Monday, March 14, 2022

A Litany of Pharma Crimes, by Larry Romanoff - The Unz Review


Part 1 – The Landscape

It may surprise you to learn that the world’s pharmaceutical industry has arguably the dirtiest underbelly of all economic sectors in the world today, so totally riddled with crime and corruption that it probably cannot be fixed. As one measure, in the past few decades Big Pharma has created a toll of deaths and injuries exceeding that of all the world’s arms manufacturers combined. Astonishing claims, but heavily documented and easily proven, as you will see. The pharma companies are only one part of what we might term an enormous international crime ring that includes UN agencies.

This news hasn’t reached wide public awareness because the world’s mainstream media are owned by very close friends of these drug lords and, while much of the information on the litany of crimes is not exactly heavily censored, the exposures are treated dispassionately and gently in the media as unrelated one-off events, instead of as parts of a pattern of astonishing psycho-pathology that has existed for decades. Worse, the heart-breaking litany of resulting human misery is almost completely suppressed and thus unknown.

The largest players in the pharmaceutical industry like Sanofi, Pfizer, and many of the remainder, are owned by Jews, one reason the legacy media ensure that the ultimate beneficial owner-criminals are almost never identified. Rothschild’s Sanofi (and all its brethren) are the largest vaccine manufacturers in the world. For COVID-19 vaccines, the Jerusalem Post boasted that a Greek Jew, Albert Bourla heads Pfizer, and Moderna’s medical chief, Dr. Tal Zaks, is an Israeli Jew. [A1] The Sackler family who brought us Oxycontin and the opioid crisis, are Jews. Nestlé, who are heavily invested in related products like baby milk, are responsible for millions of infant deaths and one of the four most-boycotted firms in the world, [A2] but public awareness is sorely lacking because it is a Jewish company heavily protected by the world’s legacy media. Monsanto is another.

Knowledge of Jewish control of the pharma sector is important for reasons that will eventually become clear, as our knowledge of Jewish control of the media enhances our understanding of the official narratives of major events like 9-11, Iran, Iraq and Libya, China, of COVID-19 and of Russia/Ukraine today.

All this information is easily available on the second or third tier of the internet, but too few people traverse these sites and their documented evidence is inevitably trashed as misinformation, conspiracy theories, or anti-Semitism.

One fatal misconception we tend to hold is that pharmaceutical companies are in the “healthcare” business or the “disease-prevention” business. They are not. They are in the money business. It may be a surprise to you that there is no money in curing a disease; the profits are in long-term maintenance.

Malaria is a disease that kills hundreds of thousands worldwide every year, yet a cure is available. There are two problems: one is that Malaria is a disease of poor countries who are of little or no concern to anyone; the second is that the cure is generic, cheap and unprofitable. Vaccines generally, and a great many other medications, are extremely profitable, obscenely so in many instances, with pharma companies focusing on revenue and profitability, not on saving lives.

It occurs only rarely that a genuine – and permanent – cure for a disease is actually discovered and put into effect, when an entire nation panics at the prospect of a deadly illness (polio, for e.g.) that a genuine cure will be found and distributed. These events are infrequent, and there is much accumulated evidence that pharma companies will abandon a search for a cure and focus instead on medications that will keep a disease at bay – medications requiring daily ingestion and thus producing much profit. [A3]

It seems that a dangerous drug or lethal vaccine will be recalled only when lawsuits are filed by the victims; the US FDA, the CDC, and other national health agencies ignoring the trail of bodies and infirmities until then, heavily supported by dead silence from both the US government and the Western media. The history of recent decades is replete with such examples. And even after withdrawal, the pharma companies will often continue to market the same drugs, vaccines, and medical appliances in poorer countries, with the apparent full blessing of the FDA and CDC. It would seem that black lives (and yellow ones, too) don’t matter nearly as much as we are told. I have some examples of this for you, that are at once horrific, appalling, and truly shocking. The sociopathic travesties visited on both the Western world and the Third World by the pharma companies, the UN agencies, national healthcare organisations and Western governments, leave us reeling in disbelief.

One clear example is the polio vaccine that was contaminated with a carcinogenic simian virus where around 100 million Americans were infected. [A4] [A5] Of course, “fact-checking” websites like Snopes [A6] found the claim false, “Much ado about nothing”. Similarly, Fact decided it was “highly unlikely” that anyone contracted cancers from the vaccines, [A4A] in direct contradiction to the evidence. But it wasn’t false. According to PubMed, “The presence of SV40 in monkey cell cultures used in the preparation of the polio vaccine from 1955 through 1961 is well documented.” [A7] [A8] In fact, PubMed stated in one report, “Our analysis indicates increased rates of ependymomas (37%), osteogenic sarcomas (26%), other bone tumors (34%) and mesothelioma (90%) among those in the exposed as compared to the unexposed birth cohort.” [A9] [A10]

True to form, the Lancet politicised this and blamed it on the Russians, neglecting to mention that the vaccines were primarily created and distributed in – and by – the US. However, the Lancet was honest enough to note that the person at the NIH who revealed this looming tragedy “was muzzled and stripped of her vaccine regulatory duties and her laboratory” [A11] – by the Americans who treasure whistle-blowers (in other countries). Lawsuits against Pfizer and others for this CDC-approved vaccine are still pending.

Something similar is true for polio. Few people are aware that most cases of polio today are the result of WHO polio vaccination campaigns [A12] and not from any natural spread of the disease. The WHO’s cheap and easily-administered oral polio vaccines have proven responsible for the increasing recurrence of polio in many countries, most. polio cases caused by the WHO’s vaccination campaigns. An independent medical group tasked with monitoring these events, wrote that polio (because of the WHO practices) was “spreading uncontrolled in West Africa, bursting geographical boundaries and raising fundamental questions . . .” It further described the WHO’s attitude toward terminating this pandemic of vaccine-caused polio cases as “relaxed”. (See reference 12 above). I might have used a stronger term.

These pages will give you only a brief glimpse of the pharmaceutical landscape that exists today, one so rife with corruption of every kind and littered with a reckless disregard for human life and suffering that is almost impossible to believe at first reading. I will provide in these essays a short burst of examples, then a series of pharma company case studies which are especially criminal. One essay in this series on the WHO will leave you gasping, a description of how the WHO sterilized about 150 million women in undeveloped countries, without their knowledge or consent (with the active participation of Bill Gates and Rothschild’s Sanofi). Yet this deliberate tragedy is 100% true, and heavily documented. [A13] And heavily censored by the media.

The circumstances outlined in these essays are true in every Western nation. It will shock you to realise that UN agencies like the WHO and UNICEF are active participants in these sociopathic enterprises, with governments and national healthcare authorities all circling the wagons for self-protection and leaving the publics to cope as best they can.

If the bad news leaks out, denial and censorship are the main tools, while muzzling, threats and retribution are the order of the day for whistle-blowers. In today’s climate we have the added advantage of de-platforming on Twitter and Facebook for “spreading misinformation”, and total censorship on Google who loses its memory whenever corporate and government crimes appear.

The Pharmaceutical Landscape

Large corporations have so much power over the US and other Western governments, to the degree that corporate crimes are now considered detached from, and contain no personal responsibility on the part of, their executives and management. In the pharmaceutical realm, even the companies themselves have become immune to an extent that beggars belief. As one example, the COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers supplied national governments on condition they carried no responsibility for resulting injuries and deaths, and in many cases demanded that poor countries sign over huge items of infrastructure as “collateral” in the event lawsuits would emerge.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism confirmed that Pfizer demanded “countries put up sovereign assets such as embassy buildings and military bases, as a guarantee against the cost of any future legal cases.” [A14] Even major government like the US and UK have given Pfizer full protection from legal action by the governments, regardless of the toxicity or lethality of its vaccines. [A15]

In the many cases of even egregious crimes like those I will detail later, the companies paid fines but no executives were charged, in spite of the criminality and sometimes massive death tolls. One recent surprising departure is that the government of France has charged Rothschild’s Sanofi with manslaughter for marketing of a drug Sanofi knew to cause deaths and severe birth defects – about 30,000 of them, at last count. [A16] [A17] [A18]

Medical crimes and legal claims had become so prevalent in America that the large pharma companies successfully lobbied the US government for immunity from prosecution for their crimes. To accommodate them, a few years ago the FDA instituted a new federal policy stating that FDA approval overrides most claims for damages against medical device makers and pharmaceutical manufacturers, giving them full protection from lawsuits. The large pharma companies successfully lobbied Congress to legislate that they are free from prosecution and any liability for flawed, debilitating or fatal medications and vaccines even if it is proven that the firms lied on their FDA applications and falsified all their test data. American consumers who experience serious health consequences from unsafe medications or faulty medical devices now have little recourse.

These pharma company owners – and they are people, not corporations – are hardened sociopaths who don’t cringe at high death tolls resulting from their insane pursuit of profits. It isn’t only a few faked test results or a failure to notify the FDA of a drug’s harmful side effects. The pharma industry has a 100-year history of committing almost every crime imaginable short of bank robbery and arson. On the medical side we have: faked and non-existent drug tests, falsified drug test results, falsified manufacturing records, adulteration of medications, non-disclosure of harmful and fatal side-effects, non-disclosure of failed drug tests, off-label marketing, bribery, false advertising, selling adulterated drugs and defective medical appliances, illegal medical experiments, fraudulent drug trials and so much more. We also have severely-contaminated and sometimes-lethal vaccines.

