Erin Elmore: Big Pharma now our BFF

Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

How many times have we seen people bragging about their name-brand COVID vaccines on social media? We overhear them at restaurants, sporting events, and in the supermarket throwing around the names of pharmaceutical companies with pride.  The sheer and utter joy that people get from praising Big Pharma is a little surprising.

As we know, the pharmaceutical companies are for-profit entities that employ lobbyists, advertise on television and pay the FDA so more people will use their products. Yes, they are products that generate a profit. Sometimes, these products benefit humans, sometimes they don’t.

Take a short and recent walk down memory lane and you will recall a serious, life-ending pharmaceutical failure—the opioid crisis.

Courts have determined that this crisis was perpetuated by the pharmaceutical industry. In fact, thousands of lawsuits and several legal settlements show how corruptly the pharmaceutical industry behaved regarding opioids.

 

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One company, Purdue Pharmaceuticals admitted that it marketed and sold its dangerous opioid products to healthcare providers, knowing they were diverting them to abusers. Purdue also lied to the Drug Enforcement Administration about steps it had taken to prevent such diversion, fraudulently increasing the number of its products it was permitted to sell. Purdue also paid kickbacks to providers to encourage them to prescribe even more of its products.

Additionally, in July the New York Times reported that “three other major drug distributors — McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen — along with Johnson & Johnson reached a $26 billion deal with states and local governments that would release the drug companies from all civil liability related to the opioid epidemic.” As a result, the three distributors would make payments totaling $21 billion over 18 years, and Johnson & Johnson would pay $5 billion over nine years to pay for addiction treatment, prevention services, and other expenses related to the opioid epidemic.

The implications and problems are far from over simply because some of the litigation has settled. Drug overdose is now the No. 1 cause of unintentional death in the United States.

These weren’t accidents or mistakes that the pharmaceutical companies made. These were malicious and calculated decisions that killed people so pharmaceutical companies could profit.

So now, with COVID Mania, people have forgotten that Big Pharma is Big Business. They have forgotten that these companies have been proven to ignore, misinform, lie and disguise. Drugs are the product and your consumption is the profit.

Erin Elmore
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