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The Obscene Profits Department:


By Nurse Mark

Profits are what drives much of our American medicine and the laws that regulate it - that is discussed a-plenty elsewhere in  this week's newsletter.

Here is an interesting little news tidbit that demonstrates just that: According to recent news reports, GlaxoSmithKline, the world's second-largest drugmaker, may market a cervical cancer vaccine this year that would compete with Merck & Co.'s Gardasil. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is being pressured to decide this month to grant Glaxo's Cervarix vaccine a faster, ``priority'' review, which would lead to an approval decision and sale of the product by the end of 2007.

Interestingly, the Glaxo request for U.S. clearance of this new vaccine comes nine months after Merck won approval for Gardasil, which has so far generated $365 million in sales just in the first quarter of 2007. Gardasil has become one of Merck's most valuable commodities - especially since they have lost a reported $800 million in sales when their cholesterol pill Zocor lost patent protection in 2006 and the "generics" cut into their market share..

So, here's the short course analysis:

  • Big Pharma giant suffers loss of obscene profits from old drug.
  • Big Pharma giant sees new obscene profits being made by another Big Pharma giant - gets envious.
  • Big Pharma giant comes up with similar new drug in hopes of stealing some of the other Big Pharma giant's obscene profits.
  • Big Pharma giant pressures it's tame government agency, the FDA, to "hustle-up" review and approval of new drug so collection of obscene profits can begin.
  • Meanwhile, Big Pharma giants get together with Big Medicine, Big Media, Big Government and FDA to create a "need" for the new drug by spreading fear of disease - "protect your children!" is a familiar cry...  (known in the ad industry as "the call to action"...)
  • Big Pharma giants see that potential for obscene profits is so great that they order their politician-employees (you know, the ones you "elected" to high offices) to pass laws requiring the use of it's new drug.
  • Big Pharma giants realizes that their politician-employee's "cover has been blown" by the backlash to it's brazen attempts to force new drug onto children so they back off and change tactics slightly.
  • Big Pharma giant now relies on fear of disease generated by statistics which claim 10,000 new cases of disease and 4000 deaths from disease per year in US.

All this from the same people who gave you the wonder drug Vioxx - you know, the one that caused anywhere from 50,000 to 120,000 deaths depending on who's numbers you believe...

What a country! Only in America could you rake in obscene profits by inventing a drug, hyping a disease that the drug supposedly addresses, and then paying politicians to pass laws requiring children to take your new drug! Whew - the mind reels!


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