The above are industry-specific crimes related to the manufacture and sale of vaccines and medicines, but pharma companies are also multinational corporations and share a litany of crimes and illegal behavior with their brethren in all industries. A short list: Illegal political contributions and campaign financing, political bribery, price-fixing conspiracies, illegal market share allocations, conspiracy to eliminate competition, bid-rigging, defrauding national Medicare with false claims, environmental crimes, dumping of hazardous chemicals and waste, financial and securities crimes, insider stock trading, stock price manipulation, tax evasion, racketeering, obstruction of justice, witness tampering, destruction of legal records, destruction of evidence.

The Editor of the Urban Right Healthcare Weblog wrote that “The constant march of legal settlements by, jury verdicts against, and in some cases criminal convictions of or guilty pleas by, large health care corporations indicate how common misbehavior by such organizations has become. Since it is likely that much misbehavior does not lead to publicly announced legal actions, what is published can only provide a floor for an estimate of how common it is. The march … shows how sleazy and often corrupt health care has become, and how that sleaziness and corruption is prevalent not just among small players, but among the biggest and richest health care organizations, and their top leaders. One reason the situation continues to be so bad is that while the unethical behavior does sometimes result in pontificating by the civil authorities, and fines that may only be costs of doing business, it rarely leads to meaningful negative consequences for those who authorized, directed or implemented it.” And, because the controlling owners of these firms, the criminals ultimately responsible, are never identified.

In March of 2012, Kelly Kennedy wrote an article in USA Today that outlined the difficulties caused by weak regulation, revolving doors and heavy lobbying by the American pharmaceutical industry. It is well known that the largest US drug makers have paid many billions in fines during the past several years, but to no apparent avail in terms of eliminating, or even reducing, the systemic corruption that is so entrenched in the industry. Pfizer alone has paid billions in fines in the past few years and has been forced to sign three separate so-called ‘corporate integrity agreements’ meant to enforce the prevention of future fraud, but the company continued and in fact was initiating and perpetrating new additional frauds while negotiating financial settlements for prior frauds. You can’t be more arrogantly immune than that. Baxter, Merck, Johnson & Johnson, GSK, Abbott and Bristol-Meyers are the same, being repeat offenders without apparent concern.

Certainly, part of their boldness stems from the total immunity of the firms’ executives and officers to criminal charges, fines and prison sentences, which in turn stems from the enormous influence these firms have over members of Congress and other governments. As with most regulatory bodies in the US today, notably in the pharma, banking, defense, and securities industries, there exists a virtual revolving door between the industry being regulated and the regulator, in this case the FDA. A third side is that these firms control exclusive long-term patents on hundreds of medications that are vitally necessary to the US Health Service and the medical industry, where no suitable alternatives exist. I will deal with the details of these in subsequent articles.

The authorities and government investigators claim they have almost no tools left with which to perform their regulatory functions, the firms’ heavy lobbying of Congress having created an almost total immunity which results in only small punishments (to shareholders) for even the most egregious of crimes. The fines have proven useless in containing the criminal behavior, and the “corporate integrity” agreements are mostly just ignored.

“The US Health Department has reached the point where they want to ban these firms forever from the Medicare supply chain, meaning they would no longer be able to supply medications for government reimbursement, an act which would cost them half their market.” But the pharma companies have so much power they remain defiant even in the face of such threats, reminding the health authorities that their medications are vital to the nation and they therefore cannot be excluded. “The Justice Department is now escalating this conflict with threats to cancel the firms’ patents on these drugs, as a criminal punishment, and open the field to generic production to fill the nation’s needs.”

“In an attempt to create some order by closing the revolving door, Congress is considering a law prohibiting any individuals from ever working for the Federal government, if they have been involved with any pharma company that has committed fraud, but this effort is itself experiencing intensive lobbying by the firms and their powerful industry association.”

In recent years, leading members of Big Pharma like Sanofi, GSK, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Merck, Abbot, Schering-Plough, Novartis and Eli Lilly have paid about $80 billion in fines to settle charges of suppressing information on lethal side effects, falsifying test data, knowingly marketing toxic vaccines and lethal medications, falsified efficacy claims for new medications, inferior and contaminated manufacturing processes, misleading marketing, illegal off-label promotion, bribery and kickbacks, Medicare fraud, and other crimes. But even a brief examination of these firms’ total revenues and profits prove these apparently huge fines are merely insignificant marketing costs, and the criminal investigations merely an irritant. For example, GSK paid $3 billion in fines for criminal activity that produced about $30 billion in revenue. That’s nothing more than a 10% tax. If you’re a pharma company, serious crime is the best-paying job in America.

Pharma executives appear to perform the same kind of cost-benefit analysis as do the American auto companies, that is to compare the profits from the sales of a drug to the potential cost of deaths and lawsuits from dangerous side effects of whose existence they are already fully aware, leading inevitably to morally bankrupt marketing decisions.

Almost every major drug maker has been accused in recent years of giving kickbacks to doctors or shortchanging federal programs. Prosecutors said that they had become so alarmed by the growing criminality in the industry that they had begun increasing fines into the billions of dollars and would more vigorously prosecute doctors as well.

But as an indication of the depth and extent of the corruption in the American pharma industry, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a Jew and a former top FDA regulatory official who is now a consultant and lobbyist for pharma companies, said that government prosecutors were increasingly criminalising “what reasonable people might argue is [an] exchange of important clinical information between drug companies and doctors”.

Bribery, kickbacks, defrauding Medicare, false advertising, off-label sales, promotions of medication for illegal and unapproved uses are now transformed into “an exchange of important clinical information”. One authority stated, “The U.S. pharmaceutical industry, long one of the most profitable in the country, with profits last year of close to $50 billion, has engaged in an unprecedented amount of criminal activity in the past decade. Unfortunately, the ever-escalating fines are unlikely to stop drug companies from continuing to bribe doctors because they represent just a fraction of drug company profits and no one has gone to jail.”

In late 2011, a prominent editor of a medical journal wrote that medical institutions should firmly prohibit their faculty from doing research on drugs when they are receiving lucrative speaking and consulting payments from the drug industry. He said the only solution was to rid the industry of its plethora of unethical practices, that disclosure was not sufficient to curb bad, biased and financially-corrupted science. Investigative health journalist Alison Bass wrote of the multitude of so-called “drug studies” that are secretly financed by the manufacturers themselves, that are never properly peer-reviewed, and are normally done by researchers with deep financial ties to the manufacturers of those same medications. She wrote “it’s not enough to fine drug companies for deceptive and illegal marketing tactics. There has to be real reform in the medical research establishment. Until universities and doctors stop taking money that taints their scientific judgment and refrain from putting their names on papers they didn’t write, how can the American public trust any health professional when it comes to the safety and effectiveness of prescribed drugs?”

Her comments deserve wide support. Many so-called studies are written by employees of the pharma company or by someone paid a great deal of money by that firm. Invariably, they push the ‘new, improved’ and much more expensive medications that are almost never better than the lower-margin drugs they are meant to replace. And worse, many of the studies appear to be fraudulent, with the data most often manipulated and surprisingly often completely fabricated, and they almost never inform of the many and often serious or deadly side effects. The clinical studies seem to have become primarily fraudulent marketing tools, yet relied upon by physicians and the FDA.

The American practice of permitting these criminal organisations “to neither admit nor deny” the allegations and charges is itself a seriously corrupt practice that must cease. No company “agrees” to pay billions of dollars to satisfy criminal and civil charges if it’s not guilty, and this charade of pretense where firms are permitted to immediately afterward hold press conferences and publicly state they did no wrong but settled ‘to move forward’, must be stopped. Guilty is guilty, and in fact the process of “settlements” – which are agreements arrived at out of court – are also corrupt and should also be stopped. Except in unusual circumstances, there should be no out-of-court settlements, with most cases going to trial.

Bio-Weapons Cloud in the Silver Lining

There is something else you should know – the incestuous relationship between the big pharmaceutical companies and the US Department of Defense and the CIA, all cozy partners in biological weapons programs. This shouldn’t actually be a surprise; pharma companies spend their lives fabricating new chemicals and testing their effects on the human body. Since even the drugs and vaccines they put on the market are sometimes toxic and lethal, it’s natural that at least some of their discoveries will prove to be especially so, thus attracting the eager interest of the weapons people. The military are particularly interested in concoctions that will kill in large numbers while the CIA are more tuned to one-off assassinations, especially those that mimic natural heart attacks or strokes. Ask Mossad. Thus, it should not be a surprise that many compounds which today find their way into the American biological weapons inventory are termed “orphan pharmaceuticals”, which means drugs proven to have such extraordinarily toxic properties that they became much too valuable to discard.

In most of these cases, “plausible deniability” is an extravagant plus, a drug, a chemical – or a virus – that is easy to distribute but difficult to attribute to a foreign agent, one which could possibly have emerged by natural means, courtesy of Thomas Malthus. Some examples that come to mind would be SARS, MERS, EBOLA, AIDS, ZIKA, H1N1, Swine flu, and Mad Cow Disease. And COVID-19, if you’re the suspicious type.

