Drugs, Drugs, and More Drugs

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The pharmaceutical industry in the United States has hoodwinked the public into believing its snake oils are worth the money you pay.  The government, “health care industry,” and insurance companies are happy to comply, and maybe some of them even believe their hype. 

 

This does not stop them from jacking up the prices of necessary medications, like insulin for diabetes.  According to the New York Times, Martin Shkreli set a new record for Wall Street greed when he acquired the rights to Daraprim, a life-saving anti-parasitic drug, in 2015 and hiked the price from $13.50 to $750 a pill overnight. 

 

The NYT says the Trump administration “went ballistic” when Pfizer increased prices a few weeks ago.  This has deterred Pfizer, along with Merck, Roche, and Novartis from raising prices, for now. 

 

But not to worry, if you have stock in a pharmaceutical company, because the FDA and its sympathizers are on your side.  Only worry if your insurance company doesn’t cover the cost of your medications. 

 

You might profit from buying stock in the companies whose drugs the FDA, the “health care industry,” and the insurance companies are pushing, such as the over-the-counter naloxone that is one of four medications promoted for “opioid use disorder.”  In terms of reputation, this “opioid epidemic” has spread far and wide, to the highest government offices, academia, psychiatry, newspapers, magazines, television, the internet, the courts, and dinner-table talk.  Its funding has been greatly enhanced by the promoters of public disinformation, yet relevant facts are few.  All the stories have the monotonous flavor of canned worms, opened, sampled and regurgitated for yet another meal.

 

We are told about opioid-related deaths, the evil drug company that promoted its opioid drug as non-addictive, the lazy or greedy doctors who over-prescribe narcotics, and the glories of “medication-assisted treatment,” or MAT.  Somehow, heroin comes up in all these stories, yet most people should know heroin is nowhere legal in the United States, not even by prescription.  We are rarely told that this magical MAT consists of four drugs, two of which are opiates themselves, or that the federal government has added special training and licensing requirements for administration of its approved protocol. We are not told that “treatment” does not mean “cure.”  No, “cure” would imply eventual freedom from all drugs, a notion that doesn’t serve Wall Street profits.

 

So let me give you one example of how this scam works.  I hesitate to call it a “conspiracy” (wink, wink), because of the paranoia such a word implies.  I’d rather call it a “consortium” of interrelated interests, all of which stand to profit by exaggerating the problem and presenting expensive but ineffective solutions. 

 

We are told opioid-related deaths have skyrocketed this century, and Oxycontin (oxycodone) is the precipitating culprit.  OxyContin is produced by Purdue Pharma, which indeed does have a shady background.  In 1952, three brothers—Arthur, Raymond, and Mortimer Sackler--all psychiatrists from Queens, New York, purchased Purdue Frederick Company.  Arthur was reputed to be brilliant in psychiatric research and pharmaceutical advertising.  Working for Roche, he found enough uses for Valium (diazepam) to make it the first drug to hit the $100 million mark in revenue.  He also “positioned” Librium (chlordiazepoxide) for Roche.  Valium and Librium are members of the “benzodiazepine” class of drugs, a class that includes Xanax (alprazolam), Ativan (lorazepam), Klonopin (clonazepam), and others.  Alternatively, oxycodone is a semi-synthetic opioid from thebaine, an opioid alkaloid in the Persian poppy.  It was developed in 1919 in Germany. 

 

In December, 1995 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Purdue’s OxyContin (oxycodone), to treat pain.  It hit the market in 1996. Direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising of drugs was approved by the FDA in 1997.  Purdue marketed the drug to doctors and the public as a non-addictive treatment for pain.  It reached $45 million in sales the first year, and $1.1 billion by 2000.  By 2000, it was becoming evident that OxyContin was, indeed, addictive, but the FDA still approved a larger, 160-milligram pill for those with high tolerance. 

 

In 2007, in US vs. Purdue Frederick Company, Inc., Purdue pleaded guilty to intent to mislead doctors and patients about the addictive properties of OxyContin.  It paid $600 million in fines, among the largest settlements for pharmaceutical companies in US history.

