It took until the 1980s, until the FDA allowed ads targeting consumers. Big Pharma advertises their products on TV, print and internet, to convince people they are sick and in need of drugs. About 40% make an appointment with their doctor after seeing a drugs ad. According to one survey, about 76% of Americans trust that drug companies adequately explain side effects.
Celebrities were hired to promote blood thinner Xarelto - golfer Arnold Palmer, NASCAR driver Brian Vickers, comedian Kevin Nealon and NBA champion Chris Bosh - and Merck’s painkiller Vioxx - Bruce Jenner and Dorothy Hamill.
In 2015, Big Pharma spent a record-breaking $5.4 billion on consumer ads. That same year, Americans spent a record $457 billion on prescription drugs.
After the FDA approved drugs to treat men with clinical hypogonadism (that causes low testosterone), millions of men demanded these drugs from their doctors.
Big Pharma literally spends billions on marketing to doctors. Drug companies employ a wide variety of techniques to reach prescribers: free meals, speaking fees, and sponsoring educational courses and clinical trials.
Several studies showed that free meals increase prescriptions for a branded drug. The more expensive the free meal to a doctor, the more the prescriptions rates for the advertised product go up.
Doctors who received industry payments were 2 to 3 times as likely to prescribe brand-name drugs at exceptionally high rates.
Pharma marketing involves creating educational courses and clinical trials to influence doctors.
Some company-sponsored trials, seeding trials, serve little or no scientific purpose but are thinly disguised attempts to make doctors prescribe a new drug marketed by the company. This is marketing in the guise of science.
Merck’s marketing team once designed a trial to reach “a key physician group to accelerate uptake of Vioxx as the second entrant in a highly competitive new class and gather data important to this customer group”. Merck later pulled Vioxx from the market after many patients suffered heart attacks.
Big Pharma also spends billions paying criminal and civil settlements resulting from fraudulent marketing. Pharmaceutical companies often engage in illegal activities, like dangerous promotion of drugs for uses not approved by the FDA — off-label promotion.
The biggest settlement in US history belongs to GSK that paid $3 billion to resolve criminal and civil charges for illegal promotion and failure to report safety data of antidepressant Paxil. The pharmaceutical giant pleaded guilty for pushing the drug as a treatment for children younger than 18, though the FDA never approved this use.
One of the most publicised cases of off-label marketing is Johnson & Johnson’s antipsychotic drug Risperdal (risperidone). In 1993, the FDA only approved the drug to treat schizophrenia in adults. That didn’t stop J&J from marketing the drug to treat ADHD, anxiety, sleep difficulties, depression and hostility in children and elderly.
They claimed that Risperdal is safe and effective in treating hostility in the elderly. Many elderly patients on Risperdal died from heart-related issues and strokes.
In the 1990s, Risperdal made about 20% of its revenue from sales to children. Several young boys and men grew breasts (gynecomastia). Court documents show J&J knew of the risk.
J&J settled the Risperdal case for $2.2 billion in 2013: https://www.drugwatch.com/featured/big- ... marketing/
(archived here: http://archive.is/l8s1O)
In 2010, our wonderful media scared us all for the coming “swine flu outbreak”…
Britain quickly created the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) to advise Ministers on how to handle the “swine flu outbreak”.
Eleven of the 20 members on the SAGE swine flu taskforce had ties to drug companies.
Members had interests in vaccine manufacturers GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Baxter and Roche (that makes Tamiflu) that made up to £1.5billion from Government swine flu contracts.
Maybe the biggest earners on SAGE is “Professor Sir” Roy Anderson; a director of GSK which also makes Relenza (the Tamiflu alternative for pregnant women): http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... firms.html
On the WHO's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (also SAGE?), are also various members with ties to big pharma.
Maybe the most interesting member is, key advisor to WHO on influenza, “Professor” Albert Osterhaus from the Netherlands, who made quite a name for himself in promoting the SARS and Avian Flu hysteria several years ago.
Osterhaus received some bad press after it was found out that he has ties to the pharmaceutical industry. He received money from GSK, Baxter, Crucell, Novartis, Hoffman-La Roche, MedImmune, Nobilon, Sanofi Pasteur, MSD, and Solvay.
Other WHO “researchers” with financial ties to Big Pharma:
Professor Juhani Eskola, Finland: his research laboratory, THL, a WHO research centre, got 6.3 million Euros (about $9 million) from GSK in 2009.
Dr. Peter Figueroa, Jamaica: received money from Merck.
Dr. Neil Ferguson: received funding from GSK, Baxter, and Roche.
Professor Malik Peiris, Hong Kong: received money from GSK, Baxter and Sanofi Pasteur.
Dr. Arnold Monto: advisor to GSK, Chiron, MedImmune, Roche, Novartis, Baxter and Sanofi Pasteur.
