October 21, 2009
It has been a particularly bad month for the pharmaceutical industrial complex in its ongoing litigations in American courts.
Among the main pharmaceutical headlines,
These kinds of charges, among the many
others, have become a habit for drug makers for the past dozen
In addition to the pharmaceutical and medical device firms, this complex includes every government health agency,
...as well as drug lobbying firms now employing a large number of former Congress-persons, insurance and HMO companies, all of the leading professional medical associations such as,
America is rightly regarded as having led much of the world in many qualitative innovations in all fields.
That reputation is duly deserved. However, there is a new dynamic at work that is causing this reputation to be challenged. We are a nation that prides itself in our humanity, our sense of fairness, but today there is a growing concern that we are now being monikered as a country held hostage to a national security complex, which includes the largest military complex in the world, an obscenely expensive healthcare system and self-serving bureaucracies and private industries that serve their own financial ends.
So it is not surprising that after
spending this year $2.6 trillion on healthcare, we have such little
health to show for it. There are second world countries where people
live longer and healthier lives. And we have the worst healthcare
among developed nations. So what have we received for our $2.6
And amidst this partisan and ideological anarchy, perpetuated by our elected officials, the media, and fueled by the pharmaceutical complex, two other areas America excels as a leader above all other developed nations is in being the premier breeding ground for,
The fairy tale of America’s health as
being best served by drugs is a creation of this complex, a lullaby
that brings ill citizens repeatedly to their doctors and hospitals
for diagnosis and treatment, or simply to deny healthcare altogether
to the uninsured.
Iatrogenesis, medically induced injury and death, is the number one cause of death in American medicine annually, since only a small percentage of these deaths are actually reported. Each year more Americans die from preventable deaths due to our medical system than all military causalities in the two world wars combined.
This is tantamount to medical genocide.
One of the major causes of these deaths is the overmedication of Americans in all ages. The constant need for profits has created an environment that allows the pharmaceutical industrial complex to use their enormous financial and political clout to literally make normal life experiences into new diseases, such as social anxiety disorder, in order to sell its drugs.
The pharmaceutical industry has been given the authority to pathologize life, with the drugging of our children, seniors, etc.
For example, the leading cause of AIDS deaths today is a result of liver failure. This is not a condition of HIV infection, but a direct result of the anti-HIV drug AZT. Is it little wonder then that we are being intimidated and frightened into believing that mandatory vaccination is being touted even though the science of efficacy and safety, even the need, for these new swine flu vaccines is patently unproven.
It is perhaps one of the largest
falsehoods ever perpetuated on humanity that dwarfs the sleaze on
Yet if we are a pharmaceutical executive, or a lobbyist representing a drug company who has collected a litany of charges including medical fraud, criminal salesmanship, gaming the insurance industries, repeated lying to federal officials, and manipulation of data regarding life-threatening adverse effects of drugs that have killed so many people, we can walk away with a fine, a surge in the stock market after a settlement, a financial bonus, and the personal satisfaction in not having to apologize so we can continue business as usual.
This is the power the pharmaceutical industrial complex possesses and its usurped right to distain every noble principle in the Hippocratic Oath that every physician dedicates her or himself to live by,
Every American who is prescribed a drug by a physician has the belief that that pill has undergone rigorous trials to scrutinize its safety.
And when there are known potential adverse effects, we blindly assume these are known to the attending physician. However, this is a myth perpetuated not only by drug makers, but by our own federal health agencies.
A 2003 investigation published in The Independent in the UK reported that,
One case involved a very popular over-the-counter drug, the painkiller ibuprofen.
The investigators’ search uncovered concealed data showing that ibuprofen increased heart attack risks by 25 percent. Even Freedom of Information (FOI) filings to the FDA do not produce all the information being requested. For example, a group of Swiss investigators filed an FOI to procure trial data about the musculoskeletal pain drug Celecoxib and received back only 16 of the 27 trials conducted on it.
A separate FOI concerning a similar drug, Valdecoxib, had pages and paragraphs deleted because sections of the document were marked as “trade secrets.” An even worse case involving a leaked report concerning internal memos and secret FDA reports provided detailed evidence that the FDA approved 9 different antidepressants, representing a total of 22 studies enrolling 4,250 children, while knowing full well that the risk of “suicide-related events” was twice as high as children taking a placebo.
These are just several examples among
Our analysis of 724 legal settlements
from a random sampling among the over one hundred thousand by
pharmaceutical corporations totally $87 billion is just a small
indication about how pervasive Big Pharma’s criminality since the
vast majority of settlements are concluded outside of court and
There is only one rational answer and that is the pharmaceutical industry is the FDA’s largest client, and this relationship goes much deeper than the FDA functioning as an objective regulator investigating pharmaceutical products before being released upon the American population.
It is not to far afield to suggest that
as it stands now the US regulatory agencies are an extension of
Should we assume, therefore, that the pharmaceutical complex should be trusted without challenge?
We have also been asked to believe that the manufacturers were guided by a sense of public service.
But when examining the top ten drugs
sold, the facts reveal otherwise. In one example, manufacturers
marked up a drug an astounding 500,000% over its equivalent generic
version. Six other drugs were marked up 2000%. Pharmaceutical
companies make profits higher than oil companies.
These cases cover practically every type
of civil and criminal case. From products that kill, harm and maim,
to false claims, to not paying taxes, to patent infringements, to
bribery, to publishing false scientific journals. Yet, in spite of
the tens of thousands of lawsuits won against Big Pharma, it still
conducts business as usual.
