The Oedipus Effect

Crusoe was called to see the woman. It all began she said when on the way home after a successful board meeting, taking shelter from a sudden downpour, he stepped into an empty building. There he saw something. Perhaps it was the nutmeg with the meal or the mushrooms that did it. A bunch of children, he said, sitting looking at a stockmarket ticker tape. Many of them appeared limbless, had cleft palates or clubfeet or were otherwise deformed. Others had the scar of some operation down their breastbone or elsewhere, some with the stitches still in.

All hail the Thane of Delaware one sang, as the ticker tape showed a share-price rise. All hail the Thane of Pennsylvania another said as the share-price rose further. All hail Mr. President the last one said as the share-price rose yet higher.

He came home astonished. He couldn’t see what she could. But she said, tearfully turning to Crusoe, things had not worked out. The treatments coming through had been nothing like the breakthrough treatments of a few decades before. Far from getting people well, more were dying earlier. Younger and younger children were being put on some of the foulest drugs on earth. She had thought no-one in their right mind would prescribe such drugs to children or pregnant women but there seemed to be nothing that could stop it happening. The last years of a person’s life, the years of sere and yellow leaf, became the most profitable years for the company. Few of the elderly went to their graves on less than 30-40 pills per day. The country was in thrall.

There was wailing across the land but no-one seemed to have an idea how to bring about change. Some broke into and occupied buildings, but what good could this do when it was impossible for doctors to do anything other than what the evidence said. A series of traitors leaked documents but these resulted in no more than minor embarrassments.

When the Thane of Indiana’s wife became depressed in the midst of all this, she was put on treatment and committed suicide.

She sometimes wondered if he was on something he had become so unfeeling. Never more so than when one of his closest friends on the way up suggested they needed to change course, and soon after was terminated. The man she married would never have done this. Not to someone who had been through so much with him, without whose help he would never have made it.

There was no option he said. As long as the clinical trial data pointed the one way, there was no other rational option for the country but to follow it. Unless someone was to show the entire body of clinical trials was worthless marketing copy, there was no way to undo the system – and what chaos would ensue then. He had even mockingly on one occasion said no-one born of man could bring the system down.

The security around him recently had become total. She was sure they had profiled her and knew she posed no threat. Or else thought her death would make no difference. They knew she was infertile.

“But I had a test-tube baby before I met him and gave him up for adoption”. “Has he just contacted you?” Crusoe asked.

[For The Oedipus Effect – see The Antidepressant Era. Re parable, a startling number of US Senators,  Governors, Secretaries of State, and even Presidents have had senior roles within the pharmaceutical industry, which is based in Delaware, Indiana, Pennsylvania and New Jersey].

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Pharmaceutical companies have hijacked healthcare in America, and the results are life-threatening.


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University of California Press (2012)


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  1. U.S. Senate Democrats urged Republicans to help advance legislation next week to require more disclosure of donations to groups that spend money on political campaigns. Republicans oppose the measure, which they say would unconstitutionally limit free speech. Democrats say it is needed to reveal the sources of spending on presidential and congressional campaigns after the Supreme Court in 2010 overturned a decades-old ban on companies using their general funds to run ads supporting or opposing federal candidates. The measure, known as the Disclose Act, would require corporations, labor unions, super-political action committees and nonprofit groups to report donations of more than $10,000 to the Federal Election Commission within 24 hours of spending the money. In addition, the measure would prevent donors to super-PACs from hiding behind shell corporations to shield their true identities. The Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in the Citizens United case led to the rise of political organizations known as super-PACs, which can raise unlimited amounts of money from any source, and an increase in political spending by nonprofit groups, which can keep their donors secret. Super-PACs and nonprofits are spending millions of dollars to try to influence the 2012 presidential and congressional races. “The lack of disclosure helps special interests enforce an “ideological orthodoxy that is served by big money” and is “suffocating the system, suppressing the vote, poisoning the debate,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, told reporters today.
    Top Contributors 2011-2012
    Contributor Amount
    Pfizer Inc $1,267,564
    Amgen Inc $969,600
    Abbott Laboratories $856,505
    Merck & Co $702,660
    AstraZeneca PLC $698,824
    Eli Lilly & Co $540,407
    GlaxoSmithKline $486,442
    Novartis AG $435,739
    Bayer AG $335,752
    Sanofi $284,026
    Perrigo Co $261,125
    Endo Pharmaceuticals $179,850
    Teva Pharmaceuticals USA $171,620
    Daiichi Sankyo Inc $147,500
    Pharmaceutical Rsrch & Mfrs of America $142,500
    Celgene Corp $134,570
    Allergan Inc $128,220
    Mutual Pharmaceutica $125,000
    Bristol-Myers Squibb $124,375
    Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America $123,150

