The Philosopher's Tinker Room


Month: September, 2015

Drug price increases unmask the failure of capitalism to assist medicine

Capitalism not only often does not assist the medical field, it is very often its worst enemy.  The recent case of a particular drug having its price raised so much as to amount to rank price gouging demonstrates the need to completely overhaul the entire economic structure of the medical field.  Outside of a clinical trial, patients are entirely at the mercy of the whims and fancies of for-profit pharmaceutical corporations to provide any medicine, at whatever price they feel they can get away with.  And yet, despite cases of such well publicized price gouging, the public seems to retain some fundamental misconceptions about the nature of medicine and its relationship with the realm of capitalism.  Charities continue to tout how your contributions are being used to help find a cure for some horrible disease.  But our system is set up so that the only necessary truth is that your medical charity contribution that goes toward research is only being used to assist Big Pharma in searching for their next money maker.  So, our only hope to find a cure is that some cure is found that will be more profitable for a drug company than the current inferior treatment they are now selling.  For if that ‘cure’ will not pad their bottom line to the capitalists satisfaction, there is absolutely no fiduciary reason for them to offer that cure to the public at all.  And if that pharmaceutical business is a publicly traded corporation, as they very often are, they have a legal responsibility to look after the financial interests of the shareholders and not the health of the public.

We need a medical system that is necessarily structured around making patient health the top priority.  That seems like a common sense philosophy, but we are not currently using such a philosophy.  Instead, the public is just operating under the assumption that the only way to incentivize and finance the quest to find better treatments and cures is to succumb to the mercy of the capitalist sharks.  What we forget is that the people on the front lines of that medical quest, are researchers and practitioners that generally don’t stand to gain financially by the introduction of any new drug or treatment.  Therefore, why not put those front-line medical people, who are motivated by a combination of genuine altruistic caring about the patients and a healthy competitive environment between researches striving to be the first to find that elusive ‘cure’?  How are we then going to finance such a system?  Well, I can’t think of a better and more popular use for the pooling of the public’s money in government coffers than to fund such research.  And if no drug company wishes to manufacture and sell a new found cure at a reasonable price?  Then we the people could take on that task as well and let such an organization as the NIH manufacture and sell at cost the new cure.

Wikipedia and the use of the Term ‘Pseudoscience’

I’ve written a number of comments in the discussion sections and elsewhere on Wikipedia regarding the editorial use of the term ‘pseudoscience.’  I first went by the username of Phiborjam until I forgot the password for that one and so I later started going by the username Quarky Gluon. Here are some of my posts:

In the ‘Recent Conjectures’ section, the first sentence states: “The field has attracted pseudoscientific authors offering a variety of evidence, including psychic readings.” The term ‘pseudoscientific’ is an ad hominem label that is epistemologically irrelevant to any arguments or reasoning made by the authors listed in the ‘Recent Conjectures’ section. The listed authors may or may not have provided any good scientific reasons for believing in their theories, but that can be assessed by anyone that reads their works. Phiborjam (talk) 23:46, 6 February 2011 (UTC)

There is fine line between promoting an agenda and supporting a position. I think I’ve found in this article an excellent example of promoting an agenda. In this case there is clearly a group of editors bent on promoting the position that certain authors deserve the label ‘psuedoscientific.’ While promoting a position is supposed to be against the principles of Wikipedia, I’m starting to wonder if an exception is being made for those that are promoting the skeptics agenda. I thought the purpose of an encyclopedia, of which Wikipedia attempts to portray itself as such, is to present facts and information, and where necessary an explanation of those facts and information in a manner that the reader can acquire knowledge. However, drawing conclusions about the nature of particular individuals (authors) in one article based on a description of a practice(pseudoscience) presented in an entirely different article veers away from the objective presentation of information and into the presentation and promotion of a particular point of view. This is especially true with the case at hand given that no citation or evidence has been presented to support the position that any given author fits the category of ‘pseudoscientific.’ In fact there is a great deal of vagueness about who the editor is referring to as pseudoscientific. Does the term necessarily include all those authors listed in the section that the term is used? If so why is that not stated? I’m sure many different hypothesis, theories, conjectures whether accepted by academics or not have still attracted a large variety of characters that would fit into a myriad of different categories that are listed as entries on Wikipedia. Does that mean every time we find an author that an editor thinks fits category X that wrote about subject Y, an entry needs to be made stating that subject Y has attracted an author who is an X? To me this all seems like I’m fighting against childish name calling, especially when the authors in question I’m sure have never identified themselves as being, nor would they ever like being called, a pseudoscientific author. So let us leave the conclusions about authors, and any possible name-calling to the reader and keep this encyclopedia a professional, serious place for objective learning.Quarky Gluon (talk) 05:33, 28 December 2011 (UTC)