Pharmaceutical companies create products that help patients reduce pain and manage their conditions, and this is certainly worthy of praise. Executives, researchers, and marketers in the pharmaceutical industry nevertheless need to realize something. Their lives and the lives of their families are still fundamentally pointless as long as human beings continue dying from old age and trauma. This is not a threat, but rather a biological reality. I previously discussed this line of thinking in my posts Medical Research Gives Life Meaning and The Best Argument Against Free Will.
The focus on managing disease symptoms rather than curing aging is the major Achilles heel of the pharmaceutical industry. Because of this myopic focus on short-term profits, people are forced to live in fear when confronting the reality of death. Because of the permanence of death and the continued occurrence of life-ending traumatic injury, it makes sense to live in terror and to analyze every event and person for their potential risk of causing death. It’s possible to recover from many mistakes, but it only takes one wrong mistake to ruin your life. In this individualistic world you have to anticipate every potential negative outcome, or else people will say that you deserve to die for making poor choices in life.
Fortunately, some small regenerative medicine companies are bravely bucking this trend. Progress still needs to be accelerated with the resources of larger pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Making tiny incremental changes to existing medications is the easy way out for many pharmaceutical companies. A focus on regenerative medicine involving stem cells, tissue engineering, and gene therapy is much riskier in economic terms. The regenerative medicine approach still has greater potential for massive rewards. It’s also a matter of life and death for everyone involved.