The Independent sheds light on the means by which pharmaceutical companies shape government health policy to their own bottom line. It seems like most patient’s lobby groups are funded, managed, and represented by agents of the pharmaceutical industry. The industry says it is all above board because if you look into the small print you can discover this. But it’s rarely mentioned in the newspaper headlines when hand-picked desperate sufferers are crying out for the NHS to spend more money on wonder drugs. Nor is it mentioned when new laws are proposed to restrict herbal and alternative treatments. Full story from the Independent here.
I have a few words to say about Big Pharma in The State Is Out Of Date. Here’s an excerpt from chapter 28, The Drugs Problem
Society does have a problem with drug use. It is a serious problem that is getting worse. For some reason, though, the perception of this problem is focused entirely on the very small range of drugs that are being used illegally. We cannot ignore the very real problems faced by those who are using drugs prescribed by doctors. Their lives can be damaged and sometimes destroyed as a result of diagnostic error, their own abuse of the prescribed stocks (few recreational drug users have a month’s supply in a bottle), or just years of being dependent on pharmaceuticals with known side effects. These legal drugs must be obtained through controlled channels, but these channels translate into a multi-billion dollar industry throughout the world—the real drugs trade. While we condemn it when drug barons bribe and seduce judges, police, and politicians, we think nothing of the lobbyists employed by the pharmaceutical industry in Washington DC, who number more than three for every single Congressman or Senator. To rephrase that, there are 535 elected representatives shaping law and regulation in the capital of the United States, attended to by 1,724 paid persuaders from the pharmaceutical drug barons alone (as well as some 9,750 lobbyists from other interest groups in 2011).
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