It isn’t a stretch to know and accept that many pharma companies do precisely such research for the US military, looking not for chemicals that cure but for drugs, viruses and vaccines that kill, especially those that can debilitate or kill (or sterilise) in large numbers. Big Pharma has been involved in this morally-bankrupt adventure for almost 100 years, Pfizer and Merck having their beginnings in the world of bio-weapons. I will deal with these later.

Part 2 – A Money Business

American industry abandoned early on its pretense of making high-quality products, as a natural result of the new mantra of profit maximisation. When American capitalists redefined “long-term” as three months, making a product to last a lifetime became a kind of self-inflicted injury, in that if they manufactured a set of kitchen pots that would last for generations, that purchaser was lost forever as a customer. The natural corollary was that a poor-quality item would require repeated disposal and repurchase, thereby guaranteeing repeat customers and higher profits indefinitely, whereupon our greed-driven captains of industry quickly embarked on a plan to continually degrade product quality and ensure the necessity of continued replacement. By the 1980s, nearly all American multi-nationals and large corporations had joined the race to the bottom.

This important lesson in the economics of greed wasn’t lost on the pharma companies, who realised just as quickly that producing a cure for a disease would have the same result as that from high-quality pots and pans, which is no repeat customers and the death by suicide of their own revenue stream. And that means the major pharma companies are essentially producing what I call ‘pain-killer’ medications, drugs which fail to address the root cause of an illness but which provide temporary relief by masking the symptoms, thereby creating countless millions of drug-dependent repeat customers. More than a few pharmacists have confirmed documented reports that pharma companies mostly invest research dollars into a search for these “control medications”, rather than search for actual cures for an illness. The emphasis is on managing the symptoms while maintaining the disease, very effectively utilising physicians and hospitals as front-line soldiers to convert every patient into a long-term cash stream. [B1]

Big pharma is in the disease business, not the cure business. A medical cure is a dead-end road that no pharma company would willingly travel. The only exceptions to this have been a few instances where epidemic-scale diseases were threatening to kill unacceptably-large numbers of the white population, as with the search for a polio vaccine. Then, the industry finds a cure. Professor John Ashton, the president of the UK Faculty of Public Health, accused the Western pharmaceutical industry of ‘moral bankruptcy’ for refusing to research an Ebola vaccine “because the virus only affects Africans”. [B2] [B3] He wrote that the same attitude existed for decades with the scourge of AIDS because the virus was infecting and killing primarily blacks.

Then we had Dr. Kathy Spreen at Ranbaxy being silenced on her complaints about substandard AIDS medication in Africa on the grounds that “Who cares? It’s just blacks dying”. [B4] More on this later. Similarly, the US government for decades ignored the disease of Pellagra which was known to be caused by a simple Niacin vitamin deficiency, watching literally millions of people die needlessly, but failing to act because the deaths occurred mostly in the poverty-stricken black population. In fact, during those decades, both the authorities and the pharma companies ridiculed those deaths, referring to Pellagra as “the slave disease”. Sociopathology at its finest.

I have acquaintances with some knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry who confide suspicions that discovered cures have actually been suppressed in favor of the continued production of control medications, and I have seen some documentation that provides at least circumstantial evidence to support these claims. Naturally, industry apologists are quick to dismiss these accusations as paranoid fantasies and ‘conspiracy theories’, but their denials appear a bit hollow and self-serving. I have seen no indisputable proof the pharma companies have shelved cures, but I harbor no doubts whatever they would do so if opportunities arose.

The truth is that pharmaceutical companies have no incentive to “write themselves out of the equation.” Forbes of course dismisses and derides this as yet another ‘conspiracy theory’, hoping to throw the faithful off the scent and protect the pharma industry from yet another scandal. [B5]

To counter some of the industry defenses, we need only think. There is no shortage of examples of discoveries and patents that have been shelved because they threatened someone’s revenue stream, one clear example being General Motors buying and sequestering the worldwide patents for NiMH auto battery technology, an example that industry and the media still desperately want everyone to forget. [B6] In spite of all the faux moralistic outrage at such accusations, the pharma companies (and almost every large multinational) are today profit-driven to an insane degree.

And the claims about disease cures being potentially worth untold billions of dollars to a company and eternal fame and glory for the researcher, are Disneyland nonsense. When a country’s national health service can be milked for $150,000 per patient per year for cancer treatments or AIDS medications that cost pennies to produce, fame and glory are a weak incentive to research a disease cure that would serve only to shred the income statement. No pharma company would be so stupid as to collapse its own multi-billion-dollar revenue stream for the sake of either humanity or glory.

There is another unpleasant aspect to this issue, being that in their frenzied pursuit of revenue streams the pharma companies have largely abandoned not only the search for cures, but any path that leads to low profit. One result is that simple medications, often arising from areas like Chinese traditional medicine, may not be patentable. This, combined with a low cost to synthesise and with a corresponding low selling price, will prevent any pursuit in this area.

The pharma companies spend huge sums of money to convince physicians and the public that only patentable synthetic drugs qualify as “real medicine”, and heavily discourage natural or generic sources. They also invest huge time and money to cannibalise their own medications, constantly imagining “new and improved” versions that are seldom better, often worse, almost always with increasingly more serious side effects, but that will sell at far higher prices. Drugs like Pfizer’s Celebrex and Bextra, promoted as massive innovations, were nothing of the sort, specialists claiming they were “no better than the old tried-and-true Ibuprofen, but sold for fifteen times as much”.

It is so bad that pharma companies specialise in “inventing diseases”. ”Pharmaceutical companies regularly pathologize everyday experiences, convince doctors that they are serious problems, tell a hypochondriacal public it needs help and offers the cure: a new drug.” [B10]

A further issue is that these firms, again in their single-minded pursuit of profit, have become psychological marketers in the best tradition of Bernays and the advertising industry. One clear result is their great interest in developing what are called “lifestyle drugs”, which are designer drugs for rich Americans for conditions like hair loss and sex drive maintenance, areas in which large segments of the public can be powerfully affected by clever advertising. The pharma companies being big business rather than humanitarian concerns, learned quickly there are far greater profits in the limp phalluses of rich Americans than in a malaria cure among the Malaysian poor.

Also of great concern is what we can call ‘pre-emptive medicine’, the increasingly long list of new medications that are not proposed as cures for medical conditions but rather as preventive measures to forestall such conditions. The theory sounds good, but the experience gained from practice is truly a cautionary tale. Merck’s Vioxx was promoted as a way to prevent heart attacks in the over-65 population but instead proved to cause those same heart attacks, killing much of the population in the process. Ron Unz wrote an excellent article on this that should be considered required reading for every household:

Statins today are a huge fad, excessively promoted by the pharma companies as an essentially harmless wonder drug almost mandatory to protect the world of retired people. These drugs are enormously profitable and an excellent example of pre-emptive medicine combined with lifestyle marketing, but let’s not forget too quickly that Merck’s Vioxx was marketed in essentially the same way, as a ‘preventive’ medication which in the end it most emphatically was not.

Statins are now proving to be as dangerous as Vioxx, with the pharma companies desperately trying to minimise the truly devastating side effects inherent in this range of drugs, carrying a substantial risk of severely debilitating injuries to a not inconsiderable percentage of users. They have a proven ability to destroy musculature and render previously healthy patients into almost corpses. There is no shortage of documented evidence that patients who have been prescribed statins have suffered permanent and debilitating loss of their muscle capacity, previously healthy individuals reduced to the point where they are no longer able to walk more than perhaps 50 meters without suffering uncontrollable muscle exhaustion and pain.

Yet these medications have all been approved by the ‘gold standard’ FDA and are being heavily promoted by all pharma companies as a “necessity” for all those over age 60. The FDA once more has abandoned its prime responsibility to the public, presumably telling itself that the public can read the package warnings, competently evaluate the risks, and make an informed conscious choice. Of course, nothing could be farther from the truth.

In June of 2015 the Washington Post was aflutter with excitement about a “new and improved” class of medication that might eliminate the risk of heart attacks in America forever – statins. [B11] Of course, statins have been around for some time, long enough that the patents will soon expire and thus generating another frantic round of absolutely necessary new and improved at ten times the price. Naturally, fluttering media support is helpful in such cases. In (maybe questionable) clinical trials, these new statins appear magical, apparently producing “striking results” on cholesterol but oddly no firm opinion on whether that will actually reduce cardiac events. Nevertheless, we are assured the FDA recognises the huge unmet need for this new drug.

And what is driving this huge unmet need? The profits, primarily, since this new and improved breed will cost each patient about $10,000 per year. If we multiply that by the almost 50 million US residents over age 65 – the primary victims of this new medical miracle – we get the nice round number of $500 billion dollars. What else is there to say, except to note that most of these new miracle drugs in the past 30 years have had a bad habit of causing more heart attacks than they prevented. Merck’s Zocor was one of these. If you recall, the FDA did a field trial and discovered that this miracle statin not only failed to prevent cardiac arrests but in fact doubled their incidence. Vioxx was the same. But in all the excitement everybody seems to have forgotten.

