Pharma profits do not equal health - Berkely Prof advocates alternative
As reported in BBC News today, Nobel-prize winner and Berkely Prof Sydney Brenner, an expert on molecular biology, said people should be told to look after their health instead of expecting science to "come to their rescue with a pill".
"There are two kinds of health care. There's taking care of the health of the public and there's taking care of the financial health of the drug companies," added Brenner.
Of course regular readers of my site know that I have been saying much the same things for some months now. Also others, most notably Dr. Mathias Rath of the Netherlands, have called attention to the "pharmaceutical business with disease" and demanded changes in the attitude of public health authorities.
But it is good to see that we are not alone in this quest. Maybe government officials are more inclined to listen to the words of a Nobel-prize winning academic. It would be good to see serious discussion on how to spend public health funds and what we actually get for them.
BBC News Tuesday, 2 September, 2003
Research bill hits public health
A Noble-prize winner has said people should be told to look after their health instead of expecting science to "come to their rescue with a pill".
Professor Sydney Brenner, said more money should be invested in health education than in designing genetically tailored drugs.
He said focussing on healthy living messages would save lives.
The molecular biology expert said only drug companies benefited from the current emphasis on medical research.
He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Everything is being driven into the support of the pharmaceutical industry.
"There are two kinds of health care. There's taking care of the health of the public and there's taking care of the financial health of the drug companies.
"You hear all these things about the human genome or personalised medicine and newer and safer drugs.
"Maybe what we ought to think about is maybe there is a new public health to be created. Maybe we should start to think of other ways of doing it."
Professor Brenner, of the Molecular Sciences Institute in Berkeley, California, added: "Today everybody does what they like with their bodies and at the end of the day they think the drug companies or medical science will come to their rescue with a pill. That's the standard assumption.
"What we may need is a new appraisal of the relationship of all these things."
He said the growth in obesity in Europe and America was an example of how people looked to science for an answer instead of looking at how their lifestyle might affect their weight.
"Of course all the drug companies are working hard on a pill, but effectively the obesity is self-induced."
He said people were increasingly eating badly and not exercising enough, but Professor Brenner added: "That's treatable by health education, by measures like that - this is government spending which would actually save more lives than anything else."
"Nobody is lobbying for it and that is why I think somebody right at the top has to sit down and say this is going to be national policy."
Book by Jeffrey Robinson Prescription Games: Life, Death and Money Inside the Global Pharmaceutical Industry
The Truth About the Drug Companies
The Once-Solid Foundations Of The Big Pharma Colossus Are Shaking says Marcia Angell, a former editor of the New England Journal Of Medicine in her upcoming book...
posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Wednesday September 3 2003
updated on Thursday December 2 2010
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