The political economy of capitalism was born more than a century and a half ago with the appearance of Capital by Karl Marx. Subsequently, the Marxist-Leninist political economy developed until the end of the twentieth century, but there were also gaps in it. The economy was viewed as a combination of industry, agriculture, transport, trade, banking, and a number of other industries; at the same time, the social sphere, especially health care, dropped out of sight. This shortcoming of professional political economists tried to correct two French physicians – Jacques Lacaze and Louis de Brouwer.
They convincingly showed that capitalism, with its pursuit of profit, destroyed traditional medicine, that modern medicine sees a person not as an end, but as a means. Modern medicine is not interested in a person being healthy. The more sick people, the greater the income of those who provide medical services and produce drugs. Today, medical institutions (clinics, hospitals, diagnostic centers, etc.) and pharmaceutical companies that produce pharmaceuticals are joining forces in order to make a profit, forming a single medical-pharmaceutical complex. Insurance companies are another component of this complex.
In 1999, Louis Brouvair’s book La mafia pharmaceutique et agroalimentaire was published in France. Avec pour cosequences le discrédit de la médecine allopathique et le grave état sanitaire des populations du monde occidental. In 2004 it was published in Russian in Kiev.
In his book, Dr. L. Brouwer refers to another French physician, Jacques Lacaz. Lakaz will turn 80 at the end of 2021, but he is leading a vigorous fight against vaccination against COVID-19. He convincingly presents modern Western medicine as part of a unified capitalist system and shows its inhuman nature. I would especially like to note the publication by Jacques Lacaz in Médecines nouvelles (No. 71, octobre 1993), which contains interesting ideas that you will not find in any textbook on political economy.
Capitalism, defined by Marx as a mode of production, does not immediately penetrate all spheres of society. It usually arises in industry. Then it captures agriculture, trade, and other industries. And finally gets to medicine. Jacques Lacaz believes that in France medicine began to acquire the features of the capitalist mode of production only in the twentieth century. And before that, medicine was a semblance of small-scale production: “Until recently, between the two last wars, medicine and pharmaceuticals were practiced exclusively by a handicraft method, that is, as they worked for several centuries … disease has also become a semblance of a market. “
Signs of the transformation of medicine into large-scale capitalist production emerged in the period between the two world wars, when a campaign began to fight against such an evil of the twentieth century as cancer: “After the First World War, the war against cancer began to unfold. The main goal of this new “crusade” was the revival of traditional hospital structures. The model of anti-cancer centers, developed before the Second World War (concentration of funds, generalization of scientific achievements) served as the basis for the creation of regional hospital centers, the first opening of which dates back to the fifties. “
So, just as large and super-large enterprises were created in industry in the 19th century, the same giants began to arise in the health care system: “This was the very first and largest component of the capitalist mode of production in the medical field: structures like factories are beginning to be created – concentration of patients in one place. There was a gradual transition from shelters that accepted the needy, to modern hospitals, in which patients accumulated, which became the objects of medical practice. “
In parallel, revolutionary transformations in pharmaceuticals took place. Before the First World War, pharmaceuticals both in France and in other countries were based almost exclusively on natural materials of plant and animal origin (“organic”). The revolution in pharmaceuticals was started by the Germans (first of all, the Farbenindustrie AG corporation, today it is called Bayer), who began to replace organic chemistry with man-made chemistry: “In the period between the two wars, a second decisive factor appears: chemistry and specifically German chemistry. The latter was tested in France during the occupation … From that time it all began. “
Before that, pharmaceuticals could be called art, manual production. The drugs created were a joint product of a doctor who wrote a detailed prescription and a pharmacist who manufactured the drug strictly according to the prescription: “Before this period, the creation of a particular drug was the business of a practitioner: he created the structure of the future drug in the presence of his patient and during his individual questioning, and depending on the depth of his knowledge, he wrote out a prescription. The pharmacist was making a prescription drug. “
And now, already during the Second World War, and even more so after it, the pharmaceutical industry is turning from art and small-scale production into a giant industry with a clearly chemical bias: “Gradually, the practitioner began to lose his individuality. Pharmaceuticals were becoming a priority for the big industry. “
Further development of pharmaceuticals completely obeys the laws of the capitalist mode of production: “Industrial laboratories began to manufacture all drugs, following the law of maximum benefit, which manifested itself in two main forms: if a new drug was less expensive but more effective, a decision was made to suspend its release, then as another, more expensive, medicine soon appeared on the market. “
Not only did industrial pharmaceuticals begin to lure money out of people’s pockets, it began to maim and even kill them. As Jacques Lacaz writes, when developing new drugs, “only immediate results were taken into account and the catastrophic consequences of side effects of certain drugs released to the market were not taken into account …”
Pharmaceutical companies are turning into large laboratories, experimenting on people: “The big laboratory becomes the master of the situation: it is a judge and prosecutor, it organizes experiments on humans and continues to conduct them further, skillfully bypassing recently passed laws.”
