The health survey for England 2016 showed that 48% of adults in the country had taken at least one prescribed medicine in the past week, and almost a quarter, 24% had taken three or more prescribed medicines.
Our reliance on pills to relieve symptoms has led us down a dangerous path where the root causes of sickness are neglected and instead relief from symptoms is confused with cure. Subsequently we are reliant on daily doses of pills which suppress our bodies natural reactions to an internal issue which needs addressing. You might suffer heart burn or acid reflux after a meal and treat with an antacid which will only relieve the symptoms. You might be on a lifetime prescription for high blood pressure, but what is causing the problem?
Is it more profitable to continue treating symptoms instead of identifying the root cause?
I would hate to think of any company profiting from illness, surely that could not be the case, but a closer examination into the history of the pharma giants returns multiple alarming instances of malpractice.
Let’s start with the largest fine ever issued to a corporation in history, that award goes to GlaxoSmithKline.
GSK were fined an eye watering $3billion when they pleaded guilty to unlawfully promoting certain prescription drugs, failed to report safety data, and reported false drug prices to underpay rebates. Could the list of convictions be any worse? They basically falsely advertised, omitted the data which showed negative side effects of the particular drugs and then committed fraud by submitting over inflated costs to underpay rebates.
Doesn’t sound like a company with our best interests at heart with that kind of behaviour!
Pfizer are not far behind, fined $2.3 billion to settle criminal and civil liabilities for illegal promotion of their pharmaceutical products. Reading into this story I found they promoted drugs which had been withdrawn from use for safety reasons to instead be used for off-label uses. Most disturbingly healthcare providers received payments for prescribing these drugs to patients for off-label use, and false claims were submitted to government healthcare programmes.
I wonder how many people would of thought twice about taking their vaccine had they been aware of Pfizers history. They basically lied to the government and paid off doctors.
I’m not finished there; the list goes on. Johnson and Johnson next, $2.2 billion penalty relating to charges including offering payments to healthcare providers for unlawful marketing of drugs to dementia patients, and understating the serious health risks of a particular drug. Let that sink in – they under stated the serious health risks of a drug, which included increased risks of strokes in elderly patients.
You get the idea? Below is a selection of the 76 fines (yes you read correctly 76) Pfizer has been issued since 2000.
$2,300,000,000 off-label or unapproved promotion of medical products – 2009
$784,600,000 false claims act and related – 2016
$750,000,000 drug or medical equipment safety violation – 2004
$745,000,000 drug or medical equipment safety violation – 2008
$490,900,000 off-label or unapproved promotion of medical products – 2013
$430,000,000 off-label or unapproved promotion of medical products – 2004
$371,351,180 false claims act and related – 2016
$331,485,170 kickbacks and bribery – 2009
$288,000,000 drug or medical equipment safety violation – 2013
$257,400,000 off-label or unapproved promotion of medical products – 2013
$190,000,000 off-label or unapproved promotion of medical products – 2004
$124,000,000 false claims act and related – 2005