Take the gun. Leave the canoli
The last post was loudly critical of the supplement industry, and a senior supplement company executive told me I was a hypocrite because I let the drug industry off too lightly. She had a point. So, this post is about narco-states and the pharmafia.
A narco-state is a nation where most social structures, from politics and law enforcement to social media and the media in general, are controlled by drug cartels. It is one step away from the failed state, where government is no longer in control of much beyond the hot air balloon of parliament.
Mexico is a narco-state, Guinea-Bissau in West Africa is another. In Europe Albania and Kosova both qualify, and Dutch lassitude has left the Netherlands knocking on the door (1). Social cancers like these metastasise and spread, driving up addiction and crime around their borders and further afield.
You may not have been directly affected by the Sinaloa and Gulf cartels, or Los Zetas, but these are not the only players. The Sackler cartel made roughly $13 billion from trafficking Oxycontin, making them one of the most successful crime families ever. Smart enough to purchase pharmaceutical licenses for their products, they stayed below the radar for years but are now being hunted through the courts for the terrible damage they did (ie 2, 3).
Then there are the even larger companies who make up, collectively, the Big Pharma cartel. We may not live in narco-states but most of us inhabit Pharma-states, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to spot the difference.
Big Pharma have a strangle-hold on the media, especially in the USA where they are a dominant purchaser of TV advertising. In 2019, their spending on ads hit $3.7 billion (4). That buys a LOT of consumer influence. They brain-wash the public with non-stop direct-to-consumer drug ads (5, 6) in countries such as New Zealand and the USA, where pharma money bought enough politicians to have the law changed in their favour.
Big Pharma monitors and influences you on the internet too.
Two of the three leading health websites, WebMD and HealthLine, track, store and share (ie steal) your personal data (7), even though this is illegal within the EU. Both sites are pharma-corporate, and pass your information to DoubleClick (Google’s advertising arm) and Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft (7). Talk about your health problem in earshot of Alexa or Siri, and in some countries you will see soon see ads for related pharma products appearing on your mobile.
Big Pharma also routinely misleads the medical profession, via medical journals which are now in Big Pharma’s hands. Even the most august of these must now be regarded as suspect.
Both the Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine recently retracted papers which presented fraudulent data sponsored by drug companies. Phillipe Douste-Blazy, France’s former Health Minister and 2017 candidate for WHO Director, talked about a meeting between the editors-in-chief of these two journals where they complained about the criminal influence of Big Pharma on scientific research (8); and he broke the Chatham House rule to do so.
Richard Horton, editor of the Lancet: “We are not going to be able, if this continues, to publish any more clinical research data because the pharmaceutical companies are so financially powerful today, and are able to use such methodologies, as to have us accept papers which are apparently methodologically perfect, but which, in reality, manage to conclude what they want them to conclude.”
Big Pharma are breaking scientific truth, and they are breaking the legal system also.
When Glaxo Smith Kline were found guilty of serious fraud and running a bribery campaign involving 44,000 doctors in 2012, they were fined a total of $3 billion and yet no one went to jail (9). They continue to conduct business as usual.
Merck’s criminal activities, which also date back to 2012, appeared to be even worse, involving massive falsification of vaccine data (10). They were fined $950 million for their unscrupulous advertising of Vioxx in 2011 (which I remember very well), but are still countering the vaccine case. No one has gone to jail on either count.
In the last decade Big Pharma has been fined over $25 billion for fraud, criminal deceit and other white-collar crimes (11). This has not dented their overwhelming profitabilty, and senior pharmaceutical executives have slept easily in their beds. They can afford the best lawyers and politicians (see below) that money can buy, and have traditionally regarded themselves as being above the law.
Under Trump, things looked as if they might be about to change. In 2017 Martin ‘Pharma bro’ Shkreli, a small-time operator who was not part of the Big Pharma family, was sentenced to 7 years for fraud and brashness.
Then in 2020, John Kapoor became the first heavyweight pharmaceutical executive to be jailed for his role in growing the neo-opioid crisis, setting off alarm bells in pharmaceutical head offices all over the world. According to Cockroach Theory (12), there are many other Kapoors hiding in the darkness.
Kapoor’s arrest, and even more seriously the fact that Trump had threatened the pharmaceutical industry’s obscene profit margins, is why Big Pharma preferentially funded Biden (13); and why one of them (Pfizer) withheld critical data from the Trump team until the day after the election.
They claimed the timing was due to restructuring within the FDA. However, as Big Pharma contribute a very substantial part of the FDA’s running costs and personnel, and as Pfizer’s CEO Albert Bourla had arranged a massive sale of stock to take place within 24 hours of releasing the over-hyped vaccine test results, the timing looks entirely deliberate.
Let me hasten to add, m’learned friends, that what Albert did is not illegal but more accurately described as legalized looting.
In 2019 the pharma sector spent $280 million on buying political support in Washington, far outstripping any other industry (14). This generosity has earned them many political friends, and under a Harris presidency the vaccine manufacturers’ outrageous immunity to prosecution for harm done by their products will continue.
Which brings us to Covid. Is it really so dangerous that we had to be locked down, with all the resulting economic and social damage?
