi for any talks with the Congress leadership.


After Trinamool's withdrawal of support, the UPA government's support in Lok Sabha will come down from 273 to 254 and the coalition will be heavily dependent on Samajwadi Party (22) and BSP (21) for its majority in the House.


For a simple majority, government needs the support of at least 273 MPs in a House of 545.


But the government remained unperturbed over any threat to its stability following Trinamool's decision.


"We had enough friends yesterday, we have enough friends today. So, I don't think why you should doubt our stability," Finance Minister P Chidambaram told reporters in Delhi.


Asked whether the government would look for new allies, he said," If we can acquire new friends, why would we not."




5 years ago

Mamata is right in withdrawing support.

From Policy "Paralysis" to a sudden Policy "Delirium" indicates that the "Con-Gandhian" politicians want to make some quick bucks from the stock market. Media people before eulogising the "Indian Caesar's wife" must see through the game and understand the actual intention behind the sudden announcements of economic reforms!

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