Chris Rock has recently called the government out as drug dealers, and mocks big pharma. The accusation being; big pharma simply makes too much money off of long-term prescription medications that treat symptoms to have any desire for finding a cure.
“Ain’t no money in the cure, the money’s in the medicine… that’s how a drug dealer makes his money—on the come-back.”
The idea that big pharma makes most of its profits from treatments rather than cures has been around for a while, and yes, there are plenty of arguments against the theory. One common argument is that cures bring in more profits than treatments. Many use the cure for hepatitis C as an example—treatments range in the $80,000 to $95,000 region, or around $1,000 per pill.
The argument that there is more money in cures is a contradiction, and morally speaking, it’s a rather weak example for skeptics and critics to use considering the idea of finding cures is to save human lives. The only way there’s money to be made in cures is by imposing unjustified patents on these medications, and then charging an astronomical amount that the average person can’t hope to pay, not unless they sell off all their assets, take out a mortgage on their house, and cash in their kid’s college funds. And many can’t even do that.
There’s no money to be made if pharmacies charge the same amount for a pill that will cure as they do a pill that treats the symptoms, therefore, there is no money to be made in a cure—and there’s the contradiction. Because of this fact, big pharma only has two options if it wants to continue making massive profits: Charge disgustingly high prices for their cures, as is happening with hepatitis C, or don’t produce cures at all.
It’s no secret or controversy that major manufacturers are making a killing in the business of treating symptoms. Taking diabetes into consideration, global insulin sales are now $15.4 billion annually. If big pharma isn’t in it for the money, if it truly is about saving lives, then why are some cures only available to the wealthy?
This question is even more valid when you take into consideration that the patents on these medications are laying claim to sciences that belong to the public. These patents are ultimately what gives manufacturers the right to charge such high prices:
“The global criteria for patents is clear: They are reserved for drugs that are proved to be novel, non-obvious and useful,” said I-MAK co-founder and director of intellectual property, Tahir Amin. “By seeking exclusivity on science that is already in the public domain, Gilead [the pharmaceutical corporation that created the hepatitis C medication, sofosbuvir] is acting like a landlord charging exorbitant rent for property it doesn’t legitimately own.”
As a side note, treatment for hepatitis C isn’t an option for everyone. Some medicines used to treat it have serious side effects, and often they don’t work at all. However, the biggest reason treatment isn’t often an option is the simple fact that most people don’t have the money.
Gwen Olsen spent 15 years as a pharmaceutical sales representative before stepping forward as a whistleblower. Olsen has met with her own critics and controversy, many claiming she’s a Scientologist, though she isn’t—she says this is a popular ploy created by the pharmaceutical industry to discredit those who speak out on the issue since no one takes Scientologists seriously.
Olsen has been on a crusade to spread the word about what she has witnessed in the pharmaceutical industry. Below is a 9 minute video she has created to inform the masses:
Gucciardi, Anthony. Prison Planet. Feb 11, 2015. (http://www.prisonplanet.com/90-of-big-pharma-spent-more-on-marketing-than-research-in-2013-alone.html)
Lant, Karla. Examiner. May 21, 2015. (http://www.examiner.com/article/patent-challenges-based-on-lack-of-access-for-hep-c-treatment-for-millions)
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