free-cheap-flu-shots-ftrI went to a pharmacy to buy some toothpaste. The sales lady offered me “free flu shot” on the spot (I could not help but envision her like some devilish temptress: Come on, who could resist free stuff? And you don’t have to wait, we can do it right now, before you take the time to think of it twice…”)

Who is actually paying for the “free” stuff? Who is actually benefitting from it? You or…some big, political heavyweight?

I asked the sales lady if she had some less invasive and more natural alternative to offer for free. She looked at me as if I had two heads. “What do you mean by natural alternative?” (Probably trained to answer a question with ANY other question.)

Concomitant, President Obama was asking the Congress for money to fight Ebola. $6 billion, according to The Washington Post:
“The Obama administration has asked Congress for more than $6 billion in emergency funding to fight the Ebola epidemic in West Africa and secure the United States against further spread of the deadly virus.
In a letter to House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), President Obama said the money would fund a comprehensive strategy “to contain and end the outbreak at its source in Africa, enhance domestic preparedness, speed the procurement and testing of vaccines and therapeutics, and accelerate global capability to prevent the spread of future infectious diseases.”

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The request asks for $4.6 billion immediately and an additional $1.54 billion as a contingency fund in case the epidemic worsens. The administration’s request includes $2.43 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services, which includes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And $1.98 billion would go to the U.S. Agency for International Development, the lead agency for the U.S. response in West Africa.

The State Department would get $127 million to help with medical support and evacuation of workers overseas. The Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, would get $112 million for developing new technologies that could be used to treat Ebola and other infectious diseases until a vaccine can be developed.

Among other objectives, the emergency money would fund the creation of 50 Ebola treatment centers in the United States and buy personal protective equipment for health-care workers. It would also boost screening at airports and borders. ” (1)

Nothing here to help African countries find in their own pharmacopeia – some natural remedy with strong anti-viral property. Nothing about cheap alternative therapies that would be accessible to all. Nothing about empowering them to develop a better immune system. Nothing about questioning the role of existing vaccination programs in Africa with the recurrent development of virus epidemics (HIV also came from Africa).

Vaccination, vaccination, vaccination: the mantra of pharmaceutical companies has become THE political agenda with complete convergence of political and private interests. Any problem with that?

(1)http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/obama-seeks-6-billion-from-congress-to-fight-ebola-in-africa-united-states/2014/11/05/12e00f10-6511-11e4-bb14-4cfea1e742d5_story.html