Dancing with the devil: Is Cancer benefiting the pharmaceutical industry?
If one was to indulge in a game of world association with cancer, odds are that every conceivable emotion and adjective would be used to describe the debilitating disease. Every known word to describe the trauma, pain, anger, shame, and guilt would be uttered, save one – business.
Cancer is a business. This statement is not meant to downplay the various breakthroughs in cancer treatment through the years or overlook the hardships of cancer patients. It is a rational way of looking at one of the deadliest diseases known to man. Numerous discoveries have been made in the past, each alluding to an effective treatment for cancer. Yet, for every discovery made, mankind is nowhere closer to finding the ultimate cure. This ponders the inevitable question: Has the cure for cancer been discovered? If so, are we being misdirected to its existence?
The global pharmaceutical market is estimated to be worth USD405.52 billion in 2020. Furthermore, it is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.34 percent from 2021-2028. For an entity of that size, it is baffling that a definite cure for cancer is yet to be found. It becomes less puzzling when one actually looks at the stakes.
A cure for cancer is the proverbial double-edged sword for pharmaceutical companies. On one hand, the world would come together and celebrate the discovery of the miracle cure while on the other pharma companies would see profits take a tumble. Why introduce a product that would make a huge dent in your income? Anyone can recognize why this would be a disastrous business decision.
If one chooses to argue that a cure for cancer has not been discovered yet, the next logical question is why. Why has a cure for cancer not been found yet? Where is all the money raked in by global pharma companies going? Given its estimated net worth and technological advancements available to the industry, surely a cure for cancer can be found. Or has the cure for cancer been found but sequestered away in some undisclosed lab for fear of discovery by the public? Why so? It all boils down to a game of numbers, of profits, and of exploitation.
Cancer is a business, plain and simple. As harsh as it may sound, it is a hard pill to swallow but the truth nonetheless. One only has to look at the different stages and therapies involved in cancer treatment to understand the business behind it. A quick number crunching session and boom, one is staring at a figure too large to comprehend. All that money to be spent in different procedures to treat disease and even then there is no guarantee that the patient will survive and go on to lead a long and happy life!
In 2020, an estimated 18.1 million new cases of cancer were detected worldwide (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer) and nearly 9.9 million cancer deaths (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer). That is another 18.1 million souls who would willingly pay for a second chance at life.
Businesses profit when you give them the power to dictate your life. Cancer is no different. Instead of giving in to fear, simple research about the disease can save you a lot of hurts. Cancer is a deadly disease. There is no denying that. If there is indeed a cure for cancer, the world remains oblivious to it.
It will take more than just transparency and a global effort to lift the veil of secrecy surrounding cancer and its cure. This, however, may just remain a pipe dream. Global pharma companies have too much to lose. Ever wondered why there are huge centers dedicated to just cancer and never other diseases? Business. Always was, is and always will be.