Doctors, Drug Companies, Politicians & Corruptions
Posted on August 21st, 2010

Shenali Waduge

They say thereƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s no money in healthy people. But, why is the pharmaceutical industry the most profitable industry in the world? It is because they have mastered the art of concocting the disorder, creating the drug for the disorder & then bombarding the public with advertisements to convince them theyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢re afflicted, leaving little choice but to get ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-prescribedƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The growth in the pharmaceutical industry began to expand towards the 1970s. Pharmaceutical companies began to form mutual partnerships & began dominating the production of medicines. Advertising boomed making it possible for consumers to be enticed into believing there were miracle cures or drugs that would make people look young forever, increase sexual libido, maintain youthful looking skin with zero after effects or side effects.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Companies spend billions on ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-inventingƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ new drugsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚¦they also spend billions on marketing them, USD53billion to be precise. But, how ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-innovativeƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ are these companies? Most research & clinical trials are carried out at universities & funded by Governments. What happens thereafter is that drug companies ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-buy these innovationsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ & quickly patent them & quickly set up manufacturing plants. The only ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-innovationƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ done by these companies is to modify the existing drug something as minor as changing the color of the coating! A patented drug generally lasts for 20 years. It is only after rigorous study & testing which takes a good 10 to 15 years that Governmental authorities grant permission to market & sell drugs. Loopholes in patent systems ensure companies are able to keep generic competitors at bay for years. These patented branded drugs naturally provides high profit margins but before the patent expires and competitors enter with a generic drug sold at far lesser prices, owners of branded drugs put out a generic version before the branded version expiresƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚¦giving his company a head start in the sale of generic drugs. In 2006, the world had spent US$643billion on prescription drugs with US accounting for almost half of global pharmaceutical market. The US pharmaceutical industry is the most profitable of all businesses in the US.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ It would not surprise anyone that companies spent upto $11billion annually on free samples, $6billion on sales representatives, $3billion on vague advertisements, we can only guess how many more billions is spent on bribing doctors, bribing researchers, bribing universities, bribing health officers, pharmacists, providing kickbacks & even running bogus ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-medical educationƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ programs.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Essentially, what drug companiesƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ end up doing is using tax payerƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s money to pay for medical research which they buy off, they then spend on massive advertising campaigns aimed at misleading the public about the effects of these drugs & ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-encourageƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ doctors to prescribe them!

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Year in and year out drug companies end up the most successful industry with stunning profits part of which are used to buy off politicians and further promote themselves as champions of social responsibility & good corporate ethics!

There are no business ethics in the pharmaceutical industry ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” the industry is synonymous with money, profits, power & control. Pharmaceutical companies have mastered how to market social phobia/anxiety disorders in order to sell mind altering drugs. Does it not surprise & make you wonder why scores of people are being treated for mental disorders? There are teenagers on anti-depressants & anti-psychotics because pharmaceutical companies want to ensure they have customers for life! Some prescription drugs are sold at more than 500,000% markup over the actual cost of their raw ingredients, naturally drug companies will do anything to sell more pills & it is why they end up inventing fictitious diseases & force parents to make addicts out of their children. There are scores of drugs available that are ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-habit-formingƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ tranquilizers?

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Despite the number of drugs available why are people sicker than ever? Drugs have not helped people instead drug companies have made people addicted to drugs & suffering further from the side-affects of taking so many different combinations of drugs. In the US, over 100,000 Americans die annually from prescription drugs while a further 2million are injured by them.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The dominating companies in global pharmaceutical industry today are MERCK, Roche (fined in the US & Europe for participating in illegal price fixing cartel), Pfizer (ranked no.1, the makers of viagra the wonder drug of the 90sƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚¦.& probably soon to put out a drug that may do the opposite of viagra!), Bayer the inventor of AsprinƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚¦.however hundreds & thousands of people die every year from prescription drugs? 27,000 people died of vioxx which is a nosteroidal anti-inflammatory drug which has been withdrawn over safety concerns associated with heart attacks, strokes. (though first approved in 1999 but withdrawn in 2004) It is believed that over 80m worldwide prescribed it in 2003 & its producer Merck & Co made sales revenues of US$2.5billion.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ What is ironic is that there is not a single chronic disease which has been cured as a result of taking prescription drugs. What these drugs have done is to only treat the symptoms. Has chemocherapy proved scientifically accurate? It does shrink tumors but it adds nothing to a patientƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s lifespan. The world is becoming sicker, fatter & more depressed than ever. The advice that people should listen to is not being givenƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚¦eat healthy, avoid processed foods, avoid refined carbohydrates, avoid soft drinks etcƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚¦are rarely highlighted. ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ WhatƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s more our doctors are duping us tooƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚¦! In the US some mid-sized drug companies have close upon 1000 representatives lobby with companies spending over $5billion annually on sending these representatives to physician offices. The US spends $19billion annually on promotions, influencing doctors & other health professionals. As a result the physicians are lured into prescribing drugs associated with particular drug companies who ensure these physicians are well looked after & patients end up paying far more than they are required to as well as end up having to take another set of prescribed drugs to cut off the side-affects associated with the earlier drug!

