Should Canada nationalize pharmaceutical industry?

Frank Touby –

Recently the media have been following the outrageous case of a hedge-fund hyena who bought rights to a cheap-to-make off-patent drug that deals with a deadly disease from which relatively few people suffer.

Hedge funds, as you might already know, are often sociopathic investment predators that take control over corporations, sell off their assets, fire as many workers as possible and spread the booty amongst shareholders, who are the only ones they believe to be the people a corporation must serve.2014 Frank Touby Logo

Not employees. Not suppliers. Not society. Not even customers. Just shareholders.

The rest of society, from a corporatist viewpoint, are providers to the corporation and sheep to be sheared. Corporatists are sociopaths.

So if corporatists are ruling in the pharmaceutical industry which is supposed to help heal and support the physical and mental welfare of society, it’s clearly the wrong paradigm.

What if some corporations in the pharmaceutical business already behave like sociopaths?

By definition, like the majority of commercial corporations, they are sociopathic predators.

The bottom line is all that’s of importance and the health and well being of the other elements of production, including workers, is of value only in context of the bottom line and the future enabling of what gets the corporation an increased bottom line.

The greed is almost unlimited, moderated perhaps by concerns about how a predatory image might reduce the bottom line and by, in some cases, the religious or ethical leanings of some corporate rulers.

They’ll sweet-talk you in pharmaceutical commercials on the U.S. TV news shows to get your business but will also kill you by neglect…nothing personal: It’s just business.

That of course means they must think about how the bottom line can be amputated as the result of harm caused by their products…or does it?

Let’s take the case of Vioxx, marketed by major vaccine-maker Merck. Vioxx wasn’t a vaccine, it was a capsule. I even had a prescription for it. Fortunately I only took a couple of capsules before somehow feeling ill-at-ease with the drug.

If they’re reading this they may wish I’d taken many more Vioxx capsules.

Before Merck was forced to pull Vioxx from the market in 2008 the death toll had soared.

In the year before pulling it from the market, Merck had Vioxx sales of US$2.5 billion. Merck held in reserve $970 million to pay for Vioxx-related legal expenses through 2007. The U.S. death toll from Vioxx and other Merck drugs using the same chemicals under other brand names was estimated at 55,000. There aren’t yet full figures on Canadian and other nations’ victims.

Or how about Merck’s MMR vaccine? The rich corporation has such influence that it has state governments in the U.S. seeking to make the vaccine mandatory for all under the notion of “herd immunity,” which claims that if the human herd has been vaccinated then the odd non-vaccinated individual will likely not come in contact with anyone else who is susceptible to measles, mumps or rubella (German or 3-day measles).

Only it’s disputed whether MMR and certain other vaccines are as effective as claimed.

Interestingly, Merck puts two brain toxins in that vaccine which it uses as preservatives: mercury and formaldehyde. There is no direct evidence that they are responsible for the recent wave of autism among young people.

In the U.S. babies are shot through and through with vaccines almost from the moment of birth, including MMR. (Not true in Ontario.)
Merck wants both boys and girls at age 9 to take three shots of its patented vaccine against Human Papillomavirus, a uterine disease. But if girls are vaccinated, shouldn’t that be enough since boys don’t have uteruses to protect? But selling three shots each of the vaccine to boys and girls is even bigger profits.

What drives the reprehensible industry are patents. If a readily available natural substance can effect a cure or remediation of a medical condition, pharmaceutical corporations will seek something or create something that acts in a similar manner on which they can get a patent and thus charge sky-high prices. That’s why they oppose the natural-foods and health industry which eats into their market.

That’s how your health is held to ransom.

It’s also why so-called “free-trade” deals like NAFTA, CAFTA and various other FTAs are the enemy of a fair marketplace.

They’re enemies of Canadian sovereignty because they let foreign corporations sue our government for profits they didn’t make because of laws passed to protect Canadians.

Canada could fund the research into diseases that need pharmaceuticals and control the manufacturing and distribution of drugs.

Canada should, at the very least, be the central purchaser of all pharmaceuticals used in this country and distribute them at cost to the provincial health ministries.

Posted On: October 01, 2015