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Thursday, 8 October 2015
Here’s How Big Pharma Games The System.
When it comes to influencing policy in Washington, every industry has their preferred methods. The oil industry sets up phony grassroots campaigns to spread misinformation and lobby Congress for everything they want. Wall Street banks prefer to operate in the shadows, throwing money towards members of Congress they think will be influential. But when it comes to affecting policy in Washington, D.C., no organization or industry has gamed the system better than the pharmaceutical industry.
With combined yearlyincome that tops $110 billion (and that’s just from prescription drugs – revenue from medical devices hovers around $350 billion,) the pharmaceutical industry is one of the most powerful – both financially and politically – industries in the country. And since they can’t make a move without government approval, they’ve created an infrastructure that will benefit their companies for generations.
Unlike other companies that focus all of their time on either political donations or indirect lobbying, Big Pharma has taken an “all of the above” approach when it comes to dirty tricks. Sure, they throw around a hefty amount of campaign cash, but money can only buy so much if the backlash from the public is strong enough. So in order to overcome the limitations of dollar bills, the industry has decided to take a page out of a sleazy spy novel – they operate with men on the inside of the system.
The crimes that Big Pharma has managed to get away with as a result of their two-pronged approach towards policy influence would make even the hardest gangster blush: Price gouging, negligence, lying to government officials, and even manslaughter. And even though our U.S. Supreme Court tells us that corporations are “people,” not one executive from the pharmaceutical industry is sitting in a jail cell. They are having expensive dinners in New York City; enjoying cocktails with government officials; and coming up with new, manufactured diseases that they can “cure” for a hefty profit. Here’s how they do it: