Re: Why does "Medicine" use "Synthetics" instead of direct extracts?
"The "medical industry" has no financial interest in a cure, only in money."
The computer industry has no financial interest in computing, only in money.
The car industry has no financial interest in driving, only in money.
The book industry has no financial interest in literature, only in money.
Those three statements, along with yours, are utter crap. The medical industry is interested in money. Of course it is. It's a business! And how do they make money? By providing drugs and treatments that work! If Company A has a treatment that only alleviates symptoms, Company B will still be trying to cure the problem because it can still make money by offering a better treatment than Company A.
There are problems with the medical industry, yes (e.g. selective publishing of results to push new drugs through) but to dismiss the entire thing, along with all the advances that have been made, is crass stupidity of the absolute highest order.
"you can patent the PROCESS for extracting the active ingredient if it has never been done before or if there is a special technique required."
And....so what? Any time some new process is created from some new thing it is almost certainly going to get patented to protect the investment (I can think of exceptions which rely on trade secret instead). Why should chemical plants/processes be any different to any other feat of design/engineering?
Oh wait, It's the Intergalactic Drug Cartel of the Lizard People; isn't it?
"You will find that the efficacy of the synthetics may not even be as good as the natural extracts are."
The synthetic is a pure for of the natural compound. It will be exceedingly potent simply because it is pure. Where one may observe a difference with the natural compounds is because they are not pure and do not get delivered isolation; they're a cocktail and it might be that it is the cocktail which is the important bit (maybe some other compound is acting a bit like a catalyst)
Also consider the fact that the compound might occur naturally in a form that renders it ineffective or lethal (e.g. can't be injected safely). It is thus processed and delivered in a suitable fashion.
"Also note that the chemical formulation of many drugs closely resemble that of the natural extract but are usually shifted; stereo isomers or "mirror images" of the natural material for no other reason that they can be patented."
Citation, please. Especially for that isomers statement. Depending on the drug and how it interacts, an isomer of the natural compound could be ineffective or downright dangerous.
I'd also like you to consider this: Company A gets a chemical from a plant, changes it slightly, patents it and expects to make billions. Y'know what Company B does? Just gets it from the feckin' plant! Simple! Company A is now up a certain creek and has a major competitor looking into greenhouses; we benefit from that competition.