A whopping 70 percent of these sales were directly related to government agencies - principally Medicaid. Fast-forward six years to 2009, Eli Lilly pleaded guilty for having illegally marketed Zyprexa for an unapproved use to treat dementia, and will pay $1.42 billion to settle civil suits and end the criminal investigation.
Lilly agreed to pay $800 million to
settle civil suits. It will pay $615 million to resolve the criminal
probe, and plead guilty to a misdemeanor in violation of the Food,
Drug and Cosmetic Act for promoting Zyprexa as a dementia treatment.
They most certainly did, which makes their behavior all the more reprehensible. In 2002, British and Japanese regulatory agencies issued a warning that Zyprexa may cause diabetes.
In addition, even after the FDA issued a
similar warning in 2003, Lilly did not pull Zyprexa from the market.
This becomes all the more understandable after it is taken into
consideration that Lilly is also the largest maker of diabetes
The Australian revealed that the documents surfaced in the Federal Court in Melbourne and exposed the criminal intent of Merck employees who admitted they were going to,
One Merck employee testified (about the doctors on the hit list),
Merck threatened or intimidated at least
eight clinical investigators, testimony in court revealed. There are
other, similar stories in which Merck deals with dissent by
attempting to destroy the lives and careers of academics who don’t
review their drugs favorably.
Such actions include, but are not limited to,
Under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which the U.S. Department of Justice and the SEC enforce, it is illegal to bribe a foreign government official in order to obtain or retain business. Apparently, Bristol-Myers and Schering Plough were unaware of this law.
According to the Associated Press, both
drug makers were engaged in influencing government officials in
Germany and Poland respectively.
According to a press release from U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan's office,
The pharmaceutical complex has also infiltrated the majority of American medical schools and medical research departments.
A recent survey in the Journal of the American Medical Association discovered that,
receive funding from drug and medical-device manufacturers are up to
3.5 times as likely to state their study drug or medical device
works than are researchers without such funding.
In America, one can hardly turn on the television or pick up a newspaper without reading about the hot button issue of health care reform. Why such emotion? Why are, seemingly, rational people so intransigent and unwilling to budge from their positions? Could lobbyists have anything to do with this?
According to OpenSecrets.org, there are 3093 lobbyists in the health field and Big Pharma now spends approximately $1.2 million daily to persuade Congress to act according to their script. An investigation conducted by Medical Verdicts & Law Weekly found that 30 key lawmakers are involved in health legislation totaling $11 million in health investments.
Three of every four major health firms have at least one lobbyist who worked for a congressman. Startlingly, nine lobbyists employed by Big Pharma are former congressional staffers who are still well-connected to Capitol Hill. The conflicts of interest are everywhere.
Judd Gregg (R-NH), the Obama nominee for Commerce Secretary, who withdrew because of opposition to the Administration's agenda, is a senior member of the Health Committee.
He revealed that he has
"$254,000-$560,000 in health stocks."
But Mylan represents only an
infinitesimal percentage of such examples. In all likelihood, the
vast majority of similar cases remain undetected. The FDA’s
under-regulation and erroneous oversight encourages this type of
Lupron is used by male cancer patients to suppress the production of testosterone.
Another drug worked as
well, so to make Lupron the drug of choice for this condition, TAP
played dirty by giving kickbacks to physicians prescribing the drug,
thus ensuring its ridiculously high price would be maintained. Even
though criminal indictments were filed against TAP Pharmaceutical
officials, Lupron’s price remains overly inflated.
Life Extension magazine conducted an original investigative report in which it compared the actual price of a popular drug and how much the generic version of its active ingredients costs.
Examine these figures:
With each piece of the puzzle, feeding into a single picture of a massively corrupt, unethical, and frequently illegal system controlled by relatively few corporations within the pharmaceutical complex and the health insurance industry, are the ring leaders. They in turn influence thousands of lobbyists, paid-off scientists and academicians, and policymakers, especially those who rule on important health oversight committees.
Health officials and legislators in turn solicit expert witnesses, pre-selected by the cartels, to position their drug agendas in the most favorable manner. The pharmaceutical cartel also has direct connections with its supporting scientific advisory boards and key foundations. These foundations, supported by policy think tanks who supply the so-called independent experts, then lobby the upper echelon within the FDA, NIH, CDC, NIMH, HHS.
Ideally they hire former health commissioners and legislators previously players in the game to assist those same federal agencies to see their drugs guided through the regulatory process. Public relations and advertising firms are contracted to give the public impression that these drugs are effective and safe for the sole reason they have received official licensing.
In addition, the cartel creates front
organizations with consumer-friendly titles whose representatives
appear at national conferences and seminars beholden to special drug
interests. Finally, the drug corporations set money aside to be paid
out in settlements. With the exception of class action suits, the
majority of cases for injury and death are accompanied by
confidentiality clauses to prevent public disclosure of data the
companies wish to remain secret.
Therefore, the public is misled every step of the way.
Victims of injury, such as the tens of thousands of children, now at 1 in 91 children, with autism spectrum disorder, are forced to fend for themselves. Parents know far better than the FDA and CDC, when their perfectly normal child after a vaccination or a series of vaccines shortly thereafter is lost, withdrawn into the dark corners of autism.
And yet the pediatrician and psychologist will say the child must have had a genetic defect. The CDC, FDA and NIH, with an orchestrated voice, say it is not the vaccine. Everyone within the pharmaceutical industrial complex denies the truth.
Only now, during the healthcare debate, are we seeing clearly the rampant politics of the pharmaceutical and insurance industries.
The veils are finally being removed. If
it were not for the healthcare debacle, we might still not know how
the game is rigged and why our politicians and health officials will
not tolerate any real reform and accountability at any level.
We much take back our freedoms of choice and demand legal accountability or nothing will change.