And it wasn’t only Zocor and Vioxx. As of early 2003, Bayer had paid well over $1 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits worldwide for deaths and severe muscle deterioration resulting from the use of the company’s Baycol statin medication. Approved by the FDA in 1997 without proper testing or oversight, Baycol had to be withdrawn from the market in 2001 due to its dangerous effects. Pfizer’s statin, Lipitor, was also facing a huge wave of lawsuits from injuries due to serious side effects in spite of being the best-selling prescription drug of all time, with total global sales of more than $130 billion. With more than 50 million users, Pfizer may have no shortage of lawsuits. Statins are so profitable and the FDA’s approval process so reckless that pharma companies continue to produce and sell new versions even more deadly.

Vitamin Pills

Health Supplements, or simple vitamins, are another category that is thriving from the massive promotional campaign carried on worldwide, again a preventive medicine taken not because its needed, but to prevent its need. I believe this is one of the greatest medical hoaxes perpetrated thus far, since excess vitamins are simply excreted by the body and are a waste of money. Any normal diet has always provided, and provides today, the necessary vitamin intake for good health. The few individuals suffering from vitamin deficiencies should be under the care of a physician rather than spending inordinate amounts of money on what are almost entirely useless pills.

The industry was created in the US by American pharma companies and advertising agencies, with the benefit of large bribes to the medical profession, to the extent that Americans now spend nearly $8 billion per year on these pills to no purpose. There is no question the problems are widespread, the fad having been created by clever marketing that targets sincere interest in health, then hijacked by those who value money more than ethics – precisely the same situation existing in the pharma market generally.

These firms are not marketing vitamins because the public needs them but simply because they are hugely profitable, in many cases costing only pennies to manufacture but selling for many tens of dollars per bottle. No person anywhere should purchase any of these items unless their physician detects a deficiency that cannot be easily remedied by other means. This vitamin industry has become so loaded with infatuation and misinformation that even a soap company like Amway is making billions of dollars selling re-manufactured pills they probably don’t even understand.

Even worse, most of the ‘health supplements’ or vitamins offered for sale are not what they appear to be, a great many of even the best brands being nothing more than a concoction of what the industry calls “fillers” – ground-up rice, wheat or soybeans with absolutely no trace of Vitamin A or Alpha-Omega or any other high-sounding health additive. Anahad O’Connor wrote a perfect article in the New York Times in November of 2013, detailing the widespread fraud existing in the health supplement market and noting that DNA tests show that many pills labeled as healing herbs are nothing more than powdered rice and weeds. [B12]

Canadian researchers tested 44 bottles of the more popular supplements sold by many different companies and discovered that most were either heavily diluted with, or entirely replaced by, cheap fillers like soybean, wheat and rice. The findings of this study were published in the journal BMC Medicine, [B13] and concur with other studies conducted elsewhere that indicate the health supplement industry is even more corrupt than its pharmaceutical big brother.

Pharma Pricing Strategies

In June of 2013, the London Telegraph produced an astonishingly scandalous article that served to confirm the things we’ve always believed about drug prices, in this case the newspaper recording conversations with drug company executives boasting like schoolboys about selling prescription drugs for many hundreds of dollars when they cost only pennies to produce. [B14] Several drug companies were willing and even eager to offer discounts of 70% or more to any pharmacist or hospital willing to prescribe their medications, with the understanding these would be billed at full prices to the Health Service and to the patients.

The Telegraph used undercover reporters posing as investors planning to open a large chain of retail pharmacies, and recorded their meetings with pharma executives, producing extensive proof of the collusion to manipulate drug prices to unconscionable levels, systematically overcharging the national health services in many countries by billions of dollars each year.

The pharma companies are so overcome by greed that no amount of profit is ever sufficient, with abundant evidence in categories of drugs that are vital to the preservation of life as in many cancer drugs and those used to control AIDS. Many vital cancer medications are priced at $50,000 to $100,000 per year and more, when the production costs are often only a few dollars.

As a typical example, in late 2013, in response to unprecedented public protests, a large group of over 100 consumer organisations in 35 states launched a massive class action against Abbott for anti-trust violations in increasing the price of a critical anti-AIDS drug by over 500%, from $200.00 to over $1,000.00 per package. These public actions included boycotts by physicians, demonstrations at the company’s annual meetings, and a general storm of public condemnation for this profiteering. Abbott stubbornly refused to reconsider its price increase, leading the US Health Service to request that Abbott be stripped of its patent and generic versions of the drug be approved for other manufacturers. Abbott, like all pharma companies, will abandon both morality and humanity if given even a slight monopoly on a life-saving medication.

Fraudulent Investment

Most national governments are eager to see an expansion of domestic R&D, and easily fall prey to research scams perpetrated by the pharma companies who promise to greatly magnify their research expenditures in a nation in exchange for longer periods of patent protection. Too many naïve governments have fallen for this ruse, only to discover that the promised research never materialised, and often that the expenditures included in so-called research were little more than daily operating expenses or clinical trials for medications that had already been developed elsewhere. I am unaware of any instances where these undertakings were actually kept, and they remind me of the false promises made by so many American firms entering into JVs in China, where promises to develop and promote domestic brands proved to be plans to milk the JVs dry and kill the brands instead.

In a National Post article in October of 2014, Tom Blackwell wrote that some years ago Canada entered an agreement with the international pharma companies to greatly lengthen their patent protection in exchange for a commitment to spend 10% of all revenue on R&D. In practice, the companies in totality reneged on their commitment, with R&D being at 4% or below, and even this figure being loaded with questionable expenses. [B15] “The entire process was simply a cash grab with no intent to honor the research commitment. When presented with the evidence of these breaches of contract, the pharma companies invariably blamed Canada or other governments, claiming their local divisions have grave difficulty competing internationally, and lay the blame for this condition on the same government or its regulatory system or IP protection.”

As Blackwell pointed out, the extension of these drug monopolies not only delays entry of much-cheaper generics, but actually makes it harder for small domestic pharma companies to innovate, as their work often stems from existing medicines that are off patent. In all research, there is also the matter of the extreme emphasis on profit and marketability, driven by the business schools and large capitalists, which in the end will destroy the entire idea of scientific research and twist university research facilities into mis-shapen profit incubators bereft of any thought of benefit to humanity or society generally. It is also true that this insane and greed-driven push to maximise profits will almost assuredly serve to prevent truly useful medical discoveries since profits arise from controlling a disease rather than from curing it. It is only within the confines of truly non-profit and totally corporate-independent facilities that socially beneficial research will be conducted.

The secret non-elected government of the European Community organised a well-thought-out plan to benefit their European pharma companies friends by what was presented as an advanced method of encouraging pharmacological research for the good of the world. Their newly-created “Innovative Medicines Initiative”, [B16] which was to be “an alliance of corporations and universities” with the aim of developing new medications, a program with billions in funding – all drawn from taxpayer money, of course. The stated goal was to encourage innovation in the creation of essential medicines through funding universities and small research companies. But this great initiative has been a complete disaster for everyone but the pharma companies for whom it was designed.

Through this program, the EU has siphoned off literally billions of dollars which have almost entirely disappeared into the coffers of the large Jewish European pharma companies – which are owned by the same individuals in the EU government who crafted this scheme. The German newspaper der Spiegel did an excellent review of this matter, demonstrating that the billions of dollars of taxpayer money have been spent almost exclusively as a tax-free subsidy to the pharma industry.

Auto companies do the same thing, promising to build factories, expand production, create new jobs, but invariably fail to adhere to the promises, often doing the opposite of cutting jobs and closing factories. And in every case I have investigated, these contracts have never contained penalty clauses for failing to meet the commitments, meaning that local governments saddled their population with many extra years of much higher drug prices, and received nothing of benefit in exchange. These agreements have almost always been a one-sided hoax.

Part 3 – Side Effects & Trials

It is becoming increasingly common that what are still called “side effects” are no longer any such thing but are instead more or less major features of these drugs and which affect increasingly larger percentages of users. If this trend continues, we will soon be at the point where any physical reaction will be considered a side effect if experienced by less than 50% of patients. It is most likely true that physical side effects have always been with us, there always being perhaps a few individuals whose body chemistry would respond in unexpected ways to new medications. But it is also true that these side effects, though sometimes horribly dramatic as with the drug Thalidomide, were mostly mild and rare, perhaps in part due to the simpler nature of the medications.

Newer drugs are increasingly complex, less well understood in terms of their potential effects on body chemistry, and increasingly poorly researched with that research too often misrepresented and even falsified, the side effects too often dismissed as inconvenient anomalies instead of major inherent characteristics of these new drugs. It used to be that the normal range of unpleasant side effects might be experienced by only a fraction of one percent of the patient population, but the lust for profits has skewed the equation to the point where a drug will be developed by the pharma companies and approved by the FDA if even 10% or more than 20% of users experience harmful results.

These so-called side effects of new and poorly-understood medications and vaccines are increasingly cutting a wide swath of death and injury through the populations of Western countries, especially in the dictatorial politically Right-Wing countries where big pharma has almost omnipotent influence like the US, Canada and the UK. These events are now termed “adverse drug reactions” or, more innocently-sounding, “ADRs”, and are estimated to cause well over 100,000 deaths per year in the US alone, making them one of the leading causes of death in America. [C1] [C2]

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, the incidence of “serious and fatal adverse drug reactions was found to be extremely high”. Researchers at the University of Toronto performed an analysis of studies at US hospitals for the past 30 years, to determine the frequency of harmful and unintended effects of medications, and found that nearly 10% of all hospitalised patients experienced at least one of these events every year, which would make this the fourth-largest cause of death in the country. The researchers noted their estimates are conservative, with no allowance for the administration of the drugs or other therapeutic failures. In other words, the deaths did not result from physician or pharmacist error, prescriptions of the wrong medication or accidental overdoses, but simply due to the already-known and often fatal side effects.

