Cover of "Extraordinary Measures"

Cover of Extraordinary Measures

The pill. Most people consider it as a life-saving substance. Ask any patient who comes to a physician with a symptomatic complaint, and 9 out of 10 times, the doctor would be inclined to prescribe at least one drug. Sadly, more often than not, symptoms disappear spontaneously without taking a drug. So why do we always expect a prescription each time we come to a clinic for medical treatment?

In the film “Extraordinary Measures”, the circumstances behind therapeutic drug development is elucidated and exposed in an interesting narrative. It takes money, not just smarts and research acumen, in order to formulate a new drug. The best ideas may never come to fruition because manufacturing the drug may not bring with it the return on investment that would make it economically worthwhile. We are a society that is too dependent on businessmen – from our politics to the products we apply and take into our bodies – and thus we become manipulated as such.

Drugs are meant to reverse an acute situation. All of them are xenobiotics – foreign substances that must not remain in our system for a considerable period of time. No matter how convincing research findings are about the efficacy and safety of the pill, never discount the possibility of the drug being marketed for the fattening of one’s pocket. Don’t get me wrong – I believe in research and the inherent goodness of scientific discovery. As a matter of fact, I know that a lot of today’s drugs prescribed by doctors are truly life-saving. However, when economics starts to come into the picture, facts can be altered to favor the desire for profit. And I am particularly cynical about medications that are being hyped as “miracle cures” that need to be taken for life. I’d rather push for lifestyle modifications, knowing that they will establish permanence in one’s routine and provide more positive outcomes long-term.

So the next time someone prescribes you a drug to take for a lifetime, try to figure out whether it is truly a magic pill – or someone is just trying to play magic tricks on your finances. With the internet at your disposal, all information is just around the corner. While doctors know best, it’s still your body at stake. You wouldn’t want to be victimized, would you?




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