big pharma mafia

Deadly Medicines: Organized Crime?

April 8, 2014
Category: Reform Healthcare

Book cover
An important new book by a recognized medical research expert describes Big Pharma as akin to the Mafia.
In an interview conducted by our colleagues at ANH-Europe, Dr. Peter C. Gøtzsche exposes the flaws of the drug approval system, our reliance on dangerous drugs, and the deadly co-dependence between regulators and industry. Dr. Gøtzsche is co-founder of the highly respected Cochrane Collaboration and Cochrane Reviews, a leading journal of evidence-based medicine. The interview is particularly timely now that the FDA has decided to remove restrictions on the dangerous drug Avandia.
Dr. Gøtzsche’s new book, Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Healthcare, points out that the pharmaceutical industry is allowed to test their own drugs, and thus effectively be their own judge. He calls this a threat to safe medicine and asks for open access to all research data, including raw data, because otherwise, data can be easily suppressed and conclusions manipulated by industry.
The book also questions the effectiveness of some very common classes of drugs such as cough medicines and anticholinergic drugs (used to block involuntary movements of muscles and to treat diseases like asthma, incontinence, gastrointestinal cramps, and muscular spasms), and points out that even if some drugs are slightly effective, their dangers far outweigh their benefits. Gøtzsche discusses our over-dependence on drugs when there are many non-pharmaceutical approaches available, such as diet, lifestyle changes, and exercise (as ANH has long been advocating).
Here in the US, the problem is compounded by the FDA’s reliance on industry for funding via user fees, which compromises the agency’s independence in decision-making. Drugs may be approved even if they are inferior to previous approved drugs—only about 15% of new drugs provide an important therapeutic gain. Moreover, many drug companies only spend 1.6% of their revenue on discovering new molecules for drugs (while spending over 46% on promotion), so it’s not surprising that new drugs are only slight variations of the old ones.
In addition, the government channels a great deal of taxpayer money to groups that support drug company interests in the media. For example, the government gave WebMD a $4.8 million contract to educate doctors about the Affordable Care Act. While WebMD touts its independence, the site is financially dependent on pharmaceutical companies. In 2010, WebMD created a depression screening test for website visitors in which 100 percent of quiz-takers ended up having a “high likelihood of major depression,” and were asked to discuss available drug treatment. In other words, WebMD was apparently a willing participant in getting people who were seeking health information to take SSRI prescription drugs, sales of which are estimated to hit $1 trillion next year, and as high as $1.2 trillion in 2017.
New drugs created by Big Pharma are routinely tested against so-called placebos rather than against established effective treatments. More to the point, allowing companies to test their own products is the very definition of bias. Drug companies are even allowed to exclude patients most likely to have adverse events, so the problems don’t even show up in the research. Most drug representatives do not discuss a drug’s documented adverse events with physicians.
As an example of the brokenness of the system, the FDA has decided to remove restrictions on prescribing and using the diabetes drug Avandia—despite the fact that the FDA’s own staff had expressed serious concerns about the drug in the past. Not surprisingly, it was Glaxo’s top selling drug before it was removed from the market.
Be sure to read ANH Europe’s interview with Dr. Gøtzsche. It’s a powerful exposé of a system that is killing, not healing us.

14 responses to “Deadly Medicines: Organized Crime?”

  1. kelli says:

    But still people are ignorant and remain in denial, they prefer to keep trusting in the corrupt medical-pharmacuetical industry.

  2. alexei says:

    Just because the Brits drink tea and have a high rate of heart disease (which incidentally is much more likely to be located in the North of England and Scotland) does not necessarily imply a connectional cause between the two factors. As far as the French are concerned, it has been suggested that their habit of drinking a small amount of red wine with their meals and far less in the way of junk food might be the reason for their superior heart health,
    Research in medical matters has too much of a habit of jumping to wrong conclusions.

  3. Christine Schneebeli says:

    I never take medecin and my health is just perfect, apart a cold sometimes… We have to learn to live without doctors, without medecine. But we have to learn to take vegetarian food, get exercise, a littke bit of sport and that will be our best medecine !
    HIV has spent so many millions of dollars without healling anyone…. All cancers ar healed ONLY with cisors – NOT medecine.

  4. Bill Ziese says:

    Whenever I see “Approved by the FDA”, I run in the opposite direction.

