10 Secrets Big Pharma Doesnt Want You to Know
Discover 10 Dirty Secrets Big Pharma Doesn’t Want you to Know
According to Big Pharma, curing patients doesn’t seem like a sustainable business model.
What? And one hepatitis pill, Sovaldi, costs $1000 per 400 mg? I wonder how much the pill would cost if curing patients were a sustainable business model. SMH.
This isn’t one of those posts where I rant about Big Pharma being a brood of vipers or the modern-day Legion of Doom. But, it’s a post where I invite you to follow my thought process as I show you why the global pharmaceutical industry is a bunch of self-centered jerks who’ve prioritized greed and dishonesty at the expense of human lives.
Big Pharma has succeeded at fooling you and me, that they have our best interests at heart, and that we need to keep buying their products to stay healthy. To do that, they’ve managed to hide some of their most unscrupulous practices, right beneath our noses.
Today, we’ll expose ten of the most notorious dirty-not-so-little secrets pharmaceutical companies don’t want you to know.
- Clinical Research and Trials Are Often Biased or Misleading
With a flurry of new drugs flooding the market every other day, how do doctors know what medication to prescribe?
Well, they read medical journals to stay updated. Sadly, pharmaceutical companies know that. When they introduce a new product, they release an overwhelming number of falsified studies telling the doctors exactly what they want to hear.
In 2012, Medtronic, a drug company, paid $210 million to dozens of surgeons to sign their names on doctored medical articles that promoted its bone-growth product. The same product was later linked to infertility and cancer in men.
Interestingly, the warnings were always there, but marketers had managed to tweak off the wording to brush off the horrifying side effects.
Instead of having unbiased third-parties conduct the clinical trials, the drug companies fund the research and hire scientists and doctors. This financial interest in the study’s results presents a clear conflict of interest that leads to the falsification of findings.
2. Developing Drugs Isn’t As Costly As You’d Been Led To Believe
When it comes to hyperbole, Big Pharma comes second to none. In a bid to justify their exorbitant prices, they exaggerate the costs of research and developing drugs. They often categorize non-research activities, such as the cost of acquiring another company and opportunity costs as R&D costs. As a result, they’ll lead you to believe that their medicines are rightly priced due to their so-called extensive research efforts.
Here’s a bummer. There’s a new drug for hepatitis C going for $1000 per pill. That’s gram for gram, 67 times more expensive than gold. The worst part? It isn’t the most expensive medication for hepatitis.
Finally, when Big Pharma claims to have spent $2-3 billion to develop a new medicine, other credible estimates are ten times lower!
3. You pay for your medication twice
Did you know that 80% of early drug research is paid for by taxpayer money? Sorry, I meant your money?
This is why it makes no sense when Big Pharma argues that drug prices are high because initial drug research is expensive.
Pharma corporations are notorious for free-riding off public research at government-funded laboratories. Interestingly, most new medicines and health technologies in the market are created in these government-funded laboratories. That’s not all. Big Pharma gets tax credits and other financial incentives to reduce the risk of their research investments.
If you think this is a selfish move, pharma corporations follow it up with a thick-faced strategy to privatize and patent the products they make. Consequently, they charge exorbitant prices to the taxpayers when the drugs/technologies hit the market.
4. Pharma Companies Often Downplay Adverse Drug Side Effects
When a new drug is tested, the trial results should be published for the rest of the world. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case, since negative or inconclusive findings often go unreported, leaving researchers and doctors in the dark.
Even worse, when conducting these clinical trials, the researchers fail to fully inform the participants of the potential risks of the drug they’ll be taking. On several occasions, researchers have rushed to test a drug on humans without fully exploring or disclosing its side effects, so that they can release it to market as quickly as possible.
Additionally, when pharma companies market a new drug to doctors, they often hide or downplay any research that might suggest harmful consequences. While it sounds scary, your doctor might indeed be oblivious of the potential risks of a drug they’re prescribing. Or, they might not know of the severity of the side effects. Not because they didn’t bother to find out, but because the pharma companies didn’t give the info or watered it down somehow.
5. Big Pharma Extends Patents Repeatedly To Perpetuate Their Monopolies
Have you ever heard of a practice known as patent evergreening?
Pharmaceutical companies patent their new drugs, preventing the competition from releasing generic versions, thus securing their high profits.
Just like the perennial evergreen plant that lasts forever, big pharma companies make minor tweaks to their drugs whose patent is about to expire, adding more years to the patent.
When a patent ends, other companies are allowed to supply the previously patented medication, aka generics. Generic drugs are way much cheaper than in-patent drugs – some research suggests that the price of widely used drugs can drop by up to 95%.
Did you know that Sarafem is Prozac? Prozac was raking in huge profits for Eli Lilly. When its patent neared expiration, the pharma company released Sarafem, extending its patent years and allowing Prozac’s price to remain nice and high.
