What Do We Mean By Big Pharma And What Exactly Have They Done Wrong? Where to Begin?

So What’s So Bad About ‘Big Pharma’ Anyway? Why Are They So Hated? Let Us Count The Ways

On websites like this one you often run across the term Big Pharma.

And granted, it is a bit of a catch-all phrase, one that is used pretty casually, and one that likely has different significances for different people.

But that doesn’t mean it is without meaning–nor that the loathing with which most people use the term is misplaced. So let’s look at some of the most well-known and biggest pharmaceutical companies and their activities over the years and see if there is any reason we shouldn’t despise them.

• Purdue Pharma – This once-humble company was founded in 1892 in New York by a group of physicians, and was originally known for the antiseptic Betadine Solution, and Senokot brand laxatives. What a difference a century makes. Now they are a mutli-billion dollar endeavor that one can pretty reasonably blame for single-handedly cranking the opioid epidemic into high gear with their signature brand Oxycontin. They fudged test results and lied to regulators to get approval, and today Purdue’s stockholders sit atop a fortune its founders could never have imagined–while middle America reels from massive opioid addiction.
• Novartis – The largest pharmaceutical company worldwide by revenue, Novartis has a long and shameful history that includes experiments involving drilling into the skulls of living, unanesthetized cats and experimenting on primates. Novartis has the kind of clout where it can call in the U.S. trade ambassador to lean on entire countries when they are about to license the use of a generic brand of one of their drugs, as they recently did with Colombia, threatening them with withholding nearly half a billion in much needed U.S. aid towards the nation’s peace efforts with the FARC guerillas.
• The Nazi Legacy Trio – These are Bayer, BASF and Hoescht (now Sanofi), which were all part of the German cartel I.G. Farben before it was dissolved following the war. Bayer invented mustard gas, and as part of I.G. Farben all three used Jewish slaves at their factories during the war. The conglomerate was also instrumental in not only funding Hitler’s mad war, they also created the means for him to more efficiently carry out the Final Solution with the invention of Zyklon B, the gas used to kill thousands of Jews and gypsies. More recently, Bayer was proven to have infected thousands of children with AIDS–knowingly–through the sale of tainted hemophiliac medication even after they knew it was contaminated. Sanofi creates vaccines and allergy medication. Their yellow fever vaccine has been widely shown to cause severe psychotic reactions in some. And BASF is much like Monsanto, now mainly involved in creating GMO seeds and the chemicals needed to sustain them–and poison everything else.
• A few little fish in the big Pharma pond – Neos Therapeutics makes a kiddie crack (actually the amphetamine Adderall) called Adzenys. It comes in delivious candy flavors for the little speed freak in your house. Eli Lilly, not really so small, created Prozac and cancer-causing bovine growth hormone. They were kind enough to create a cancer-fighting drug called IGF-1 for all the people their BGH helped cause–and sell it to them at a ridiculous price too. Johnson & Johnson, seeing their profits threatened by more nad more class action suits regarding the way their baby powder inconveniently causes ovarian cancer, helped install Margaret Hamburg as head of the FDA. Hamburg’s husband? A hedge fund manager who was over-leveraged in J&J stock. She helped stave off the lawsuits and regulations on the powder.

This is just a partial list. If you scratch the surface of almost any pharmaceutical company, you will come away soiled with odious tales of the unscrupulous to the downright genocidal. There’s a reason we speak of them with such loathing, no?

These 13 Corporations Are “Big Pharma”: Their History, Crimes, and Products

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