Profit motive in Peyronie's treatment
In the past I have written that many forms of effective Peyronie’s disease treatment will not be given a fair investigation – or any investigation – because they lack sufficient profit for the medical industry. They are ignored because they do not represent enough money, even though there is some evidence they might be helpful.
This statement seems a harsh and cynical attitude to many, I am sure. After all, aren’t doctors and the drug companies and hospitals that work with them, all interested in helping humanity when we are ill or injured?
Here is a reprint of an interesting article that appeared in the 12-15-08 issue of Business Week magazine, titled, “The Inside Track in Medical Cameras” http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/content/nov2008/id20081126_ 558172.htm?chan=magazine+channel_what%27s+next In this nicely written article, the author describes what these medical cameras can do, the intense business competition among the various camera makers in the $2.5 billion gastrointestinal endoscopy camera market, and how these companies are working to improve their products and sell more of them. As you would suspect, this article is all about the business side of the medical camera market.
Here is a part of that discussion of new medical cameras that are used to look inside the body to either assist in diagnosis and treatment of illness. Please pay special attention to the two lines I made bold for emphasis:
“…HDTV sharpened the quality of the images doctors could generate
and turned Olympus into the No. 1 player in the $2.5 billion
gastrointestinal endoscopy market, with 70% of global sales. (Japan's
Pentax and Fuji vie for second and third place.)
But with competition on the rise and hospital budgets weighed down by
the struggling economy, Olympus must persuade customers that its
$20,995 surgical cameras are still worth the premium price. "These
devices have to enable them to do more procedures, and to do them
more efficiently," argues F. Mark Gumz, chief executive of Olympus
Corp. of the Americas, who has been calling hospital CEOs personally to
try to assess how far their spending might fall. "It's a concern—there will
be significant financial stress on hospitals."
The part that I highlighted indicates that the decision to buy a new Olympus $20,995.00 camera will be made on the basis of greater profit for a hospital if the camera will enable more surgeries to be performed or to do the existing surgeries more efficiently (faster), which basically means more surgeries.
Note that the hospital’s decision to buy a new Olympus $20,995.00 camera will not be made on the basis of other things that this camera is supposed to do. The article states that it is capable of showing greater details of the inside of the body, thus allowing the doctor to detect problems more skillfully or find problems that might otherwise be missed with a poorer quality camera.
Thus, even thought the camera can help the doctor do a better job for the patient, the hospital’s decision to actually purchase the camera is made on the basis of profit, not patient benefit.
This is a simple and harsh reality of life that I fully understand, as do most of us. Yet, I am sure there is a part of all of us that wants to hope and believe that while health care is indeed a business, when it comes to OUR health, that things are different. We would all like to know that compassion, good will, kindness, altruistic thinking, noble effort, selfless service, and a blind and huge effort to turn over every stone to get us well will prevail when it comes to our individual health care, and that profit or human emotions of greed, jealousy, anger, or simple fatigue will not influence how our health problems are treated. Of course we all want to believe this, yet we know it probably is not so.
For those of us with Peyronies disease, this is also true. As I have written many times, the decision to investigate a promising Peyronie’s disease treatment benefit with simple vitamin E, or PABA, or MSM, or acetyl-L-carnitine, simply will not happen because there is insufficient profitability for the health care industry in this therapeutic area. This is why you so often read that a small study showed that an herb or vitamin showed initial signs of success in treatment of Peyronie’s disease, but no further research testing has been done.
I trust that this small example of a very large pattern of conduct – and omission – makes it a little easier for readers to understand why the PDI treatment concept is not being promoted or used within standard or organized medicine. It has little to do with effectiveness; it has to do with profit.