Drug Companies Do Not Care About Your Health

Pharmaceutical Companies Are Out To Make A Profit

pharmaceutical profits

Pharmaceutical Companies will blatantly lie to get you to buy their drugs so they can make that profit. They get away with it because the punishment for doing so is usually little more than a slap on the wrist.

Drug companies claim that they need large earnings $125,835,595,000 in 1999 to conduct their research and development.

Let's Look At The Facts

  • Just 1 out of every 5 dollars the drug industry collects goes to drug research
  • Drug industry profits are so large they outstrip every other industry's profits by far
    • In 1999 while other companies were experiencing nose-diving profit losses averaging 53%, drug companies experienced an obscene 33% profit increase
    • Drug companies had the greatest return on revenues, reporting a profit of 18.5 cents for every $1 of sales
    • This was 8 times higher than the median for all Fortune 500 ndustries
    • This surpassed the next most profitable industry, which was commercial banking with a 13.5% return on revenue

Drug Development Has Become A Race For The Bottom Line

  • Aggressive marketing
    • Some drug companies spend almost twice as much money for advertising and marketing as they spend for research
    • In addition to the 4 billion dollars they spend on direct marketing to consumers, drug companies are spending about 16 billion dollars per year on marketing to doctors
  • Slanting research: In the face of corporate pressures. Scientists admitted to:
    • Falsifying or "cooking" research data
    • Not properly disclosing conflicts of interest
    • Failing to present contrary data
    • Using inadequate or inappropriate research design
    • Dropping observations or data points, and inadequate record keeping
  • Unethical publishing of results
  • Influencing physicians
  • Intimidating researchers
  • Pressuring Medical Centers
  • Manipulating the FDA
  • Limiting information
  • Marketing drugs with inaccurate safety information

While drug companies must submit direct-to-consumer advertisements to the U.S. FDA, the agency's review of drug ads is often not completed until after the ad has been widely circulated.

What does this mean for consumers?

Advertised drugs are not necessarily safe, and drug advertisements should be looked at with discretion

Do You Know For Sure That The Drug You Are Taking Is Absolutely Safe?

Many drugs spend years on the market before being taken off the market because of dangerous side-effects which surface.

Some of these withdrawn drugs, such as Redux, Seldan, Propulsid, Rezulin, were prescribed MILLIONS OF TIMES. According to Dr. Alastair J.J. Wood, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, "A staggering 19.8 million patients (almost 10% of the United States population) were estimated to have been exposed to just 5 of the 10 drugs withdrawn in the past 10 years."

Dr. Wood added, "None of the drugs was indicated for a life-threatening condition nor, in many cases, were they the only drugs available for that indication. Safer alternatives to these drugs existed, but intense marketing convinced doctors to prescribe them anyway."

Drug companies can profit handsomely from such drugs. Seldane, the top-selling antihistamine in the world for more than a decade, was on the market for 13 years until the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) removed it in 1997, 7 years after the drug's cardiac toxicities were identified in 1990.

Rezulin, a diabetes drug withdrawn by Britain in 1997, wasn't withdrawn by the FDA until 2000, during which time Warner-Lambert earned $1.8 billion.

The FDA Reacts

If the FDA finds a drug ad to be false or misleading, it will issue a regulatory letter to the manufacturer.

In the late 1990s, the FDA issued more than 100 such letters per year, but as of November 2002, only 24 had been issued for the year. The decrease, thought to be the result of a new legal review of proposed regulatory letters, has raised concerns that potentially misleading drug advertisements may be gaining public exposure.

According to a Consumer Reports analysis of FDA regulatory letters from 1997 to 2002, the FDA charged drug companies with a variety of violations including:

  • Omitting or minimizing drug risks
  • Exaggerating the effectiveness of a drug
  • Promoting unapproved uses for a drug
  • Making false claims that a drug is superior to another
  • Promoting drugs which are still experimental
  • Using inconsistent or incorrect labeling information
  • Giving misleading or false information to doctors

Drug Ads Which Received The Most Letters Citing Violations From The Food And Drug Administration (FDA) Since 1997 Included:

DRUG Prescribed For Letters Sent
Claritin allergy 11
Avapro blood pressure 7
Flonase allergy 7
Flovent asthma 7
Celebrex arthritis 6
Vanceril asthma 6
Xenical weight-loss 6
Zyrtec allergy 6
Avandia diabetes 5
Ditropan bladder problems 5
Pravachol cholesterol 5
Source: Consumer Reports February 2003 68:(2)33-37

Anyone who has tried to quit the anti-depressant Paxil will tell you that the TV ads which claim that Paxil is not "habit-forming" is misleading. Many people who take Paxil experience SEVERE withdrawal symptoms when trying to get off the drug, from tremors to cold sweats to "electric zaps to the brain" (not painful but very uncomfortable). The Paxil withdrawal is SEVERE.

The issue of concern is that consumers tend to believe that drug ads are regulated. According to one recent study, some 43% of participants believed, falsely, that only "completely safe" drugs could be advertised.

Pharmaceuticals are sometimes appropriate and at times can save a person's life, but most of the time they are unnecessary, expensive and harmful. You would be well advised to recognize that you should seek natural therapies which address the cause of the disease before choosing a drug-based solution.

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