Friday, October 23, 2009

Big Pharna Eats em Up

When you get a notion about something, you tend to stay on alert for any article that will support or debunk that notion. I have recently been expressing my thoughts on how Big Pharma is similar to Big Tobacco. Well, even I am surprised at how true my presumption appears to be. This was supported a few days ago by a headline regarding one big pharmaceutical company buying another. In fact, two companies have bought companies that were pretty big themselves and the profits for Big Pharma appear to be pretty consistent, just like tobacco.

Merck bought Schering- Plough and Pfizer bought Wyeth. That would put Merck against Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline. Also this week, the FDA noted that the labels on many drugs were misleading and did not tell consumers the whole story.

Now I have cautioned you about commercials that tell you a drug or product or DIET PROGRAM was clinically tested, as that doesn't tell you anything, and I have also warned you about ads that say that people on a diet, for example, lost more weight than people not on it, because if it wasn't statistically significant, than it could be related to chance. But even pharmaceutical companies are guilty according to doctors speaking in the New England Journal of Medicine. One example they give is telling people that the drug is more effective than placebo. Ok, it is better than nothing. Is it better enough to change a disease outcome?

Why does this make me think of Big Tobacco?
Altria Group owns Philip Morris USA, maker of many top selling cigarettes, including Marlboro and Virginia Slims and US Smokeless Tobacco, AND John Middleton, which sells cigars and pipe tobacco. Philip Morris International sells some of the same brands of cigarettes abroad and has additional country specific brands, PLUS they just bought Swedish Match South Africa which sells smokeless tobacco and snus, Reynolds American owns RJ Reynolds which sells five of the top ten cigarette brands, including my old favorite, Winston as well as Conwood Co LLC which is the second largest smokeless tobacco company and sells roll your own tobacco and a company called Sante Fe which sells the American Spirit brand.

I don't think I need to tell you how fraudulent and unscrupulous their tobacco advertising has been.

So yeah, these are behemoths of companies with billions of dollars in revenue and people either desperate for the medication they sell to treat illnesses many times self perpetuated and people desperate for a product that they are addicted to and which is leading them down the road to having to rely on Big Pharma to get off the stuff or to stay alive or both.

Cynicism is on the menu tonight - sorry


Paula said...

We all have our moments, but I still love ya!

Anonymous said...

cynical ones? Or did I do something else :)