With these sneaky tactics, the big pharma companies preserve their monopoly in the industry, allowing them to control the drug’s price.
6. Contrary to their Claims, Big Pharma, Isn’t the Only Solution
Tens of alternative treatments and naturopathic therapeutic approaches are available. However, Big Pharma has invested heavily in keeping these programs at bay as they want you to believe that their medicines are the only option you’ve got.
Big Pharma-backed mainstream media won’t broadcast in the morning news that numerous PubMed studies have found that Black Seed or Berberine effectively combats many chronic diseases affecting Americans.
Ask yourself, why would big corporations oppose alternative forms of treatment to the point of filing legal action against naturopathic doctors like Dr. Sebi?
Instead of using plants as natural medications, drug companies would rather isolate the herb’s active ingredients, turn them into synthetic medication and sell them at a ludicrous profit while letting you think that herbal medications are bunk science.
7. Big Pharma Is At the Center of the Opioid Epidemic
Opium use dates back to as far as 3400 BC. In the early 1800s, researchers learned how to extract morphine, a more powerful drug from the opium poppy. In 1874, Adler Wright, a British chemist, found a new compound of morphine thought to be less addictive and provided greater pain relief than the former – Heroin.
At the time, heroin was advertised as a cough suppressant for children, until 1914, when the government outlawed it due to its highly addictive nature. Come 1995, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a little pill called OxyContin. Although molecularly identical to heroin, Purdue Pharma claimed that OxyContin would be less addictive as it breaks down slowly after ingestion, never releasing enough at a time to produce the same high as heroin.
By 2001, OxyContin was making over $1 billion per year for Purdue.
Purdue Pharma approached physicians who didn’t necessarily have adequate pain management training, encouraging them to prescribe it as a first choice, even when patients didn’t need such a potent drug.
In 2000, people knew that OxyContin could be abused either by chewing, snorting the powder, or injecting the liquid, to get a similar high as heroin.
In 2007, Purdue Pharma was convicted after pleading guilty to misleading regulators, doctors, and patients about Oxy’s addictive potential and its abuse potential. The company paid $600 million in damages and reformulated OxyContin to reduce its abuse potential.
By 2010, Oxy made 30% of the painkiller market, and although the bad guy had paid their dues, what would happen to all the people battling with opiate addictions?
8. Big Pharma Pockets More Than They Re-Invest
Big shots from major pharmaceutical companies have reiterated time and again, that they need significant profits to cater for their expensive R&D initiatives. However, word on the street is that they spend more on share buybacks. As a result, they boost their stock prices, increasing their sales and marketing efforts, but not their research and development. Ironic, huh?
9. Pharmaceutical Companies Have Planted Shills Everywhere
Have you looked at any product label of late? You’ll realize that drug A is either endorsed by the American Society of Whatever, or recommended by the National Center for Stuff.
It turns out that these groups (almost forgot the International Institute of Things) are pharma company shills endorsing treatments, not based on research, but on the name that appears on their checks.
For instance, the American Acne and Rosacea Society (AARS) is an ‘impartial’ organization funded almost fully by acne medicine manufacturers, like Galderma, which has 13 of 15 AARS specialists on its payroll. As such, it was no surprise that AARS endorsed Galderma’s $2500-a-year-plan when for acne treatment, instead of the equally effective $120-a-year generic alternative.
Ok, since it’s all business, do we draw the line if the recommendations could kill you?
In 2002, pharma company Wyeth discovered that their hormone therapy drugs for menopause increased heart disease, stroke, breast cancer, and blood clots risk. Instead of recalling the drugs Prempro and Premarin from the market, they spent $12 million to form the Council on Hormone Education, 85% of whose members worked for the pharmaceutical giant.
10. Big Pharma Bribes Doctors to Prescribe Their Drugs for a Bigger Share of the Market
Pfizer, GSK, Eli Lilly have been investigated and found guilty of bribing government officials and doctors, especially in foreign countries, to secure various interests.
For instance, Pfizer was caught bribing medical officials in China, Bulgaria, Italy, Russia, Croatia, Kazakhstan, Serbia, and the Czech Republic and paid $60 million in fines. Reason? They wanted the doctors to prescribe more of the company’s drugs.
Get this right – instead of your physician prescribing a drug because it is the best for your condition, they’ll give you one from the company that bought them a motorcycle last week.
Even sadder, it’s alleged that Pfizer China created point programs that doctors could redeem for gifts (tea sets, cell phones, etc.) depending on the number of prescriptions they wrote.
Pharmaceutical companies should be sparing no effort in making drugs that people need to stay alive and healthy. Sadly, companies are focused on something else entirely – maximizing profit. As you may come to realize, helping people and capitalizing on gains aren’t often complementary.