Is progress in medicine artificially stunted by big Pharma?
Just a few days ago, I returned from a business/family trip to Europe. Travel happens to be an interesting catalyzer for me. It allows me to gain perspective and see what is important and what is not. Ultimately, it brings a greater degree of clarity to my life and work, which allows me to be more useful to you, your dog and the whole community. The best learning comes from life lessons, which are the most memorable and this trip was no exception.
Today, I want to share three life lessons from an unplanned trip around the world.
Life lesson 1
Traveling overseas is a double-edged sword. Many people dream of traveling, but to be honest, I have a love/hate relationship with it. The part I especially don’t like is leaving Skai behind for long haul flights, but putting Skai on a long, tiring flight at the age of 15 makes no sense.
I book most of my flights through my Visa card air miles program, which allows me to upgrade my flights, except that it is hard to get the flight I need. Often, I book a ticket and then watch for better connections.
This trip to Europe was especially hard to book and, originally I had two layovers on the way back. Towards the end of the trip, I started to feel like I wanted to get home as soon as possible and as crazy as it sounded, I could save 12 hours on my flight back to Vancouver via Tokyo! I didn't hesitate and changed my route. Tokyo it was.
The boarding was the fastest I ever experienced and we departed on the minute with the precision of a Japanese express train.
Shortly after the dinner, I fell asleep looking forward to a nice cuddle with Skai, except that five hours into the flight, I woke up and realized we were still in Europe! Our aircraft made a sharp u-turn over Russia and was now headed for Helsinki!
There was a medical emergency on board and the captain made the life-saving move to divert our flight to Helsinki.
Based on the reports, the patient recovered and the passengers were patient and understanding. It could have been one of us. We departed from Helsinki five hours later because of a technical glitch that came up during refueling.
I loved seeing the airline put the passenger’s life ahead of the schedule and profits. It made me happy to see how good people are when it comes to emergency flight changes. No one complained, no one whined. I witnessed humanity at its best.
Life lesson 2
To make time go faster during the 16-hour flight, I turned on the movie channel movies and picked The Martian. For those who have not seen the movie, it is about a rescue operation of an astronaut stranded on Mars.
Once again, no expense was too high to save one life. The rescue team put their lives at risks without the blink of an eye and the mission was successful! Another example of humanity at its best. Even thought the movie was fictional, I sense that most people would act the same way.
I strongly believe that 99 percent of humanity is good in its essence.
Life lesson 3
We landed in Tokyo much later than expected. The Japanese did a great job re-routing everyone and I was given the option to fly to San Francisco and then on to Vancouver, learning that my suitcase never made it on the flight from Europe.
Numbed out by sleepiness and the events of the past night, I decided to pass time on Facebook and ran across an interesting post. It was a video of a medical doctor, who publicly said that, in most cases, chemotherapy was an ineffective and harmful treatment. From my experience with family members and also seeing dogs on chemotherapy, I couldn’t disagree. He then went on to suggest cancer treatment is big business, where scientific studies are “adjusted” for the sake of drug approval.
When I finished watching the video, I knew this was in some shape or form true.
I could not help myself from seeing the selfless picture of humanity, where lives matter, in striking contrast with drug companies and their “do anything that makes money” attitude that puts patients health behind profits.
We see the best of humanity, when human or animal’s lives are a priority.
An airline that makes a costly diversion to save a passenger or a space mission to save a stranded astronaut stands in sharp contrast to pharmaceutical companies diverting the whole system of medicine away from nature and towards making more toxic, harmful and expensive substances because it is more profitable.
The only way we can stop them from doing this is to change our medical system where research is done independently and financed by governments, not drug companies.
A system where doctors reap rewards when they create health, not disease.
Let’s keep writing and sharing so we can reach this goal soon!
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