 

By 2010, revenues had hit $3.1 billion, or 30 percent of the painkiller market.  Purdue remains a privately held company, in the hands of the Sackler descendants.  It is being served with multiple lawsuits from different states for its role in contributing to the “opioid epidemic.”  According to The Week, Kentucky is one of the worst-hit states.  It has filed twelve claims against Purdue, for false advertising, Medicaid fraud, unjust enrichment, and punitive damages, among others.  The Week also says there was a four-fold increase in prescription painkillers supplied to pharmacies and MD offices between 1999 and 2010. 

 

Meanwhile, The Guardian reported in 2017 that the US constitutes 80 percent of opioid pill production but has only five percent of the world’s population.  It claims the pharmaceutical companies made false claims of an “epidemic of pain,” in the 1990s, and the federal agencies went along.  Pharmaceutical lobbyists got Congress to loosen restraints, and doctors were often reprimanded for not supplying enough.  “Regulators became facilitators,” as the FDA approved one opioid pill after another. 

 

How does this relate to heroin, a known street drug, one might ask.  It’s a good question, for which there are no easy answers.  The idea that prescription painkiller pills are “gateway” drugs to heroin use has been mentioned.  One source notes that heroin is less expensive on the street than OxyContin, which can cost $1/milligram, or $80 for an 80-mg pill.  A more significant problem with heroin, we are told, is that it is increasingly laced with fentanyl, another opiate that is up to 5000 times stronger than heroin.  Synthetic fentanyl is being smuggled in from China.  Heroin is coming from Mexico, some say.  Fact is, there are few facts available in this gigantic obfuscation of facts that characterizes sensationalism.

 

So we don’t exactly know how prescription pain-killers are related to heroin/fentanyl deaths.

 

Death from opioids usually comes from respiratory depression.  In other words, people who overdose pass out and stop breathing.  Many other drugs cause respiratory depression, too, and a mixture can have cumulative effects.  It is common for people with chronic pain to take both a narcotic (opioid) and a muscle relaxant/sedative of the benzodiazepine class mentioned above.  The benzodiazepines also cause respiratory depression, as does alcohol.   Too, it’s not clear how many of these opioid-related deaths are complicated by other substances.  One psychiatric journal mentioned that a third of opioid deaths were complicated by benzodiazepines.  It’s probably safe to say that hard-core street addicts could be taking many drugs at any given time.

 

But our “medication-assisted treatment” bypasses all these inconvenient details.  It does include a drug, naloxone, which reverses the effects of opioids and can save lives in a primary opioid emergency.  It has been around over 45 years and is well known in emergency rooms for its life-saving effects.  Since this crisis began, police and ambulance drivers have had to use it on numerous occasions.  Now, the US Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD, MPH, has encouraged over-the-counter preparations of naloxone for those with opioid use disorder and their loved ones.  FDA head Scott Gottlieb is also advocating expanded access to treatment, Medicaid funding, and other systemic changes to pay for the problem.

 

Manufacturers of OTC naloxone have jumped to increase prices accordingly.  Narcan intranasal (Adapt Pharma Inc.) retails for $135/dose, more than double its price a few years ago.  Kaleo’s Evzio auto-injector now retails for $4,500, more than 6.5 times its $690 average price in 2014. 

 

What’s not clear about this scenario is how a passed-out opioid over-doser who has stopped breathing will be able to administer the naloxone.  Irreversible brain damage occurs mere minutes after a person stops breathing.  The life-saving medication requires someone alert, quick to recognize the problem, and to administer the naloxone.

 

With all the calls for funding, research, and treatment, no one is admitting that substance use treatment is notoriously ineffective.  FDA head Gottlieb and others are begrudgingly accepting the idea that cure may not be practical, and long-term maintenance must be considered.  So the magic bullet, the aforementioned MAT, or “medication-assisted treatment,” is not a cure.  It is designed to convert illegal opioid use to legal opioid use for perhaps a lifetime.  Of course this will require funding for treatment, for the treating facilities, support staff, the researchers, and for the prescriptions. 

 

Who benefits from this crisis?  Well, the National Institute of Health has earmarked $1.1 billion to develop “scientific solutions,” backed by a $1.3 trillion omnibus package passed by Congress, according to Psychiatric News

 

The four approved medications in MAT are naloxone, mentioned above, naltrexone, and opioids buprenorphine and methadone, in case you want to buy stock in their companies.  Insurance company stock will most likely benefit, too.