    Call me cynical.

  2. August 10, 2012 — In a reversal of a law passed 4 years ago, physicians in Massachusetts will now be allowed to accept “modest” meals and refreshments provided by pharmaceutical or medical device companies. When he approved the state budget, Gov. Deval Patrick last month repealed part of the Massachusetts Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Gift Ban and Disclosure Law that banned such meals to physicians and other health professionals. The meals for physicians must happen “in a venue and manner conducive to informational communication,” essentially outside the physician’s office, the new law says. “This narrow change will afford health care providers some flexibility to be educated on new clinically relevant products and allow them to stay informed on advancements in pharmaceuticals and medical devices that benefit patients and lower our health care costs,” Patrick wrote in a letter announcing his decision to undo the meal ban. The decision was applauded by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). “We’re quite pleased with the change,” Marjorie Powell, senior assistant general counsel, told Medscape Medical News. “We need a variety of ways for doctors and other health professionals to get information about prescription drugs, especially new medications. This information can be shared with a group of doctors more efficiently outside the medical office.”
    It is profoundly insulting to be treated as though stupid. Colour me even more cynical-and alarmed.

  3. Katie Higgins RN says:

    ” He had even mockingly on one occasion said no-one born of man could bring the system down ”

    I’m thinking along the lines of the ancient Hindu warrior king, Muchukunda who was actually born from his father’s left side. Such is the rare side effect one would never have heard of in ancient times, and so, yeah,a guy might drink the fertility potion meant for his wife, either by mistake or curiosity, and give birth. So, literally, in keeping with mythological symbolism, Muchunkunda was *born of man*. and HE became a king among kings! The gods were thrilled with this King– because he performed brilliantly defeating demons right and left at their request. So, the gods granted him the realization of his highest wish. ..”all he asked is that he be granted sleep without end, and that any person chancing to arouse him should be burned to a crisp by the first glance of his eye.”

    So, this particular king, “fruit of the male womb”, slumbered blissfully through revolving eons… Anecdotal reference to his awakening shows how one person’s wish for bliss can be another’s idea for a practical joke. Of all possible outcomes one might imagine for waking a slumbering king , bursting into a torch of flame ( by the first glance of the king’s eye) would have to come as a complete shock. Right? “Reduced immediately to a smoking heap of ash” doesn’t give one pause to reconcile his fate, much less warn others.

    The quest is to locate the cave where King Muchukunda is sound asleep. Lure *the enemy* to the cave in some playfully naughty manner… promise of a big reward is a bit obvious but also challenging since it is virtually impossible to even find the right gift for those who already have *it all*- right? so, perhaps the cave itself is a designated *safe house* for PHARMA fugitives???

    Well, if nothing else, this parable shows how it could happen that [some] one *born of man* could bring the system down… or burn it up, metaphorically speaking by symbolically luring the enemy into a false sense of security.

    According to Joseph Campbell, whose book “The Hero With A Thousand Faces” I quoted from here, we already KNOW what to do; how to conquer our dragons and demons, we just haven’t remembered it all— clearly… YET :-)

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