Pharmacy and Healing

Pharmacy and Healing

It is easy, and a fallacy, to simply bash the Pharmaceutical industry without looking at why we give it so much power. This caption certainly provides what is the effective outcome, but how did it get this way?

Without doubt, the pharmaceutical industry wields enormous power and control, even to the point of defining medicine itself as an “industry” rather than as a profession. And I certainly believe that any industry with the structure and wealth this one enjoys is not commensurate with healing.

Pharmaceuticals, by definition, are toxic to the body to varying degrees. So we have to look at the “risk to benefit ratio”; that is, is the risk worth the outcome? Many cases can be cited for its benefits, but beyond short-term usage they become progressively problematic.

In simple terms, this means that if they are used in acute situations, and for a short time only, they are of enormous benefit. But as they are prescribed for increasingly longer periods, then the risks become greater. Sometimes, of course, this may be necessary, but frequently and commonly it is not.

Not least of these is the addictive property of using foreign chemicals over a sustained period. Or of using a medication to mask a problem, a kind of “sweeping it under the carpet” approach. Or even of using them in excessive doses and further compounding all the issues raised to date. Or further of adding others to the mix because of the – inevitable – side effects.

None of these approaches respects the body and its inherent healing mechanisms. Pharmaceuticals are fundamentally symptomatic in approach; not that this does not have its place, but would need to be carefully evaluated in each individual case.

But to distance ourselves from this framework, we need to respect the healing mechanisms of body and soul. And this means trust, a trust that often goes beyond our rational and scientific mentality. The arrogance of our current mentality finds the concept of healing without our intervention somewhat problematic.

We are taught from an early age that chemicals fix problems, both physical and mental. The paradox of “fixing” is that it may make the problem “go away” (although this is NOT the same as healing), but it may also “fix” the problem so that it cannot be healed, so ultimately it does not “go away”, but resurfaces… sometimes obscurely, but usually in a more severe manner.

To get out of this “fix” (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun!) we must face our fears. We fear disease, pain, infirmity and death. We are “taught”, or promised, that science and its predominant tool in medicine – drugs – can or will do this.

This philosophy obscures the subtler one that the body and mind will heal themselves with the appropriate support. Sometimes this may need drugs in this venture, but from a holistic perspective, only if a healing approach – not governed by fear – is undertaken.

In a grander vision, healing requires a more soulful perspective and an acknowledgement of the role and place of spirit. Our fears get in the way of this and then invite in the “promise” of pharmaceuticals.

But I return to an earlier point: When such profits are involved and effective control of medicine and its politics, usually not helped by the media, then the pharmaceutical industry cannot be seen to serve healing.