 

US President Donald Trump has declared the “opioid epidemic” a public health emergency.  We have the White House Opioid Commission looking for ways to fund and treat the problem, including such issues as insurance coverage.  It recommends funding for no less than eight professional organizations. 

 

The common denominator in this “emergency” is the use of more drugs to treat the drug problem in the drug-crazed culture we have created.

Comments

James E. Unekis Added Aug 9, 2018 - 11:32pm
The original price for Daraprim in my state was 35 cents pill.
opher goodwin Added Aug 10, 2018 - 4:23am
Katharine - it is a dirty business. These unscrupulous firms do not care a jot at what social mayhem or suffering they produce. All they want is money.
This is the Health Care Inc.
Reminds me of Murder Inc. by Springsteen.
Kimberly Rose Added Aug 10, 2018 - 7:09am
Tell someone with HIV that drugs aren’t worth the money.  If that doesn’t convince you the premise iof this article is wrong, would you like me to name a few more invaluable drugs?
Stone-Eater Added Aug 10, 2018 - 8:01am
Katharine
 
I don't take any drugs, neither pharma nor DRUGS. Why ? Because the side effects will most probably fuck up other parts of my system which in turn would need drugs against the drugs against the drugs.
 
There are drugs which are rightfully prescribed - for example when you can avoid a probably terminal illness. But there's not billions of people which are concerned by that.
 
Most people are simply too plaintive about any minor ache and then shovel that stuff in their throats until they're ready for dialysis.
 
Or they are stupid enough to believe all those ads advising people to take drugs as PREVENTION LOL
Doug Plumb Added Aug 10, 2018 - 8:39am
One time I went to the docs for an allergy test. The doc, as I am talking, gets out a syringe, fills it full of something. He walks toward me. So I ask, are you vaccinating yourself? He continues to walk toward me. I quickly run around him and run out of the office.
This was after my doc, on a visit, had a vaccine with my name on the bottle. Naturally, I refused that one as well.
On another visit, I had gone to the hospital after an injury complaining about my heart rate at 70, its normally 55 or so. The doc checks me and says "I wouldn't be worried if it was 100". Alarmed at this, I asked him if he was Jewish. I left the hospital with a heart rate that was more elevated than when I went in. If these people don't scare the hell out of you, you need a doctor.
Dino Manalis Added Aug 10, 2018 - 8:42am
 That's why foreign prescription drugs should be imported, as well as patent reform to reward innovations temporarily.  The FDA ought to be split and focus on evaluating all domestic and foreign drugs'; dietary supplements; and more, while food safety has to be the responsibility of the Agriculture Department.
Doug Plumb Added Aug 10, 2018 - 8:44am
Katharine, did you check out Lorraine Day yet? Her vids will be removed from the web..
Katharine Otto Added Aug 10, 2018 - 11:24am
James,
Thanks for the info.
 
Opher,
It's all about shareholder profits, doncha know?  The "industry" is disconnected from the patients, and compassion doesn't sell.  One of my main contentions with the stock market is that "shareholder profits" preempt all other concerns, and pharmaceutical companies (and most publicly traded companies) disperse risk, responsibility, and social consciousness through algorithms.  Creative advertising skews the facts in ways that are intentionally misleading if not outright lies.
 
Kimberly,
You're confusing the drugs with the money.  Ask an HIV-infected individual if he/she would prefer the cost be reduced and tell me what they say.   They (or their insurance companies, or the state) are paying for a lot more than the drugs themselves, including patents, patent lawyers, advertising, and shareholder profits, among other things.
 
Stone-Eater,
I like to believe sanity will win out, someday.  The more people who don't need or take drugs, the more they force others to question the drug-pushing paradigms.
 
Doug,
Best to question what any doctor recommends or prescribes.  So many people passively accept whatever their doctors say.  The seemingly intentional dumbing down of patients regarding their own bodies is incredible.  Why people put up with this, I don't understand.
 
I briefly checked out Lorraine Day's site but didn't have time that day to watch the videos.  I will try again.
 
Dino,
Some good ideas.  Unfortunately, I'm very suspicious of the FDA, having seen many examples of its colluding with the drug companies to push drugs on the market before they are proven safe.  That's why so many drugs have had to be removed, because of the deaths they caused.  We don't hear enough about that.
 
