Friday, March 04, 2016

Only the law-makers matter

The pharmaceutical industry, under fire this election season for rising drug prices, is ramping up a new advertising campaign designed to improve its reputation. The sector’s largest trade group, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, says it intends to spend several million dollars this year, and 10% more than in 2015, on digital, radio and print ads that emphasize the industry’s role in developing new drugs and advancing medical science. Many of the ads are running on social-media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, because PhRMA wants to target federal and state lawmakers, policy analysts and other political “influencers,” said RobertZirkelbach, senior vice president of communications at PhRMA, which represents nearly three dozen of the largest drugmakers, including Pfizer Inc. and Amgen Inc. The ads, which don’t mention drug prices or potential legislative changes, are aimed at improving the industry’s image.  

Celgene Corp. Chief Executive Robert Hugin, a PhRMA board member, recently said the industry was limiting its response to pricing criticisms to a relatively small group around the country, including state and federal lawmakers, and patient advocacy groups. “We’ve identified 7,000 Americans who matter,” Mr. Hugin said during a lunch with reporters in January at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco. “We’re focusing on people in policy positions…” Hugin said many in the public took a dim view of drug-makers because of high prescription co-pays. The industry can’t change the minds of more than 300 million Americans, he said, so was instead focusing on policy makers.

There you have it plain and clear. You and I are no-bodies. We don’t count. We are to be ignored while those who do matter, the real decision-makers, are courted, cossetted and molly-coddled. It's always profits never people. You aren’t important to any capitalist corporation. Only PROFIT is. That is the very essence of capitalism. That is its fundamental flaw. It's either profits or people. There is no grey area, benevolent version or "compromise" that can solve that contradiction. You don't have to read Marx to understand this. The Big Pharma moguls (and moguls in other industries) view each of us as just another wallet to increase and sustain their revenue. Robber baron Vanderbilt told the world during the gilded age: "I charge whatever the traffic will bear". That is the rules drug-makers follow. 

Now, what are we going to do about it?

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