Covid’s global case fatality rate is 3.3% (15), but if you look at more internally comparable data sets such as New York (where Andrew Cuomo did his best to increase deaths by sending symptomatic cases into retirement homes), the CFR is estimated at 1.4% (16). 95.5% of all deaths occurred in patients over the age of 65, and who had one or more underlying conditions (16).
This has some interesting implications.
If you are under 65 and healthy the CFR falls below 0.7%. Given American health profiles it is certain that many of those ‘healthy’ subjects had undiagnosed underlying conditions, but that is another story. US scientists estimate that 40% of Covid cases are asymptomatic, and 80% of symptomatic cases are mild, so that 88% of subjects either do not know they are infected or have no incentive to find out if they are. This suggests that the real CFR in a ‘healthy’ population is lower than the 0.7% figure.
But let’s look at the CFR of 1.4% in the 65-80 group. In order to understand its significance, we need to know how many people in that age group are expected to die in any 12-month period. That figure is roughly 2.5% (17). This means that a significant number of Covid-related deaths in the elderly ‘high risk’ group actually describe people dying with Covid, rather than dying from Covid (16, 17).
In fact, inappropriate and destructive political responses to Covid are killing more people than the numbers who die from Covid (18). The impact of lockdown on growing children’s immune systems may condemn them to serious health problems in the years to come (19), and the economic damage is estimated to be as high as 9% of global GDP (20).
Who gains from these crimes?
Given the vast sums of money to be made from mandatory vaccines, the unhealthy involvement of the Gates Foundation and their offspring GAVI (the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation), makes Big Pharma and their political lackeys the prime suspects.
By whipping up a global panic, they have created a situation where millions of frightened people are begging to buy their vaccines. The vaccines only provide temporary protection, conveniently, and will need to be repeated every 6 or 12 months or the lockdowns will continue. We all live in a pharma-state now.
There are many good and some great scientists working for the pharma companies, but the companies themselves are bad actors. They were accurately characterized by Peter Gotzche (co-founder of the Cochrane Collaboration) and Richard Smith (former editor of the respected British Medical Journal) as Pharmafia (21, but see also 22-24).
The underlying message in a good deal of pharma advertising is ‘Buy this product or die’. This is a lie, of course, because the product may also kill you (25-28), but it is a highly effective sales pitch. And it helps to explain that while the pharmaceutical industry claims to be a high-risk business, it enjoys higher profits than any other industry.
In 2002 the top 10 drug companies in the United States had a median profit margin of 17%, compared with 3.1% for all other industries on the Fortune 500 list. After subtracting losses from gains, those 10 companies made more profit that year than the other 490 companies put together (29).
Fortunately, the end of the age of pharmaceutical dominance is in sight. Although Big Pharma dominates the healthcare landscape today, it is surprisingly vulnerable. Drug companies talk about cures, but formulations that actually cure diseases would ruin them; their business model is completely dependent on palliatives (30).
It is glaringly obvious that the current pandemics of degenerative disease on which Big Pharma feeds, are entirely caused by the modern diet. A return to traditional foods or modern versions of those foods would transform public health, bring the pharmaceutical dinosaurs to their knees, and strike a death blow to globalism.
This is an equal opportunity blog, so next week I’m going to be mean to Big Phood (again). But I’ll leave you with a personal anecdote.
I am 5 years past pensionable age. When I caught Covid I had a slight cough for a week before going back to work. I maintain blue zone nutrition, which likely played a role in allowing me to shrug off the virus. That is all the law will allow me to say, and I am a single data point with no scientific value, but there are many thousands of similar anecdotes.
I would only accept a Covid vaccine under duress. However, I would make a more general point. Taking care of your own health is cheaper, more effective and far safer than entrusting it to the health industry in its current form. Pharmaconutrition, the medicine of Claude Bernard, is the way forward.
- Evans WM, Lieber EMJ, Power P. How the Reformulation of Oxycontin ignited the heroin epidemic. Econ. Stat. March 2019: No. 1, Vol CL, pp1-15
- Yang W, Kandula S, Huynh M, Greene SK, Van Wye G, Li W, Chan HT, McGibbon E, Yeung A, Olson D, Fine A, Shaman J. Estimating the infection-fatality risk of SARS-CoV-2 in New York City during the spring 2020 pandemic wave: a model-based analysis. Lancet Infect Dis. 2020 Oct 19:S1473-3099(20)30769-6.
- Farber DL, Connors T. Quarantine may negatively affect Kids’ Immune Systems. NYTimes, Nov 25, 2020
- Mandel A, Veetil V. The Economic Cost of COVID Lockdowns: An Out-of-Equilibrium Analysis.EconDisCliCha4, 431–451 (2020).
- Gøtzsche PC. Our prescription drugs kill us in large numbers. Pol Arch Med Wewn. 2014;124(11):628-34.
- Light DW, Lexchin J, Darrow JJ. Institutional Corruption of Pharmaceuticals and the Myth of Safe and Effective Drugs. J Law, Med Ethics (2013);14(3)590-610
- Wysowski DK. Surveillance of prescription drug-related mortality using death certificate data. Drug Saf. 2007;30(6):533-40
- Glei DA, Preston SH. Estimating the impact of drug use on US mortality, 1999-2016. PLoS ONE (2020) 15(1): e0226732.
- Angell M. Excess in the pharmaceutical industry. 2004;171(12):1451-1453.
- Richter S. The Genome Revolution. April 10 2018, Goldman Sachs.