The ethical drug company
June 6th 2012, 14:33
The recent bank bail-out left a bitter taste. Apparently too big to fail, the banks enjoyed state support to keep them afloat, then cut off credit to small firms, a decision that threatens to plunge us back into recession, and began paying enormous bonuses the moment they moved back into profit.
All of this has been allowed to happen because banks enjoy the privileged position of being both commercial enterprises that exist for the benefit of their shareholders, and an integral part of society.
But it's not unique - pharmaceutical companies have a similar relationship. Although they have never needed state bail-outs, they are protected by laws, by governments, and even by the media, and yet exist primarily for the welfare of their shareholders. This is because, like the banks, the drugs industry is seen as an essential contributor to the fabric of society.
But having been granted this special position, the drugs companies - like the banks - play fast and loose with the enormous privileges they are granted. A news article this month, for example, reveals that nearly two-thirds of people who take a prescription drug suffer an adverse reaction, often because the truth about the dangers of the drug is never revealed.
Worse, some drugs do more harm than good, as our Special Report on depression explains (http://www.wddty.com/the-great-depression-deception.html). The antidepressant SSRIs can't be helping depression - because they are based on the theory that it is the result of low serotonin levels. The theory hasn't been proved, and, as our report demonstrates, it isn't true.
The drive for profit flattens everything before it, including the truth, including accountability, including any concern for the safety of the patient. As with the banks, it all seems to be a poor return for a society that offers it special protections.
What can be done? The fundamental flaw in this wretched scenario is the idea that banks - and drug companies - are too big to fail, that the fall-out would be too monumental for us to cope with.
This wasn't true about the banks, and it's not true of the drugs companies. The banks could have failed, and the money poured into the bottomless pit of sub-prime debts could have created a new bank, and one that better served the people and small business.
Similarly, ethical, state-run, drug companies - that had an eye on human benefit and safety before profit and shareholder dividends - could also be established.
Anything less leaves a nasty taste.