In a report by the CDC published in 2007, and reviewed by Fox News and the Los Angeles Times, another analysis of US drug data found that the incidence of dangerous side effects and deaths from widely-used medications had tripled between 1998 and 2005, new potent pain-killers and arthritis drugs like Vioxx among the most dangerous. Both reports condemned the FDA’s lax or non-existent oversight on drug safety, especially noting its criminally-incompetent handling of Vioxx. One of the authors claimed “This growing toll of serious injury shows that the existing system is not adequately protecting patients and underscores the importance of recent reports urging far-reaching legislative, policy and institutional changes”.

During the period in question, the researchers discovered almost half a million serious drug-related complications. The FDA’s response was to say it was aware of the large numbers but had no explanation of the causes, except to offer the same foolish comment Obama made about people being killed by the police: “The police aren’t killing more people than before. It’s just that more people have mobile phones and communicate more.” The FDA made precisely the same comment, “Drugs aren’t killing more people this year than last year, but so many more people have iphones and Twitter accounts, and are telling everyone.”

When we combine these preventable deaths from flawed medications with the large death toll from hospital errors, [C3] we have the largest single cause of death in the US. Even worse, “heart disease” – i.e., heart attacks – didn’t become the claimed “leading cause of death” by accident. If we correlate the astonishing increase in fatal cardiac events with the fallout from Vioxx, Zocor, Lipitor, the statins and all their cousins, we find a relationship of about 1:1, and that means the alarming increase in the incidence of fatal cardiac events was in no way a natural development but was directly caused by these new patented miracle drugs, the “miracle” being that some patients survive.

To add irony to tragedy, most of these drugs are marketed at least partially on their ability to prevent the heart attacks that they in fact cause. The pharma companies have conceived a scheme to defraud the national health systems by killing off half the population while their friends in the for-profit hospitals reap billions bankrupting the unfortunate survivors. Yet nobody cares to address this, the FDA, the badly compromised Congress, and the so-called “watchdog media” being especially conspicuous by their absence.

In early 2015 Reuters ran an article by Kathryn Doyle on common heartburn medications like AstraZeneca’s Prilosec, known as proton-pump inhibitors (PPI), which demonstrated strong links to cardiac arrests. [C4] The article stated that researchers sorted through more than 16 million clinical records for millions of adults to cross-link the usage of these medications and cardiac events and risks, and discovered about a 20% increased risk of heart attack in users of these PPI drugs. These medications are heavily prescribed for tens of millions of patients, resulting in sales of about $15 billion per year including OTC sales.

This class of drugs is just one of many ‘new and improved’ patented medications that have been linked to greatly increased cardiac risks. There seems to be little point in disputing the claim that many or most modern medications are complex, poorly understood, have lethal side effects, are inadequately researched and tested, are subject to grossly inadequate supervision and oversight, and are often placed on the market far too quickly. The same is true for vaccines, one of the serious criticisms (and fears) of the recent COVID-19 remedies. Moreover, the lethal side effects are far too often proven to have been known by the drug manufacturers in advance of FDA approval but that this information was suppressed.

In part due to the landscape that has emerged from these dishonest and illegal activities, it is not only patients but also physicians who are in the dark about the dangers of modern medicines. Physicians of my acquaintance in Canada and the US seem to obtain most or all of their information from a “medical website for doctors” that depends almost entirely on content provided directly by the pharma companies or indirectly by physicians paid by them to produce that content. One example of the result:

I spoke with some Western physicians about the use of PPIs, and was alarmed to discover some viewed these as almost a casual substitute for antacid medication for those suffering from indigestion. I did some research and my first discovery was a chemical-biological report stating that PPI’s “make profound and irreversible changes to the body’s system.” I reported this to the said physicians who observed (a) “I had no idea”, (b) (disparagingly) “I don’t know what website you were looking at”, (c) “You do more research than I do.”

To my mind, it is the FDA that should be sued in these instances since it carries the ultimate responsibility for public safety in food and drugs, but appears to have abandoned virtually all that responsibility to the pharma companies in spite of the knowledge that they almost always lie, frequently fabricate their test data, and almost always bury the truth of side effects for as long as possible. When faced with a situation where a potential 5% of patients might suffer death or debilitating injury, the FDA’s responsibility is to remove a drug from the market, but its loyalties to the pharma industry outweigh those to the general public. Even if a medication were so vital for some illnesses that its use justified the serious risks, it is unconscionable to permit off-label applications that unnecessarily expose millions of otherwise healthy individuals to totally unnecessary and severe risks. And if the FDA isn’t policing these concerns, of what use is it?

Clinical Trials of Pharmaceuticals

By the 1980s, American (and European) pharmaceutical companies began to experience a serious bottleneck in their headlong rush to bring new drugs to the market, in that test trials on live human subjects were becoming impossible due in part to the reluctance of a population to act as guinea pigs for experimental drugs, and to the massive lawsuits arising from toxic medications. They therefore did what any criminal psychopath would do. They began outsourcing their clinical drug trials to poor countries on the financially-sound but morally bankrupt theory that killing Asians and Africans was better and cheaper than killing whites. They outsourced their live trials to the poorest and least developed countries with low literacy, insufficient legal restraints, and a totally unjustified faith in the White Man’s Medicine and the ethical standards of Americans. Even better, with these foreign trials, there is a complete absence of oversight from the FDA and, most importantly, the full protection of the US State Department when things go wrong. This will be more fully referenced in subsequent articles on the FDA and Pfizer.

The financial cost of testing in these countries is much lower since neither the laws nor government oversight practices have developed to a level useful for public protection, and these corporations can easily – and often do – suppress research that demonstrates harmful side effects, choosing to report only positive results. In the ten years to 2008, the number of overseas clinical trials by US pharma companies were in the many thousands, having increased by 20 times. These trials, which are almost never monitored by the US FDA or any other body, are usually conducted in areas with large numbers of poor and illiterate people who grant their consent by signing an “X” or making a thumb print on a form. In a great many cases these tests prove deadly, resulting in thousands of deaths, especially among babies. In each case, the US pharma companies simply return home, absolving themselves of any responsibility for the carnage they leave behind.

In 2012, NBC reported on a year-long study they conducted in India, where drugmakers are increasingly going to do their human drug testing. [C5] [C6] When pharmaceutical companies need a supply of test victims for clinical drug trials, they turn to human ‘recruiters’ who are paid about $12 for each person they bring to the research labs. NBC’s study claims that this way the US pharma companies “save millions of dollars, avoid regulatory scrutiny and tap into a seemingly endless supply of drug study participants”. But the absence of oversight raises serious questions about the integrity of the firms and the reliability of their test data.

NBC and others claim that most of these recruits are so desperately poor they disregard the risks, if indeed they appreciate that risks even exist, recruiters claiming they ignore the side effects of the drugs because they need the money. The study indicated that subjects can earn as much as $400 for participation in a long study, an amount that “far outstrips traditional earnings”, and that many participate in numerous trials simultaneously, which negates the value of the data as well as putting the participants in mortal danger, but which fact the testing companies ignore. There are many stories of test subjects suffering serious complications like loss of eyesight and failure of internal organs, and of course there are many deaths, with these unpleasantries ignored and unrecorded.

Observers claim the almost total lack of government oversight “has created a culture of impunity for drug research companies and the doctors who work for them”, though the US pharma companies hollowly claim that “international standards” are always followed. The situation seems to be that these outsourced tests do not fall under FDA jurisdiction, and the Indian government generally is either unaware of them or turns a blind eye, even in the frequent event of death. This means, among other things, that the data are not only unreliable in themselves but are often fabricated to suit the sponsoring pharma company’s expectations. The report revealed the startling fact that the FDA inspects less than 1% of all drug trial sites, either domestic or foreign, and that the agency has no clear idea of what occurs during any of these tests. Yet the FDA depends entirely on the data produced by these trials for its decisions on approval of new medications, despite the vast evidence that much of these data – both domestic and foreign – are faked.

To conduct an investigation, NBC News created a fake pharmaceutical company and sent some of their correspondents to India to examine the circumstances and conditions in which American pharma companies execute their outsourced live drug trials. They produced fake documentation for a drug that was clearly Vioxx, the Merck medication that was eventually pulled from the market after being proven lethal. They met with executives of a major ‘therapeutic research’ firm that agreed to perform extensive live trials on unwitting subjects – for a fee of a million dollars. The firm agreed it was risky, but assured NBC they could bribe a well-connected medical consultant to obtain government approval for the trials. The firm boasted that the test subjects would be paid a total of $150 for participation in the entire study, as opposed to a cost of $150 per day if done in the US.

