Before there was big pharmaceutical companies, in order to get relief from pain or other ailments, people would utilize natural elements as provided by nature, and as administered and prescribed by those that were experienced and knowledgeable enough to deal with those elements, for better or for worse. No doubt, throughout time, the world has always had its share of charlatans, pushing concoctions that had no value, but there were also those sincere seekers that found true ingredients that worked to mitigate pain, and, for example, discovered that salicylate-rich plants such as willow, had consistently demonstrated in principle that it had fever reducing properties, pain reducing properties, and inflammation reducing properties as part of the benefits of the correct utilization of its willow bark.
Eventually, as medicine modernized, and as chemists learned more about the properties of nature, the invention and the synthesis of what is commonly known as aspirin was invented, of which the important value of aspirin, was almost immediately recognized for its aforementioned pain and inflammation reducing properties, as well as being of benefit for those susceptible to heart attacks, or high blood pressure, or arthritis, amongst many other conditions, of which aspirin is an invaluable asset. The fact that aspirin is both available over the counter and is available in packages of 100 or more in 325 mg dosages, of which the price is less than one penny per dosage, is remarkable.
While there are specific medicines and pharmaceutical drugs for specific diseases and ailments, there is no drug that is in whole, as comprehensive, reliable, universal, and valued as aspirin, of which, the cost of aspirin is so cheap for the consumer, that aspirin is the go-to drug of choice, for those that are needing to mitigate pain as well as those that require a reliable blood thinner, for our blood needs to flow freely so as to keep the body properly oxygenated as well as to provide nutrients throughout the body in order to maintain good health.
The size of today's pharmaceutical companies is simply gargantuan, in which, as reported by statista.com, in 2016, the pharmaceutical companies based in the United States, had annual sales of $446 billion, and these companies make in a typical year, billions upon billions of dollars in profit; which is especially unpalatable since the profits that pharmaceuticals make is, when distilled down to its essence, derived from making obscene amounts of money from people that are ill and need medicine in order to maintain their health. It is a disgrace that pharmaceutical companies are for-profit rather than being structured as non-profit corporations and therefore providing a true social good for society.
So then, aspirin, if instead of being invented over 100 years ago in Germany, had instead been invented within the last generation or so, of which the sheer power, breadth and effectiveness of aspirin, which provides real benefits for so many different ailments and illnesses, would have undoubtedly made it the blockbuster of blockbuster drugs, and hence, would have been the most profitable drug ever in the history of the pharmaceutical industry. This would have meant that billions upon billions of dollars would have been siphoned away from hard working individuals into the hands of the pharmaceutical industry, of which that industry would state, that all of this was necessary in order to properly keep funding their research and development, as well as the tribute that those that are ill owe to those that aid them, in perpetuity.