The pharmaceutical industry is an organized criminal group that corrupted medicine and produces deadly drugs. Medicines do not cure, but harm health and pose a threat to life…
What do you know about medicines? Just what sellers and doctors say about them. Meanwhile, drugs are the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer.
Dr. Peter Götzsche has been exposing pharmaceutical giants for more than 10 years to take humanity off their hook. Götzsche is a specialist in checking the effectiveness of drugs from the non-profit organization Cochrane Collaboration, together with his colleagues professionally proves which drugs not only do not cure but also harm health or even endanger life; how pharmaceutical companies inflate the prices of medicines and delay the release of generics (cheap medicinal analogs), what services are imposed on patients through doctors, what diagnoses they come up with to make money.
“Pharmaceutical companies do not sell drugs, but lies about drugs,” Peter Götzsche says in his book “Deadly Dangerous Drugs and Organized Crime: How Big Pharma Corrupted Health Care,” and cites dozens of examples to prove his point. There are many tricks that drug manufacturers use, for which buyers pay with their wallet and health: drugs with unproven effectiveness, pills for nonexistent diseases, drugs whose side effects outweigh the benefits, illegal delays in the release of cheap analogs.
Götzsche compares the pharmaceutical industry with the mafia or with organized crime. And this is not an exaggeration, because under US law, organized crime is defined as “repeated repeated involvement in certain types of crimes, including extortion, fraud, drug trafficking, bribery, theft, obstruction of justice, obstruction of law enforcement, substitution of witnesses and political corruption”. Peter provides detailed evidence to support his claim that pharmaceutical companies are responsible for most of these crimes.
And he is not the first to compare the pharmaceutical industry with the mafia. In his book, Peter quotes the words of the former vice president of pharmaceutical company Pfizer:
“It’s scary to think how much the pharmaceutical industry and the mafia have in common. The mafia earns indecent amounts of money, as does the Pharma. The side effects of organized crime are murder and death, just like in pharmacy. The mafia bribes politicians and other public people, and the pharmaceutical industry does the same … ”
The only difference is that the pharmaceutical industry kills far more people than the mafia. Hundreds of thousands die every year from prescription drugs. Many believe that this is inevitable, because drugs are used to treat diseases that they themselves caused. But the counterargument is that the benefits of the drugs are greatly exaggerated. Distorting information about side effects is a crime that can be safely attributed to the pharmaceutical industry.
The industry, of course, repeatedly shamefully presented itself to the US Department of Justice – and many pharmaceutical companies were fined billions of dollars. Peter talks in detail about the 10 largest companies, but there are many more on the market. The truth is that companies continued to commit all the same crimes, believing that, violating the law and paying fines, they still get enough profit. And fines can be perceived as a “tax for doing business”, as the need to pay for heating, electricity, and rent.
Foreword by Dr. Richard Smith
A lot of people shudder when they hear about Peter Götzsche’s public speech or when he sees his name in the list of authors of a magazine. He is like that little boy who not only noticed that the king was naked but also told everyone about it. Most of us are either not able to see the king’s nudity, or they won’t announce it if they do. That is why we really need people like Peter. He is not a compromiser or a hypocrite. He can write in expressive, capacious language, replete with colorful metaphors.
Many may put this book aside, having met with persistent comparisons of the pharmaceutical industry with the mafia or the gang. But those who turn their backs on the book will miss a valuable opportunity to understand something very important about this world – and experience shock.
Peter ends the book with a story about how the Danish Rheumatology Society asked him to speak on the topic “Collaboration with the pharmaceutical industry. How harmful is that? ”The original name was“ Collaboration with the pharmaceutical industry. Is it harmful? ”But the Society of Rheumatologists realized that this question already has an answer.
Peter began his speech by listing the “crimes” of the sponsors of the meeting itself. Hoffman – La-Roche made a fortune on the illegal sale of heroin. Abbott did not want to give Peter access to unpublished drug test results, which showed that her diet pills were ultimately a danger to patients. UCB also tried to hide test results, while Pfizer lied to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and was fined $ 2.3 billion for advertising in which four drugs were used over-the-counter. The fraudulent arthritis cure for Merck, the last sponsor, led to the deaths of thousands of patients, Peter said. Anticipating the speech with a similar introduction, he delved into the discussion of the dangers of the pharmaceutical industry.
You can imagine what it is like to speak to these very sponsors, choking with rage, and organizers who did not know where to put yourself from embarrassment. Peter quoted a colleague as saying that “such a direct approach can alienate some people who have not yet made up their minds.” But most of the audience was passionate about the performance and saw that Peter’s arguments were undeniable.
Those who actively support routine mammography as a means of preventing breast cancer have probably sided with the sponsors, as Peter has criticized this procedure and published a book on the dangers of mammography (“Mammography: True, False and Contradictory”) . It seems important to me that Peter is one of the few who initially criticized routine mammography, and – despite the aggressive attacks of his opponents – proved that he was right.
I realized for a long time that living people, not objective robots, are engaged in science, and therefore it will always be subject to the human factor, but nonetheless, the stories that Peter cites in his book on mammography truly shocked me.
