corruption in the pharma industry, from unethical practices to approvals
of dangerous drugs.
Every so often some new drug or vaccine is promoted. Despite the fact
that the approval process is an unethical mess and the pharmaceutical
companies are required to pay "user fees" that contribute to over 1/2
(!!!) of the FDA's budget, one by one, these vaccines are becoming less
of an elective and more mandated by state law.
In my state, Illinois, we as parents are now required to have had our
children to have inoculations, dental examinations, eye exam and a
physical exam upon school entrance/registration. This change happened
within the past 2 years.
At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, I must say here is
little doubt in my mind that big pharma (s) and the FDA are in bed
together. Money $$$ talks, so common sense must dictate. It would
absolutely foolish of me to believe and trust that a CEO of a
pharmaceutical, sitting in a corner office, places a priority of my
children's best interests over their bottom line.
-----------------------------start of article--------------------------
(NaturalNews) The World Health Organization (WHO) recently issued a fact
sheet warning about the corruption and unethical practices that are
endemic to every step of the pharmaceuticals business.
"Corruption in the pharmaceutical sector occurs throughout all stages of
the medicine chain, from research and development to dispensing and
promotion," the fact sheet reads.
The medicine chain refers to each step involved in getting drugs into
the hands of patients, including drug creation, regulation, management
and consumption. According to WHO data, unethical practices such as
bribery, falsification of evidence, and mismanagement of conflicts of
interest are "common throughout the medicine chain."
The fact sheet also highlights other forms of corruption specific to
particular steps in the chain. For example, clinical trials may be
conducted without proper regulatory approval, royalties may be collected
through manipulation or disregard of the patent system, and products may
be registered with incorrect or insufficient information. Drugs may be
produced through substandard or counterfeit methods, leading to products
that are less effective at best, and hazardous at worst. Corruption can
also occur during the drug inspection process, allowing such shoddy
products to be given a government seal of approval.
Once drugs have been produced for the market, corruption can occur via
the selection of non-essential drugs for different governments' lists of
"essential" medications. Unethical marketing strategies -- both legal
and illegal -- are common throughout the drug business. Vendors may
collaborate with pharmaceutical companies and doctors might be unduly
influenced to dispense drugs to gain the greatest profit rather than to
produce the greatest benefit for the patient.
This corruption can have serious consequences, the WHO warns.
"Medicines are only beneficial when they are safe, of high quality, and
properly distributed and used by patients," the fact sheet says.
Most obviously, corruption in the drug business can divert medicines
away from where they are most needed, while the production of
substandard pharmaceutical products can be dangerous to patients'
"Diverted, counterfeit and substandard medicines have been identified in
markets of both rich and poor countries," the fact sheet says.
"Such practices lead to patient suffering and have direct life or death
Corruption in the drug business also wastes public resources and
"[erodes] public and donor confidence in public institutions." In Third
World countries, as much as 89 percent of health care spending is lost
to corruption, while unethical practices cost First World countries an
estimated $12 billion to $23 billion a year. Worldwide, this amounts to
a loss of 10 to 25 percent of all drug procurement spending, or nearly
The WHO notes that corruption is so widespread in part because medicines
pass through a large number of intermediaries before they reach the
patients who need them. Each extra step provides an opportunity for
corruption to take place, ultimately driving up the cost of the medicine
or diverting it toward the wrong recipients.
Corruption is especially hard to fight because most cases go unreported.
The WHO attributes this both to fear of retaliation on the part of
whistleblowers, and also the institutionalization of corruption "to the
point where people feel powerless to influence change in their
According to the WHO, countries most likely to be plagued with
corruption in the pharmaceutical industry are those without "appropriate
legislation or regulation of medicines; enforcement mechanisms for laws,
regulations and administrative procedures; [or] conflict of interest
"A lack of transparency and accountability within the medicines chain
can also contribute to unethical practices and corruption."
Corruption has real health impacts, the fact sheet emphasizes. For
example, countries with more corruption have higher child mortality
rates than other countries with similar health standards.
As part of its efforts to reduce unethical practices in the medicines
chain, the WHO launched the Good Governance for Medicines program in
2004. This program helps countries evaluate their vulnerability to
corruption, then plan and implement programs to reduce it.
Sources for this story include: www.who.int .