 
Don Allen Added Aug 10, 2018 - 1:44pm
Big Pharma is adjusting and fast. 
 
If you are a regular on TV and watch news shows, business shows, and old reruns, you will see commercials offer alternative venues for those many of us without an opioid dependence.  They are offering curatives for diseases I haven’t even heard of.  Back problems, skin problems, dysfunction problems, breathing problems, and more, they give great presentations, over half of which shows happy people in happy circumstances while the announcer lists the many side effects. 
 
They count on the listener taking this information to their doctor and getting a prescription for relief. So far, so good? 
 
But now go online, where else?, and check out the normal cost of a dosage.  Into the hundreds of dollars each is what you will find.  The patient doesn’t care as Medicare* picks it up.  The patient believes in some wonderful treatment to make them feel or look good. Big Pharma profits wonderfully.
 
Eliminate opioids completely, and the pharmaceuticals will still be alive and thrive. Opioids make people who feel bad feel good, if only for a couple of hours. Big Pharma feels good all the time.
 
*And this is just one minuscule part of the $60B annual Medicare fraud.  Is is likely not yet even counted as fraud. 
Jeff Jackson Added Aug 10, 2018 - 5:50pm
Whenever you want an example of the "deep state" the FDA the pharmaceuticals are part of the "deep state," This deep state gets lots and lots of money from the government, and the regulators, for the most part, just rubber-stamp the product, wreaking havoc upon the population, all the while collecting millions from the government. This is exactly what they mean when they say "deep state." Great article Katherine. 
Doug Plumb Added Aug 10, 2018 - 6:14pm
Bolsheviks love pharma and shrinks.
John Minehan Added Aug 10, 2018 - 6:32pm
Interesting.
 
On one hand, by marketing to patients, patients might be more informed.  On the other, it creates demand for drugs that might be less suitable than simpler or cheaper ones that might be more clinically appropriate.
 
I've never met a pharmacist who thought doctors (in particular, MDs and DOs) had an appreciation of the effects and limits of meds and (in particular) were careful enough about interactions or really knew what lab tests to ask for to determine if drugs were being properly metabolized.
 
I know Detail-Men (and Women) back before Medicare Part D made Meds a Stark/AKS issue, made an effort to educate Docs on these issues, often by brining pizza and subs to the office staff.  Now, it is a finer line.
 
After Quill in 1997, the issue of managing pain became more of an issue.  But the terminally ill still do not get enough analgesia and perhaps healthy people get too much.
 
Do the Pharmaceutical Companies make a lot of money?  Yes.  Do they make a lot of it here in the USA?  Yes.
 
However, the development costs are astronomical, as is the legal risk.  Socialized systems in other countries make it hard to adequately price these necessities in those countries.  If you think we are better off with ATZ or Statin Drugs, etc., you must understand they come at a price and EVERYONE will be better off if those prices are set by market forces..      
Michael B. Added Aug 10, 2018 - 8:41pm
@ John M. - "However, the development costs are astronomical, as is the legal risk."
 
At the risk of sounding like a pharma industry stooge, I have to agree with that statement. Just about anything and everything associated with the R&D and manufacture of any food, drug, medicine, or dietary supplement is an enormously expensive and tedious undertaking compared to most other industries; from my experience, only aerospace rivals and even exceeds pharma in that regard, but aerospace is much more cut-and-dry and the results are much more tangible. Either it totally works or it totally doesn't, whereas in pharma there is still a lot of "black magic" involved. Ask Elizabeth Holmes about that, lol.
John Minehan Added Aug 11, 2018 - 7:38am
Aerospace risk: "It either flies or it falls out of the sky and everyone dies.'
 
Yes, that is perhaps a bit more "cut and dried."
 
I'm usually sick on airplanes.  So, I avoid it where I can.  Unfortunately, there was no bus service to Djibouti. 
Katharine Otto Added Aug 11, 2018 - 11:03am
Don Allen,
My point exactly.  I used the "opioid crisis" as an example of the concerted efforts to push drugs on the public, more drugs and more expensive drugs, often paid for by insurance, which also gets a major cut of the "health care industry" pie.  I could say the same thing about psychiatric drugs, generally, or about many of the drugs used to alleviate minor (and possibly insignificant, self-corrective) problems.  Yes, Medicare is complicit, so it would be hard to call it "Medicare fraud," unless you are saying Medicare is fraudulent.
 
