No, not terrorists, not serial killers, not even politicians (although I'll have plenty to say about them too)... but Health Care Companies.
Specifically prescription drug companies and insurance companies.
On Friday morning I went to an ethics conference focusing on the drug companies. Dr. Marcia Angell, the author of The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It, was the keynote speaker. She said a lot of interesting, scathing, upsetting things and I encourage people to read her book. What I heard was a steady chant of "Corruption! Corruption! Corruption!" The FDA doesn't care about us, it cares about them, the profit-hungry, soul-less, investor-driven drug companies who make more money than almost everyone else in this country. Yet another example of how our government and very society caters only to the rich. This agency is supposed to protect and serve the American people... make sure that these profit-oriented corporations do the research, test the drugs, make sure our medications are SAFE and EFFECTIVE. Well, guess what? They don't.
In the past 7 years, 599 medications have been approved by the FDA. Of those 399 have been non-innovative, and not helpful. The vast majority of drugs approved every year are not significantly different or more effective than other (cheaper) drugs already on the market ( in generic form). This is how the FDA spends their time.
On Friday evening I watched Michael Moore's new movie, Sicko. Man, I thought the drug companies were bad.... Insurance companies are evil incarnate. We entrust our health, well being, and sometimes very survival to corporations who's only mandate is to reap the highest profit margins. Doctors, Nurses, yes.. even therapists.. who have sold their soul to the corporate dream and spend their working hours trying to figure out how to deny people health care.
According to Moore, America is the only country in the Western world that doesn't offer universal health care. America also has a higher infant mortality rate, a shorter life expectancy, and a much higher per capita expenditure on health care costs than any other industrialized nation.
So, I 'm left thinking about moving to Canada (again), and struggling with feeling so defeated. The greed, corporate corruption, unethical lobbying, and government complicity is so huge and heavy and overwhelming. Is there any hope that this can change? It's hard to stay optimistic. But I'm going to try.