The massive multinational corporations that produce the world’s supply of drugs, vaccines and genetically modified organisms have been coming under increasing heavy scrutiny in recent years. These companies are in a position, thanks to their incredible resources, to influence doctors, and even nations to buy their products. They have used their wealth to push favorable tariff policies, and even guide the direction of scientific research and determine what kinds of medicine are practiced.
Criticisms of the pharmaceutical industry often highlight the outright criminal activities on the part of its largest corporations. Backlash has come from renowned scientists, intellectuals, social movements and even governments like the Russian Federation. President Putin has fiercely criticised, in no uncertain terms, what is happening in the West as a result of using genetically modified products, of overconsumption of vaccines, and the “pseudo-nourishment” of fast-food as “a danger to the evolution of the human species”.
Use of criminal methods
However, these are much more than empty accusations. Fines of billions of dollars have been levied on many large pharmaceutical companies, including GSK, Novartis, and Pfizer for criminal behaviour… but the fines have made no significant impact on their policies. Obviously, the profits earned through criminal practices are much higher than the fines levied against them (1).
Among other things, these pharmaceutical companies are accused of promoting the excessive use of their drugs, minimising their side effects, exercising illegitimate influence on scientific drug research and on the doctors who prescribe them, using their monopolies to affect the pricing of drugs globally, and even of influencing the policy of public bodies like the USA’s regulatory agency (the Food and Drug Administration or FDA), 30% of whose budget is drawn from pharmaceutical companies.
“[T]hey are spending more than twice as much on marketing as on research and development”, globally renowned British author John le Carré remarked in an interview with the British newspaper, the Guardian. Le Carré has spearheaded accusations against the drug companies, that, with the cooperation of western governments and their secret services, used defenceless masses from the third world as guinea pigs in deadly experiments with new drugs, the dangers of which they ignored. (2)
The drug industry’s millions of victims
A million people have lost their lives on account of legal opioid abuse and irresponsible prescriptions in the USA, according to a recent study by James Petras, an internationally renowned Greek-American Profesor Emeritus of sociology at Binghamton University in New York (3).
It should be noted that Russia has banned the cultivation of genetically modified organisms and has granted free land to those who desire to develop organic agriculture. Moscow’s stated aim is to become the number one global exporter of “pure” foods, while, in an interview with AMPE [the Athenian-Macedonian News Agency], distinguished Russian ecologist, Elena Saroikina showed her support for a “Green Europe, from Ireland to Vladivostok” (4). Moscow has also taken the lead, followed by the rest of the countries of BRICS (Brazil, India, China, South Africa) in creating an “International coalition” of countries using traditional, non-chemical approaches to medical treatment (Homeopathy, Ayurveda, plant-therapy, water-therapy, etc.) (5)
In a study published by the Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, Donald Light claims that, without taking into account overprescribed drugs or those drugs taken by sick people with proper medical consultation, properly prescribed drugs still constitute the fourth leading cause of death in the USA. According to his research, pharmaceutical companies use various methods to influence the results of clinical trials to make their products appear useful while concealing their side effects. (Serious accusations have been made concerning such practices, of direct or indirect influence on scientific studies, like in the example of the company Novartis in Japan). (6)
According to the data that Light puts forward, of all the new drugs introduced between 2002 and 2011, 2 were revolutionary, 13 contributed to significant medical progress, 61 offered some unique advantage, while 918 showed very little or no improvement in treating patients.
Public Domain Pictures
Commercial interests determine research findings
Research in new drugs is determined chiefly, if not exclusively, by the commercial interests of the companies that produce them.
