how to trade flu season…?

It's flu season.

I have never given much thought to the implications of this, being a relatively healthy twenty-something with a severe distrust of medicine and a stubbornness to admit when I'm sick, which my husband reminds me of frequently.

I don't have the flu (thankfully), but recently, I worked as a temporary receptionist at a financial firm where the lobby's TV was tuned to CNBC all day. My obligatory watching of this provided me with a frightening insight into another implication of flu season that I had also never given much thought to: a segment titled 'How to Trade Flu Season'.


While I am all for enterprising and smart financial decisions, I never really considered that this is something considered a 'must-do' for the savvy investor. What I hadn't considered was that this does seem like a logical place to invest when you consider the money involved: the global pharmaceutical industry is worth US$300 billion per year and is projected to continue its upward-trajectory as new drugs are developed annually. And anyone who has ever purchased a prescription - with or without insurance - can guess that pharmaceutical companies are wildly profitable.
Now, I'm not saying that the pharmaceuticals are a terrible thing or that they don't have the capacity to save or prolong life. It's just that my inner preventive-medicine-believer gets a little defensive at the idea that so much money, investment, and energy is targeted towards developing drugs when - for many ailments - a less complicated, more natural, more accessible solution exists: food, physical activity, stress reduction, more sleep, hydration...
What if these can contribute to heightened immune function in the general population? Would money be better spent looking at their impacts and how to naturally increase people's resistance to disease? Would that decrease the proportion of people considered high-risk for things like the flu (or cancer or heart disease or diabetes)?
It definitely gave me a lot to think about during my day of temping. I'd be curious to know where everyone stands on this.
Wishing you a healthy day!
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2 comments on “how to trade flu season…?
  1. I think it’s interesting how the pharmaceutical companies and healthcare intersect. i feel like big bad companies will do their thing… try and make as much money as possible. You can’t blame them for it. It’s the medical community that I think bares the burden of responsibility. Instead of taking the easy way out and prescribing pills that a study or two says “may work” they should be prescribing some of the “harder” medicine that you mention: exercise, good food, sunlight etc.

  2. amyheight says:

    I absolutely agree – there are a number of factors at play: economic, political and otherwise. It’s a bit of a ‘which came first…’ situation, though, I feel. Does the medical industry prescribe pharmaceuticals because pharmaceuticals exist, or do they exist because the medical industry is there to essentially sell them exclusively? Either way, I veer more to the side of prevention. Thanks for posting, Andre!

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