When NBC presented these facts and a full video to the FDA, they were told of course this kind of conduct was unacceptable but appeared to be outside the range of the FDA’s influence even though the test results, in a real situation, would be used for FDA certification of a new drug. Doug Peddicord, director of an industry-promoting NGO, defended the pharma industry, claiming, “the clinical research enterprise is amazingly safe and amazingly productive”, that unethical conduct “would never be tolerated” by pharma companies and made an undocumented historical claim to the effect that any such unethical firms have always rapidly gone out of business, all claims that were clearly rubbish.

The problem is that the FDA is in no position to evaluate the companies doing the trials, and base their conclusions only on the reported results which are repeatedly proven to have been falsified. The FDA refused to be interviewed for these programs, but blandly claimed they were “strongly engaged in the clinical research process” in all stages, another claim that is clearly false.

Al Jazeera conducted a similar investigation that confirmed NBC’s experience. [C7] Both groups noted that physicians in India are revered and their recommendations almost never questioned by the population, making it exceedingly easy for them to use their own patients as unwitting victims in these drug trials – the same process Peddicord wants to create in the US. They noted that US pharma companies arrange to conduct many of their trials at hospitals where physicians have been recruited through simple bribery, offering opportunities for both the doctors and the hospitals to earn important sums of money. A few small studies by one hospital can collect several hundred thousand dollars, some of which is shared by the doctors and which represents a pittance to the pharma companies when compared to these costs in the US. Al Jazeera reported interviewing doctors who claimed the US pharma companies had paid them and many colleagues to conduct these trials on their patients, and had also given these doctors all-expense paid trips to the US and other Western countries, as both incentive and reward.

Both Al Jazeera and NBC commented on the apparent total lack of empathy for the victims of these studies, many of whom end up suffering horribly or dying. Al Jazeera interviewed one woman who lost both her daughters after they were vaccinated with Merck’s Gardasil, and found many other mothers with the same tales. There were no examinations, no follow-ups, and no prosecutions. The government quickly found nobody responsible for the deaths of these girls, and refused to blame Merck’s vaccine.

In their attempt to paint black as white, to portray big pharma as benevolent fairy, and to engender sympathy for the companies that are simultaneously killing us and stealing our money, the US corporate media never tire of telling us that bringing a new drug to market can cost billions and require 20 years of research and testing. I doubt there has been even one such real example, but in any case, many medications can be brought to market in six weeks at the cost of a few tens of thousands of dollars. Newspaper columnists never tell us the range or the average of drug development costs, always stating the worst possible case as a typical example.

We’re then told the costliest and most time-consuming portion of drug development is the clinical testing phase, the live trials, these being heavily promoted by industry insiders appealing to our humanity in a desperate effort to equate humanity with the process of filling the pockets of the inhuman. One such person, a Dr. Diana Anderson, tells us “Without people who are willing to participate there would be no process to test new medicines, vaccines, and devices, [and that] without testing on human subjects, there wouldn’t be any new drugs made available to the public.” That may be true, but the real purpose of these clinical trials is to count the number of dead bodies and the number of unfortunate survivors who suffer a progressive collapse of all their internal organs from the injection of yet another expensive wonder drug. In any case Dr. Anderson lost me when she claimed clinical trials were conducted by “the strict rules and regulations mandated by the FDA”. After I stopped laughing, I wanted to cry.

Industry-financed NGOs tell us the real problem is that pharma companies are unskilled in public relations, that “better communication” is needed to educate people about the benefits of clinical trials. Someone named Ken Getz, a Jew, Chairman of one such NGO with a long name, tells us these firms need to be more personal, with responses that reflect “heart and compassion”, so that the general public, consisting of tens of millions of potentially-gullible volunteers will offer to self-immolate for the benefit of humanity, i.e., the profits of the pharma companies. Getz’s non-profit NGO was formed “to raise awareness of clinical trials”, to educate the public and remove any stigma against testing on humans. He tells us 80% of volunteers never again take part in a clinical drug trial, a result he terms “a harsh trend that the industry is desperate to reverse”, but without offering the reasons for that harsh trend. Getz even wrote a book titled ‘The Gift of Participation’, not specifying that ‘participation’ was a gift to the pharma companies and not to the victims.

He feels “the pharma community” (note how these Satan-worshippers have now become almost family) needs to pro-actively educate the public about big pharma’s need for more profits and the role played by clinical trial victims in this. He believes the industry should communicate “the positive benefits” from trials, saying “There are so many good things to report …”. Yes, and a few bad ones.

And we have another NGO called the Association of Clinical Research Organizations, headed by the same Douglas Peddicord, whose surveys tell him the greatest barrier to participating in clinical trials is not fear of death or massive organ collapse, but a lack of knowledge about opportunities to participate, the great gullible public eager to take a shot and see what happens but apparently have no idea how or where – to the great detriment of both humanity and pharma profits. Peddicord apparently believes it is a responsibility of family doctors to “accurately and positively” educate their patients as to the benefits of being a guinea pig. So now our family doctors are to be recruited as the front-line soldiers, taking unfair advantage of the public’s natural gullibility and its no-longer-justified trust in physicians, to line up all their patients for the latest kidney-failure lottery.

Our Dr. Diana Anderson envisions “a fully-integrated marketing approach” (if it’s America, it’s always just marketing) containing “a multitude of effective strategies”. Of course, marketing may not help as much as Dr. Anderson evidently hopes. Increasingly in the West, people are fully aware of the dangers of ingesting untested medications and increasingly terrified of “warp-speed” vaccines, with increasingly fewer willing to take potentially serious physical risks in spite of their intense desire to enhance big pharma’s profits. Hardly anybody much cares about the needs of the pharma companies and hardly anybody needs a few dollars badly enough to risk the perils of medicines. But an equal problem is that the ‘unexpected and unforeseen’ fatal or otherwise side effects of these medications have led to increasingly huge lawsuits and court awards, to the extent that the pharma companies no longer want the volunteers in spite of their desperate need.

Mr. Rogers tells us that “while human testing will continue to be the most costly and time-consuming aspect of drug development, it is the only way that drug development can move forward. New medicines have to be tested on people to see if they work – it’s as simple as that.” And, in one of the most reprehensibly disingenuous statements I’ve ever seen, he said:

“For the pharmaceutical company involved it can be a bitter pill to swallow if all the years of hard work and resources have come to nothing. But as Merck found out to its cost, any side effects are best unearthed in the laboratory or during a clinical trial than on the market.”

The truth is that Merck “unearthed” Vioxx’s side effects long before the drug went on sale, but the salient point is that what Merck actually “found out” is that it’s profitable as hell to market a flawed medication, kill hundreds of thousands of people, make tens of billions in profits, then pay a small penalty while “neither admitting nor denying” anything.

Let’s review. US regulations demand clinical trials of new medications be performed on live humans. Many new medications produce fatal or otherwise disastrous side effects (aka unforeseen anomalies) during these trials. US courts don’t generally consider these anomalies to have been quite as unforeseen as did the pharma companies, leading to huge financial settlements. Westerners are now far better informed and educated than in days gone by, and few are now interested in offering themselves as 50% profit incubator and 50% potential corpse. So much bad news. A problem with no solution.

But then everything has a bright side, every cloud with its own silver lining. Mr. Rogers happily tells us that “while the diminishing number of volunteers is proving a headache for the pharmaceutical companies and researchers, increasingly they are outsourcing human testing to the developing world. India, for instance, is flourishing as clinical trials hotbed.” He notes truthfully that “Critics argue that volunteers (in the developing world) are naive about the potential consequences of human testing and that some trials are illegal”, but then dismisses this inconvenient truth and proceeds to happier things.

Our Dr. Diana Anderson, always the optimist, hopes the Indians’ “enthusiasm to participate” in their own deaths and organ failures will be contagious to the Americans, stating “I also hope and believe that as the general public here in the U.S. becomes more aware of the benefits of participating in clinical trials that we will see greater levels of participation in the future”. But she saves her best hopes for the undeveloped world, telling us “Within the last few months I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to China and India as well as other emerging markets and I’ve seen first-hand the momentum and enthusiasm for clinical trials that is taking place in these countries. They have enormous populations and they are very willing to participate in clinical trials. This is an exciting time to be involved in the clinical trials industry and I’m very optimistic about our future.” Not to be mean-spirited, but I fervently pray that dear Diana’s hopes and enthusiasm are both dashed by reality, by strict government intervention, and by long prison sentences.

And Mr. Rogers, apparently equally an optimist, tells us that even the news of deaths, organ collapses, cancers and other misfortunes will not discourage clinical trial “regulars” from participating in these injectable lotteries of life. He tells us almost breathlessly that “Some regulars use [drug] trials as a second income, while backpackers see it as a way of funding the next leg of their travels”. A second income sounds good. Keep the wife at home with the kids, and still afford that new car. And now every university student can take a gap year and travel the world without concern for finances; first thing when you hit Rome, just call Merck or Pfizer and tell them you need cash.

We can understand when Peddicord claims “the controlled clinical trial represents the single greatest advance in the science of medicine in our time”. A great advance not only for medical science, but apparently for the auto and travel industries as well.

Note to Readers: the above-referenced articles and quotations by Peddicord, Rogers, Anderson et al, appear to have been scrubbed from the internet.

