The pharmaceutical industry — last bastion of the proper dope dealer, where Walter White studied in Tony Montana Hall, at the University of Columbia (in Irvine) to go legit. It’s hard to say in this chicken-or-the-egg game which came first; did Big Pharma learn from street-corner dope dealers, or did streetcorner dealers learn from them. Either way, it’s hard to miss a certain eerie similarity between the two trades, which seem less separated by any consistent morality than by the thin parchment of diploma. Or, more to the point, by a few zeroes on the profit line.
In this segment from Last Week Tonight, John Oliver does what he does best — calling out American social injustices, while having a British accent. Maybe it’s something to do with the standard American entitlement to power, but we do love our drugs. Over 70 percent of Americans are on at least one prescription drug, and half are on two or more. And that’s not counting over-the-counter medications, which are an equally massive business. Indeed, in America, we love having a pill to solve our every problem.
And pharmaceutical companies are all too happy to provide them. As John notes, nine out of ten pharmaceutical companies spend more on advertising than on research and development. But the web of drug-pushing is much larger than just direct advertising, which most people who watch TV are probably well familiar with — every other commercial break or so. But the expenditures go far beyond just buying airtime.
In 2013, four of the top eight lobbying organizations were drug companies and healthcare associations. It’s true that they give to Republicans by a slight majority, but the influence of drug companies crosses party lines, and as often as not ends up landing on specific ballot initiatives. It seems in about the unhealthiest nation on Earth, “healthcare” lobbying is a pretty big cash cow for politicians.
Of course, none of that is particularly shocking. Nobody trusts politicians, and people with half a brain trust television advertisements even less. Believe it: If you’ve ever “asked your doctor” after seeing a drug commercial on TV, you have officially been singled out by Darwinism.
But there is a group of people we should be able to trust.
Except, we can’t.
We’re not going to get too far into the specifics here, since John’s 17-minute rant does such a good job of it. Don’t miss a word. And don’t miss this site: OpenPaymentsData.CMS.gov. This site, which was created under the communist abomination that is Obamacare, is to doctors and hospitals what OpenSecrets.com is to politicians.
Want to know how much the people YOU trust have been taking from Big Pharma to push drugs “off label” and into your body? How much did AstraZeneca pay your doctor to prescribe dangerous antipsychotics as “sleep aids?” How much did GlaxoSmithKline pay Dr. Feelgood to prescribe you some “jailhouse meth” for obesity or impotency? Did Phizer pay off your physician to prescribe you a “painkiller” commonly used in lethal injection executions? This evil government site is your go-to source to find out.
And John Oliver is your go-to source for this story on the dirty underside of the legal dope trade. Good thing nobody’s voting to defund him…for the 56th time.