This weekend I was on a family camping trip. These trips typically involve much sitting around the fire drinking adult beverages and having adult conversations.
I was well into my second glass of wine when I was broadsided by blatant stupidity.
My teenaged cousin asked me, “Do you think it’s true what some people say that pharmaceutical companies have a cure for cancer but they won’t sell it to people?”
My cousin is a nice girl and appeared to be looking for a genuine answer/conversation. Unfortunately her harpy of a mother was sitting beside her, so that was the last opportunity the girl had to speak. If I didn’t know the girl better I’d think she was deliberately baiting me, because the topic is apparently a pet subject of her mother’s.
I told her that I did not believe such a thing was likely. Even without knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry, one can see that it does not make sound financial sense to withhold something so valuable. That’s when her mother pounced.
“I have two friends who are amunologists [sic] who tell me that this is true. The pharmaceutical companies make more money selling their other drugs and selling the cure for cancer would mean less money for them.”
I pointed out (again) that they could name any price for such a cure as patients would pay any amount of money for it, so the monetary loss wouldn’t matter.
She insisted that her inside information must be true because her amunologist friends are 50yrs old and know a lot about the industry. I asked her if she was implying that my mere six years of industry experience meant that I was therefore stupid. She claimed that they knew specifically of the cancer cure that was being kept secret.
I told her her brilliant amunologist friends should defect from the industry and sell the cure themselves then. She backpedaled and said that they didn’t have the cure, but they knew for certain that it exists, and went back to her original argument that the companies make more money selling other drugs.
I tried a different tactic and told her that cancer isn’t a disease that maintenance medications are sold for - either you’re trying to eliminate the cancer or you’re dying from it. The medications the companies sell that people take for years are typically for things like high blood pressure and cholesterol. I could possibly believe the argument if she was talking about a cure for HIV (but not likely) but cancer simply doesn’t work that way.
She got huffy at my implication that she doesn’t know the difference between cancer and HIV . Then went back to her (now tired) assertion that the pharma companies make more money NOT selling the cure for cancer.
I told her that her argument was completely lacking in logic and went off in search of another glass of wine.
I hate to end arguments that way, but I realized that I was trying to teach a pig to sing. For that, I pit myself.