Off-Label Promotion

When a pharma company receives FDA approval for a drug, that approval is restricted to specified intended uses only, and cannot be promoted for any other use or purpose. Promotion for non-approved uses is known as “off-label promotion” and is illegal. To quote an article from Forbes:

“In recent years, the government’s response to the practice has culminated in significant payments for drugmakers caught promoting off-label prescriptions. In 2007, Bristol-Myers Squibb paid out $515 million to settle various civil allegations including its promotion of the antipsychotic drug, Abilify. Two years later, Eli Lilly paid out $1.415 billion in part for its off-label marketing of Zyprexa. Last summer, GlaxoSmithKline agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges and pay out $3 billion to settle various government claims, including the unlawful promotion of some of its drugs, like the popular anti-depressant Paxil. The amount marked the largest health care fraud settlement in the nation’s history.

J&J’s Risperdal was the latest target on the government’s list. [The company’s] marketing efforts paid dividends. Sales of Risperdal skyrocketed from $172 million in 1994 to $1.726 billion in 2005; in 2000, it was J&J’s second-best selling drug, with 75% of the sales coming from off-label prescriptions, according to court documents. According to some estimates, off-label prescriptions account for 20 percent of all sales, totaling more than $40 billion in sales annually. The practice is simply too lucrative to pass up.” And of course, Forbes is correct in its statements. Industry analysts estimated that J&J has gathered in about $25 billion from Risperdal since it went on sale in 2003. In this light, a fine of $2 billion is a small sales tax like a VAT.” [C8]

Part 4 – US Pharma in China

In June of 2013, Sohu China published an article by Yun Wuxin, claiming that “after more than 100 years of work, the FDA has formed a comprehensive regulatory system, which many other countries have now emulated. The core concept of the system is to protect those that abide by the rules and punish those that break the law, using penalization to prevent further incidents from occurring.”

I seldom see comments as disturbingly uninformed as these, claims so incorrect and with such tragic potential for human loss they should be treated as a criminal offense and punished by flogging and imprisonment. It is both astonishing and absolutely unforgivable that so many Chinese in authoritative positions will blindly accept the most stupidly false claims about American superiority in one field or another, apparently without doing even the most superficial investigation into the accuracy of these claims. This blind ‘white first’ attitude is in many instances so reckless, and carries such dangers for China, that any positive recommendations of American products should carry an automatic threat of imprisonment if proven false. Furthermore, someone needs to check on the original authorship of some of these articles and label them as the ghost-written foreign propaganda that they are – which practice in publication should also be a criminal offense.

There are few penalties that will deter the overwhelming greed and instinctive criminality of the pharma industry, in China or anywhere else. We need penalties in the tens of billions of dollars, not in billions or hundreds of millions. When a firm makes $20 billion in illegal profit and pays only a $1 billion fine, where is the incentive to desist? The legal authorities need to punish pharma companies for illegal drug marketing by fining them the full retail value of the total sales of that medication in the country. Next, we need criminal charges and prison sentences, not against the company, but against its executives and officers. When these individuals face ten or more years in prison or a potential execution for an illegal act, they will think twice. Another avenue for firms committing fraud is to ban that company forever from drug sales to any part of the national health system, thereby eliminating the bulk of their revenue in the country forever.

A final measure, one which the Americans are now seriously considering, is a ‘blacklist’, to rescind the national patents for each and every medication involved in any kind of fraudulent activity, opening the manufacture and sale to generic drug companies. This could also extend to a lifetime prohibition of employment in the pharmaceutical industry for any individuals involved in illegal activity. The large pharma companies extract such astonishing profits from many of these medications only due to the patent system, so the recision of the patent would be an appropriate threat, one that should actually be carried out in many instances.

In an article in the Financial Times, Andrew Ward and Patti Waldmeir boasted with a headline that “Big pharma’s rise in China not held back by scandals”. [D1] And that’s the problem. The profits are so enormous that the scandals are irrelevant. It is my personal view that the pharmaceutical industry is so deeply contaminated with what is in fact a hardened criminal philosophy that only the repeated combination of all the sanctions listed above, will have any effect. It is worth noting that every country wants to put a stop to extensive illegalities in this industry, and one bold move will certainly inspire others. I believe China is doing it right by targeting the individuals for prison sentences as well as the corporations for large fines, but a commuted sentence is of no value. These people need to sit in a prison cell for ten years in order to absorb the lesson. And China should not be concerned with imprisoning Americans, for two reasons at least. One is that the Americans would like to imprison most of these people themselves, and the second is that the Americans have no hesitation whatever in tossing a Chinese national into prison for much lesser offenses.

It is interesting to read the arrogant whining in the US media about the possibility of American executives of US pharma companies in China actually going to prison for their crimes. One Washington lawyer named Carl Valenstein wrote that the possible detention of Americans “could affect the willingness of non-Chinese companies to send their personnel into China”, and of course that’s the idea. Keep your criminals at home where they belong, since China doesn’t need them. Valenstein also wrote that “Pharmaceutical companies doing business in China are watching these developments closely”, and again that’s the whole idea. This is your window on what will happen to you if you import your illegal American practices into China. Given the almost incomprehensible criminality infecting the entire worldwide pharma industry, there is little point in worrying about the good will of either these companies or their governments.

On this note, a (probably fictitious) salesperson purportedly with Eli Lilly, who naturally asked to remain anonymous, complained that it was “a difficult time for foreign pharmaceutical companies and their staff, especially their sales forces”. He is quoted as saying, “It’s hard to see for now how the country’s sudden brake on commercial corruption in the medical sector will affect each individual’s sales performance, but we feel very dismayed. I don’t understand why the foreign firms are singled out in the crackdown. We are definitely not the fundamental cause generating the disorder in the medical sector, (nor) a main contributor in the strained relations between doctors and patients.” Well, we can sympathise with the poor man’s dismay, and with his loss of sales in the absence of bribery, but he needs to be informed that his American companies are indeed the main contributor and the fundamental cause of the problems. And in the end, my concern is on the side of the millions who must pay the price of this greed and corruption, not wasting much sleep over the earnings of a drug salesman.

In 2013, China intensified an already ongoing investigation into alleged bribery in the pharmaceutical and medical services sectors, aimed at stamping out not only bribery but all fraud and anti-competitive practices among both foreign and domestic companies. Much of the focus was on illegal pricing and violations of the bidding process. SAIC, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, stated that “Commercial bribery not only leads to artificially high prices, it undermines market order in terms of fair competition and corrupts social morals and professionalism”, is destructive to the industry, and harms patients. The SAIC also said it wanted to prevent industry associations from organising fraudulent and monopolistic behavior, since in 75% of such past cases these associations had been “the driving force” behind the corruption.

In case you haven’t made the link, these “industry associations” are what we call NGOs, part of Hillary Clinton’s “civil society” promotion, groups supposedly vital to a nation’s development but in fact simply subversive American political organisations, their activities including the masterminding of these industry-wide frauds. They include the US Chamber of Commerce in China (AmCham), variously-named and US-funded Pharmaceutical associations, and much more.

In spite of the denigrating accusations directed at China for corruption in the medical system, it is the US, not China, with the most criminally corrupt medical and pharmaceutical environment. But in contradistinction, it is not the US but China that is actually taking real steps to eliminate the rot. When pharma executives in America commit egregious crimes even involving death on a massive scale, the only consequence is that the company’s shareholders suffer a small loss. In China, they go to prison or worse.

When the FDA approves the continued distribution of fake or dangerous medications, or when it certifies a new killer drug, there are no consequences because the FDA, by virtue of its status, is immune to legal or criminal sanction. But when China’s chief drug regulator, Zheng Xiaoyu, approved similar medications, he was tried and executed for what were considered crimes against the entire nation. It is China, not the US, that is cleaning up the world’s pharma industry. And it needs to be noted somewhere that all of the major criminal pharmaceutical scandals in China have been committed by foreign companies, mostly American.

One American reader made some interesting points in commenting on a media report on corruption in big pharma:

“Upon reading the comments from other readers, it appears to me that the point of the article was lost on many. In (bad) China, people did bad things that HURT other people. Lots of people. The gov’t responded with badly needed heavy-handed proceedings and pronouncements. In (good) America, people did bad things that KILLED other people. Lots of people. The gov’t response was tepid and minimal, much of it downplayed and swept under the rug, the outrage squelched. No one paid a price for the deaths of those people, and the corporation responsible paid next to nothing as a percentage of sales and the stock (during a bad economy) has rebounded. In (bad) China, people were held responsible for their actions. In (good) America, people got off scott-free after playing the system, hiding the truth. The top man in charge retired with mega bucks and no consequences.” Precisely correct.

When an official in Shanghai accumulated 50 million RMB from bribes and other corrupt acts, a Shanghai court levied a suspended death sentence, and other high-level officials have been fired for ethics violations, these not only in regulatory bodies but in Chinese pharma and healthcare companies as well as in labs, hospitals and clinics. The country is serious about cleaning up the medical landscape, an effort that is by no means targeting only foreign multinationals – although it needs to be said again this latter group carry much of the responsibility for having institutionalised the problem on such a grand scale. It should be noted too, that virtually all of the major scandals related to medicine, healthcare or food safety in China in recent years have involved foreign companies – mostly American – rather than Chinese firms. The Western media either ignore or severely downplay this point.

