Many years ago honest medical research was done for the purpose of creating drugs to cure diseases and other ailments that were wreaking havoc upon society. Think about where we would be today if quinine hadn’t been found to cure malaria, or what we would do without penicillin to fight bacteria. As a result, diseases that used to be fatal are now very rare and people are able to live longer and healthier lives.
Although medical research continues today, it is not always done in the same vein as before. This is because Big Pharma (pharmaceutical companies) has a huge influence over the medical industry these days. They fund the majority of the research and they are more interested in profits rather than safety, health or a cure. This push for profits is no minor issue. Recent lawsuits against drug companies for illegal marketing and other criminal activity are becoming more and more common. However, the one who really “pays” is the consumer.
Recently, pharmaceutical company Amgen agreed to pay $672 million for paying kickbacks to doctors and using illegal practices to market their drugs.
They paid off anyone and everyone in the health care arena, including the doctors themselves. The infractions ranged from free dinners and vacations to payments for phony data collection studies. This all occurred over a ten year period in order to get six of their drugs prescribed whether patients needed them or not.
This may sound like a staggering amount of money, but when one considers that the annual revenue was $16.5 billion for this company, it is not likely this fine made Amgen give any thought to being honest and straight. They didn’t admit to any guilt either, so it was just the cost of doing business.
Amgen is not alone in this kind of misbehavior. In July, Glaxo-Smith Kline paid $3 billion for criminal charges relating to their drugs Paxil, Wellbutrin and Avandia. In 2009, Pfizer paid $2.3 billion to handle charges of illegal promotion of four of its drugs. Abbott Labs, AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson, Merck and Schering-Plough all have been caught doing similar illegal activity. Apparently a few billion dollars in fines does not outweigh the risk of Big Pharma getting caught in their crimes, as long as billions and billions of dollars in profits keep pouring in.
The problem with all of this is that there is no concern anymore for the health and welfare of the general public. There is only an allegiance to shareholders and profits. Big Pharma wants to get a drug on the market and have it stay there in order for it to become a cash cow. We the consumers are now the guinea pigs as we have no way of knowing if a drug was scrupulously tested and honestly approved before taking it. Evidence of this is all the drugs that have been recalled because they were supposedly only later found to cause heart attacks, diabetes or some other serious side effect.
Big Pharma’s influence stretches so deep that negative data is hidden or suppressed. This is particularly true in the case of SSRI (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor) antidepressants. Psychiatrists will tell you that you have a chemical brain imbalance and drug companies back that up with their SSRI antidepressants. These are supposed to correct the amount of serotonin in your brain. However, after an average of thirty-five years of research, Dr. David Healy, professor of psychiatry, says there is no evidence of anything wrong with a depressed person’s serotonin system. There is no reason to fix something that ain’t broke as they say, but it’s a good way to sell drugs if nobody knows the truth.
In fact, Dr. Healy has read the clinical trials for these drugs and there is no evidence that they alleviate any symptoms either. The drugs numb a person slightly so that one could think they “work” but they actually make a person’s system abnormal because there was nothing wrong with it in the first place. The drug only does marginally better than a placebo because of a ratings scale and nothing else.
Dr. Healy says that since the drug is acting on a normal serotonin system, the drug could be the reason why some people become suicidal or violent while taking them, when they had no previous history of such behavior. The link between SSRIs and violence was known to Big Pharma before the drug first came on the market, but they did not divulge that information. The FDA knew about it too, but argued that putting their Black Box warning on the drug would deter people from getting treatment! How is that logical?
It only makes sense that Big Pharma has a chokehold on the FDA. Instead of protecting the public, they waited until there were enough death reports so that they had to take action. Without the Black Box warning, more people took the drug and more unnecessary deaths occurred. Drug sales were more important than patient’s safety and health.
Dr. Healy states that the FDA data clearly shows that the SSRI antidepressants induce more harm than help. He estimates that thousands of people commit suicide or engage in violent acts against others annually as a result of taking these drugs. Isn’t one person, one too many? Now that antidepressants are prescribed for things like pain, insomnia and anxiety, the risk for violence is even higher as there are more people taking these drugs for lesser ailments. Many are not even aware of the serious adverse side effects.
However, Big Pharma’s influence is so powerful, that any information pointing the finger at antidepressants as the cause of violent behavior will not be on the front page of the newspaper anytime soon. When there’s a school shooting or mass shooting, have you noticed how the media continually talks about “senseless violence” and how the person was mentally ill or a troubled individual? That is Big Pharma muscle as at work.
The facts are available if you look. The majority of mass shooters were on psychiatric drugs or withdrawing from them. The FDA Black Box warning of suicide is right there on the label for anyone to see. However, any attempt to associate suicide, violence and antidepressants together will not be found in the media. It’s available on the internet, but all Big Pharma can do about that is dispute it and invalidate it. Dr. Healy experienced that himself as he was targeted for speaking out. Big Pharma has to crush any dissenters. Otherwise, the truth will cause their stock shares and profits to crash.
The point is that Big Pharma has a one track mind when it comes to profits. For your own health and safety, do your homework. Those drug advertisements may look enticing, but realize they spend more time on potential side effects than on the supposed benefits. Look for the economic conflicts of interest to avoid becoming a victim of Big Pharma.