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Why we become Holistic Practitioners!

Orphan Drugs Have Become a Billion Dollar Bonanza for Big Pharma, and Orphan drugs are huge money makers for the pharmaceutical industry.

There was a time when people took care of orphans and widows. It was understood that these vulnerable individuals required compassion and assistance. The Bible urges us to look after orphans and widows in their distress and encourages us to be kind and generous to the fatherless children of the world. We fear, though, that many drug companies are taking advantage of orphan drugs to bolster their bottom line.

What Is An Orphan Drug?

The Oxford American Dictionary defines an orphan drug as “a pharmaceutical that remains commercially undeveloped owing to limited potential for profitability.” That is no longer the case. Pharmaceutical companies are making billions on high-priced orphan drugs.

Back in 1983 when Congress passed the Orphan Drug Act, the legislation was intended to create substantial incentives for drug companies to develop products to treat rare diseases. In those days, the pharmaceutical industry was reluctant to spend money creating products that would treat only a relative handful of individuals.

Pharma executives assumed that they would lose money on such medicines. They could not imagine charging hundreds of thousands of dollars for a course of treatment. They feared the American public would object to price gouging.

With the Orphan Drug Act, companies were offered big tax incentives. In addition, they got years of market exclusivity. Other companies would not be allowed to compete, even if they came up with a better product. At the time, this seemed like a great deal for everyone. Drug companies wouldn’t lose a lot of money doing the noble thing by developing new treatments. People with unusual diseases would benefit from orphan drugs. It should have been a win-win!

Orphan Drugs Became A Big Bonanza:

This all sounds noble, and it has provided life-saving treatments for people with rare diseases like Gaucher disease. This rare genetic condition interferes with the body’s ability to metabolize fat. Untreated, it leads to disability and death at a young age. Cerezyme and Cerdelga to treat this disorder cost as much as $300,000 a year. If insurance won’t pay, families go bankrupt quickly.

Another orphan drug, Spinraza, treats spinal muscular atrophy. It is projected to cost as much as $750,000 for the first year of treatment. There has been little public outrage at such prices.

That’s why orphan drugs like Enbrel, Humira and Remicade have earned billions for their makers. You may have seen slick commercials for some of these pricey medications on television. These orphan drugs are prescribed for chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and plaque psoriasis.

Best Selling Orphan Drugs:

According to a joint investigation by Kaiser Health News (KHN) and NPR, “Seven of the 10 best-selling drugs in the country in 2015 were orphan drugs.” In that year, none earned less than $3 billion in sales. The top-selling orphan drug, Humira, grossed over $8 billion.

Other orphan drugs that are on the Top 10 Best-Selling Drugs list from KHN & NRP include:

  • Enbrel

  • Remicade

  • Rituxan

  • Neulasta

  • Revlimid

  • Copaxone

Cancer Drugs that Bring In Big Bucks:

Cancer medications are frequently given orphan status. Drugs like Keytruda, Opdivo and Yervoy have been heralded as breakthroughs for melanoma and other hard-to-treat malignancies. The list price can range from $100,000 to $150,000 annually. Even with insurance, co-pays can become unaffordable for many patients.

Orphan drugs are often life savers. The original intent of the legislation was to make them available for people who would otherwise die. The FDA called these medications “significant drugs of limited commercial value.”

The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD), Congress and FDA officials who worked tirelessly to make the Orphan Drug Act a reality did not anticipate that it would provide a huge bonanza for the pharmaceutical industry. In 1983 no one could have imagined billion-dollar revenues on such medications.

KHN & NRP Team Up:

“At the request of Kaiser Health News, Express Scripts, which manages pharmacy benefits, analyzed the orphan drugs on its approved list. Four orphans cost more than $70,000 for a 30-day supply, or $840,000 annually. An additional 29 orphan drugs cost at least $28,000 for a 30-day supply, or more than $336,000 a year. At those prices, the revenue for a an orphan-drug maker can build up quickly: A $50,000 orphan taken by 50,000 patients could reach $2.5 billion in annual sales; a $300,000 orphan for just 5,000 people could hit $1.5 billion a year.”

What Would the Bible Say?

We wonder how drug company executives view orphans? Do they see them as a pot of gold to be exploited or an opportunity to do the right thing for people who are suffering?

We fear that drug makers have learned how to bend the rules to their own benefit, leaving American families to pay the bills. Lest you think this is an esoteric issue that has no impact on your life, let me remind you that orphan drugs are having a huge impact on insurance companies. The incredible cost of new cancer drugs and other orphans is pushing up premiums for everyone. The next time you see the cost of your health insurance rise, consider that drug costs are a big reason for those substantial increases. 

 

What Can You Do?

Learn About the Increased Demand for Holistic Health Practitioners

 

Long before the rise of Western medicine, compassionate healers devoted their lives to encouraging whole body wellness. Today’s holistic health practitioners follow in the footsteps of those ancient healers and are in greater demand than ever before.

In our stressful modern age, the wellness industry offers desperately needed support to those in search of balance and healing, making holistic health careers more popular than ever before.

More and more people today are recognizing the limitations of Western science and medicine. They know that overuse of antibiotics can create long-term health problems and vulnerabilities. They are distrustful of large pharmaceutical companies with very good reasons, not to mention the high cost of health care.

Rates of chronic disease, obesity, depression and anxiety are higher than ever before. People are stressed out, overwhelmed and unhealthy. Overall, there is a widespread resurgence of interest in holistic health and wellness, both in the form of alternative medicine and in beauty and spa treatments.

People are visiting holistic health practitioners and spas to help them cope with their busy lives, address chronic pain and fight disease.

The Demand for Holistic Health Careers and Practitioners

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine recently reported that approximately 38 percent of adults in the United States are using some form of complementary or alternative medicine (CAM).

According to Web-MD, Americans are continuing to turn to complementary and alternative medicine. And CNN reports that about a third of us are now using alternative methods to supplement the care we get from our doctors. That means that careers in holistic health can anticipate healthy growth. While the demand for alternative medicine includes a broad range of holistic health occupations, many of these fields should enjoy strong career prospects with the public’s continued interest in alternative medicine.

Since most forms of CAM are not covered by health insurance, it is clear that a large number of people are willing to pay for this kind of health care. There is also an increasing number of spas and spa-goers, which can promote the success of many wellness and natural health modalities. This growing demand makes it an excellent time to begin a career as a holistic health practitioner. The range of options for holistic health education is almost limitless. Are you ready to awaken the healer within?