By Dimitris Konstantakopoulos
The massive multinational corporations that produce the world’s supply of drugs, vaccines and genetically modified organisms have been coming under increasing heavy scrutiny in recent years. These companies are in a position, thanks to their incredible resources, to influence doctors, and even nations to buy their products. They have used their wealth to push favorable tariff policies, and even guide the direction of scientific research and determine what kinds of medicine are practiced.
Criticisms of the pharmaceutical industry often highlight the outright criminal activities on the part of its largest corporations. Backlash has come from renowned scientists, intellectuals, social movements and even governments like the Russian Federation. President Putin has fiercely criticised, in no uncertain terms, what is happening in the West as a result of using genetically modified products, of overconsumption of vaccines, and the “pseudo-nourishment” of fast-food as “a danger to the evolution of the human species”.
Use of criminal methods
However, these are much more than empty accusations. Fines of billions of dollars have been levied on many large pharmaceutical companies, including GSK, Novartis, and Pfizer for criminal behaviour… but the fines have made no significant impact on their policies. Obviously, the profits earned through criminal practices are much higher than the fines levied against them (1).
Among other things, these pharmaceutical companies are accused of promoting the excessive use of their drugs, minimising their side effects, exercising illegitimate influence on scientific drug research and on the doctors who prescribe them, using their monopolies to affect the pricing of drugs globally, and even of influencing the policy of public bodies like the USA’s regulatory agency (the Food and Drug Administration or FDA), 30% of whose budget is drawn from pharmaceutical companies.
“[T]hey are spending more than twice as much on marketing as on research and development”, globally renowned British author John le Carré remarked in an interview with the British newspaper, the Guardian. Le Carré has spearheaded accusations against the drug companies, that, with the cooperation of western governments and their secret services, used defenceless masses from the third world as guinea pigs in deadly experiments with new drugs, the dangers of which they ignored. (2)
The drug industry’s millions of victims
A million people have lost their lives on account of legal opioid abuse and irresponsible prescriptions in the USA, according to a recent study by James Petras, an internationally renowned Greek-American Profesor Emeritus of sociology at Binghamton University in New York (3).
It should be noted that Russia has banned the cultivation of genetically modified organisms and has granted free land to those who desire to develop organic agriculture. Moscow’s stated aim is to become the number one global exporter of “pure” foods, while, in an interview with AMPE [the Athenian-Macedonian News Agency], distinguished Russian ecologist, Elena Saroikina showed her support for a “Green Europe, from Ireland to Vladivostok” (4). Moscow has also taken the lead, followed by the rest of the countries of BRICS (Brazil, India, China, South Africa) in creating an “International coalition” of countries using traditional, non-chemical approaches to medical treatment (Homeopathy, Ayurveda, plant-therapy, water-therapy, etc.) (5)
In a study published by the Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, Donald Light claims that, without taking into account overprescribed drugs or those drugs taken by sick people with proper medical consultation, properly prescribed drugs still constitute the fourth leading cause of death in the USA. According to his research, pharmaceutical companies use various methods to influence the results of clinical trials to make their products appear useful while concealing their side effects. (Serious accusations have been made concerning such practices, of direct or indirect influence on scientific studies, like in the example of the company Novartis in Japan). (6)