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Trust Issues in Pharmaceutical Industries

Trust Issues in Pharmaceutical Industries


Nicolette Clemmons
April 1, 2016

Trust Issues in Pharmaceutical Industries

Abstract
Pharmaceutical companies are worldwide commercial businesses that are in charge of processing
our medications, research on creating new drugs, and distributing those drugs on the market.
Many of these Big Pharma companies such as, Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline pledged to safe
regulations within their company, and just pricing of their products. This literature review
thoroughly explains the methods on how these pharmaceutical companies achieve at performing
these illegal practices, some of these actions done mostly intentionally, to benefit their company.
Exploring the cynical practices, ranging from bribing many doctors to performing illegal vaccine
trials. Along with many illegal practices, brings in the involvement of the government in each
country. Many governments around the world, investigate many lawsuits that were connected in
these huge pharmaceutical companies. By revealing these problems within the pharmaceutical
companies, and how much the governments were involved in each case. As a conclusion, these
governments discover various methods, in which, they can give these pharmaceutical companies
consequences.

Key Words: pharmaceutical companies, corruption, cynical practices, drugs, consequences

Trust Issues in Pharmaceutical Industries

Literature Review

Through the use of newspaper, books, and magazine articles contains important information
needed to answer the simply question how are these huge pharmaceutical companies getting
away with so much? In an newspaper article by the Activist Post, revealed that many big
Pharma companies, which pay for ninety-eight percent of advertisements for the biggest
medical journals in the world, such as, The New England Journal of Medicine, The Journal of
the American Medical Association, The Lancet, and The British Medical Journal so that they can
promote erroneous propaganda, telling the public that they should trust these pharmaceutical
companies, and also provided fabricated research findings, to cover up the harmful effects of
each medications and vaccines, in which would lead to many consumers thinking that either the
vaccine, or medication is safe to take. So, it would be proper to say that these companies get
away with so much crime by manipulated the type of information released to the public.
These crimes are continuous each year, and so far these pharmaceutical will keep practicing
these crimes. No one will ever know exactly what goes on in Pharmaceutical companies, simply
because they manipulate every type of information released to the public (Frompovich, 2015).

Even that isnt the end of it. In another article by Global Research, the huge pharmaceutical
companies have over one thousand paid lobbyists, in which they spend over twenty-eight billion
on lobbying for these companies (Hagopia, 2015).

Trust Issues in Pharmaceutical Industries

In Similarity, the FDA, who is responsible for the assuring drugs are safe, dont want their
reputation ruined by the pharmaceutical companies, so they end up agreeing with these lobbyist,
and also releasing false information on new and improved drugs that these pharmaceutical
companies produce. In connection with new medications, pharmaceuticals companies raise the
prices, and the discontinue the old drug, so that people wont purchase this older drug for a lesser
price (Carpenter 2011, 54).

In a newspaper article in Health Impact News, states a case from the Department of Justice
states that the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, known for their asthmatic related
products have pledged guilty for fraud allegations, and for not promoting proper safety
information. In many cases, a specific inhaled medication caused many patients with unusual
side effects that wasnt mentioned on the fine print, such as, Advair, in which they made
misleading information about the product. The company was also involved in kickbacks to
many physicians to encourage them to sell many other asthmatic products to their patients, which
leads to the illegal marketing practices that this particular company carries (Belkin, 2016).
Kickbacks arent a new method of bribing, this has been going since the 1990s, many doctors are
invited by pharmaceutical companies to luxurious vacations, resorts, and a huge pay check
increase, if they promise to promote their products without, even stating the side effects of the
medication to their patients. GSK has spent over twenty-seven billion on promoting their
medications. As seen in figure 1, the various practices and how much money they actually spent
on promoting false information on medications (Kessel 939, 2014). In addition to accusation of

Trust Issues in Pharmaceutical Industries

GSK, by law this company should sell the products at the lowest rate, even if its a new product,
but of course GSK had to go around the law and overcharge for their medications. percentage is
the elderly, who on a basis take medications, sometimes they take more than two types of
medication, and its these group of people that actually just pay out of pocket compared to a
younger person that would have health insurance. Since 2011, many Americans have spent over
three hundred billion a year just for their prescription drugs, and the worse aspect is that the cost
of prescription medication is continuing to increase every year (Angell, 2004).

