View Full Version : An idea for interventionists that want to cut health care costs

10-14-2009, 05:31 PM
I heard a doctor mention this on the radio the other day and it seemed like a good idea.

He was pointing out how much money is made by pharmaceutical companies and the health care industry in general from treating the symptoms of illnesses rather than providing cures. He rattled off a few illnesses he's been curing since the 70's that fall into this category, and mentioned that there's no law requiring medical practitioners to actually cure your illnesses.

So why not push for Obama to pass such a law? Lets outlaw patents on cures so big medical interests can't keep them out of the public domain and require that patients be cured rather than treated, if possible.

Wouldn't that be better than blowing trillions of dollars on something for which the best argument is 'yeah it sucks but we have to do something'?

10-14-2009, 05:57 PM
Good intentions, but outlawing patents on cures will simply remove any resources that were being directed into cure research. The only remaining cure research will be university funded, which really does not have the power to compete with big pharma and you may end up having the exact opposite of the intended effect (more money directed to treatments rather than cures).

I will say, however, that many people don't understand the fundamental problem with modern day cures. Diseases such as TB and cholera are easy to treat, which is why they were essentially cured a long time ago. The problem with modern day diseases is that they are almost all genetic in nature, and we are very very far off from being to manipulate the genome in a living organism. Gene therapy is a very promising new front but realistically is very far away. Actually curing diseases like cancer, multiple sclerosis, familial hypercholesterolemia, and many others would require us to physically modify the gene that is causing the disease, in every cell of the effected tissue (millions, if not billions).

To put it in perspective, the best we can do right now is use a DNA vector to insert the gene into a population of embryonic cells, and screen thousands of them for one that has successfully included the gene in the proper place. From here, we inject the cell into an embryo and hope that the injected cell is incorporated into the germ line (reproductive cells) of the organism. We do this many times, and then make the organisms reproduce with each other in the hopes that two of them had the transgenic gene in their germ line and produce a single transgenic offspring.