Our main feature this month (http://www.wddty.com/kill-not-cure.html) highlights two disturbing
statistics about Big Pharma: in 2011, it was recorded as the most fraudulent
industry group in the world, while its drugs became more lethal than traffic
accidents, killing one person every 14 minutes in the United States alone.
These worrying facts beggar two obvious questions: why
hasn’t the media featured them? And why
aren’t our politicians jumping up and down, demanding immediate controls?
The answer lies in another statistic from the drugs
industry: for every pound and dollar it spends on research and development, it
spends two on ‘promotion’, which includes political lobbying and media
Rupert Murdoch’s The Australian newspaper recently accepted
an undisclosed sum from the drugs industry to run a series of ‘independent’
health policy articles.
Murdoch’s son, James, sits on the board of UK drug giant
GlaxoSmithKline’s corporate responsibility committee to review “external issues
that might have the potential for serious impact upon the group’s business and
reputation”. External issues such as The
Times, The Sun, The Sunday Times and Sky TV, perhaps, all a part of the News
International empire, which James helps to control.
It works the other way, too.
Doctors sit as ‘independent’ consultants on editorial panels that
determine the broadcasts that are fit and proper for us to read, see and
hear. Lynne McTaggart’s ‘regular’ column
in The Sunday Times lasted all of one week before the Chief Medical Officer
intervened, and the column was stopped.
Its influence extends to all areas of media, even
advertising. It is contrary to the UK’s
advertising standards to run any advertisement that might affect the sacred
relationship between patient and doctor, even if that which is being stated is
The drugs industry is the biggest political lobbyist in the
world, ensuring damaging legislation controlling its worst excesses are never
passed into law. When the lobby system
fails, it has enormous capital clout, and can threaten to close processing and
manufacturing plants, as it did recently in the UK.
Prime Minister Cameron quickly saw sense, and withdrew plans to slow the
process for new drugs approval.
Back in 1989 when we launched WDDTY, The Times described us
as a “voice in the silence” (James was a mere boy of 17 at the time). We still are – and we’re still among the few
reporting on Big Pharma’s excesses, and the damage they may do to you. And now you know why.