The company giant, Pfizer has been accused


of illegal promoting of their products. In
2012, the leading company has been charged
for violating the the
Figure 1
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which allowed them to bribe foreign officials in the countries of
China, Russia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Italy, the Czech Republic, and in Croatia. All resulting from
helping Pfizer achieve their false advertising of their products. These incidents have been hidden
since 2001, and wasnt reported until 2004. The company actually paid many health officials in
Mexico, spending around twenty-four million dollars used in bribing theses officials to get them
to sell products to the public (OToole, 2012).

Trust Issues in Pharmaceutical Industries

Along with violating important laws, this company has also been accused of using marketing to
illegally promote painkillers, Baxtra in the United States. According to the article, this was the
fourth settlement over illegally promoting since 2002. This drug was used to treat headaches, but
wasnt approved to be put on the markets just yet because of its powerful ingredients making this
drug strong than any pain reliever, and can cause many side effects, such as heart problems. As a
result, Pfizer would pay doctors, and dictate to their sales representatives to sell this drug. Later
was was withdrawn from the shelves in 2005. Amy Schulman, head of Pfizers general counsel
replied towards the accusations saying The reasons to trust Pfizer are because, as I have walked
the halls of Pfizer, you would see that the majority of our employees spend their lives dedicated
to bringing truly important medications to patients and physicians in a well manner. This one
quote can be used as a form of evidence for innocence of this company, it was included in the
New England Medical Journal, which obviously cant be trusted.
(Gardiner, 2009)
In 1996, the company traveled to Nigeria to select several hundred children in the state of
Kano, for a clinical trial of the new meningitis drug that actually was meant prevent meningitis.
After the trial, these children got unexpected serious side effects, such as brain damage and
paralysis. As a result, eleven children died because of the drug given to them. Pfizer kept
fighting, saying that most of the children died because they had the meningitis disease, and it
wasnt the vaccine that was given to them. Even after this incident, Pfizer was still on planning in
selling this vaccine to many areas of the world such as, Europe. Eventually Europe found the

Trust Issues in Pharmaceutical Industries

dangerous side effects to this drug, and refused to put it on the market due to the lawsuits and the
toxicity of the vaccine (Smith, 2011).
Finding and Discussions
In revealing all the various methods that these pharmaceutical hide their deceit form the public,
leading to what harm these companies actually do to the public, from overcharging for
medication, conducting vaccine trials before even publicizing the harmful effects, bribing many
doctors just to sell their products that havent even been approved, and marketing false
advertisements. This eventually fall in the hands of the government, not just in the United States,
but in other countries, as well. The next two articles are very tedious at explaining the further
consequences that pharmaceutical companies suffer due to their illegal practices. One major
prosecutor in many of the lawsuits provided above was all within the government. In an article
by The International Business Times, claim that in China has numerous local offices of these
pharmaceutical giants, and its actually worry the Chinese government because of the past
mistakes these companies have made throughout the years. Recently, Chinese authorities visit the
local pharmaceutical offices daily to make sure that no further illegal practices are being
performed. In a Chinese newspaper, which is ran by the communist party, stating that GSK is
being monitored closely as reports of charging high taxes for one of their HIV medications, and
are charging Pfizer with corruption charges against executives of the company. Chinas extreme
charges and consequences have led to many to move to different countries because of the strict
laws that these pharmaceutical companies have to follow. But many huge companies, such as
Pfizer is continuing to stay in the China. (Burkitt, 2015)

