A story about the pharmacy up the road:
The modern pharmaceutical industry traces its origins to two sources: apothecaries that moved into wholesale production of drugs like morphine, quinine and strychnine in the middle of the 19th century and dye and chemical companies, who, established research labs and discovered medical applications for their products starting in the 1880s.
Back then, names that we either recognise, or vaguely recognise, like Merck, La Roche, Burroughs Wellcome, Ettiene Poulenc, Abbott, Smith Kline, Eli Lily, Squibb, Upjohn, and chemical companies like Agfa, Bayer, Hoescht, Ciba Geigy, Sandoz, and Pfizer, were some of the companies.
Later through a series of mergers and acquisitions, these remain the biggest, and most influential pharmaceutical companies today. “Big Pharma” was born, and became the “largest” institutionalised system of perpetuating diseases, addictions, and the “opioid” crisis still damaging society today.
In 1906, the chemist Paul Erlich- after more than a decade of research- postulated that certain synthetic chemicals can be selectively used to kill, immobilise, or eradicate parasites, diseases, and other invasive disease-causing microbes. That would eventually drive massive, global research on an industrial scale, effectively turning an ostensibly “profit neutral” home cottage industries into the juggernaut it is today, where profit not the promotion and pursuit of health is the first and only consideration.
The interconnection between the chemical industries and the health industries is quite significantly insofar as the chemical industry was able to synthesise and mass-produce vaccines, antitoxins, antibodies and analgesics that ensured the availability of almost all the products to the mass market, but there’s a problem there?
If dynamite could be converted to fertilisers, to enhance and speed up the growth of fruits and vegetables, steroids and growth hormones (all synthetically produced), surely the thinking philosophies and cultural mindsets will spill over into the production of medicines and pills for the eradication and alleviation of diseases that plague people, right?
So began the consolidation and “mercenaryfication” of the industry, ostensibly developed for the good of mankind in the eighties.
By the time Bill Clinton, the 43rd President of the United States repealed the critical 1930 laws of Glass-Steagal, which technically fused merchant banking and commercial banking, ushering in the global collapse of 2008/09, the pharmaceutical industry had its own Orwellian conversion. It became more intertwined with the likes of the Goldman Sachs of the world through cross-shareholding, mergers and acquisitions, and complicated share swops hidden in even “more complicated” personal and business trusts.
The other factor in the “mercenaryfication” of Big Pharma, was their preferred business model; which included the incentivising of hospitals, doctors and pharmacies to use their products. This was done by vast teams of commission-driven salesmen intent on earning big monthly commissions. The other is the rushing of so-called, clinical trials that often ignore critical areas of the drugs efficacies, the deliberate ignoring of harmful side effects and lastly…..
There’s no scientific research done, nor proofs that the long-term use of prescription medicines works, yet, the pathology of drug therapy is the most common feature of the industry, which unsurprisingly is the instrument that most drives profits…
Part II to follow…