The pharmaceutical industry is arguably meant to ease humankind’s health burden by providing cures for life-threatening ailments and diseases, yet, the Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated that their only motive for being in business is the egregious “profit motive.”
So, now we come to the rub and ask ourselves, how exactly does “Big Pharma” work, and why is it not good for us? Let us look at some facts about the pharmaceutical industry today:
The vast majority of research into new drugs and vaccines for illnesses are done by universities and public research institutions, yet, once a cure is found, post the clinical trials, the pharmaceutical company not only purchases the rights to manufacture the drug but also registers it. Because of this system, pharmaceutical companies can charge between 550% and 2500% for products. Products that are, in fact, funded by us- the taxpaying citizen of the country.
So as I’ve indicated before, there’s no evidence to prove the efficacy of long-term use of prescription drugs from a safety perspective. Yet it doesn’t dissuade people, nor the pharmaceutical supply chain, which includes doctors, from giving the patients, what is commonly known as “revolving prescriptions.”
“Clinical trials” don’t always get the results they wish for but, it is the interpretation of those results, the company’s relationship with the authorities and their relationships with fellow scientists and institutions that helps the approval process. Most clinical trials take place in hospitals and clinics around the world. In other words, “practice on people that are already sick.”
In 2015, for no apparent reason, HIV medication and tablets went from $13 to $750 overnight. No explanation needed folks!
The combined global value of so-called “Big Pharma,” (refers to the 15 largest pharmaceutical companies in the world) is $300 billion north of $1 trillion. Put differently, if it was a country, they would be the economic size of Australia.
More conspiracy theories are swirling around “Big Pharma” than any other area of human endeavours, including the flat earthers and the moon landing denialists.
Big Pharma spends an average of 20% of its budget on R&D research and development and more on advertising than any other comparative industry, yet, hidden within these budgetary allocations is a sizable amount allocated for lawsuits of which, because of its practices, the industry, is notoriously prone to.
In the United States alone, Big Pharma spends north of $200 million per annum on advertising, including offering doctor’s free samples to give their patients (much like the local crack dealer does) and hiring famous people to promote their products.
The pharmaceutical companies and their related industries like Biotech companies are some of the most profitable and rakes in a staggering figure of over $250 billion per annum. Take a quick glance at the Forbes 500 list of the most profitable industries, and you will see companies like Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson occupying the upper stratosphere of the listings.
Despite all the research and development and hype around scientific advancements like nanotechnology, robotics, machine learning and quantum computers, there is still no complete cure for any of the groups of viruses like herpes and the common flu, HIV, cancer and Parkinson’s disease to name but a few. In fact, epidemiologists and leading scientists estimate that there are in all likelihood as many as 1.4 million viruses within the global bird population and that pandemics will be with us for the rest of our stay on earth. That is if climate change or a nuclear war doesn’t extinguish life on earth first…