Not only do pharmaceutical giants shamelessly market their untested, sometimes very dangerous products. At the same time, they destroy independent drug developers as potential competitors. Their principle: “Prevention of any openings outside the main production cycle. Woe to the researcher, whatever his former titles and merit, who made a discovery outside the same production cycle. If this happened, then such a researcher will face persecution from the formidable scientific administrative and legal mechanism. So, in 1988, a medical practitioner from Nice, Dr. Philippe La Garte, paid for his independent thinking with 45 days in prison. Add to this the actions of top management during the occupation, which allowed freedom of chemical research, banned all herbal medicine (as well as other therapeutic methods, including electrotherapy) and created a surveillance service, a watchdog of the new order, which continues to exist in this area until so far”.
Already in the 60s of the twentieth century, medicine in a broad sense (hospitals plus the pharmaceutical industry, supported by insurance companies) became an industry with one of the highest profit margins (both in France and in other Western countries): “Large hospital centers, By concentrating patients, specialists and huge financial resources, they created conditions for the development of high medical technologies in the field of fluoroscopy, surgery, and thus opened a new highly profitable center for investors. “
Of course, medicine as a business owes a lot to government officials who were bought by this business and created most favored nation treatment for it. Jacques Lacaz draws attention to the fact that gradually the role of the state as a regulator of the healthcare sector begins to weaken. Various kinds of non-state alliances and unions are emerging, which take on the functions of “self-regulation” in the sphere of medicine and health care. In the early 1980s, there was “the emergence of such large new organizations as, for example, the Lyon Directorate for Monitoring Drinking Water, which themselves began to acquire private clinics, re-equip them with modern technology and successfully compete with the relevant government services. In some areas (the city of Marseille), the public sector is beginning to lose its power … “
The old institute of pharmacists, who were engaged in the “piece” production of drugs, was finally destroyed. In December 1989, France passed a law prohibiting them from making prescription drugs themselves. At the same time, midwives finally disappeared, they were replaced by obstetricians of maternity hospitals, clinics and hospitals. The status of attending physicians has also changed. They “increasingly played the role of dispatchers, monitoring the arrival of new patients.” The patient, who falls into the field of vision of the doctor, begins to “drive in a circle”: “Specialists began to group in large centers and refer patients to other colleagues.”
Both in this and in his other articles, Jacques Lacaz is very critical of the idea of universal vaccinations (this was long before the current vaccination campaign against COVID-19). Moreover, Jacques Lacaz built his arguments against mass vaccinations not only as a professional physician, but also as a unique expert on the political economy of capitalist medicine: such vaccinations indescribably enrich the medical and pharmaceutical business.
Almost three decades have passed since Lacaz published his thoughts on the political economy of capitalism as applied to health care and medicine. During this time, the predatory and merciless nature of the medical and pharmaceutical business has become even more obvious.
A number of ideas of Jacques Lacaz on the political economy of capitalist medicine were taken up and developed by Louis Brouvair. About him – in the next article.