Jeff,
I have a long list of complaints about the FDA, going back to its inception in 1906 (I believe).  That might become an article some day, but like so much of government bureaucracy, it's a sinkhole for the unwary.  Thanks for reading and for the compliment.
 
John Minehan,
I learned in medical school that every new medication increases the risk of side-effects four-fold.  Doctors can't possibly know about the cumulative side effects of meds patients take.   In fact, they are lucky if the patients themselves even know what they take.  They often get prescriptions from multiple doctors, and these change so fast, it's almost impossible to keep up.
 
Also, most MD education after residency is from pharma-sponsored CMEs or "detail" people, so they are only going to get a narrow slice of the total picture.
 
I could write an entire article on statins.  This is a manufactured market for a drug that may do more harm than good.  I've read that 1 in four people over 40 take a statin to reduce cholesterol.  It is based on findings from the Framingham Heart Study, commissioned by Congress in (I believe) 1947.  It provided data that we now take for granted as risk factors for heart attack, such as obesity, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, stress, and the like.  Cholesterol was included, but cholesterol is a major component of all cell membranes.  It's only when cells start breaking down and the cholesterol begins accumulating in blood and arteries that it becomes a problem.  In any case, there are lots of ways to reduce blood cholesterol, and statins are now showing long term effects on cognition and other areas of functioning.  They may not prevent heart attacks, either.  It didn't stop Pfizer from making a fortune on Lipitor, though, or the generalized belief that statins help prevent heart attacks.
 
Finally, I don't believe pharma spends as much money on research as it claims.  Many drugs are copycats of previous drugs, and many are for bogus problems.  I'd be willing to bet pharma spends more on marketing and FDA schmoozing.
 
Michael B.,
I could claim that very few drugs are necessary to life, in most cases.  Certainly there are the outliers, such as cancer treatments, or for HIV, but these benefit only small segments of the population.  No cancer drug provides complete cure, for instance, and the HIV drugs have only converted HIV from a terminal to a chronic illness.
 
Research will go on, but I have to wonder if efforts and money would be better spent by reducing the carcinogens we keep dumping into the environment.  
 
 
John Minehan Added Aug 11, 2018 - 11:13am
Meds are (legitimately) a larger part of treating patients today than 40 years ago, but there seems to be a large disconnect, as you attest, Dr. Otto.
 
A lot of the problem is law and regulation which makes collaborative practice difficult.
Katharine Otto Added Aug 11, 2018 - 11:55am
John Minehan,
Agreed.  I believe patents contribute significantly to the problem of information hoarding, but patents are the name of the game, these days.  "Our intellectual property" is sacrosanct, doncha know?  
 
Neither Benjamin Franklin nor Thomas Jefferson believed in patents.
Thomas Napers Added Aug 12, 2018 - 5:38am
“This does not stop them from jacking up the prices of necessary medications, like insulin for diabetes.”
 
Nothing should stop private industry from jacking up prices in a free market economy.  Price should be a product of supply and demand.  If a firm is charging so much that it’s making an enormous profit, other firms will step in provide a similar product or service for less.  Obviously drugs are often protected by patents, but those patents provide the incentive for drug companies to develop new drugs.  If another company could essentially copy and produce what a drug company spent oodles of money to develop, there would be no research and development of new drugs. 
 
Insulin is a prime example of the system working.  I don’t know who the first company to develop insulin was, but I’m hoping they got paid a lot for their effort.  Now that the product is no longer protected by a patent, there is competition in the private industry to sell diabetes sufferers insulin.  Consumers always benefit from competition.  Insulin is also a prime example on the importance of drugs and not of any “hoodwinking” by the pharmaceutical industry. 
John Minehan Added Aug 12, 2018 - 6:09am
"Nothing should stop private industry from jacking up prices in a free market economy."
 
"If a firm is charging so much that it’s making an enormous profit, other firms will step in provide a similar product or service for less."
 
I agree absolutely with the first point. 
 
I agree with the second point but I point out that it is NOT always likely (or even feasible).  Drug development is expensive for a number of reasons.
 
