Friday, June 6, 2014

Those five words...

I'm getting battered, as all of us MSers do, with suggestions about how This New Whatever is Just The Thing. Latest treatment for MS! Sometimes, people even tell me they know MSers who are taking it and reaping rewards! But mostly, I'm battered by It's The Latest Thing.

Open any MSer-targeted publication and you'll see little else.

There's this one particular Thing, not the Latest MS Drug Du Jour but it's been around a while and the ads are ever so enthusiastic (as they always are). And this one's oral, not injected! Hooray! Well, yes, sometimes when you take the first pill it kills you but it hasn't killed that many people, so far. But it's oral, not injected like all those other MS drugs! And except for the maybe it'll kill you immediately, which it hasn't done to that many people (yet, or as far as we know, at least), it won't make you feel sick like those other MS drugs. But you still have to take it every day for the rest of your life. But it's oral!

Fine, fine, be that all as it may... will it help me?


But it's oral!


It's based on a natural chemical, they say, it's not synthetic, it's just been... fiddled with--no, I mean improved! And it's oral!

Doesn't kill that many people (they say quietly) but it's oral! And this guy over here, some of his symptoms have abated!

Fine, what does it cost? Well, they can't tell me.

I am getting so insert your favorite string of obscenities here SICK of those five words.

Well, we can't tell you.

I call the local pharmacy and ask how much said drug costs. Well, they can't tell me, my doctor has to ask for a pre-approval (whatever that means) and then they can tell me how much it might cost but insurance may or may not pay for it. We won't know until the pre-approval (whatever that is) goes through. Checking on the web it says it's nearly $100 per pill. Per day. For the rest of your life.

But, will it help ME?

Well, we can't tell you. Why don't you try it? If it doesn't kill you immediately, which it doesn't for everybody but for some yeah, but we think it probably won't kill you, probably, and then you take it for a few months ($3,000 per month, basically) and maybe you'll see an improvement. Or not. But, it's oral!

This isn't a help to the diseased. It's a cash cow.

Here are some things you'll never hear...

Ask your doctor if huang qi (that's Pinyin, pronounced "hwhong chee") is right for you!

That's astragalus, which has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. It grows in the ground. It's a plant. You want it, grow it yourself, or take it off the shelf of pretty much any Chinese grocery store, it'll be in the "herb" aisle, it's a few bucks for a bag with a few ounces in it. No "cash cow" profit motive there.

Ask your doctor if sheep placenta is right for you!

Sheep placenta you'll find on the shelves of many Chinese pharmacies. Sheep grow them. While they're growing sheep. Same with human placenta, which makes differently "entertaining" label copy, but it's there too. We grow those too. No "cash cow"profit motive there.

Ask your doctor if cobalamin is right for you!

That's Vitamin B12. Every red-blooded animal on the planet makes that for themselves. Some of us are bad at it, so we need it. You can get it off the shelf pretty much anywhere that sells such things. No "cash cow" profit motive there. And it's oral. Sublingual, actually.

Ask your doctor if cannabis is right for you!

You ain't gonna hear that for a while. But it's a weed, that's why they call it "weed." You can grow it in your back yard, or on your back porch or in your kitchen, in a sunny window. It is, and has been for years, the largest cash crop in California, and Colorado is currently finding that actually, it pays for itself. Hard to find profit motive there, at least on the scale of $100 per day for life, but as the Colorado public schools are finding out, there's enough money to share, certainly. But I know quite a few people who tried one joint and realized it was either a good idea or a "feh" idea, and for the cost of one joint or pipeful, it was a cost-effective experiment. But, the people have voted: Those whom it helps know that it does because they tried it and it actually helped them. But it's oral, right?

You won't hear that about the latest glossy-ad drug being touted in the MS publications, the massive number of "I tried it and it helped me" users. Which I don't hear from the MS Touted Drug Du Jour world. Well, yes, they did find a lethal dose for cannabis: forty-plus POUNDS, all at once. It'd do you in just by falling on you.

Now, I don't have it in for "derived from stuff" pills. Aspirin comes from willow bark. It works fine, and the per-pill cost is miniscule. Even if you've got a heart thing and need to take it every day. Tends not to kill you on the first pill, too.

I'm not categorically opposed to Western medicine; it has its uses. And abuses, and misuses. Just like life, y'know. But if all somebody has to offer at the end of the day are Those Five Words...

Well, we can't tell you.

Then we don't have anything to talk about, now do we?

No comments: