There’s no denying that big pharma means big business—but the big question is, “who is the real benefactor?” While treating America’s ills seems like an altruistic endeavor on the surface, today’s pharmaceutical companies have gone beyond simply pioneering new treatments for age-old health problems and literally forged a burgeoning industry that caters to a continually growing marketplace which they, in part, have invented. In other words, big pharma is both creating and satisfying needs for their products within large segments of our society—manipulating supply and demand through congressional lobbying and consumer marketing while controlling aspects of availability, pricing and even government regulation in the process.
As an industry, it generates higher profit margins than any other—even with a constant litany of multibillion dollar lawsuits over product failures and adverse effects. Considering that this is an industry ripe with allegations of collusion, the manipulation of medical professionals, price-fixing and overcharging and you might wonder why we as a society allow such subversiveness to seep into our concept of adequate and readily available healthcare. And their lies the rub; should we consider big pharmaceutical companies to be a key element of what’s vital to our well-being, or are they simply a gang of large multi-conglomerates out to gouge good people who have real health concerns?
Now, this is not to say that all those that are in this business are bad, because that’s certainly not the case. It’s an industry where many are forced to walk a thin line between best serving the needs of patients and putting money in the pockets of their shareholders, so we can’t have issue with every little wobble in their balancing act. But some deviate more than others, often to the point that they’ve left the line altogether. They’ve tossed values aside and become thoroughly entrenched in the idea of making money at all costs. What makes matters worse, they often brandish their scientific achievements as a shield in order to hide their selfish acts. We don’t deny that many pharmaceutical companies are making great strides in the world of medicine; developing drugs intended to help all of mankind—but we also know there are some things they’re not telling us, and it’s those aspects that could truly hurt us all.
*The following is an excerpt from an article published in Living Safer magazine by Bryan Silver
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