Asprin from the bark of a tree has been an effective pain killer long before you could buy pills. Chances are, asprin wasn’t sold commercially until it could be synthesized – and thus patented.
There is and has been a cure for cholesterol and plaque related heart disease. Injections of pure HDL have a roto-rooter effect on arteries. This has been known for years and years, but a drug was never made. This is because HDL-cholesterol which everybody has, cannot be patented. It is natural. It was not until a mutated HDL was discovered in a town in Italy that drug companies even took interest – you can patent a mutation.
There are no aphrodesiacs as far as “modern” medicine is concerned. Well, not true unfortunately. A sweet-potato-like tubor called Maca has been clinically proven to increase sperm count (only in men), sex drive and stamina. PROVEN! It works on animals and humans. They don’t know what chemical specifically does it, and it cannot be synthesized or patented. So drug companies deny it is possible. Maca sits in online advertisements with penis enlargement pills and other farce treatments – while it is legitimate.
Sickle Cell Anemia is a terrible disorder that plagues peoples of African decent almost exclusively. Why is it that the Africans didn’t have trouble with it before? Yams. African yams contain something that prevents sickle-cell attacks. The theory is that “Thiocynate” is responsible for this protection. And yet, people who go to a traditional doctor have to take dehabilitating drugs and be extremely careful – living a limited, painful life. Read “The Color Purple” for crying out loud! Yams protected the old African, and the anemia didn’t show up until the Europeans destroyed yams in favor of corn.
Until recently, the only treatment for arthritis was pain killers, steroids and joint replacement. Then glucosamine and chondroitin were discovered. Enough evidence has demonstrated that these chemicals are an effective treatment of Arthritis, that this dietary supplement was endorsed by some arthritis foundation.
What other treatments exist? At present, a drug that a doctor will prescribe must pass FDA approval. This is very expensive, and the burden of proof lies on the drug manufacturer. They must perform short and long term studies; double blind tests using placebos. The only way a profit oriented company will spend the millions and billions of dollars required to test and approve a drug is if they can patent it. And you cannot patent anything natural.
Anything that does not get FDA approval must be categorized as a Dietary Supplement. The only rule about these supplements is that they cannot claim to be a drug, they must not be toxic, and they must state that any claims are not FDA approved.
The result is that there are thousands and thousands of dietary supplements, most of which are Snak Oil. There is no real way to sort amongst the garbage, because there have been very few scientific studies performed. The placebo effect can be astounding – it only figures since the brains is ever more astounding. No one person’s results made a treatment legit. That is why double blind placebo-controlled tests are necessary.
All this talk, what is the solution? Government funded drug research. With a reasonable budget. The removal of competition from drug companies. The removal of unchecked profit.