  5. sue j says:

    The FDA removed black box warnings on Clindamycin, by changing its name at request of the drug’s maker because it was cutting into sales&profits. Clindamycin causes death, and a drug resistant disease, Clostridium difficile, that is at pandemic levels around the World in medical facilities and nursing homes. C. Diff is treated by the A.M.A. with more antibiotics, of course, and causes absurd amounts of pain, often major surgery is recommended to remove diseased portions of the intestines and it often is irreversible causing permanent disability

  6. Thomas Smith says:

    I had a terrible experience with a new form of generic Singulair, an asthma drug. It absolutely made my lung condition far worse and it took many months of argument to be allowed to have Singulair again (non-generic) for a reasonable price from the three month pharmacy I use. A nightmare. I researched this and the generic version doesn’t work for ALOT of people, yet they require you use it, or pay a huge amount per month for the regular Singulair. Horrific experience and such a run-around. Generic Singulair – beware!

  7. Good. However the “powerful expose” needs enhancement. The London/New York “Pilgrims Society” roster has not leaked out since 1980. I hope to force release by Congressional subpoena. On those rosters I expect to find Big Pharma execs and board members, exactly as in the leaked lists from 1980, 1974, 1969, 1957, the partial lists from 1949 and 1933, and the 1940, 1924, 1914, and 1902-1903 rosters. It’s almost certain that huge funds from the former British opium “trade” in China, went into founding Pharma interests. That’s why there’s the book titled “Dope Incorporated.”
    http://www.amazon.com/Dope-Inc-Drove-Henry-Kissinger/dp/0943235022
    Kissinger is a Pilgrims Society vice president.

  8. Gerardo Vergara says:

    There is nothing new in this article if we are to look at countless transgressions that big Pharma committed in the past which the FDA did nothing but impose fines which the drug companies concerned dutifully paid because the amounts were but mere fractions of what they earned from making profitable businesses out of people’s misery.
    Avandia is making a comeback and this is not a shocking news since we know that FDA executives are former executives of those drug companies who were only recycling themselves for closer monitoring of their activities. It was banned then due to GlaxoSmithKline’s failure to provide safety data to the FDA to determine if the drug was safe for its approved indications
    Changes for a better healthcare from big Pharma is not forthcoming anytime soon especially now that it was given complete freedom on the testing and approval of their products.

  9. Jackie Newman says:

    Perhaps we shoujld be calling the Pharmaceutical Industry Drug Cartels as that in effect is what they are….

  10. Member says:

    http://www.ThePeoplesBranch.org
    At the core of most political problems is one thing – SPECIAL INTEREST! The system doesn’t serve the people’s interest because it’s too busy serving special interest! The People’s Branch is a modern-day equivalent of the movement that added the Bill of Rights to the Constitution. It is a political movement that will make local, state and national government, more transparent, less corrupt, more accountable, less wasteful, more fair and just.
    The People’s Branch will create the ultimate check and balance upon most officials and public servants by letting the voters participate directly in government. With The People’s Branch the government remains a republic. Elected officials and public servants are still responsible to work for the people’s interest. Nothing essential is taken away from the present system. However, something very important and greatly needed is added! With The People’s Branch each elected official’s vote(s) concerning any matter can be changed by a majority vote of their constituents. Citizen voting will be voluntary and may be exercised by electronic means from home or office. The technology now exists that can implement this process. Remember, if you can bank online you can vote online? Citizens will only vote to Pass or Fail i.e. Approve or Disapprove their own elected official’s vote. If the majority Approve their elected official’s vote then that elected official’s vote remains unchanged. However, if a majority Disapprove their official’s vote then that vote is changed. By checking and balancing their own elected officials actions the people themselves become their own greatest champions for protecting their own interest and keeping government honest and fair.
    Only corrupt politicians, officials, and public servants fear this political movement because they know that if it succeeds then their power and control will come to an end.
    There’s never been a greater need for this political solution. But no one is saying it is going to be easy. Yet, neither was the Civil Rights movement or the Women’s Suffrage movement, etc., etc. So, why is it that even though everyone is for better government, the political solution that will systemically improve government at all levels by neutralizing special interest’s control, is yet to be implemented?
    The People’s Branch is a reasonable and non-violent way for the people to regain control of government from special interest. To take up this cause and…

  11. Suzette says:

    I just ordered a holistic medicine for my allergies being Big Pharma’s junk does not work. Celltech. Mine are year round. I have gone alternative medicine as much as possible. Be careful of generics. The only difference is the inactive ingredients you may not tolerate or even work. Looking forward to my trial of this holistic medicine recommended by a Holistic Dr. Then if that does not work I have a back plan. Xlear. I run real fast as possible from Big Pharma. I quit my allergy regime along time ago when more harm than good if not working so why take all this junk by Big Pharma. The scary part of Big Pharma which is about everything there are no long term studies in taking an Rx. What are the risks nobody knows.

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