The pharmaceutical industry (also big pharma) discovers, develops, produces, and markets drugs or pharmaceutical drugs for use as medications to be administered (or self-administered) to patients, with the stated aim to cure them, vaccinate them, or alleviate the symptoms. Pharmaceutical companies may deal in generic or brand medications and medical devices. They are subject to a variety of laws and regulations that govern the patenting, testing, safety, efficacy and marketing of drugs.
Dark urine. Dark. Why do we do that? Why do we do that? Well, I think I understand, we hate Big Pharma. We hate Big Government. We don't trust the Man. And we shouldn't: Our health care system sucks. It's cruel to millions of people. It's absolutely astonishingly cold and soul-bending to those of us who can even afford it. So we run away from it, and where do we run? We leap into the arms of Big Placebo.
Written media typically doesn’t have the national advertiser problem. But when you have, say MSNBC, and they’ve got eight pharmaceutical advertisements an hour and you want to do a story on Bayer because their product, Yaz, has killed women between the ages of 18-35. You would think the producers would say, “This is an important story,” but unfortunately the power of money, especially in television and cooperate media is overwhelming. You can’t tell the stories. So what’s happened is, in order for people to hear these stories...they can read a good thriller... they learn an awful lot about the dysfunction of the Department of Justice. They learn how predatory the pharmaceutical industry is, they learn that everything is stacked against the whistle blower.
If the pharmaceutical industry will not end its greed, which is literally killing Americans, then we will end it for them... The United States pays by far the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. This has created a health care crisis in which 1 in 5 American adults cannot afford to get the medicine they need.
We live in a society in which, for example, the cause of depression and suicide has been, for decades, falsely attributed by psychiatry and Big Pharma to a chemical imbalance theory long known to be untrue—an untruth that has made billions of dollars for drug companies and increased power for psychiatry through increased use of antidepressants which are known to actually increase suicide... just one of many examples that we do not live in a sane society.
In the end, the company (Purdue Pharma) was forced to pay some $634 million in fines. A pittance, compared to the billions it had earned on the drug. That fine is still the largest paid by Purdue to date, and it would do nothing to slow the epidemic. Not a single executive went to jail, and none of the settlement money went to treatment OxyContin sales surged in its aftermath, topping $2 billion in 2008. When Purdue finally reformulated OxyContin to make it abuse-resistant, the pill-addicted switched to heroin and, later, fentanyl to keep their dopesickness at bay. Within another decade, nearly 400,000 people would be dead. More than 2.6 million Americans are now addicted.
Drug overdose deaths involving opioids increased 45 percent from 2016 to 2017, and in 2017, more than 70,000 people died from drug overdoses—68 percent of which involved an opioid. Already, pharma giant Johnson & Johnson has been ordered by an Oklahoma judge to pay $572 million to the state for fueling the opioid epidemic. The state accused Johnson & Johnson of being a public nuisance for its deceptive advertising of opioids to doctors, and similar lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies have been filed across the U.S.
Hours after some of the biggest names in the pharmaceutical industry caved on the courthouse steps and agreed to pay a quarter of a billion dollars to two Ohio counties blighted by the opioid epidemic last month, a pair of emails landed in my inbox, both with a hint of menace. One came from a New York public relations firm representing one wing of the Sackler family that jointly owns Purdue Pharma and made billions from the sale of its notorious opioid painkiller, OxyContin... Both made the same demand: that I withdraw a claim in an article for The Guardian about the court settlement that OxyContin played a leading part in firing up an epidemic that has cost more than 400,000 lives over the past two decades.
As Pharma contrives to absolve itself, it is presenting those numbers as evidence that this is now an epidemic not of prescription medicines but of illegal street drugs. Thus the instigators of this crisis have unhitched one from the other—as though there was no connection between the rise of prescription drugs that became widely known as “heroin in a pill” and heroin itself.
Pharmaceutical companies...have increasingly focused on manipulating their stock prices over the last few decades in order to line the pockets of executives, hedge-fund managers and bankers... Some of the biggest drug companies often take on debt to distribute well in excess of 100 percent of profits to shareholders in the form of stock buybacks and cash dividends.
The status quo is unhealthy for anyone except pharmaceutical company executives. Drug companies need a new business model that gets them back into the business of making the drugs Americans need at prices we can all afford to pay.