Here's LOFF56:

I definitely agree with the principal of what you're both saying - that drug companies and doctors alike are nefariously putting us at undue risk for their own personal gain. But by definition I think the coroner was right that it was an accidental death. (Although I admit the possibility exists that all the facts weren't presented and there was more to it than what's been made public).

An accident is the societal justification of a statistically inevitable negative result of a risk. (In an absolute sense there should be no such thing as an "accident" - everything happens for a reason.) It's just that the degree of how "accidental" an event is is proportional to our judgment of the value of the positive benefits associated with that risk. It's staggering the number of people that die in automobile accidents each year. Yet most of us don't think twice about getting into a car - and, by the way, very rarely do we blame those accidents on the auto industry.

It's all about statistics. If .1% of drivers die in a car accident this year, when it does happen it's not a stretch to call it an accident. If 1% of people die of an adverse affect to a prescription drug, it's still statistically an accident when it does happen. Unless of course you don't believe at all in any benefit of prescription drugs, then in that case increasing your risk of death by 1% for no apparent benefit disqualifies a negative result from being considered an accident. But it would be the same for someone who say doesn't believe in the benefits of driving a car, to them adding a .1% risk of death is just foolish.

I realize that there may be some other factors in this particular case such as intentional overdose, which in my analogy I guess would be like driving 120 miles an hour at night in the rain - if you die, than yes, it's your own damn fault. Or maybe negligence on the doctors part, perhaps not noticing the conflicting circumstances, I guess that would be like a mechanic failing to fix your brakes correctly. In both cases there is someone to blame for the accident. But in both of those cases you can't blame the drug company or the car company for that specific result.

I'm not trying to absolve the drug companies in any way, personally I think there are aspects of what they do that reach into the realm of what the tobacco companies do. And the more we learn about the drugs they produce the more the risk to benefit ratio changes. But they're no where near 100% risk and 0% benefit that the tobacco companies have managed to accomplish. There are still tangible benefits they provide. Penicillin would be one, however a cure for Restless Leg Syndrome - not so much. When they start adding risk with no tangible benefit, that's when they become reckless and irresponsible. But I don't think we should tear down the whole industry, but for sure we need to beat the greed out of them like there's no tomorrow!!

Here's PL:

Well, I know we've had this discussion before on this blog, the one bad apple/don't throw the baby out with the bath water debate. But you know what, when there's enough bad apples in a particular bunch on a regular basis, you stop going to that orchard. I think that the pharmaceutical industry has reached the tobacco industry's low bar. I mean, hey, cigarettes help reduce anxiety for some people in the short run while helping them create cancer, right? And cars? Yes, actually, cars are pretty much an insane, archaic mode of transportation that at this point does more harm than good en masse.

Big Pharma has gone so far beyond a few potentially useful antibiotics or analgesics to a place where they make Frank Lucas, the heroin kingpin made famous in "American Gangster" look like not much more than a benign hipster. Sorry, L56, I can't let 'em off the hook that easily. At best, if it's not technically homicide, then Brittany's doctors and pharmacists were complicit in her suicide.

1 comment:

hartkitt said...

My instant take on this tragedy after looking at pictures of Brittany Murphy was that she was, like most TV and movie stars WHO ARE WOMEN all bones and stress. She has that look that so many actresses have of distended tendons and skeletal structure way too close to the surface. And yes, it may take a lot of drugs to get that look.

Women who start out looking "normal" slowly shrink up to dessicated wraiths to maintain the thinness required to be a star. Recent pictures of Sandra Bullock, for example, are painful to behold. It's almost a waste of time to even say it anymore, but our cultural standard for womens beauty is moving more and more towards a painfully thin look and actresses have to maintain it if they want to work. Maintaining a lifetime of partial starvation probably requires a lot of manipulation, drugs included.

Now, you can take as written here a general tirade on how keeping women thin and childlike is a way of depriving of them of perceived and actual power in life. If you spend a huge portion of your mental energy on being unnaturally thin then a) you don't have that energy for other things b) you're too wiped out from starvation to have energy for other things and c) you are, in effect saying that the body you live in is BADBADBAD and needs to be gotten rid of. How can this be empowering?

It seems almost impossible to fight against this cultural perception that a normal female body is not fat when all we see on TV, in movies and magazines is women who have every piece of fat removed from their bodies. The best I can do is point out over and over to my daughters that what they are seeing is NOT the norm and most likely not healthy as I did when we read of Brittany Murphy's death. Case in point.

Anyway, my point is that there was a reason she was taking all those drugs and had a weakened immune system and being bone thin could not have helped and may have been a causal factor. While feminism as such doesn't play a massive role in this blog it seems evident that for women, as part of accepting all of oneself, of giving oneself "full permission" to live giving permission to the parts of our bodies that aren't rock hard and bony plays a part.

Once again, don't get me started...


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