10 Biggest Lies Drug Companies Tell You
The Diet Pill Lie
Most amphetamine-based diet pills were pulled from the market decades ago, but a drug commonly known as Fen-Phen (seen above) remained on the market until 1997, at which time it was discovered it could cause fatal heart conditions. (Phentermine, the second ingredient in Fen-Phen, is still prescribed today. The makers of Fen-Phen have not responded to our request for comment.) Venerable medical institutions acknowledge the dangerous side effects of amphetamine-based medication but still condone its use in certain cases.
Our non-medical advice: if Big Pharma sells you a diet pill that seems too good to be true, it may just be.
5. Why Prescription Drugs Are Really So Expensive
One of the reasons that Big Pharma can make $110 billion in annual profits is their legal patents. These patents protect new drugs for 20 years from the date of filing, meaning that if a pharmaceutical company creates a cure for HIV, no other company can make or sell that cure for 20 years. The creating company has a monopoly on a life-saving drug and can sell it for whatever price it likes.
Corporate pharmaceuticals have, for years, loudly proclaimed that 20 year patents and attendant high prices are a necessary evil. They say that for every drug sold on the open market, four more never make it out of the laboratory. Research is expensive, they note, and the high prices of successful drugs ensure that life-saving research can continue in the future.
Families USA, a health care consumers' advocacy group, has put out a study that discredits all of these kinds of claims:
Among the nine pharmaceutical companies examined in the report… all but one spent more than twice as much on marketing, advertising, and administration than they did on research and development… Six out of the nine companies made more money in net profits than they spent on research and development last year.
According to Families USA, it's advertising blitzes and executive salaries – not research and development— that make prescription drugs so expensive.
6. That There's No Monopoly
The devil's greatest accomplishment is convincing people he doesn't exist, or so the saying goes. Some drug companies operate in the same way. It has worked long and hard to make people think there is no international monopoly controlling access to life-saving medicines and its favorite cloaking device is TRIPS, a.k.a. international intellectual property rights.