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Doctors are even paid to conduct fraudulent clinical trials on patients who are encouraged to take drugs for a 12month period to see its affects while the drug company profits through that particular year & the doctors enjoy the kickbacks as well. Some doctors who prescribe a particular drug companyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s products & avoided competing drugs are even paid ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-consulting feesƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚. It is all a scam, and a vast majority of physicians become party to these unethical medical acts, pocketing the benefits & dosing up their patients with whatever drugs theyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ve been told to prescribe. Doctors today are recipients of airfares & hotel expenses, luxury vehicles, even repairs & tyre replacements!

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ What is poignant & significant is that while physicians who may attend academic sessions with the thought of updating their know-how they are at the risk of being manipulated by pharmaceutical companies who pay high-profile scientists/physicians to speak on topics relevant to their products. Similarly, medical journals also help to promote specific products whose manuscripts are written by the pharmaceutical companies.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Essentially the public is at risk as a result of the direct & indirect relationships between pharmaceutical industry & the physicians. It certainly does breach professional ethics & may even bring dangers to patients.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Illegal drug trade

Surpassing these corrupt practices is the illegal drug trade. A UN reports puts the illegal drug trade as generating an estimated US$321.6billion annually. An estimated 208 million people internationally consume illegal drugs. The most widely used drug in the world is still marijuana (and it’s refined version, hashish). Global annual cannabis use prevalence is

estimated between 2.9% and 4.3% of the population aged 15-64. There are about 160 million users of marijuana and hashish worldwide. There are about 30 million users ofƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ cocaine, heroin and other hard drugs. These are the most profitable drugs, because they command the highest prices. Heroin, which funds much of the violence in Afghanistan, is largely (60 percent) consumed in three nearby markets (West Europe, Russia and China). In 2008, there were between 128,910,000 to 190,750,000 cannabis users. The same year there were 12,840,000 to 21,880,000 opiate users, while between 15,070,000 – 19,380,000 cocaine users, ecstasy users were between 10,450,000 to 25,820,000. 40% of global cocaine users are from North America. There are 4,396 million persons between the ages of 15-64 years who have been dealing with illicit drugs. There are 11-21 million persons between the age groups of 15-64 years who inject drugs. There are 16-38 million persons between the same age group who are ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-problem drug usersƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚. Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s drug addicts total a whopping 40,000 if not more.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ There is a global drug connection & there is massive network that has created a global financial mafia which unites prominent business, financial & Government figures. It has its own political influence, illicit finances, favors & even supplies sexual favors to politicians all over the world. It translates to an indirect empire that will do anything & everything to ensure its domination & profit. The US cannot deny that the CIA funded clandestine operations against Cuba & overt intelligence operations in Latin America & Far East using drug money. CIA also is guilty of supplying massive shipments of arms & equipment to 10,000 nationalist Chinese in Burma & to the Thai police. Both parties being involved in growth & trafficking of opium to the world market. One would be surprised at the lists of banks that are all involved in money laundering. Most conflicts prevalent globally are funded by heroin. The drug route infamously going through North Central Asia, reaching from Tajikistan & Uzbekistan through Azerbaijan & Chechnya to Kosovo will reveal one aspect of US interest in supporting the Al-Qaeda backed Kosovo Liberation Army. Why would the US list the KLA as an international terrorist organization while supporting it in Kosovo?ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Countries where drugs are produced have been cursed with problems that are unlikely to end. These countries suffer from murder, foreign occupation, guerilla warfare, paramilitary movements, drug lords, health hazards & create influx of refugees who attempt to flee to other territories & locations to escape. It is estimated that in the US, 5% of murders are all drug related while in Mexico 90% of crimes are related to drugs. In the US over 800,000 between the age group of 12-17 years were involved in illegal drugs.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 


