Drug companies have been every bit as bad as tabloid journalists, and have employed private investigators (PIs) who use illegal methods to gain information about individuals and anti-pharma groups. They have hacked into mobile phones, accessed bank records, and put ‘spy’ software on PCs.
The police’s special division Soca (Serious Organised Crime Agency), has known about the corrupt practices within the drug industry for years, but has only recently been forced to hand over its files to a parliamentary committee.
It had deliberately suppressed the information in order to protect the “financial viability of major organisations (including drug companies) by tainting them with public association with criminality”.
The names of the drug companies have been passed to the Home Affairs Select Committee, and prosecutions may follow. The companies either encouraged the PIs to break the law or knew that those methods would be employed, and did not stop them.
It’s not known why the drug companies hired the PIs, but it could have been to build a database of potential targets for their drugs and to hack into phone and computer records of anti-pharma groups.
(Source: The Independent, July 25, 2013)