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.