New Year’s Resolutions for the Drug Industry

There was only one thing worse than being unemployed in 2009: working for the drug sector.

Not only did the two biggest drug settlements in US history occur in 2009–Eli Lilly’s $1.42 billion for mismarketing Zyprexa and Pfizer’s $2.3 billion for Bextra, Geodon, Lyrica and Zyvox fraud–the Supreme Court ruled people can sue if they’re harmed by a prescription drug even if it had FDA approval.

No wonder Wyeth and Pfizer and then Merck and Schering-Plough formed defensive mergers in 2009, the former timed to knock out headlines about the Bextra settlement.

High profile suicides also occurred in 2009 prompting the FDA to add black box warnings to the asthma drugs Singulair, Accolate and  Zyflo, the antismoking drugs Chantix and Zyban and authorities to question the antidepressants given to 80 percent of Iraq war veterans with post traumatic stress disorder.

The open secret of industry subsidized journal articles and Continuing Marketing, sorry Medical Education courses (CMEs) also came under Congressional investigation in 2009–as did the drug industry ties of faux grassroots groups like the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and high flying researchers like Harvard’s Joseph Biederman, MD.

Clearly the drug industry needs New Year’s Resolutions–and to honor them better than the Corporate Integrity Agreements with the government it keeps breaking.

1. Our reps will wait their turn in medical offices and refrain from waltzing in front of ailing patients because they think their time is more valuable. They will NOT get their own room in medical offices with laptop stations, ice water and swivel chairs or chatter about the stress of sales quotas on their cells in the waiting room. Female reps will not “sell” with cleavage and spike heels. Males reps will not high five each other or call the doctor “dude.” Reps who sold drugs that were later withdrawn will be banished.

2. In addition to admitting to the Justice Department we mismarketed Seroquel, Zyprexa, Risperdal and Geodon and looted Medicaid budgets, we will cease selling the actual drugs. We admit that even though forgiveness is cheaper than permission for us, it isn’t for the millions of children, poor and institutionalized people who develop lifelong diabetes and metabolic disorders from the drugs.

3. We will stop upgrading anxiety to depression, depression to bipolar disorder and bipolar disorder to “treatment resistant depression” to sell drugs. We will admit that studies are beginning to show that the reason depression is sometimes treatment resistant is because it wasn’t depression to begin with but consumer advertising. We will admit our cocktails of depression/bipolar/mood brightener/mood stabilizer drugs occlude the fact that none work individually, raise insurance rates and create withdrawal symptoms in patients who might have been fine before.

4. We will admit hormone therapy increases the risk of breast cancer by 26 percent, heart attacks by 29 percent, stroke by 41 percent and doubles the risk of blood clots and dementia. We will further admit it is associated with lung, ovarian, endometrial and gall bladder cancer, malignant melanoma, asthma, lupus, scleroderma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, urinary incontinence and hearing loss—and the only researchers promoting it are making money off it.

5. We will stop trying to replace the hormone market with a thinning bones market through an osteoporosis scare campaign and admit that we made up the term “osteopenia” at the same time we planted bone density measuring machines in medical offices. Nor will we keep recommending seizure drugs for fibromyalgia pain women don’t know they have yet to make up for shrinking hormone and antidepressant markets.

6. We will stop replacing $600 a month blockbuster drugs insurers no longer wave through with vaccines and biologics no one wants or needs. We will give up the attempt to vaccinate boys with Gardasil when it didn’t even work with girls or ship it to poor countries plagued with HIV, malaria or dengue fever. We will stop selling biologics like Humira which cause cancer and infections like TB to perfectly health college kids with Crohn’s disease scare campaigns.

7. We will buy every child under 12 in America a bicycle or skate board as reparations for our reign of terror treating them for depression, bipolar disorder, ADD, ADHD, mixed manias, oppositional and conduct disorders, sleep and mood disorders, schizophrenia, agitation, anxiety and other “psychopathologies” they may not have even had.

8. Instead of storming Capitol Hill when the government threatens to cut off our livestock antibiotics gravy train, we promise to develop safe antibiotics for people. And speaking of safe, we will renounce the hormones, growth enhancers and pesticides we dump on factory farms which sicken the animals, environment, farm workers and food consumers.

