Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Failure of Conventional Medicine. Cost of Medical Failure to Big Pharma

Big Pharma drugs have been causing disease and death now for centuries, not least during the last hundred years when so-called 'evidence-based', or 'scientific' medicine has dominated medical practice. One important question is - do drug companies just get away with it? Are they just too powerful and influential to control? Can they continue to cause such havoc in the lives of so many people and their families without being called to account?

The answer is mixed. On the one hand, drug companies are being prosecuted, regularly, in the courts, especially in the USA; and they have to pay out compensation to their victims. Here are a few recent examples:

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) agreed to pay $3 billion to resolve US investigations into its sales, marketing and pricing practices going back over a decade. And  there is more information about this court case, and what it entailed, here.

GSK were also fined $90,000 in an Argentine court - for killing 14 babies in an illegal vaccine trial. The company undertook the trials here, as the article explains, as they would have been illegal in the USA, or the UK. They were apparently conducted with babies from poor, illiterate families.

Pfizer had to pay a fine of $45 million for its menopause drug, Prempro. This article explains how, at the height of the litigation, Pfizer faced more than 10,000 claims that their drug caused breast cancer, and that the company had already begun to settle some suits, putting aside $840 million to do so.

Pfizer are also being sued for birth defects, allegedly cause by their anti-depressant drug, Zoloft. A group of parents have cited medical studies that shows that anti-depressant drugs, like Zoloft, can double the risk of heart defects, that Zoloft itself was inadequately tested, and they have accused the company of negligence, fraud, and misrepresentation.

Merck agreed to pay a fine of just under $1 billion for its drug, Vioxx, pulled from the market in 2004 because it caused heart attacks. The size of this fine will be discussed below, but it follows earlier payouts by the same company, for the same drug, of nearly $5 billion. Yet just how much damage to life has been done by just this single drug. This article asks the question - who killed more Americans? Al Qeda by crashing aeroplanes into the World Trade Center? Or Merck pushing its anti-depressant drug, Vioxx? See the article for the answer!

Johnson and Johnson are also preparing to make out-of-court settlements about its anti-psychotic drug, Risperdal, and this after a civil investigation that has lasted nearly 10 years. It will cost them an estimated $1 billion.

And payments have also been made to the victims of the GSK swine-flu vaccine, Pandamrix.  The vaccine has caused outbreaks of Narcolepsy in countries such as Ireland and Norway.

Yet, on the other hand, whilst these compensation figures, imposed on Big Pharma companies for drug and vaccine induced injury and death, might appear large, they are, in fact, very small. They are certainly tiny in relation to to the harm and distress caused by Pharmaceutical drugs. And tiny, too, in relation to the profits these drugs create.

There is a view that Big Pharma drug companies are just too big, too powerful, too influential to control. This is the view expressed by the Alliance of Natural Health in this article that focuses on Merck, and its now banned drug, Vioxx. As it points out, despite overwhelming evidence that the company knew about the dangers of the drug, and deliberately withheld this information, the company was made to plead guilty to just one 'misdemeanor'. It was not taken to task on deliberately misleading patients about a drug that killed. 50,000 patients sued the company, which was made to pay a fine of $321 million - roughly about $6,000 each!

And as this article says, the disease and death caused by Big Pharma drugs are usually dealt with by small fines. The executives of the companies are never held criminally responsible for their actions, and their devastating consequences.

Even governments pay out damages, albeit secretly, when they are implicated into imposing drugs and vaccines on people that cause they damage. This video describes how the USA government paid parents for vaccine damage caused to their children, and interviews one of them. These payments seem to suggest that governments are aware that drugs and vaccines are causing damage, but that they want to keep this knowledge from us, the patients!

And the damage caused by pharmaceutical drugs, and the claims made by those who have suffered from them, continue unabated.  Indeed there are now lawsuits beginning in the USA for a drug that damaged mothers many years ago, but have now been implicated in causing breast cancer in their daughters. Just how dreadful is this? Drug damage, it would seem, now affect not only the generation that take the drug - but the next one too! The drug companies are, of course, denying any connection with the drugs.

The question is, how much longer will this charade of drug damage, and compensation claims, continue - and all in the name of health?