November 10, 2009

Trust me, I’ve only been sued 132,000 times!

If there were an industry that had over 132,000 lawsuits brought against it, and had paid out over one trillion dollars in fines, would you expect it to be in the newspapers?
This industry has been convicted of price fixing, fraud, felony and intent to harm just for starters.

Last month alone this industry paid out amounts that would pay the entire healthcare, education and military budgets of some smaller countries. First up, AstraZeneca was fined $160 million for ripping off Alabama, just after being fined $215 million for ripping of Kentucky; Eli Lilly has been fined $1.4 billion, and Pfizer trumped that with a fine of $2.3 billion for illegally marketing several drugs. Yet not one of these was in the news, not one of them is complaining to the government about feeling the squeeze or the recession, and not one of them said sorry!

Does this sound like the sort of people you can trust? Trust with your health?

And yet this is exactly what medical doctors, with all their education are doing every day, and in turn you do, when you take what they give you without questioning it, trusting the most untrustworthy business (going by legal actions) in the world.

People complain about the NHS, or NICE with-holding funds for “much needed drugs” yet they are doing the best they can. In most cases the “much needed drugs” are only a fraction of a percentage better than what already exists, but often several, or even hundreds of times more expensive. It is the drugs companies that are very often to blame for hyping a drug, finding a victim of the disease and holding them up as someone who is a victim of the NHS budget cutters instead! While it may be true that this expensive new drug may improve this one person’s quality of life, it means cuts somewhere else have to be made, and someone else looses out (or more likely, a whole group of people lose out).

Remember, next time you see a headline in the newspapers about the NICE or NHS denying a drug because of its cost, don’t blame them, and try and figure out who really profits when the drug is allowed, and who might loose in the long run.

Dr Chris Pickard

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