Tuesday, May 31, 2005

If You Do It You'll Go Blind


"Is there anything worse than being blind? Yes, a man with sight and no vision." Helen Keller

Okay, Class, we all agree it's almost impossible to avoid salacious puns when discussing this topic. So let's get those giggles out of the way now, please.

For those blinded as a result of taking Viagra, it's not at all funny. But you have to admit, there's some serious irony here. A rare side effect of a sexual enhancement drug is disclosed and it's international news. Yet nobody even suggests stopping the medication -- they'll just speed up the research to address this new wrinkle.

What happened when some potentially dangerous sides effects of arthritis drugs were confirmed? Bam, yanked right off the shelves. By the way, Viagra and its cousins carry similar potential for cardiovascular complications. But apparently, worth the risk.

Keep in mind arthritis and other inflammatory diseases affect a huge segment of the population compared to those afflicted with ED. And legions of people are suffering and dying from both mundane and deadly diseases -- for which there could be, should be a cure in today's world of medical miracles.

Sure, erectile dysfunction drugs have a legitimate place in modern medicine. But c'mon, they're not exactly up there with chemotherapy or even antibiotics. And yes, everybody should enjoy a healthy, active sex life. Frankly, we'd all be better off if our government leaders spent more time pursuing the pleasures of the flesh. As in: Make Love, Not War.

What concerns me though, is the disproportionate focus on drugs for erectile dysfunction compared to medicines that could actually save lives. The top three ED drugs rake in billions of dollars for drug companies. And more competitors are surely in the pipeline. So who's dedicating precious research and development funds to a cure for Alzheimer's or breast cancer or AIDS or the myriad of other plagues besetting modern society?

And on the subject of blindness, what about the widespread but too little known disease called AMD (Age-Related Macular Degeneration) -- the leading cause of blindness in people over 50. Consider the Baby Boomers, the largest population bulge in history. Closing in on 50, many already older, they're going to go blind in record numbers. The cure is out there, but pushed back for how many years because drug companies are chasing ED profits, not AMD antidotes?

Ask them, ask yourself, which cure would you rather wait for? In theory, maybe a tough call. In practice, no contest.

Here's an even more troubling question: if Erectile Dysfunction drugs came from stem cell research, would George W, Tom DeLay, Bill Frist and the rest of the MEN in that crowd be opposing it so vigorously? Let's see: Erection. Embryo. Erection. Embryo. You be the judge.

There's a joke among women, too sad, too true: if men had breasts, there'd have been a cure for breast cancer years ago. Wait til the CEOs of Pfizer and other big drug companies start going blind from AMD. Then maybe we'll all see the light.


Find out more about AMD here The Foundation Fighting Blindness.

Read more about my personal connection to it here Lighting the Way.

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24 Comments:

Blogger MacManus said...

Too true...I have been a long time subscriber to the following theory. The pharmaceutical companies have had cures for most illnesses and some diseases for quite a while now. Unfortunately if they were to release cures for such common ailments as colds and the like, they stand to lose billions of dollars a year in sales from the over the counter cold and flu medications. I realise that the flu is viral but with all of the money they have spent on researching these illnesses they must have come across something that would work at a genetic level even with mutations of the flu from year to year. I leave you with one thought and I could be wrong but...Has anyone important...I mean really important to the western world died of cancer or HIV in the last 10 years? Makes you think huh?

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Blogger Editor said...

Wow that´s a great blog that you have there, mine is slightly differnent but it basically covers the same topics.

I have a bone cancer symptom site. It pretty much covers Cancer related stuff.

Check it out, you won´t regret it... Cheers.. Roger From Http://www.havecancer.com

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Blogger Matt said...

Sally you are better than this - "There's a joke among women, too sad, too true: if men had breasts, there'd have been a cure for breast cancer years ago. Wait til the CEOs of Pfizer and other big drug companies start going blind from AMD. Then maybe we'll all see the light."

How many men die of prostate cancer... There's no cure there, other than getting your prostate ripped out, risking impotence or incontinence. Its not that men don't care about breast cancer or woman don't care about prostate cancer... Its all a problem to be worked!

10:41 PM  

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