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One of the perks of working in the biotechnology industry is that one’s colleagues occasionally send along gems like the following:

“Health Disparity focuses on understanding and/or addressing factors that contribute to differences in the disease experience across populations . . . [emphasis mine]”

The disease experience? Almost makes it sound fun — like an educational ride at Six Flags, say, or perhaps the latest IMAX offering.

In fact, this has some bearing on the points that James and Helen have been making. The disease experience, as opposed to the experience of disease, allows us to view patients not as people who are ill or infirm but instead as people undergoing a particular unpleasant experience. This in turn shifts the emphasis of treatment from the curing of illness to the alleviation of symptoms — a shift that’s been in the works for a long time.

While permanent fixes tend to involve things like surgery, lifestyle changes, and figuring out what you’re anxious about ; treatment of symptoms tends to involve pills. Guess which approach Big Pharma prefers?

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