Friday, June 30, 2006

Tools for a neat little diagnosis: Are we getting that soon?

Almost every month or so, we will encounter a "new disease" or new "syndrome". Imagine you are a GP, harried and tired after hours of work.

In an attempt to simplify the process of diagnosis, researchers have attempted to come up with solutions, ie what questions can the GPs ask in order to diagnose?

Giving the GP a list of questions to ask, and telling him/her that if the patient answers "yes" to a certain number of questions, you can "diagnose" the patient of having a certain disease is very "helpful" to the GP!! That is a great "tool", isnt it? Cool!!!

You go to the doctor's office, the doctor ask you some questions, and then show you a chart;

Doc: Hey you have answers yes to x out of y questions, you most likely have disease Z.

With the huge logos of dissease Z's association, it looks and sounds authoritative.

Patient: Urgh, I have Disease Z?
Doc: Don't worry, they have a new drug which works very well for Disease Z. Why don't you give it a try?

Patient: OK! (relieved that there is name to some symptoms that he/she has been experiencing, and even more relieved that you could now pop pills to "cure" it!)

Errr, did I tell you who sponsored the research of such a tool? And did I tell you when they will sponsor the invention of such a tool?

Yes, despite your fogged out brains, you guess it correctly!

"They" will sponsor the research of these neat little "tools", or "questionnaires", when there is a "promising" compound in the pipeline.

Improving diagnosis methods ---->>>Increase RATE of diagnosis---->>>> Increase number of PATIENTS--->>>Increase number of drugs presribe-->>>Increase sales --->>> Increased Profits!!!

Well, we fibromites can only get jealous with those RLS people, cos they have a drug "successfully" developed for it, and get all these associated benefits. Till the, just hang on, and think of the even more unfortunate millions who die of malaria every year.

FYI: Malaria is a poor man's disease, and there is "no cure". Why no cure??? Well, you know the answer. They have no money to buy the "cure", even if there is one. So, how much funding are the drug companies dedicating to this area of research? WE fibromites have it better, cos most of us have "governments" who are rich enough to pay for a "cure", and they will start paying once they get sick of the "sick benefits".


Shaky said...

I enjoy your blog, but I would encourage you to be fair. People were suffering from RLS and fibromyalgia long before either had a name. And just because a drug company starts a stupid campaign, it doesn't mean there's a cure.
I'd cheer a cure for malaria or a cure for fibrobyalgia, even if the unethical drug companies got rich from it.
-- Shaky

fmsra said...

Hi Shaky,

Very happy to have you here.

I will be very happy, and would usually cheer "good for them!", whenever a new treatments invented for any disease, because it means someone's life probably gets a lot better.

You are right. Campaign does not equal "cure". It usually means something is in a pipeline, and it might work for some aspects of the disease. At times, these are jokes- side effects more than the little ADDITIONAL benefits that it offers.

What I was trying to lament is the high amount of dependence on the prospect of a good profit for these companies, before a "disease" or "syndrome" gets attention!

I worked in the industry, and know how it all works from inside... chilling. I have been working on RLS, and know how some patients' quality of life could severely affected. Maybe it is my biased opinion (I am really sorry, if I offend you, I appreciate how your life is affected by it), but the sort "suffering" of that milder RLS patients have to go through does seem to pale in comparison to the life threatening illnesses like malaria, or the serious implications for Hepatitis B. Yet, we see so much campaigning to even get the milder RLS patients on a drug, because their life is affected!!! (More like someone's profit margin is affected, if you ask me!!) Don't you wish that these campaign money could go to some research for malaria instead??