Given the reports that flow in regularly from around the world, have you ever wondered how contaminated Australia’s health gateway is as a reality?
While Australia has regulations that make payments to doctors from Global Pharma’s a mandatory requirement, does anyone have any real trust in what is actually disclosed?
And as we go through the form of a regulatory process here in Australia we have a sense that there is very little substance in that process.
To get some idea of measure you have to turn to other countries that really do something about the problem.
At i2P we rely on the work of respected investigative reporters who publish through independent media outlets, given that mainstream media globally has lost public trust, through not reporting real news and manufacturing its own version of news to support the needs of global corporations, often major shareholders in those mainstream media corporations.
A true democracy requires an honest, ethical and free media that can challenge government policies and dishonest business practices – but most western democracies, including Australia, seem to be replacing these freedoms with a form of “scientism” – using a version of science as a form of autocratic control to manipulate population thinking and activity in favour of a global corporate vision.
Borders, national laws and local cultures can be trampled upon with impunity because these global corporates act like criminal cartels to ensure a market control that can generate super-profits to pay off all the people that have to be bribed to create and sustain this unholy network.
In a recent news article sent to i2P by Jon Rappoport, a highly respected US investigative journalist, he gave the title “How would you feel if your doctor was bribed to give you a drug?”
Which was the followed by:
“Hello, Novartis. The pharmaceutical giant has just been fined $50 million by the government of South Korea for bribing doctors to prescribe the company’s drugs.
FiercePharma reports: “Last year, prosecutors in the country [Korea] raided Novartis offices to gather documents and account books. South Korean officials later indicted a half-dozen Novartis execs, as well as more than a dozen doctors and five medical journal heads…The Korea Times says the criminal trial is now underway.”
A Novartis spokesperson called the crime “in violation of our policies and inconsistent with our culture…”
Would pharmacists practicing in Australia have a different view when some of our top political decision-makers have been seen to sell some family-related asset, at a seemingly above-market price, following some legislation favourable to a global drug company, being delivered in plain sight.
Apart from the aspect of conflict-of-interest, these types of transactions enter the realm of the criminal code, and occur without any apparent repercussion.
This suggests the practice is embedded and widespread.
John Rappoport further comments:
“FiercePharma continues: “Outside of Korea, Novartis faces separate bribery claims in Greece, where an official earlier this month said ‘thousands’ of people could be implicated.”
“The company faced other allegations in Turkey, which it now considers ‘unsubstantiated,’ and paid $25 million to U.S. authorities last year to settle a bribery investigation in China.”
Sounds like bribery might be central to the culture of Novartis.
You walk into a doctor’s office. He makes a diagnosis and writes out a prescription for a drug. Unknown to you, he’s been paid off to tell you to take the drug.
In the case of Novartis, do law enforcement officials in Korea, Greece, Turkey, and China release the names of the bribed doctors and inform their patients of these crimes? If not, why not? The patients ought to know, and they ought to be able to sue the drug company.”
So while drug companies in Australia have to publicly disclose how much they spend on doctors in respect of education events, speaking fees and provision of meals, travel and accommodation who checks that this is a complete list of expenditure items and if a payment is made locally or in a tax haven (like the Cayman Islands) popular with some of our politicians.
Or as Jon Rappoport says:
“Let’s take this whole business out on to a wider stage. Do you think doctors who take money from drug companies (e.g., for speaking fees and consulting) might be prone to altering their prescription habits? If so, consider this nugget from National Public Radio (NPR) (3/17/16): “Nationwide [in the US], nearly 9 in 10 cardiologists who wrote at least 1,000 prescriptions for Medicare patients received payments from a drug or device company in 2014, while 7 in 10 internists and family practitioners did.”
Then there is this bombshell from Business Insider (1/9/15)—wait for the punch line in the last sentence: “Companies pay doctors millions of dollars to promote not their most innovative or effective drugs, but some of their most unremarkable.”
“In the last five months of 2013, drug makers spent almost $20 million trying to convince physicians and teaching hospitals to give their freshly-patented drugs to patients, but many of them are near-copies of existing drugs that treat the same conditions.”
“A hefty portion are also available as generics, chemically identical copies that work just as well at a fraction of the price. And still others have serious side effects that only became apparent after they were approved by the FDA.”
For those willing to open their eyes and ears, it is a statement of fact that the Australian Government has fully hijacked the control of the pharmacy profession in Australia through manipulation of its instrumentality – the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), now at the end of its life-cycle.
In turn, the PBS has been hijacked by Big Pharma through its system of payments (bribes in reality) to our decision-making politicians, often in plain sight through the use of paid lobbyists.
And this payment system extends, both directly and indirectly, to health industry associations and patient support groups, through weak links within their decision-making executives.
So when we have an instrument such as the King Review being launched, this simply signals a message that government wants to cover its financial and political problem “holes” through diverting attention to the soft target of pharmacists.
If the King Review was a truly independent entity why isn’t it pursuing the real villains involved in the high costs of drugs and health services, such as all the “players” mentioned to this point?
Jon Rappoport amplifies his arguments:
“Doctors paid by drug companies. Doctors prescribed those companies’ drugs.
Some of those drugs have serious side effects.
Medicalbillingandcoding.org (5/25/11) follows the money. According to their analysis, between 2009 and 2011, these drug companies paid doctors the following amounts: Merck, $9.4 million; Johnson & Johnson, $10.6 million; Pfizer, $19.8 million; AstraZeneca, $22.8 million; GlaxoSmithKline, $96.4 million; and Eli Lilly, $144.1 million. For speaking fees, consulting fees, etc., and who knows what else? Does this cast an ominous cloud over the companies and their favourite doctors?
Is the Pope Catholic?
Medicalbillingandcoding,org goes on to publish fines that have been levied against drug companies (2007-2010) for engaging in illegal activities with doctors.
The fines are, of course, a drop in the bucket, considering the profits of these corporations:
Forest Laboratories, $313 million; Allergan, $600 million; AstraZeneca, $520 million; Cephalon, $425 million; Pfizer, $2.3 billion.
Paying a fine is having to say you’re sorry and then you walk away.
The next time you talk with a doctor, you might apprise him of these matters, just to liven the conversation.”
So if you are a pharmacist trying to have a professional conversation with a doctor about a serious side-effect of a drug prescribed by that doctor – and understand that if that doctor has a financial relationship with that drug’s manufacturer – would that doctor even listen?
So do doctors deserve to be the gatekeepers?
It is more than time for pharmacists to understand that it is only the individual that has the moral force to collectively, with similar peers, replace ineffective leaders within their own professional groups and to direct them in the real issues required for an ethical profession.
It is everybody’s responsibility in all areas of life to do what is right and demand it of others.
But first, understand what is wrong.
Simply open your eyes!