The Value of Drugs and Medications


It is commonplace in the United States to hear people complain about drugs, medications, and vaccines. Many people I know do not want to use them, particularly vaccines. This point of view has various rationales: drugs are ineffective, drugs have side effects, natural remedies are better, the drug companies are out to rip us off, etc. While all of these assertions have some truth in them, these people are in danger of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Prescription medications are a modern miracle. Millions of people have had their lives improved and, in many cases, extended or saved, through the use of medications. Antibiotics have rendered many infectious diseases a thing of the past. Many other medications have made it possible for people to control and live with chronic conditions. We forget that in earlier generations, many people suffered misery and early death because of illnesses that we now take for granted can be cured.

Similarly, the vaccines that many people now think they can do without have been responsible for eradication of many childhood illnesses that millennials have often never even heard of. Smallpox, diphtheria, mumps, and rubella are a few examples. The current trend for parents to not accept vaccinations for their children is leading to the return of some of these diseases in some places.

It is true that drug companies are not saints: price-gouging is endemic in the industry. But that doesn't mean that their products are worthless or that we don't need them.

Let's be realistic in our assessment of medications. We cannot do without them.

Date Recorded: 
Friday, May 15, 2020
Date Posted: 
Friday, May 15, 2020
Type of GEM: 
GEM of the Day: 
Monday, September 12, 2022
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