It also needs to be noted that the problem of payments to physicians for prescribing medications is even more firmly entrenched in the US than in China, the practice having been largely exported from the US to China, and is now a problem for which American companies carry much of the responsibility. Similarly, the practice of hospitals profiting from the sale of medications is an American tradition and one driven by greed rather than need. In China, hospitals have used markups from medications as a normal part of their revenue stream to support operations, whereas in the US those markups are profits in the pockets of the private owners of those hospitals. But Americans praise this as “best practices” and good management when it occurs in the US, whereas the identical practice in China is just another example of Chinese corruption.

To claim that American doctors and hospitals don’t profit heavily from the same practice is absurd. Countless pharma companies have paid billions in fines during the past ten years precisely for their version of this fraudulent practice. The drug firms will often publish a price of $300 for a medication but sell it to a physician for a third of that amount or less, producing enormous profits for the medical clinics and private practitioners who will then bill Medicare for the full amount. As well, many firms provide doctors with large volumes of free medications, which the doctors are then free to prescribe and bill to Medicare or the insurance companies at the full retail price.

To add fuel to this China-bashing bonfire, we have a multitude of ideological fools like Huang Yanzhong, who is billed as a “senior fellow for global health” at the Rothschild’s Council on Foreign Relations (where else?) and who tells us “We know that China’s corruption is so entrenched in the pharmaceutical space that in order to get things done you have to bribe officials; it’s an open secret. Rampant bribes, commissions and corruption …”. It is truly difficult to apprehend the convoluted mental processes that must take place in what can only be a diseased mind to produce such ideological drivel. Huang claims in an article that because “government power has permeated almost every aspect of the approval, manufacture, pricing, and marketing” of pharmaceutical products in China, “foreign firms find it hard to do business without bending rules and bribing” everyone in sight.

As evidence, Huang quotes a former GSK executive who claimed he had to bribe not only doctors and hospitals but officials at every level of government. “Had to” bribe them? To accomplish what? Huang’s claim is not only deserving of ridicule, but is patently stupid from every angle. Nobody “had to” bribe anybody; GSK’s bribes in China – as in America and a dozen other countries – were driven solely by greed, by a perceived chance to make billions in illegal profits, but Huang seems oblivious to the facts.

Even more, his veiled accusation about the Chinese authorities being involved in every aspect of the medical field is presented as a bad thing. Of course the authorities need to be involved; we need only look at the rampant criminality of the pharma companies in every country to realise government control is the only public safeguard. But even more, Huang holds out the US and its unregulated free market as a guiding light. Well, if that’s true, why have pharma companies been fined $80 billion more in criminal fines in the US than in China? Why is corruption far more deeply entrenched in the US pharma market than in China’s, and with no light at the end of that tunnel given the small fines and total immunity from criminal prosecution? From the facts it would seem that it is in America where firms “find it hard to do business without bending rules and bribing”. Such pathetic, hypocritical rubbish.

One of the clever methods the US media employs to distract and trivialise the criminal activity of their close multinational friends is through the pretense of a criminal charge (in China) being quite unjustified, with one unlucky firm chosen as an ‘example’, to “send a message” or “transmit a signal” to all others in that industry to behave themselves. It was our CFR genius Huang who offered the treasured insight that since GSK probably represented “the tip of the iceberg”, China was using its investigation of that firm to send a ‘cease and desist’ message to other pharma companies. Messages notwithstanding, it seemed to not appear to the man that GSK was charged because it was guilty. I will deal with GSK later; these people deserve a chapter of their own.

Then we have another ideological turkey, this time in the person of Erik Gordon of the University of Michigan’s Law School, telling us that “The talk about being appalled at the drug company practices in the US is an attempt to show that America is no better than China”. Gordon, foolishly and without evidence, claims China wants to eliminate corruption of which it is ashamed, “but they don’t want to lose face over it”, so they instead mount a media war against the US industry. I’m sorry to inform our (no doubt eminent) Prof. Gordon that the US is not only “no better than” China but is in fact much worse, and it is apparently only the Americans whose vast array of ‘democratic values’ neglected to include shame as one of those values. Whatever other accusations we can make about Americans, a desire to ‘save face’ would be absent from that list. Americans are not only not ashamed of their criminal acts, they appear proud of them or, at best, indifferent.

Consider how deeply entrenched in America is the assumed right to illegal activity and the categorisation of criminal penalties as mere business expenses, when a firm like Pfizer while still in the settlement process of one criminal conviction for which it paid a fine of $430 million, was discovered to have already originated and was widely executing an identical program to violate those very same laws with yet other medications. The fines were a pittance and the “corporate integrity agreement” just a charade. Corruption in the American pharma industry is like racism in American society: so much a natural part of the landscape that to even notice it would be like noticing the air you breathe.

It is almost comical to note the attention US authorities pay to the criminal actions of their own pharma companies in China and other nations in Asia and Africa. The payment of bribes by US companies, even if paid outside the US, is considered a crime against US law and therefore subject to the full force of legal sanction from the US Department of Justice. And sanctioned they are, at least to the extent of what we might call pocket change. For their domestic activities, these firms are occasionally fined billions of dollars in the US, but for their foreign activities – which are often greater – the same firms receive fines of only a few millions. Eli Lilly paid $25 million for bribes in China, Brazil, Russia and Poland, while Pfizer paid $60 million for crimes of all its subsidiaries in all countries, these punishments equating to about one week’s sales of the medications in question.

And we have yet another ideologue, this one in the person of Liao Ran, living in Germany and employed by one of our favorite – and most idelogically corrupted – NGOs, Transparency International. According to a Bloomberg report, Mr. Liao, with absolutely no evidence to document his outrageous claim, tells us that doctors and nurses in China, due to low “standardised” salaries, “boost their income” by “regularly prescribing unnecessary medicine and surgery” while pocketing a percentage of these unjustified expenses. I think this is a good place to call Mr. Liao an unscrupulous liar. I know that isn’t very nice, but it’s the only label that fits. To suggest that doctors in China arrange surgery solely to collect a commission from the hospital fees, is a slander both repugnant and obscene but perfectly American in attitude and content.

He tells us further that it isn’t only corruption but the structure of the entire system that is apparently badly flawed, even condemning the practice of Chinese giving hongbao (the red packets) to doctors. He seems to claim that China’s “high medical costs” are due entirely to corruption, thereby placing all of China in the precarious position where “you cannot afford to be born, get sick or die”. Bloomberg quoted him as saying health care costs were “A huge worry. If you have an extra 10,000 yuan, you won’t dare spend it on travel or leisure – you’ll put it away in case mom or dad get sick next year”.

Not to be argumentative, but just as a point of interest, an ECG is a commodity, performed with similar equipment all over the world. In New York, an ECG costs between $650 and $1,800, depending on location. In Shanghai, an ECG costs 20 RMB – about $4.00. In New York again, an MRI costs between $500 for an ankle, about $4,800 for a breast (each), and about $200 per month for the rest of your life for a full-body scan. In Shanghai, a full-body MRI costs about $50.00. All else is comparable, to put paid to Liao’s claims of China’s ‘high medical costs’.

I won’t dwell on the practice of the hongbao here, but it needs to be noted that few foreigners have any useful understanding of Chinese tradition and culture and too often simply interpret a foreign practice in the light of what it might mean if it occurred in their own country. National traditions can never be understood in this way, and certainly not when viewed through the severely-distorted chromatic lens of American ideology, religion, and so-called values. Unlike the West, these gifts are common in China for doctors, teachers, almost all superiors, as a kind of recognition of status or influence. It is true they are sometimes a competitive gesture, and sometimes a kind of obligation that is resented by the younger generation, but nevertheless are also badly misunderstood by non-Chinese and an explanation to binary-mentality Americans would be fruitless to attempt.

The whining by the pharma companies of price pressures forcing them to cut corners and cut costs to survive, is all fiction, which would be easily evidenced simply by looking at the profit margins of these firms. This public lobbying and intense pressure has recently been placed on China, the firms demanding China eliminate its drug price controls to let the market set appropriate rates. But this is all a fraud. “The Market” as defined in these claims does not exist in reality, and the pressure is simply driven by greed. Some officials in the Chinese medical industry hold the hope that competition in an unregulated market will of its own accord produce lower prices, but this is a fairy-tale, with no evidence anywhere in the world to support it. These firms have shown themselves quite able to collude on maintaining high price levels by competing only on branding or some other category that will serve only to greatly magnify the costs to the public.

And I think it needs to be said somewhere that Chinese traditional medicine has been in active employment for millennia, the Chinese race surviving just fine, thank you very much, without the God-given benefits of American pharma companies and their synthetic patented medicines. Since the 1950s, China has modernised its hospitals, added decades to life expectancy, halved infant mortality and eliminated diseases such as polio, and much more. Moreover, Chinese treatments, not having been corrupted by either patents or profit-maximising capitalism, are designed to cure ailments and diseases rather than simply keep them under control.

To this I would add that one area of concern is that the foreign pharma companies are already very busy in China, attempting to identify the active ingredients in many Chinese traditional medical treatments so they can patent those items (as Roche did with star aniseed in its Tamiflu), then attempt to use trade agreements and political pressure to extract royalties from Chinese hospitals for using these new “American” medications.



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