The medical industrial complex arises

As the 72-year-old son of an M.D., I am in a good position to comment on the profound changes we have witnessed in the last 60 years or so.

In the sixties, medicine was a product dispensed mostly through the offices of individual practitioners.  My father's office was one among a handful of private professionals. The insurance industry had not yet consolidated these private physicians into what we see today.  His patients paid (or didn't) for his services directly.

Even back then, the drug companies exercised a huge influence on the drug prescription process.  As a practitioner of internal medicine, my father was in the business of writing prescriptions.  Drug companies would host lavish parties and conventions and distribute samples and other freebies.  That was small potatoes compared to the Big Pharma of today.

With the massive consolidation of hospitals and doctors under the direct control of the government–insurance company partnership, the consumer is no longer in control of the service he receives.  With the advent of the pandemic, the unscrupulous marriage between Big Pharma and government bureaucracies has been exposed.  Doctors are coerced into doing the bidding of this new medical-industrial complex.  Never mind the wishes or concerns of the patient.

Doctors are also being forced to practice medicine in ways that are often at odds with their own consciences.  It is a shame to see a once noble profession entirely degraded.  The complex is now in the business of stoking fear in order to make massive amounts of money and accumulate massive control over everyday life.

If it wasn't obvious enough to witness the response to COVID, I was recently reminded how the drug companies keep raking in the dough by creating fear.  While driving to my last yearly physical, I was treated to an ad for a drug I had never heard of to treat a condition I had never heard of.  Soon, my doctor was telling me I had this unheard-of condition.  It's called "pre-diabetic."

I was warned that I was dangerously close to having diabetes and would need to treat this with drugs.  The coincidence of the timing of my introduction to a new condition and my subsequent diagnosis got me thinking.  What a racket these drug companies have!  They can lord it over doctors to do their bidding, or the doctors lose their licenses, while the poor patient is merely a pawn.

Image: Ben Harvey via Flickr, CC BY 2.0

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