The largest exporter of heroin is Afghanistan which supplies 93% of heroin to the world an export value of about US$64billion (distributed amongst opium farmers, government officials, insurgents, war lords & drug traffickers) It would explain how much US$64billion must have been an attraction for the US to think of invading Afghanistan on the pretext of being responsible for the 9/11 bombings.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The war on terror was a failure. So too is the war on drugs. It is simply because we have ignored the theory of supply & demand. The war on terror is being fought from the wrong angle similarly it is so with the war on drugs. Why would one need to focus on countless resources on the supply-side (law enforcements, agencies, military) instead of concentrating on the demand side ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” drug treatment, drug awareness etc? It would be best to legalize drugs, production then could be cheaper & regulated & even taxed. The funds spend on fighting the supply side could be utilized elsewhere.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

It goes without saying that the drug industry takes pleasure in promoting ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-sicknessƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ & seemingly healthy people are made to think that a simple sore stomach is likely to be an ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-irritable bowel syndromeƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ or a mild sexual difficulty may create ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-female sexual dysfunctionƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚¦certainly adds to creating phobia that translates to perfect marketing strategies to build & sustain the need to be hooked on to drugs.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Why are societies unable to eradicate drugs…who are bringing these into the country – certainly not only the random few caught at the airport! A network of individuals are part of a team that ensures the supply & demand for drugs. Similarly, the thriving pharmaceutical industry that year in & year out generate massive profits are ably assisted by some of those who take the hypocratize oath!

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ “Every human being is the author of his own health or disease.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ – Lord Buddha

2 Responses to “Doctors, Drug Companies, Politicians & Corruptions”

  1. sharpeshooter Says:

    Having worked for leading Pharmaceutical companies on this planet both as a Chemist and in IT(designing Clinical Trials) I wouldn’t dispute the authors statements wholly. However, reputed Pharmaceutical companies have standards based on Ethics, especially when conducting Clinical Trials. They adhere to strict Validation policies, Consent of patients and conduct Clinical trials by CRAs (Clinical Research Associates), highly trained and disciplined in the trade, working in collaboration with reputed Physicians. Just to put on perspective how Pharmaceutical Research is conducted – usually a company to begin with test around 100 molecules in Vitro, on a particular line of attack, paying substantial amount of money to Chemists who hold PhDs. Out of these only around 4-5 molecules would be selected for serious study and eventually one would be produced and marketed. By this time the company would spend around 800 million on a single molecule BEFORE the product hits the market. Patenting, Registration and Marketing would involve another substantial amount so these drug companies need to cover the cost and make a profit before others jump on the scene manufacturing the generic product. No doubt corruption is at all levels when marketing comes into play. Doctors, whom I call Prescription Writers get hooked on ‘perks’ offered by giant companies but not all Doctors are corrupt. Some have a conscience. Selling any product is fine but when it comes to marketing all hell breaks lose. Marketing is something which is coerced on you and a product you really do not need. Imagine in western countries where you can sell a man’s shoe by depicting an attractive woman on a bill board with long legs holding a shoe. We easterners are far more smarter in that respect. Eventually we all end up with Buddha’s wisdom who apparently did the home work for us and all we have to do is copy his work. Sunil Vijayapala

  2. Andare Says:

    Well said. In addition to all the above mentioned they are also very busy removing the really effective, cheap and harmless medicines such as Homoeopathy, Auyrveda, Naturopathy, etc., which have existed long before the Pharmaceutical industry developed. In USA there was a College of Homoeopathy in Philadelphia. Now there is not a trace of it remaining. We have used Homoeopathy and found it very effective for really curing a whole range of acute and Chronic conditions. Same with Auyrveda. They have started patenting trees in India. They tried to patent the Neem tree which has been used medicinally for over 10,000 years and failed. Same with the Basmati rice. The latest trick is to modify genes in food plants and patent so that the farmers are forced to buy the seed from the companies who do patent them. In USA many small farmers have gone out of business as a result leaving only the corporate farmers. No one has tested the gene modified plants to see the long term effects on humans and animals. The list of their crimes against humanity goes on and on.

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