Big Pharma: How the World’s Biggest Drug Companies Control Illness
By Jacky Law
Constable and Robinson Ltd (2006)
In the ten years since British journalist Jacky Law published Big Pharma, the only good news is growing public awareness of the drug industry’s negative effect on human health. There’s no question the wealth and power of the pharmaceutical industry has vastly increased with the enactment of Obamacare in 2010. The latter grants major federal subsidies to both the insurance and drug industry.
Law carefully unpacks the fundamentals that position Big Pharma’s profits at the very top of Fortune 500 companies. In 2001, for example, they were number one, earning profits equal to 16-18% of sales. The banking industry was a distance second at 13.5%. While other Fortune 500 companies averaged 3.3%.
She attributes these obscene profits mainly to inflated prices Big Pharma charges Americans (as much as 5-10 times as much as in other countries), their deliberate efforts to bury and/or spin negative research, their bribing of doctors (with gifts, free lunch, training junkets and consultant fees) and medical journals (with glossy high priced ads), the refusal of the FDA to regulate pharmaceuticals (see FDA Now Completely Sold Out to Big Pharma) and direct to consumer ads aimed at convincing healthy people they need medical attention.
She devotes a whole chapter to “disease mongering,” Big Pharma’s deliberate creation of fictitious illnesses such as menopause, serotonin deficiency, post luteal dysphoric disorder and female sexual desire disorder. This is a topic I blog about frequently. See The Multibillion Dollar Depression Industry, Drug Companies: Killing Kids for Profit, Wyeth and the Multimillion Dollar Menopause Industry and Menopause Made in the USA
She also details studies dating back to 1982 revealing that low fat diets don’t decrease cardiovascular disease, as well as studies from 1992 revealing that cholesterol lowering drugs (statins) don’t reduce mortality. Thanks to the deliberate harassment and demonization of the researchers responsible for these studies, this information has only come into public view in the last two years. See Why the Low Fat Diet Makes You Fat (and Gives You Heart Disease, Cancer and Tooth Decay
Law is also highly critical of the role the pharmaceutical industry has played in minimizing the importance of poor nutrition and exposure to toxic chemicals in causing illness. She finds it extremely ironic (and immoral) that the federal government is clamping down on health supplements instead of environmental toxins.