Should Your Charity Dollars Be Given to a…
For-Profit Drug Company? Patient advocacy groups like the MS society have become a permanent part of the landscape of disease education and disease solution. They raise large sums of money – the MS Society has an annual budget of over $200 million but a little explored question is -Is this money actually being spent in a way that can produce real and fundamental cures for the least amount of money?
Many of us in integrative medicine feel that the answer is clearly NO. This morning I’ll give you some specific examples in the case of the MS Society why this is the case. It seems that the old saying, “ follow the money” always provides insight as to what’s really going on. In this case, $10 million of the MS Society’s annual budget is funded by drug companies. More importantly, almost the entire remainder of their $200 million annual income, above and beyond administrative and marketing costs, is spent in supporting drug company sponsored clinical trials.
Clear examples of the bias of the MS society against developing awareness of the benefits of existing natural therapies and funding further research as may be needed for these therapies exists in connection with both estriol and vitamin D.
Let’s begin with vitamin D:
Multiple recent studies have demonstrated how powerful vitamin D can be for MS:
There are clear links between vitamin D deficiency and various aspects of the MS disease.
Low vitamin D levels in expectant mothers creates higher risk of MS in their children and the fetus’s central nervous system or immune system, predisposing it to developing MS later in life.
Low vitamin D blood levels – higher risk of relapse.
Low vitamin D levels – more advanced physical disability and cognitive impairment.
Extremely low occurrence of MS below a certain latitude—where direct sunlight is much more prevalent— Concluding that many cases of MS may be undiagnosed vitamin D deficiency. Yet, no MS society money is spent on developing and or exploring the use of vitamin D for this disease.
AS for estriol:
Estriol is an estrogen found in the human body and currently available with a prescription at low cost from compounding pharmacies. Yet, the MS Society gave a research grant to Ad-e-o-na Pharmaceuticals that makes a drug called Tri-mesta, whose active ingredient is estriol, even though another giant drug company, Wyeth, petitioned the FDA to ban estriol. Why? Because estriol was interfering with the sales of Wyeth’s synthetic hormones, PremPro, which has been shown to be dangerous. In the meantime, if Tri-mesta is approved for MS, it will be available for MS treatment at a cost of $30,000 or more a year, while estriol is now available, in an equivalent dose at a cost of $3,000 a year.
The problem is clear …. so what’s the solution? Patient/Contributors to these societies should take the following actions:
Link their contribution to the development and educational exposure of less costly natural remedies such as vitamin D and estriol as I described earlier.
Regularly write to these societies demanding the development of less costly natural therapies with better side effect profiles.
Take steps to become active in these advocacy groups at every level including board memberships.
Write your legislators to gain support.
Should Your Charity Dollars Be Given to a For-Profit Drug Company?
Posted By ANH-USA On August 24