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2039: Pharmacy after the fall


... and the world came to realise in 2039 that human-kind was not, scientifically-speaking, Homo sapiens but a hybrid swarm best described as Homo x sapiens. Individual members of this hybrid swarm could be categorised as the truly wise (var. sapiens) and the not so wise (var. pseudosapiens). The essential difference between these two variants is the will or otherwise to learn. Amongst those with a will to learn are the individuals who are able and willing to fund research and/or undertake research and, crucially, to learn from the advances in knowledge and understanding recorded by others. They are characterised by a capacity for "delayed gratification" (1). The rest are characterised by a lack of eagerness to learn and by a need for instant gratification, often with no "manual over-ride button". It came to be recognised by the healthcare professions that these individuals generally did not respond to healthy-living advice, and indeed actively spurned any such advice proferred by well-meaning and knowledgeable healthcare practitioners who had diligently engaged in continuing professional development. By 2039, all that human-kind needed to know about healthy lifestyle had been thoroughly researched and documented, and taken on board by Homo x sapiens var. sapiens. There was little need for medication in these individuals. Their continuing good health followed from the simple foods and drinks they ate and drank in moderation (and especially during pregnancy), from their active lifestyles, and from the care they took to look after their skin and gut microbiomes. The truth of the maxims “you are what you eat” (2), “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” (3), and “eat less and move about more” (4) had been accepted by these individuals. Any ill-health they suffered could be put down to sheer bad luck. As for Homo x sapiens var. pseudosapiens, illness was tacitly accepted as a fact of life, and medicines as part of a normal diet. But the supply of medicines had dwindled to the point where there was insufficient to treat all of these patients symptomatically (so-called "polypharmacy"), as was the norm in the earlier years of the 21st Century. Instead of acceding to the expectations of these patients for symptomatic treatment that would enable them to live longer (thus giving politicians something to brag about whilst at the same time causing patients to suffer a long, lingering, and often painful self-inflicted illness before their eventual and inevitable demise), their illnesses were allowed to follow a natural, more rapid, and therefore more humane course as was the norm in the final quarter of the 20th Century. Researchers are still seeking to determine whether there is phenotypic plasticity in those who are provisionally categorised as Homo x sapiens var. pseudosapiens, this being the most obvious potential route towards the cost-effective use of scarce medicines ... but should those scarce resources be reserved for Homo sapiens var. sapiens or Homo sapiens var. pseudosapiens?

Posted date

13 JUL 2018

Posted time



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