Big Bucks, Big Pharma

I posted this in segments quite some time ago on the old blog, but here’s the whole documentary. In light of the raging dispute over healthcare in the U.S. these days, it’s worth another look as this is one of the most salient problems with the current system.

Big Pharma spends more than $3 billion per year in the US trying to convince people to buy their drugs. Bob Goodman of the non-profit Nofreelunch.org says that the television marketing is so effective that “Patients come in and ask for stuff they don’t even know what it’s for.” No wonder Americans spend more than twice the rate of GDP on healthcare as other western industrialized countries.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration has completely sold out to Big Pharma. In order to win its public support for reform, the White House has promised that any new legislation will ban the government from negotiating lower drug prices. So Big Pharma can continue charging whatever it wants for patented drugs. In return, the pharmaceutical companies have promised to launch a $150 million advertising campaign on behalf of reform. Woo hoo! To put that in perspective, that’s about what the industry spends in two weeks advertising their drugs direct to consumers.

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2 Comments

Filed under Health Care & Medicine, Obama Administration

2 responses to “Big Bucks, Big Pharma

  1. Ti-Guy

    The first time it dawned on me that Americans were living within a different medication paradigm was when I was visiting American friends a few years back. I had a headache, and they offered me a couple of “dissolve-in-your-mouth” acetaminophen. Imagine that. Headache tablets you can take without a swallow of water!

    It was a brand new World, and it humbled me.

  2. Tomm

    The video is very compelling and also reminded me of Sicko.

    I’m a little bewildered about how the obvious nature of the problem doesn’t lead to the obvious solutions. Didn’t Standard Oil get broken up back in the 20’s?

    But then the real problem dawned on me and like Ti-Guy I became humbled. The American political system and the lobbyists have become so intertwined that there perhaps just isn’t a way of disentangling the cancerous threads without killing the host.

    I guess the premise of Legally Blonde II wasn’t outrageous farce. I mis-understood one of the most profound movies of this decade.

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