 
Katharine Otto Added Aug 12, 2018 - 12:10pm
Thomas and John,
Personally, I don't care how much pharmaceutical companies charge, but I do care that the government interferes so much in the market, presumably to protect the public, but also to control the "economic narrows."  Remember that the most significant pharmaceutical advances, like penicillin, were made by individuals working alone.  Could that happen today?  I don't know.  "The industry" is geared to favor large over small.
 
Just yesterday, I read an article about obesity, saying that Americans are fatter and more unhealthy than ever.  Type II diabetes is directly associated with obesity.  Although these people are not necessarily dependent on insulin, they often can control their diabetes without medications by losing weight and changing their diets.  If you watch what people buy in the grocery store, you will get a good idea of why Americans are fat, broke, and unhealthy. 
 
Do you see the FDA advocating for good nutrition?  No.  The FDA is busy scaring people away from basic food groups, calling them "allergens."  Foods such as eggs, wheat, peanuts, milk, and others are more dangerous, according to the FDA, than the processed crap sold by McDonalds'.
John Minehan Added Aug 12, 2018 - 12:31pm
But the FDA's rubric is not really giving nutritional advice.
 
There are other state and Federal government agencies that undertake this task.  This is also an absolutely legitimate use of public funds where the key epidemiological threats are from these types of life-style based chronic diseases.
 
This kind of thing is also a key part of the practice of primary care. 
David Montaigne Added Aug 12, 2018 - 10:23pm
People in general, and impatient Americans in particular, do not want medical advice to change their lifestyle, eat healthier, sleep and exercize more, smoke and drink and eat less...  They want a pill to give an instant fix.  As long as this mentality exists, that diseases are cured by pharmaceuticals (profitable, and popularized by advertising and lobbying) and not by healthy lifestyle changes, people will get sicker and sicker.
Katharine Otto Added Aug 13, 2018 - 4:04pm
John Minehan,
If the FDA's rubric is not to give nutritional advice, then why is it demonizing basic food staples?  Which governmental agencies give nutritional advice?  USDA, CDC, and all the agencies I can think of only tell you what not to eat, but they don't actively promote diets like the Mediterranean diet, which is known to be a healthy one.  
 
Are you suggesting people need to go to their doctors to learn about nutrition?  Nutrition is not taught in medical school, much to my dismay.  Nurses get better nutritional training.
Katharine Otto Added Aug 13, 2018 - 4:14pm
David Montaigne,
That is my point, too, and a big reason America as a whole is on the decline.  If people are too lazy or impatient to take responsibility for their own lives and health, they deserve the contempt of government and the media.
 
I do believe the problem is largely a conditioned response to systematic training to give up more and more responsibility (and freedom) to delegated authority, whether government, doctors, bosses, religions, or other institutions.  The slow usurpation of initiative to create a dependent population in a nanny state has been cultivated over time by those who would control minds and purse strings through force and deceit.  I would like to believe regular people are waking up, but that's a subject for a series of articles.
Don Allen Added Aug 13, 2018 - 4:47pm
Katherine,
Most interesting point, this of usurpation of independence.  This has been carefully taught. The dual lessons learned is distrust not only of our own self-recognizance, but also of our institutions.  
 
I digress to a probable cause plus a rant with pre-apologies. 
 
Our schools, especially, have abrogated their responsibilities to teaching critical thinking in favor of "getting through the day" without irate parents pounding on the door.  Children grow up thinking that the only error in cheating is being caught, and this is the third generation of such.
 
So, who does a skilled cheater trust?   
Katharine Otto Added Aug 14, 2018 - 4:55pm
Don Allen,
Yours is a short rant but a loaded topic.  Interestingly, I just finished re-reading Brave New World and Brave New World Revisited, by Aldous Huxley.  The latter is a series of essays, published in 1958, about the twin dangers of over-population and over-organization.  He says they are inter-related, that over-population leads toward totalitarian governments, but that education and the fostering of critical thinking is a means to insure freedom.  I plan to post more on it soon.  
Thomas Napers Added Aug 15, 2018 - 8:59am
If your beef is with how government interferes in the market than write an article which states why the government is the target of your ire.  You wrote an article blaming the pharmaceutical companies. 
 