Trust Issues in Pharmaceutical Industries

In comparison to the United States, from the case about GSK, discussed earlier, they were
actually caught for false advertising, the government forced them to a pay three billion dollars to
fix the problems within that company, which was actually the largest any pharmaceutical
company had to pay. In the case of Pfizer, who tried selling Bextra were charged by the
government 2.3 billion dollars; Pfizers representatives and executives were also charged for
illegally marketing of products. The bribing foreign officials concluded in a payment of fortyfive million dollars to the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), and Pfizer also agreed on
paying fifteen million dollars to the Department of Justice, which was all involved with the
Unites States Government.
In another case involving Pfizer, revealing the illegal vaccine practices of the children in
Nigeria, The Nigerian government actually encouraged many the parents of four deceased
children actually started a law suit against Pfizer. Fifteen years later, these parents won the
lawsuit in 2009, and were awarded one hundred seventy-five thousand dollars, but it was by
choice that these parents donated the money to Healthcare/Meningitis trust fund in Nigeria.

Finally, some governments in the other countries have in fact fixed the high rates of
prescription medication, especially in China, in which they price controls on all prescription
medications in their country. Government in actually helping us as consumers from
pharmaceutical companies taking advantage of our rights, and most importantly our money. In a
broader sense, its not that the governments do a horrible job of punishing these companies, its
the fact that its not working anymore. These companies can pay as much as three billion dollars
to governmental agencies, which leads these companies to continue to make more money in

Trust Issues in Pharmaceutical Industries

illegal practices. Today, the U. S government is figuring out an eight-billion-dollar plan to fix the
corrupt healthcare system. Which in a general sense, would actually help many pharmaceutical
companies from spending money to hire lobbyists to convince the FDA, and would also the
FDA, so they would be targeted for lying about the products they issue.

Conclusion
The main topic in this research is the trust we have in the pharmaceutical companies, and
analyzing each important point related to why we shouldnt trust the pharmaceutical companies,
and how it can be fixed in the future. Looking at a closer perspective, these pharmaceutical
companies are involved in both the political and economic factor. Trying to raise prices and
making huge amount of dollars, in illegal marketing of their products. The important goal in this
research was why were these companies hurting their consumer, considering we actually do pay
them with our money, and we buy so many of their products. In researching about how much
each company spends on illegal marketing is really surprising how each year that still keep the
process going, even when punished by the government. Many consumers, need to know what we
are taking, so it would be beneficial if these companies, or if the governments actually help us
consumers, in revealing those hidden side effects, and lower the cost of prescription medications.
In conclusion, we should make it a point that as consumers should have trust in these
pharmaceutical companies because after all they are ones that produce are our medications.

Trust Issues in Pharmaceutical Industries

10

Work Cited
Angell, Marcia (2004). The Truth About Drug Companies: How they Deceive Us and What they
do about it. Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com

Burkitt, Laurie (2015, March 5). Drug Companies Face Pressure


Despite China Price Pledge. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from
http://www.wsj.com

Carpenter, Daniel (2004). The Political Economy of FDA Drug Review:


Processing Politics and lessons for Policy. Health Affair, 23. Retrieved form
http://www.contenthealthaffair.org

Frompovich, Catherine. (2015, February, 4). Big Pharmas Corporate


Crimes and Fines: How can they Get Away with it? Activist Post. Retrieved form
http://www.activistpost.com

Hapgopian, Joachim. (2015, January, 18). The Evils of Big Pharma


Exposed. Global Research. Retrieved from http://www.globalresearch.ca

Trust Issues in Pharmaceutical Industries

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Gardiner, Harris. (2009, September 2). Pfizer pays $2.3 Billion to settle
Marketing Case. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com

Kessel, Mark (2014). Restoring the Pharmaceutical Industrys Reputation. Nature


Biotechnology, 32(985), 983-990. Retrieved from http:// www.nature.com

OToole, James. (2012, August 7). Pfizer settles foreign bribery charges. CNN Money. Retrieved
from http://www.cnnmoney.com

Smith, David. (2011, August 11). Pfizer pays out to Nigerian families of Meningitis Drug
Trial victims. The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com