Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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Profits trump health in Big Pharma’s sinister game


WARS make money, natural disasters make money and sometimes wars and disasters are deliberately caused to make money. The problem with stability, whether economic, social or international, is that it may well be of benefit to most ordinary people but it restricts the potential for huge fortunes to be made by immoral capitalists. 

Disaster capitalism is nothing new. Within recent times the biggest example was the Second World War. When it started the USA had a small army and not much of an arms industry. By the time Nazism was finished America had converted huge swathes of its industry – thereby putting the finishing touches to its climb out of a lengthy depression – into making aircraft, tanks, ships, guns and all manner of weaponry and materiel. The USA became the ‘arsenal of democracy’ by outgunning everyone else, in the process making Americans the richest citizens on earth.  

General Dwight D Eisenhower, who served as the Supreme Allied Commander and later became US President, knew the value of arms and military superiority. However he was under no illusions about the monster the USA had created with its arms industry. War had shown how profitable it could be and the big challenge was how to revert to an economy that was geared to peace. He was so concerned about what later became known as the ‘military industrial complex’ that in his resignation speech he warned: ‘While we recognise the imperative need for this development . . . we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence . . . The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.’ 

So an industry born out of a dire need for self-preservation became an entity in itself, focusing purely and simply on expanding itself. A world in which peace and harmony prevails is not conducive to increased profits and the sustainability of a multi-billion-dollar industry which has its tentacles throughout the whole economy in which it operates. A weapons industry cannot survive when there is no need for weapons. It gets to the position that if conflict and hostility are not occurring naturally, steps must be taken to ensure that they do. What Eisenhower was warning about has come true in the starkest of terms. 

Does this brief resume of how the military industrial complex came about ring any bells? Over the ages medical science has advanced in leaps and bounds to the present day. Nevertheless, it is still the opinion of many that the two greatest discoveries in medical history were washing hands and penicillin, not to mention a supply of clean drinking water.

Today, in this supposed age of progress and enlightenment, there are billions of people without access to clean drinking water or safe sanitation. The World Health Organisation spells out the numbers here. 

As a direct result diseases and conditions such as diarrhoea, cholera, typhoid, trachoma and intestinal worms continue to thrive.

If the road to good health for billions across the world lies in cleanliness, clean water and adequate sanitation, why are those who profess to be concerned, and have billions of dollars at their disposal, not pumping money into this genuine humanitarian need?

Is it that the profit motive for the pharmaceutical industry is so strong that real needs are ignored in the pursuit of money and power? Why else would billions be channelled into vaccines that haven’t been tested for a disease that arguably doesn’t exist, or at least is not much worse than influenza? Why would money be thrown into testing that is functionally useless and the promotion of face masks that harm the wearer with no benefit whatsoever to society at large?

If the huge sums that have been funnelled into the pockets of the ‘pharmaceutical industrial complex’ had been invested into the infrastructure of poorer countries to provide them with clean water and sanitation, it could have made an incalculable difference to the health of their citizens.

The evidence is crystal clear: Big Pharma is the very antithesis of good health and welfare. The prophetic words of Dwight Eisenhower are equally applicable to the drugs giants: ‘We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence . . . The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.’

We are living with the consequences right now.

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Harry Hopkins
Harry Hopkins
Harry Hopkins is a furniture designer/maker who loves to write.

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