I hate going to the doctor. With a passion. Especially when it comes to them prescribing medications because I don't think they know what the shit they are doing when it comes to meds. Really for two reasons, one, when I was 14 I was diagnosed with cancer. But, before my diagnosis I had been in severe pain and went to see the doctor. Even though the physicians assistant wanted to give me an ultra sound, the doctor brushed him off and said he didn't want to bother because it was too expensive and my insurance wouldn't cover all of it. So he sent me home with the diagnosis of a bladder infection. And for medication? He gave me Mylanta. Which, btw, is a medication for heart burn and does nothing for abdominal pain or bladder infections.
Anyway, 6 hours later I was practically dead, in the hospital. They gave me an ultrasound, drained 23 liters of fluid from my abdomen, and then I was in surgery for 20 hours where they removed a tumor the size of a large grape fruit. But because they delayed, the tumor had burst and flooded my body with cancer cells which then metastasized to other areas of my body, causing me to under go 3 years of painful chemotherapy. The amount of pain and trauma I went through could have been prevented if the doctor had just given me the ultra sound in the first place because they would have been able to remove the tumor in time. And yea, it wasn't a bladder infection.
So I think that whole incident bred a strong mistrust of doctors in me from a very young age. Now the second part, when I became a pharmacy student and started my residency is when I really begun to understand how little doctors know about medication. I literally spent hours every day on the phone with doctors fixing the mistakes they made in their prescriptions. Either the wrong kind of medicine for that patient was being prescribed, they were giving out the wrong dosage that would severely harm that patient, or they would prescribe meds that were contraindicated with other medications that the patient was on. Basically, if it wasn't for the pharmacists constantly catching their mistakes, lots of patients would die or have severe problems and interactions. We would catch on average 30 mistakes a day. That's a hell of a lot for a profession where you're supposed to put your trust and health in other people's hands. But it happens every day in pharmacy's all over the world.
But anyway, I am a bit bias towards doctors, and not in a positive way. Not all of them are bad of course, and a lot of them know more about meds then even pharmacists do. I think I've just had bad luck to run into all the stupid ones.
Anyway as far as taking medications goes, I don't do it if I can't help it. I take a lot of vitamins and stuff but I try to stay away from all other medications. And you know, people have a point about saying generic meds are just as dangerous as narcotics. Take Tylenol (Acetaminophen) for example. Not only does it cause severe liver damage, but it's also one of the only NSAID's that can cross the blood-brain barrier. Which means it metabolizes in your brain. It can alter and even completely change your brain chemistry. Tylenol is a very dangerous drug and I highly recommend taking something else if you can avoid it (Just don't tell the Pharmaco's I said that). For example, Ibuprofen, while hard on your liver and stomach, at least doesn't go into your brain. But Aspirin is the best, as it leaves your body completely and metabolizes elsewhere so it causes no harm to the liver.
Anyway the point is, not everyone is crazy when they say they don't want to take "generic" meds as you put it. Even if it's not a narcotic, medications can still be harmful to your body-and not necessarily exclusively in high dosages.
That being said, as a pharmacist though, I must remind you that I do condone the use of medication. I think it can be a powerful aid to help people or cure illnesses. Hell, chemotherapy saved my life. But the world tends to abuse medications. I believe our whole world is overly medicated. In the hospital, we are filling over 1000 prescriptions an hour. I've always felt that that's too large an amount, but I guess that's just how it is. Personally I blame this on the insurance companies, the state boards of medications/pharmacies, the pharma companies for sure, and the doctors themselves (though a lot of the time it's not really them, more so as the system- the way they were taught to do things).
Anyway, I think if people have a choice to use a natural alternative, they should take it every time over using synthetically produced medications. Does that mean I support legalized pot? Hell yea. Even though I don't do drugs myself, it's better than most of the other crap you put into your body. But that still doesn't mean I think everyone should go out and start doing pot. (I know some of you may disagree with me on this fact xD) But yea. There's also other alternatives, like chamomile tea is great to get rid of migraines and honey works wonders on reducing fevers, just to name a few.
This is becoming a long winded post >:
Anyway, one last thing. You were talking about how doctors are in cohorts with the pharma companies. This is true, but you're leaving out one major player- and that's the insurance companies. They are the real hard hitters in this industry. Even the pharma companies sway under their influence. Though when it comes to making money, whether you're talking about the doctors, the pharmacists, the pharma companies, the insurance companies, or even the FDA- no one is innocent. That's just the way the game is played.
I went into the field to help people. To make a difference. But I am still guilty of contributing to the problems in the industry. It's sort of a catch 22.
Anyway sorry for rambling so much in your thread! But it's an interesting topic! I'd like to hear other's opinions on this as well.