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Friday, 18 October 2019

THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY. Greed, corruption, fraud, dishonesty. Would you buy a 2nd hand car from them? Leave along drugs that can seriously damage your health?

Conventional medicine, what we invariably get when we see our doctor, or visit a hospital is dominated by the pharmaceutical industry. And the pharmaceutical industry is dominated by greed, corruption, fraud, and dishonesty.

This is not a new claim. Nor is it one from which the drugs industry can defend itself. It has form, a history that demonstrates that it will go to any lengths to sell us drugs and vaccines, quite regardless of the damage they do to our health.

The pharmaceutical industry has been involved in a large number of legal cases over the years, cases that have demonstrated the lack of ethics that drives the industry. I have highlighted some of them, those from 2007 to the present day, here - it makes sobering, frightening reading.

My question is this. Each of these legal uses illustrates the extreme lengths drug companies will take in order to sell us dangerous drugs. So can they be trusted? Is any drug or vaccine peddled by these companies, for profit, safe for us even to consider taking? Can we, should we believe anything pharmaceutical drug companies tell us?

Especially when drug company executives in the past have told us that judicial fines are 'merely another cost of doing business"? An amount to little more than 'pocket money'?

Johnson & Johnson is a drug company that (in the words of Bloomberg News) has taken some costly beatings in USA courts this year. "And it could get worse."
In October 2019 J&J were ordered by a jury to pay $8 billion for wrongfully pushing doctors to prescribe the anti-psychotic drug, Risperdal. As Bloomberg outlines, this came on the heels of many $billions paid out for damage claims involving opioid painkillers, artificial hips, and even their renowned baby powder.
               "The health-care giant still faces at least 100,000 lawsuits alleging injuries from those products and others, including vaginal-mesh devices and the diabetes drug Invokana....... Analysts say the cost of resolving those cases may reach $20 billion, and J&J’s handling of the various litigations is likely to spark questions when the company reports results on Tuesday."
This is the problem, as highlighted by Bloomberg. Not so much a concern for the damage J&J has done to patients, but the implications for the financial viability of the company. Shares of J&J were down 12% "partly because there’s no end in sight for liability costs".
I am not concerned with the shareholders! They have profited greatly from these drug companies for many decades. "Investors are tired or it", Bloomberg tell us. Well, I am more concerned about the patients who have used and taken, quite innocently, these profitable J&J products for personal health reasons, only to find that their health was damaged. A business ethics professor, Michael Santoro, at California’s Santa Clara University, gets closer to my concerns.
               “J&J used to be the gold standard of ethical behavior in the pharmaceutical industry. They just seem incapable of properly managing their ethical behavior at this point. They’ve lost their way.”
Indeed they have certainly lost their way! The Bloomberg article outlines the enormity of their current problems.
Opioids. J&J face 2,000 pending cases, with an estimated cost of $5 billion
Baby Powder. J&J face 15,5000 pending cases, with an estimated cost of $5 billion
Risperdal. J&J face 13,000 pending cases, with an estimated cost of $800 billion
Vaginal Mesh. J&J face 2,000 pending cases, with unknown costs
Artificial Hips (Pinnacle, ASR). J&J face 12,000 pending cases, with an estimated cost of $4 billion
Xarelto. J&J face 31,700 pending cases, with an estimated cost of $775 billion
Invokana. J&J face 1,000 pending case, with unknown costs
Details of each of these cases is further outlined in the Bloomberg article, who make the point that J&J are not the only pharmaceutical drug company that faces such action, and that "battling in court has become routine for many drugmakers, and J&J is no exception." This is absolutely true.
J&J were quoted saying that it has an expansive legal strategy that carefully evaluates all claims to determine when to settle and when to fight, that they were operating within a very litigious environment, and that they must at times be willing to go to trial when necessary. They also said that they remained open to resolving cases through settlement when and where that was appropriate. 
               "We have a proven track record of being able to successfully and appropriately manage this balance.”
I have no doubt that they do! But there was no mention (there rarely is) about their track record for keeping patients safe from dangerous drugs and medical devices. And that's probably because making such a case is more difficult - given their track record - and the track record of most other pharmaceutical companies.
What we must remember is that each one of the cases listed above represent people, and their families, who have been damaged by 'medical' products. Moreover, they represent only a tiny proportion of people and families who would be similarly damaged. And then only people and families living in the USA. The damage cause by J&J, and other drug companies, is much greater than these court cases could ever represent. So the real question for each of us is this.