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Big Pharma and COVID-19

This article by Lucia Dore and Carole Railton discusses how Big Pharma is tackling COVID-19 and shows how there is a better way. Also see

Big Pharma and COVID-19

The race is on to find a vaccine for COVID-19. It has highlighted the role of the pharmaceutical industry in the healthcare sector - as if the pharma industry needed more exposure.

President Trump wants to fast track a vaccine with the goal of having 100 million doses available by the end of the year. Gilead Sciences, a NASDAQ-listed US company with a market cap of USD 82.3 billion in 2019, is working on making its antiviral drug Remdesivier - a drug that was originally developed to treat Ebola-suitable for treating coronavirus. Gilead says it can make enough to treat 140,000 coronavirus patients by the end of May and several million by next year.

The results of Remdesivir trials, and its effectiveness in treating patients suffering from coronavirus, are inconclusive. The projections assume a 10-day dosing duration but this timeline may be shorter, tests suggest.

The US’s Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency use authorisation for the drug to treat the coronavirus, President Donald Trump announced on Friday.

Some of the smaller companies and a number of research laboratories are in the race to find a vaccine to tackle coronavirus. There’s reportedly about 70 vaccines vying for pole position. In the UK, a research laboratory at the University of Oxford has teamed up with UK-headquartered pharma-giant AstraZeneca to develop a vaccine. A trial has started. Scientists believe they will know if the drug works within six weeks. If successful, the UK’s NHS will get to use it first.

Whether or not one of the big pharmaceutical companies finds a vaccine, we do know that there is a big difference between what Big Pharma charges for a drug and how much generic drug companies charge.

The global market for generic drugs is projected to rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.7%; meaning that, in the forecast period 2016 to 2021, the global market will increase from USD 352 billion to USD 533 billion, according to figures on Wikipedia.

Cost matters. This is especially true of the older population, many of whom have become increasingly reliant on drugs which are also becoming more expensive. Drugs such as statins, originally developed to keep cholesterol levels low, are now heavily prescribed for the over 70s to help stave off heart attacks or strokes. But are they right for you? Is there an alternative?

With an estimated 75% of seniors in the UK with high low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, it makes sense to develop some habits that might help to reduce this. Here we look at some common alternatives that Carole Railton has tried or worked with. It’s always best to seek medical advise before changing your eating and medication habits, she says.

Garlic is known to decrease the level of “bad cholesterol” in the body and raise the level of “good cholesterol”. The British Heart Foundation’s recent studies show that three grams of beta-glucan per day, which is found in oat bran, can reduce LDL cholesterol by an average of 7%. Several years ago, I brought down my own bad cholesterol level in five weeks in a normal reading by eating oats and drinking fresh apple juice.

As a fully qualified homeopath, Carole looks at the overall condition of a patient and what is triggering symptoms. Often by treating an existing condition, the poor level of cholesterol reduces. Since each person presents differently, Carole uses different remedies for each person. What is common to most patients is the recommendation to eat foods high in saturated fats that can help to build a stronger immune system. The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics, an online group of scientists, medical doctors and academics, shares these views.

Following surgery, cholesterol levels rise while the body sorts itself out. The same is true if the body is under stress. It’s essential in the production of hormones to ensure our bodies are functioning well. Simple rich sources of cholesterol like caviar and cod liver oil can also aid recovery and bring down our bad cholesterol.

Photo: by Carole Railton (copyright). How can we prevent “stunted growth?”

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