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The Pharmaceutical Industry

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Hiba Ahmed

on 31 October 2013

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Transcript of The Pharmaceutical Industry

Ex. DCA (dichloroacetic acid) was discovered in the University of Alberta
DCA was shown to treat several cancers including lung, breast and brain tumours
Extremely cheap
If any treatment is natural or if it’s not going to be exceedingly profitable, the FDA will not approve it as a cancer treatment
Further research on DCA is being funded by the CIHR (Canadian Institutes for Health Research)
Finding Cures
Pharmaceutical drugs primarily developed to relieve symptoms
Eradication of any disease destroys a multi-billion dollar market for certain drugs
Interested in suppressing, discrediting and obstructing unprofitable medical breakthroughs
Occurs when drug is cheap to produce
Ex. PAP was largely unused for 25 years
When the inexpensive test came into widespread use, mortality rates from cervical cancer dropped dramatically
Health Consequences
61% of American adults take at least 1 drug/day
Over 50% of seniors take at least 3 drugs/day
Results in more diseases like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, arthritis and cancer
15% rise since 2001
Millions are over-diagnosed and wrongly medicated due to aggressive and uncontrolled marketing by drug companies
positive feedback
Origin of exploding profits: major portion of our income
In turn, we get worse health care
World’s largest drug company
Global net profit of $8.7 billion in 2011
Sept. 2009: settled criminal and civil charges with the federal government for illegally marketing 4 drugs
Paid $2.3 billion for fraud (biggest fraud case and criminal fine in US history)
Made $180 billion selling 12 drugs
Entertaining doctors at strip clubs
The Cancer Industry
Giant corporations and industries fund the American Cancer Society (ACS)
ACS has little interest in finding a cure
Dr. James Watson (discoverer of DNA and Nobel Laureate): “The National Cancer Program is a bunch of sh*t.”
Inexpensive alternative cancer treatments are suppressed by the industry
Preventing Fraud
Whistle blowers expose medical corruption
Many are people who used to work for drug companies
QUI TAM allows individuals with knowledge of fraud against the government to being legal action on its behalf and share the benefits
Thousands of cases
Influence legislation
Control regulatory agencies like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Manipulate medical research and education
“Codex Alimentarius”
Code name of the international cartel formed by the pharmaceutical industry
Outlaw health information in connection with vitamins
Limit free access to natural therapies around the world
Hiding Side-Effects of Drugs
Companies withhold information on effects and risks of drugs
Life-threatening side-effects often omitted or denied
Ex. GSK created Avandia for type II diabetes
Made global net profit of over $13.8 billion
Avandia caused 100 000 heart attacks in US
US Senate Financial Committee: GSK was aware of possible cardiac risks, but focused on misrepresenting these risks
GSK still preventing printing of heart attack warnings on boxes of Avandia
Paying Doctors to Endorse Drugs
Often in the millions
Pfizer, Eli Lilly, GSK and Merck forced to publish physician payment figures online
2009: paid doctors $200 million
Pressured to tweak the truth and recommend drugs which have little effect or dangerous, life-changing and sometimes fatal consequences
Off-Label Marketing
Advise doctors to prescribe drugs for unapproved uses
Ex. Find signs of treatable depression in teen that didn’t make the football team
FBI Financial Crimes Unit: 1 of top 3 threats
Creating Revenue
$300 billion spent/year on prescription drugs
3-10% is from fraud
Too much power?
Health scandals (ex. fatal side effects of drugs)
Profit before patients
Successful drug companies skirt regulations, and aren’t afraid of being corrupt and unethical
US health care industry is biggest in the world
6 of top 10 pharmaceutical companies fined for fraud; 3 others under investigation
by Hiba Ahmed
The Pharmaceutical Industry
So what do we do?
Full transcript