Six of the most renowned representatives of the British medical community, including Sir Richard Thompson, who served for 21 years as the Queen’s doctor, called for an urgent public investigation of the practices of pharmaceutical companies and the influence that they exert on which drugs are prescribed, underlining that a lot of drugs are less effective than commonly believed. They claim that drug companies develop drugs that will increase revenue rather than drugs that are likely to help people. (7)
The production of drugs worldwide – and indirectly the direction of welfare policies and of medicine itself – are controlled by a handful of companies from the United States and Western Europe, which are among the most profitable businesses in the world and which are able to determine in practice the pricing policy of drugs worldwide, and even influence governments. These companies include Pfizer, Bristol-Myster Squibb, Bayer, Merck & Co, Pharmacia, Novartis, Johnson & Johnson, Abbott Laboratories, American Home Products, Eli Lilly, Schering-Plough, GlaxoSmithKline, and Allergan. Recently, the German company Bayer, and the American company Monsanto, a giant company which monopolises the GMO market, signed a merger deal. This merger has faced a fair share of opposition, due to the fact that it will lead to the creation of an all-powerful giant with global influence that will move toward becoming the “owner” of all the food that we eat, as well as of the DNA of living organisms, including that of human beings, and even the techniques for modifying DNA. In other words, a small group of individuals may potentially obtain control over life, the human race, and our future. (8)
The battle over vaccines
The ruling class often uses a different form of medicine than the kind that they advocate for use by the working class. One of the richest men in the world, Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, is a fierce proponent of mandatory vaccinations and believes that the claim that vaccines cause autism is bogus. He also recently declared that a pandemic will occur in 2019, causing 30 million deaths! More significantly, he himself refuses to do to his children what he recommends as mandatory state policy for the general population: he never had them vaccinated, at least if his personal doctor is to be believed (9). A study, published in the American Public Health review, showed that it is primarily white, wealthy Californians who refuse vaccinations, because they are afraid of their potential side effects, such as autism (10). Furthermore, Robert De Niro recently announced that he was cancelling a documentary that he had been making about vaccines, implying that he had been forced to do so. (11)
Significant criticisms have come as well from a small but recognised group of voices concerned about the excessive number of prescriptions written for cardiological and psychiatric drugs, the utility and safety of which is often doubtful. There have even been claims that certain common antidepressants for children increase rather than decrease the rate of suicide among children. Moreover, tons of studies have also been carried out on the effects of antibiotic abuse. (12).
The conclusion is more than apparent. In the pharmaceutical sector, as in most others, the uncontrolled consolidation of economic and political power in the hands a small number of legal entities, whose only goals are accumulating more wealth and power, whose “checks and balances” are woefully inadequate. What this resembles, currently, is the condition in which uncontrolled multiplication of cells occurs in the human body: cancer. Society, states, and international organisations must wake up and take action to control and curb this phenomenon, for the very survival of their peoples, nations, and perhaps even the human race as a whole, is at stake.
- John le Carré, a former staff member of British MI6, highlighted pharmaceutical companies’ use of African populations in heinous experiments with the full knowledge of western governments and intelligence agencies in his novel, The Constant Gardener, set in Nairobi, Kenya, later made into a film of the same name. Of course, the novel is only a novel, but it is written in such a way that little room is left for doubt and it most likely describes a true story. The attentive reader will notice that, in one of the book’s footnotes, the author even insinuates which company was carrying out the experiments. John le Carré has given us in his novels the best breakdown of the secretive “Cold War” that was carried out for half a century by western and Soviet intelligence agencies. But after the collapse of the USSR, his interest turned toward the changes occurring in the West, the role of multinational corporations, and the activity of intelligence agencies in this context. In a rare interview given to the Guardian, le Carré underscored that “Mussolini’s definition of fascism was that when you can’t distinguish corporate power from governmental power, you are on the way to a fascist state”. See, characteristically: https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/le-carr%C3%A9-speaks-out-against-the-global-pharmaceutical-industry/1957346
- http://www.defenddemocracy.press/novartis-and-misconduct-in-clinical-studies/, https://ethics.harvard.edu/blog/new-prescription-drugs-major-health-risk-few-offsetting-advantages, http://blogs.nature.com/news/2013/08/japan-investigations-allege-misconduct-in-large-scale-clinical-studies.html
- http://www.defenddemocracy.press/pharmaceutical-jungle/, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2016/09/14/five-alarm-threat-our-food-supply-monsanto-bayer-merger-advances
- For information and alternative perspectives on the use of cardiological and psychiatric pharmaceuticals, see: https://www.theepochtimes.com/cardiologist-says-prescription-drugs-often-do-more-harm-than-good_1948124.html, http://www.defenddemocracy.press/dose-of-jeremy-corbyn-needed-to-make-medicines-safe/