The pharmaceutical industry has to be the most screwed up corporate oligarchy in the world. It makes, finance, politics, used car sales, medicine, law, weapons manufacturing, and pimping look like honored professions. When I get finished with this expose you will want to wash your hands and down a litre of Robitussin every time you pass a Walgreens. So what’s wrong with the drug industry? A better question might be: is there anything right with it?
Let’s get one thing straight from the start, the pharmaceutical industry has nothing to do with making the world a better place. I’ll prove this. I’m givin’ ya the straight dope here. Sure people will tell you they want to go to pharmacology school because they want to rid the world of disease, or at least make a difference. Right, and my grandma is gonna win American Idol. Don’t believe it. 99% of the people that go into pharma do it for the money and the so-called “side benefits.” That’s it. Get rich, get high. Who can blame ’em? Given the opportunity all of us just want some bling and buzz. If you’re intelligent and rich you go to pharmacy college, if you’re poor or simple, you become a gang bangin’ drug dealer, and I’ll show you how there is about maybe, just maybe, only one degree of separation between the two.
The base reason that the pharmaceutical industry is out to screw you is the US does not, despite your friendly Tea Party candidate, have a socialized healthcare system and the government by law (I wonder how that came about?) cannot negotiate the price of prescription drugs on your behalf. Only insurers can and we know how much they care about you. In addition the FDA, by law again, does not allow the importation of prescription drugs from other countries where these governments do negotiate the price of drugs. These laws are all ostensibly to “protect you” but when was the last time a Washington pill pusher lobbyist had your best interest in mind?
Now that we have that out of the way, what sort of economic skewing does this cause? Well here is where I give you the inside story: the pill pushers are not out to get you well, they are out to make you a junkie. Here’s the deal, say I spend a lot of money to come up with a vaccine for cancer. Every pharmaceutical company wants to invent that, right? Wrong, my simple one. If I come up with a vaccine I give you one maybe two shots and it’s bye, bye. But if I can come up with a less effective long term chemotherapy for the same cancer, guess what, you’re a chemo junkie now. I have you on the hook for months or years. You’re “takin’ this junk against your will” as Bo Diddley said.
Hence, all the adverts for long term, continuous therapies and drugs on the television. Nobody in the pharma industry wants “one and done,” so nobody researches “one and done.” In addition now they are allowed, by law, to jack you like the meth dealer on the corner. Over and over again. Nobody wants a single pill to cure rheumatoid arthritis, that’s just crazy thinkin’. If the government could take the usurious profit motive out of these schemes, well people just might research something more effective and useful. I’m not saying pharmaceutical companies shouldn’t make money, I’m saying right now they are making too much money. And the insurers too.
Surely all these scientists aren’t out for just the mercenary aspects of these things. First, they are. Nobody gets rich on single dose cures, period. You might get famous, but not rich, so forget that. Things that address Third World health issues are out too since those folks don’t have any money. Forget that. Lastly, shareholders and hedge fund managers don’t care whether you live or die except if you muddle on somehow you keep paying (or your insurer who is gouging you with premiums) for the junk.
Is everyone feeling a little better now?
Next time you are at the doctor’s office and you see one of those nicely dressed types pull up in a Lexus and walk straight into the back room, remember they are just the same as the dealer selling rock down on the corner. There’s your degree of separation.