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Friday, April 30, 2004

Pharmaceutical Corporations: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

With the fall of big tobacco, the pharmaceutical companies have taken over the number two slot on the list of private entities with the most influence on our government. Number one is still big oil, though I doubt they will be able to sustain their position too much longer, because everybody knows oil is the reason our sons and daughters are fighting (and dying in) an increasingly unpopular war in Iraq, and that at some point there simply won't be any more oil. Ask any CEO of a pharma-corp and they will tell you that they hold little sway in Washington, but this is obviously spin. They know that we as a country fear power as much as we crave it, so they downplay the size of thier lobby efforts as they try to convince us that good health is what they are about. I do not doubt the motives of the scientists employed by these companies in their quest for new and better compounds to treat the ills of the nation, and the world. The question is; what percentage of the populace can afford to benefit from these magical pills, powders, and potions? What they are really doing is keeping the wealthy healthy. Of course they also keep millions employed through research, sales, and marketing. Their seemingly incessant need to hold large business meetings keeps yours truly gainfully employed, and in a fashion that I admit has me living more comfortably than I have been in the past. You may ask, "How does the hand that feeds taste?" Not bad. this is my tightrope, and I walk it daily. I do shake the devil's hand and then turn around and claim that I must, after all, make a living. I am part of the problem. Like most Americans, I find it hard to get up in arms about anything as long as there is food on my table. This is partially why I blog. Guilt. That and my pervasive need to be on some kind of stage. Any business' prime motivation is profit. Pharmaceutical companies need to spend greatly on reaserch and development. Drugs don't grow on trees (well....). This cost, of course, must be passed on to the consumer. Is that as it should be? Maybe. Maybe health should be cost prohibitive. Only the strong survive, right? Natural selection, naturally. So, in conclusion.......fuck the poor, right?

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