There is a debate in the world of diabetes treatment ongoing concerning whether there is a conspiracy among pharmaceutical companies to prevent us from finding a cure for diabetes, for instance, in this article from Healthline.
As the thinking goes, pharmaceutical companies, who drive a lot of the research into new drugs, just about all of it actually, aren’t interested at all in finding a cure here, because that would mean that they would make a whole lot less money off of diabetes, and making money is what they do.
The last part is certainly true, and it’s not even a conspiracy theory actually, it’s the way business works. They are in the business of making money, pure and simple. They are not, as some people seem to believe, motivated by purely altruistic reasons, existing for the betterment of mankind, any more than McDonalds is. McDonalds is in the business of selling fast food, they are in the business of selling drugs, pure and simple.
Depending on what we mean by cure here, it certainly could be bad for business, if cure meant that one could discontinue medication, perhaps only taking something for a short while and then being cured so to speak, with no further need.
So would a drug company even pursue such a thing? The article suggest that they may, for the glory so to speak, and glory would be something that would help a corporations’s image, but this would only be valuable to the extent that they contribute to the bottom line, and the loss of all the revenue from diabetes, all those billions of dollars every year, just wouldn’t be worth it.
Whether or not a drug makes it through the very long process of getting it to market depends, not just to a large degree, but depends absolutely on its potential for profit. So if a drug were only to be used for a very short duration and then produced a cure, well that wouldn’t be very profitable at all, and achieving the level of sales needed to make sense of all of this does require, well, a lot of potential sales.
Pharmaceutical drugs are designed to be compensatory mechanisms really, they don’t really fix anything, they provide a means by something, certain symptoms or outcomes, are altered by the drug, and this is certainly true of diabetic medications.
The more dependence that can be generated here, the better, and by dependence here we mean that the term of therapy makes one not less reliant on the medication, but more reliant, not necessarily on the specific medication taken, but medications in general.
So given this, no, no one is interested in actually making you better with this stuff, if better is defined as less of a need for this help, they want you to at the very least to need to keep taking the stuff. This isn’t a conspiracy, it’s a business model.
So this has these companies interested in treatments, but I don’t think it’s a matter of their simply choosing to pursue treatments over cures, treatments are just so much easier to fashion, and cures are at the very least much, much more difficult to find. This is especially true with diabetes, being such a complicated disease, almost beyond comprehension.
The biggest limiting factor here though, and one that pretty much guarantees that we’ll just see treatments and not cures being sought, is the whole philosophy of being focused on treating symptoms, not seeing to address and improve underlying causes. This is especially the case with diabetes treatment, in seeking to just improve short term blood sugar readings, and when you do that, you are neglecting what is causing the high blood sugar in the first place.
So for instance, we know that type 2 diabetes is a disease of insulin resistance, there’s no doubt about that, when they describe the disease they don’t just say we have high blood sugar, we have high blood sugar from either low insulin levels or insulin resistance. Few type 2 diabetics have low insulin levels though so just about all of us suffer from the condition of insulin resistance.
So if your approach is to just look to lower people’s blood sugar, and that’s the approach that we use, our focus, then one’s insulin resistance very often gets thrown under the bus here, and in fact in treating blood sugar we tend to make insulin resistance, the underlying cause here, worse over time, and there’s no doubt about this actually, this is why diabetes is felt to be progressive, and it certainly does tend to be under this strategy.
It isn’t anywhere near as simple as wanting to reduce insulin resistance though, even when you do attempt to do that, you may do so as a way of overriding what is broken, and even though this may certainly be preferable to making the insulin resistance worse, when you look to do that, it’s still a treatment.
The problem here is that the body is a very sensitive instrument and when you look to alter one thing you can end up disturbing several other things, which is why drugs have so many side effects, and even when they work well they don’t assist the body in working better, they at best create a dependence on them to continue to alter processes, where if the treatment is removed, so are the benefits.
So given that we define cure as the absence of a need for any of these treatments, anyone hoping that we’ll ever see a pharmacological cure for diabetes need not hold their breath, this stuff isn’t really designed to do such things.