The book shows how deeply science can be corrupt lobbying for ideas that are profitable to it, and how money, profit, jobs, and reputation become the main factors of corruption.
Many readers will wonder if Peter has exceeded his authority, equating the activities of the pharmaceutical industry with organized crime. And he is not the first to compare industry with the mafia or the gang. Peter quotes a former Pfizer vice president:
“It’s scary to think how much the pharmaceutical industry and the mafia have in common. The mafia earns indecent amounts of money, as does the Pharma. The side effects of organized crime are murder and death, just like in pharmacy. The mafia bribes politicians and other public people, and the pharmaceutical industry does the same … “
Industry kills far more people than the mafia. Hundreds of thousands die every year from prescription drugs. Many believe that this is inevitable because drugs are used to treat diseases that they themselves caused. But the counterargument is that the benefits of the drugs are greatly exaggerated. Distorting information about side effects is a crime that can be safely attributed to the industry.
The famous doctor William Osler said that if all the drugs were thrown into the sea, it would be good for humanity and bad for fish. He said this before the drug revolution of the mid-twentieth century, which gave us penicillin, other antibiotics, and other “effective” drugs.
Most of Peter’s book is devoted to evidence of the total corruption of the pharmaceutical industry, which corrupts science in order to exaggerate the benefits and minimize the harm from drugs in the public mind. As an epidemiologist with respect for numbers and a passion for detail, Peter is a global leader among critics of clinical research, as this book fully proves. He is teaming up with many other colleagues, including former editors of The New England Medical Journal, to expose this corruption. He also talks about how industry bought doctors, scientists, journals, professional organizations, patient communities, university departments, journalists, government and politicians. These are the methods of mafia.
The book also tells about the responsibility of doctors and scientists for corporate crimes. In fact, if you can refer to the fact that pharmaceutical companies simply achieve maximum sales in all possible ways, then I want to believe that doctors and scientists have a higher calling. A law requiring companies to declare all payments to doctors demonstrates how high the percentage of doctors has been bribed by the pharmaceutical industry. It turns out that many of them are paid six-figure amounts for advising companies or making presentations on their behalf. It is hard not to come to the conclusion that these reputable specialists are simply bought. They become “mercenaries” of the Big Pharm.
Comparison of the drug market with the mafia is rather unpleasant, and the public, despite the craze for various drugs, is skeptical of the pharmaceutical industry. According to the results of a survey conducted in Denmark, the pharmaceutical industry was in second place from the end among the industries in which the Danes are confident. And according to a similar survey in the United States, the pharmaceutical industry took the last place, along with the tobacco industry and oil companies. Doctor Ben Goldacre in his book “Bad Pharmacy” addresses a sore subject, saying that doctors consider collaboration with the pharmaceutical industry to be the norm. The public will consider these relations completely unacceptable if they fully understand their essence. In Britain, doctors are on par with journalists, MPs, and bankers in an inability to see how corrupt their activity is. Now the public is more likely to trust doctors and distrust pharmaceutical companies, but this trust can be quickly lost.
Not all of Peter’s book is dedicated to problems. He offers solutions, some of which may be more likely to be implemented than others. It seems unlikely that pharmaceutical companies will be nationalized, but it is likely that all data used to license drugs will be publicly available. Drug distribution agencies should be made fully independent. In some countries, it may be necessary to encourage the participation of public sector organizations in the examination of drug efficacy. It is necessary to expose financial ties between pharmaceutical companies and doctors, professional and patient organizations and journals. It is important to optimize control over conflicts of interest. Marketing can be held back to a greater extent. Consumer resistance to direct advertising, by contrast, is worth supporting.
There are more and more critics of the pharmaceutical industry, many reputable and passionate people appearing among them, but Peter has surpassed them all in the boldness of his statements. I hope that no one will postpone this book because of the straightforwardness of the author, and perhaps the importance of his main thought will lead to valuable reforms.
Götzsche makes various proposals and calls for revolution. I believe that nothing will help us until we completely separate the two processes: conducting and evaluating the tests, on the one hand, and their financing, on the other. We base treatment on the results of clinical trials, so these results are a matter of life and death. Patients who agree to participate in trials expect their sacrifice to be for the benefit of humanity. And what they do not expect in any way is that the test results will be hidden and manipulated like a trade secret. These results are in the public domain, they should be funded by the government from taxes paid by industry, and should be accessible to all. What’s really going on now?
The situation in the United States looks paradoxical: pharmaceutical companies pay the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to evaluate their projects. Is it any wonder that the FDA turned out to be corrupt by the industry, which it was supposed to regulate?
Revolution? Götzsche is right. Now we are plunged into chaos due to the countless mistakes of the past, and he lists many of them. This list of errors includes the failure of clinical scientists and editors of journals publishing their research, reluctance to realize how much the entire industry has been taken over by drug dealers, and much more. I believe a revolution will be needed to destroy the consequences of decades of criminal manipulation of the industry in our own interests.
I hope you read this book and make your own conclusions.