Greed. What else can explain the sociopathic behavior of drug company executives? Remember, a “company” is an inanimate thing that only does good or harm because the people in charge tell it to. In the past, pharmaceutical companies have been fined millions of dollars for bad behavior. However, given the gigantic profits of the companies, those fines are a minor cost of doing business. Companies cannot be sent to jail. But, finally, there may be some accountability for the real villains, the executives.
In May 2019 a federal court found the head of a drug company and 4 of his associates guilty of racketeering. According to an article by NPR, the execs had bribed doctors to prescribe unneeded addicting opiates and then lie to insurance companies. These guys may wear Armani suits, but because tens of thousands of Americans die each year from opioid use, I think they are in a class with mass murders. Let’s hope they don’t appeal their way out of going to jail and that it sends a strong message to their peers. (Maybe add the pharmaceutical company Bayer to this category. It owns Monsanto which makes Roundup and bullies farmers into using it and the matching GMO seeds. Courts are making Monsanto pay billions in settlements for cancer claims. But, what about the millions of folks worldwide who are slowly being poisoned and cannot connect the dots?)
Drug company executive greed is also doing damage to our personal budgets. According to an article by CNN, “A coalition of 44 states filed a lawsuit alleging that 20 major drug manufacturers conspired to artificially inflate and manipulate the prices of more than 100 generic drugs.” Generics are supposed to save us from the name brand drugs whose prices continue to go up in the US. (Most are a fraction of the price they are sold for in other countries. Why charge more here? Again, because of greed. And because they can!)
In some cases, medications don’t just dent the bank, they break it. In fact, CNCB sites the statistic that medical costs are the cause for two thirds of people who file for bankruptcy. Some drugs (which may only offer a few months more of what is a by then miserable existence) can cost upwards of $1,000,000 a year. And don’t buy that phony argument that drug prices have to be high to fund drug research into new drugs. (The new ones may be no better than the ones they replace, but do provide a profitable fresh patent.)
According to an interesting report by The Atlantic, researchers compared prices of the top 20 best-selling drugs in the United States with the prices of the same medications in Europe and Canada. (Keep in mind that the drug companies are making a profit there as well.) They found that “the cumulative revenue from the price difference on just these 20 drugs more than covers all the drug research and development costs conducted by all the drug companies throughout the world—and then some.” All drug research cost about $80 billion a year. And the drug companies paid for that from the top 20 drugs with $40 billion profit left over. The companies also overcharge for hundreds of other drugs. We have to remember that these guys are not public servants—they are business tycoons.
Greed, greed, greed. If I sound angry, it is because I am. Another time I will review some drug safety facts that further motivate me to find guests who can provide safer natural alternatives.