Type 1 Diabetes Cured? Who Cares? No Money In It
This is a repost from Karl Denninger’s Market Ticker website (reprinted here with permission). It has been slightly edited for brevity.
Type 1 Diabetes is a nasty disease in which the islet cells in the pancreas are destroyed by the body. This renders the sufferer unable to produce insulin, which is necessary to regulate the metabolism of glucose (sugar), the body’s main fuel.
What I bet nobody assumed was that a relatively inexpensive, and 90 year old vaccine might actually cause the body to repair itself. It looks like that may have been discovered. (From Bloomberg):
A tuberculosis vaccine that has been in use for 90 years may help reverse Type 1 diabetes and eliminate the life-long need for insulin injections, results from an early study by Harvard University researchers suggest.
This is the sort of breakthrough — the possibility of an actual cure for a condition that has always been regarded as utterly incurable — that you would think everyone would be jumping all over to test and develop, right?
Wrong. And why not?
Faustman and her colleagues at Massachusetts General in Boston are working to get the vaccine to market. After their early findings in studies with mice, she said they tried to interest every major drugmaker in developing the vaccine as a possible cure for diabetes. All told her there wasn’t enough money to be made in a cure that used an inexpensive, generically available vaccine…
Got it? It’s not about people or health. It’s about money. The implication, of course, is that if it’s more profitable to “control” a disease than cure it, the path that will be pursued is “control”, not cure.
Are all these chronic conditions that we suffer from truly incurable? Or is it simply that nobody looks for actual cures, because it doesn’t make as much money as “therapies” do?
It was a bit different when charities were providing a good part of the care. Then you had people actually interested in cures, because the funds were privately provided and the more people you could cure the more people you could help.
EMTALA and the rest of the mess our government put in place in the health system broke the incentives that would normally be associated with medicine, and we all get screwed as a consequence.