9. We will stop insulting the public’s intelligence by claiming that everyone including  people without high cholesterol should take Crestor because we want to sell statins. We will stop implying Vytorin works just because some have forgotten we sat on studies that show it doesn’t work in a multi-year con.

10.We will stop rolling out celebrities like Sally Field and Brooke Shield to hawk drugs and acknowledge the celebrity drug spokesmen the public remembers most are Michael Jackson, Anna Nicole Smith and Brittany Murphy.

MARTHA ROSENBERG can be reached at: martharosenberg@sbcglobal.net

More articles by:

Martha Rosenberg is an investigative health reporter. She is the author of  Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health (Prometheus).

March 22, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Italy, Germany and the EU’s Future
David Rosen
The Further Adventures of the President and the Porn Star
Gary Leupp
Trump, the Crown Prince and the Whole Ugly Big Picture
The Hudson Report
Modern-Day Debtors’ Prisons and Debt in Antiquity
Steve Martinot
The Properties of Property
Binoy Kampmark
Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and Surveillance Capitalism
Jeff Berg
Russian to Judgment
Gregory Barrett
POSSESSED! Europe’s American Demon Must Be Exorcised
Robby Sherwin
What Do We Do About Facebook?
Trump Spokesperson Commemorates Invading Iraq by Claiming U.S. Doesn’t Dictate to Other Countries; State Dept. Defends Invasion
Rob Okun
Students: Time is Ripe to Add Gender to Gun Debate
Michael Barker
Tory Profiteering in Russia and Putin’s Debt of Gratitude
March 21, 2018
Paul Street
Time is Running Out: Who Will Protect Our Wrecked Democracy from the American Oligarchy?
Mel Goodman
The Great Myth of the So-Called “Adults in the Room”
Chris Floyd
Stumbling Blocks: Tim Kaine and the Bipartisan Abettors of Atrocity
Eric Draitser
The Political Repression of the Radical Left in Crimea
Patrick Cockburn
Erdogan Threatens Wider War Against the Kurds
John Steppling
It is Us
Thomas Knapp
Death Penalty for Drug Dealers? Be Careful What You Wish for, President Trump
Manuel García, Jr.
Why I Am a Leftist (Vietnam War)
Isaac Christiansen
A Left Critique of Russiagate
Howard Gregory
The Unemployment Rate is an Inadequate Reporter of U.S. Economic Health
Ramzy Baroud
Who Wants to Kill Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah?
Roy Morrison
Trouble Ahead: The Trump Administration at Home and Abroad
Roger Hayden
Too Many Dead Grizzlies
George Wuerthner
The Lessons of the Battle to Save the Ancient Forests of French Pete
Binoy Kampmark
Fictional Free Trade and Permanent Protectionism: Donald Trump’s Economic Orthodoxy
Rivera Sun
Think Outside the Protest Box
March 20, 2018
Jonathan Cook
US Smooths Israel’s Path to Annexing West Bank
Jeffrey St. Clair
How They Sold the Iraq War
Chris Busby
Cancer, George Monbiot and Nuclear Weapons Test Fallout
Nick Alexandrov
Washington’s Invasion of Iraq at Fifteen
David Mattson
Wyoming Plans to Slaughter Grizzly Bears
Paul Edwards
My Lai and the Bad Apples Scam
Julian Vigo
The Privatization of Water and the Impoverishment of the Global South
Mir Alikhan
Trump and Pompeo on Three Issues: Paris, Iran and North Korea
Seiji Yamada
Preparing For Nuclear War is Useless
Gary Leupp
Brennan, Venality and Turpitude
Martha Rosenberg
Why There’s a Boycott of Ben & Jerry’s on World Water Day, March 22
John Pilger
Skripal Case: a Carefully-Constructed Drama?
March 19, 2018
Henry Heller
The Moment of Trump
John Davis
Pristine Buildings, Tarnished Architect
Uri Avnery
The Fake Enemy
Patrick Cockburn
The Fall of Afrin and the Next Phase of the Syrian War
Nick Pemberton
The Democrats Can’t Save Us