Why Big Bad Pharma should be in the dock

Friday 28 June 2013 

  • Why these big bad pharma companies need my mothers wooden spoon around them

  • The four major crimes drug companies commit

  • How do you judge them at their day of reckoning?

Mrs Collins raised me as a good boy and told me not to gloat.

She often re-enforced such sound principles of decorum and good manners by taking the wooden spoon to me if I failed her!

It is such a pity that my dear mother hasn’t got the spoon handy right now, because I would love her to thrash some common decency into the tactless, money grabbing monsters in big pharma.

Last weekend the newspapers were alive with quotes from bad mannered, corpulent and degraded executives from some of the world’s biggest companies saying how much money they were making by selling cheap drugs to the NHS.

They boasted that they were selling prescription drugs that cost pennies for hundreds of pounds because NHS price controls are so weak.

This is truly shameful – and they need to be brought to justice.

In an age when our lives are held to ransom by multinational corporations, and stage managed by posturing politicians this style of bully boy tactics has become all too familiar, but these people are nothing short of criminals.

Now large companies of all flavours are hiking their charges, lowering their service levels and prostituting their customers at will – and then move the profits through various off shore companies to defraud the taxpayer.

The big boys of medicine have to be brought to book –I would like to see them face the  following charges in court;

- The crime of denying those who most need drugs the ability to make them for themselves.

By withholding the opportunity for poor countries to manufacture cheap versions of drugs that offer life saving potential to their citizens the drug companies protect their lucrative patents and over inflate their bottom line.


The crime of putting profit ahead of research needed to develop new cures.

Research(1)(2) has shown that 25% of revenues are spent on marketing existing drugs compared to just 1.3% on trying to find new molecules. Of the 15-25 new drugs licensed each year most are just tweaks to existing patents – and as such just help to protect the income stream the company enjoys from them.

Drug companies have no interest in actually making their products safer or more effective, or indeed finding better solutions to health problems – their focus is, and always will be, on the profits they make.


- The crime of holding the National Health Service to ransom

As these latest stories show the actions of the worlds pharmaceutical giants is never to provide their wares in any way which benefits the society that supports them, far from it they love nothing better than raping and pillaging the public purse.

Over the last decade some of the drugs which can make huge differences to suffers from cancer, AIDS and even dementia are held out like carrots to the NHS with price tags that generate huge returns.

The opportunity to make good profits from a drug which becomes widely used is never followed; instead they prefer to derive obscene profit from a few applications of an expensive drug.


- The crime of bribing, conniving and lobbying their way to influence and power

We are unlikely to ever discover the true amounts of money being passed over by the drugs companies in order to smooth their way in the world – public records show that the top 10 drug companies in the US gave over $15m last year directly to political parties.

In the UK the donations to the political parties are dwarfed by the payments made directly to GP’s with some reports suggesting that this averages £10,000 per GP in marketing support.

How can we expect an honest and holistic review of our health from our doctors if they are being so heavily incentivised.


Your Honour – I could go on, but in all honesty the way these plutocrats carry on is making me feel sick to the very pit of my stomach.

I would like to conclude the evidence for the prosecution by quoting an insider from the drug companies in a piece from The Daily Telegraph; be prepared to hold onto your lunch;

“Drug companies and chemists have been colluding to exploit the NHS via unlicensed medicines, or ‘specials’ as they are known, for more than 10 years”

What this proves is that our health, our National Health Service and the lives of those who have had the misfortune to become sick has been exploited for corporate profit for over a decade.

Just think of that for a moment.

Our parents in failing health, our children with a need for protective vaccines and ourselves in moments of weakness are pumping cash into ‘offshore tax efficient vehicles’ that can be used to pay out huge salaries and bonuses to drug company executives.

That isn’t right.

More importantly it should NOT be legal – they deserve to be harshly judged for their crimes, without mercy.

Yours, as always

(1) Rafols, I., Hopkins, M. M., Hoekman, J., Siepel, J., O'Hare, A., Perianes-Rodríguez, A., & Nightingale, P. (2012). Big Pharma, little science?: A bibliometric perspective on Big Pharma's R&D decline. Technological Forecasting and Social Change.
(2)Light, D. W., & Lexchin, J. R. (2012). Pharmaceutical research and development: what do we get for all that money?. BMJ: British Medical Journal, 345.








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