Americans are not fat, broke and unhealthy. As for the FDA and what it advocates for, I don’t care what the FDA does.  I commented to you because I know drugs can be very helpful and that pharmaceutical companies are only guilty of making drugs we want to buy.  If you don't like what they're making, don't buy.  Isn't freedom wonderful!
Bill H. Added Aug 15, 2018 - 11:37pm
Today I find out that not only is my Thyroid medicine made in China, but that it is being recalled due to contamination.
Just last month, my wife's blood pressure medication (Valsartin) that we found out was also made in China and was contaminated ended up being recalled.
How in the hell are pharmaceutical companies allowed to simply import pills made in China under their name and not disclose this to the public?
I go to the store and buy fruit and other edibles, all labeled with the country of origin. Why are we still able to buy drugs (and even food for our pets) that is still not labeled?
WTF???
Katharine Otto Added Aug 16, 2018 - 12:10pm
Thomas,
My intent is not to "blame" anyone, because the problems are so interrelated that it's impossible to isolate one group or individual.  I see it as self-defeating but self-perpetuating set of assumptions that pit delegated authority against self-determination, with self-determination the loser.
 
The entire "health care industry" works against individual responsibility, knowledge, or health, to exploit their fears and insecurities.  Individuals are being socially engineered into choices that benefit Big Government and Big Corporations while depriving them of confidence in their own intuitive and body wisdom.
 
It's a matter of opinion as to whether Americans are fat, unhealthy, and broke.  The FDA affects every area of your life, whether you care or not.  Drugs are drugs, whether legal or not, and all I'm suggesting is that the ones that contribute to shareholder profits on Wall Street get lots of help from the government, insurance, and advertisers to create markets that wouldn't otherwise exist.
Katharine Otto Added Aug 16, 2018 - 12:24pm
Bill H.,
Globalization makes it impossible to identify all the locations where any one product might be manufactured.  Did you see Even A Broken Clock's article about all the hands involved in his company's pesticide manufacture and distribution?  Same with drugs.  With the merger of pharmaceutical, agricultural supply, and genetic modification industries, this will become even more difficult.  Think Bayer/Monsanto, Dow/DuPont, or Syngenta/Chem China.  
 
I read a NYT article about a scandal with a Chinese pharmaceutical company's distribution of 250,000 doses of a vaccine.  It didn't meet some regulation, according to government officials.  The report caused the stock to go down, even though no injuries or adverse consequences were reported.  The vaccine is mandatory for children.  I read wondering what regulation was breached, and why the vaccine is mandatory.  In other words, the article implied the vaccine was unsafe or ineffective but offered no proof.  
 
I take issue with mandatory vaccines.  It's another case of government-pharma collusion to force their agenda on the public.  
Don Allen Added Aug 16, 2018 - 4:28pm
Government-pharma, government-agriculture, government-industry and more, are problems exacerbated by globalism.  The weaker countries are bullied to accept pronouncements, while the bigger ones can cut private deals.  And even bigger countries can simply ignore any or all global provisions.  
 
In the manufacturing sector, defective products such as with pharma, can simply be traded about until all traces of the defects or origins are lost in the paper entrails. 
 
Even simpler is the example of Farmer A who produces organic tomatoes and Farmer B who produces regular tomatoes.  If Farmer A sells the crop to Farmer B, then what is to prevent Farmer B from co-mingling both crops and selling them all as organic? Nothing much.
 
Big anything invites cheating and cheaters.
Katharine Otto Added Aug 18, 2018 - 4:04pm
Don Allen,
I'm with you, especially when it comes to food and other ingestibles.  For instance, DDT, which is outlawed in the US, is still sold in other countries, which are using it on their crops.  But there's no guarantee food grown in the US is any safer.  I just read in the NYT that glyphosate (Roundup made by Monsanto), the most widely used herbicide in the world, including the US, has been found in brand name cereals such as Cheerios and Quaker Oats.  Both the EPA and FDA say they have not found any causal link to cancer, but that's as far as they go.  Monsanto also makes the infamous Agent Orange.  Ask any Vietnam vet about that.  No wonder Monsanto now wants to hide behind Bayer.  Apparently Bayer is going to quit using the Monsanto name.
 
More disturbing is that Farmer A is given free or reduced price GM seed corn which he then has to buy anew every year as the price goes up, because the corn is sterile.  Then there's the farmer whose field was cross-pollinated by nature with Monsanto's fields next door.  Monsanto sued the farmer for patent infringement and won, thus also getting the seeds the farmer had been carefully fine-tuning by hand for years.

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