Advertising Age, a magazine which bills itself as the “leading global source of news, intelligence and conversation for marketing and media communities” estimates the pharmaceutical industry spent $9.7 billion dollars in 2016 marketing their products, with the lion’s share, 55.7%, going to television advertising. (October 17, 2016) That’s $5.4 billion dollars of advertising on your television screens EVERY YEAR.
By contrast, our recent Presidential election, looks like a pauper…
According to Bloomberg News (December 9, 2016), Hillary Clinton spent $1.191 billion dollars, while Donald Trump spent $646.8 million dollars for a grand total of $1.837.8 billion dollars to determine the leader of the free world for the next four years.
Assuming things just remain level with pharma advertising, that’s $38.8 billion dollars for the next four years, or TWENTY-ONE TIMES THE AMOUNT SPENT TO ELECT THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
You might reasonably ask, who is control of America?
Okay, so that’s the media. What about Congress? I recommend a web-site called Open Secrets which looks at donations to Congress. According to Open Secrets, in 2016 the pharmaceutical industry reported lobbying expenses to Congress of more than $246 million dollars. ($246,333,814) The closest competitor was the insurance industry with nearly $153 million dollars. ($152,980,996) The left’s favorite bogeyman, the oil and gas industry are practically in the cheap seats with just under $120 million dollars in lobbying expenses. ($119,229,657)
Pharma funds the “right people” in Congress as well…
According to Open Secrets, the top member of Congress for pharmaceutical money was Senator Orrin Hatch (R) Utah, who got $310,199. Hatch is the longest serving Republican in the Senate and is currently President Pro Tempore of the body. Coming in at #3 is Congressman Paul Ryan (R) Wisconsin, Speaker of the House, who got $237,195 in donations. Coming in at #6 is Congressman Kevin McCarthy (R) California, Majority Leader of the House, with $125,500.
I’ve never said that Pharma money was stupid. Evil, yes. Stupid, no.
Let’s review, shall we? Pharma controls the news media. They are spending $9.7 billion dollars a year on advertising, with about $5.4 billion going to television.
You might ask, what is the combined revenue for Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, and Bloomberg? The Pew Research Center’s State of the News Media 2016 estimates their combined revenue at $5.2 billion. You have to make some adjustments for local news, and the news shows of ABC, CBS, and NBC, but you get the picture.
Pharma controls Congress. They spent nearly $250 million dollars lobbying Congress in 2016, and fund the key players.
Pharma controls the courts, especially when it comes to vaccines, through the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, which removed vaccines from the traditional civil court system. Their enormous profits also mean they can hire the nastiest lawyers to fight off any consumer complaints that reach what remains of our traditional civil justice system.
Do you want to know how Vioxx, vaccines, and the opioid crisis were allowed to happen?
Silence the press, buy off the politicians, and deny access to the courts. It’s a brilliant strategy, but it has one enormous flaw. The public must be asleep in order for it to continue.
The United States is only one of two countries which allows direct to consumer marketing of pharmaceutical products. (New Zealand is the other one.) Think of it. No other country in the world subjects the family viewing hour to Viagra commercials! It’s almost inconceivable.
I went to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website in order to get information about why drug companies are allowed to pay such enormous fees to news organizations.
This is from the FDA’s own website section entitled Background on Drug Advertising.
“Until the mid-1980s, drug companies gave information about prescription drugs only to doctors and pharmacists. When these professionals thought it appropriate, they gave that information to their patients. However, during the 1980s, some drug companies started to give the general public more direct access to this information through DTC (direct to consumer) ads.”
From my research it seems that Direct To Consumer Ads (DTCA) did not really take off until 1997 “when the FDA suggested ways in which pharmaceutical advertisements could meet the regulatory requirements (author’s note: referred to as “adequate provision” from a 1969 regulation), thus opening the door to broadcast DCTA (direct-to-consumer-advertising.)” (“A History of Drug Advertising: The Evolving Role of Consumers and Consumer Protection,” The Milbank Quarterly, (2006))
The FDA’s own website notes that one of the arguments against direct to consumer advertising is that it “may not advance-and may even threaten-the public health.”
Let me make a bold suggestion.
There is no law which specifically allows pharmaceutical companies to advertise their products to the general public. Instead, it has come about through regulations of the administrative state (The Swamp) . I’m not saying there isn’t a First Amendment argument at play, but commercial speech is under different rules than political speech.
It need only withstand intermediate scrutiny, not strict scrutiny. That means it must support an important government interest and by means that are substantially related to that interest.
The rest of the world (with the exception of New Zealand) has concluded that it is not in their national interest to let pharmaceutical companies advertise directly to their citizens. That means their media is not corrupted in the manner of the American press. I assume that similar prohibitions must exist for political contributions, but I have not researched that question.
What to do?
Since this is all a big Ponzi scheme, a confidence game with nobody asking the real important questions, I propose a solution.
President Trump needs to start tweeting about these issues. If President Trump shows that HE DOES NOT HAVE CONFIDENCE IN BIG PHARMA, then the rest of the country will soon follow.
The news is currently awash with stories about the opioid epidemic. All the arguments about how the opioid epidemic were allowed to explode are the same as those I have been talking about for fifteen years in regards to the epidemic of vaccine injury.
Tweet about the enormous amounts of money the pharmaceutical money is spending to support the Fake News cabal.
Tweet about the enormous amounts of money that the pharmaceutical money is lavishing on Congress.
Tweet about the unfairness of the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, as well as your own personal knowledge of vaccine injury.
Tweet about CDC whistle-blower, Dr. William Thompson’s allegations covered in the fine documentary film, Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe or my book, INOCULATED: How Science Lost its Soul in Autism.
Tell your own agencies to review why they are allowing a rogue cabal of pharmaceutical companies to destroy a generation of children and threaten humanity.
That is the quickest way to solve this problem.
President Trump, you have shown you can be a giant-killer. You destroyed your 16 rivals for the GOP Nomination, Hillary Clinton, the NFL, ISIS, the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, two sitting GOP Senators, the fake Russia Collusion Delusion, and now even liberal Hollywood is teetering on the edge of the abyss for their hypocrisy.
I believe all of those battles have prepared you for this one: Turn BIG PHARMA into little pharma.
The book is co-authored with Judy Mikovits PhD. It is an indictment of the “Fake Science” we find so prevalent in the US.