Dr. Friedrich Hayden: consultant to MedImmune and Sanofi Pasteur, also received money from Roche, RW Johnson, and SmithKline Beecham: https://rense.com/general89/2o.htm
In 2009, it was reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hired “medical experts” with financial conflicts to advise on vaccine safety.
In 2007, 64% of the experts on advisory panels to evaluate vaccines for flu and cervical cancer had potential conflicts that were never resolved. Some were legally barred from advising on the issues but did so anyway.
Thirteen percent didn’t even have an appropriate conflicts form on file at all, which should have barred their participation entirely and 3% voted on matters that ethics officers had already barred them from considering.
To not worry anybody, the CDC simply promised to do better at screening: https://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/18/heal ... .html?_r=3
Earlier this month a video of Bernadette Pajer, of Informed Choice Washington, talking before the Washington State Board of Health, was published: https://youtu.be/6nAJI2EYL-8
Pajer said some interesting things on the collaboration between big pharma and health departments:
They partner on projects, review each other’s communications, and hold annual meetings; most of it paid for by the pharmaceutical companies.a network of government and drug industry entanglements so complex and so richly funded, they form a pervasive tightly woven fabric consisting of literally thousands of groups all working together toward one thing: increasing vaccination uptake, and that fabric includes those working in public health at the DOH.
For a couple of days the website of Informed Choice Washington couldn’t be reached; I got the Error message: “Sucuri website firewall - not configured”: https://informedchoicewa.com/education/ ... of-health/
Since 1999, the Association of Immunization Managers (AIM), has been collaborating with the pharmaceutical industry to get as many people poisoned with vaccines as they can.
The following AIMs Memo of Understanding (2002) shows a policy of working together and information sharing between health departments and Big Pharma lobbyists:
https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.immunizationm ... ograms.pdfIt is understood that all communication will be open, frank, and honest. Further, while there are many common goals, there may be times when disagreement is unavoidable; however, this too will be respected and communicated.
In order to achieve a balance between the business objectives of the PRs [Pharmaceutical companies Representatives] and the public health objectives of the HDs [Health Departments], both parties will carefully and accurately represent the other’s position when communicating with local medical providers.
Health departments will accommodate and allow for information sharing between their programs and the PRs. Such sharing may be through individual meetings, educational seminars, or electronic communication (e.g., telephone, email). All PRs will be treated equally in this regard.
When feasible and before information regarding a specific brand of vaccine is communicated to the VFC provider community by the HD, the HD will allow the PR that manufactures or distributes that vaccine to review the communication for accuracy.
The Association of Immunization Managers (AIM) will attempt to convene an annual meeting with representatives of the pharmaceutical companies to share concerns and provide feedback on issues of mutual importance to both parties.
Every single immunisation program head in every state has a mission to silence the “risks and limitations of vaccines”.
AIM is (financially) supported by Pfizer, Sanofi Pasteur, Merck, GSK, Dynavax, AstraZeneca, and Seqirus: https://www.immunizationmanagers.org/pa ... nceMembers
Here’s another coalition that involves AIM and various pharmaceutical companies: https://www.adultvaccinesnow.org/about/
In June 2006, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV), which in less than 1% of all infection causes cervical cancer. Gardasil, of Merck & Co Inc, was licensed for vaccination of females 9 to 26 years.
Merck & Co Inc actively promoted (lobbied) mandatory, school-entry HPV vaccination in several states. Merck proactively contacted legislators to discuss strategies to maximise uptake of Gardasil by introducing legislation, often drafting the bills and searching for a sponsor.
Merck mobilised legislators primarily through Women in Government (WIG), a national, “non-profit” group of female state politicians. Merck contributed unrestricted educational grants to WIG, which covered the expenses of dozens of politicians to go to conferences on cervical cancer at nice destinations and attended by Merck representatives. Merck’s financial contributions to WIG and other interest groups were not publicly disclosed.
Members of WIG introduced many of the mandate bills considered across the country.
In 2007, shortly after Governor Perry of Texas issued an executive order mandating HPV vaccination for girls, a public outcry was sparked after it was reported that the governor’s former chief of staff had worked for years as a lobbyist for Merck and that Merck had contributed $5000 to the governor’s campaign fund.
A respondent from California compared what happened with Gardasil to what earlier happened with Merck’s Fosamax (to prevent osteoporotic fractures):
They created this paranoia about fracture risk and applied it to a much bigger market. I think that they very successfully did the same thing with Gardasil.
Both Merck and GSK, manufacturer of another HPV vaccine, came forward with unrestricted donations for the first time after Gardasil was introduced.
Representatives for Merck were present at task force and committee meetings.
Merck also infiltrated the prescriber community, both directly and by training physicians.
In most states, the politicians preferred to work with the pharmaceutical over their state’s health department.
Mello et al - Pharmaceutical Companies’ Role in State Vaccination Policymaking: The Case of Human Papillomavirus Vaccination (2012): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3483914/
(archived here: http://archive.is/FgDeQ)
Julie Gerberding, who headed the CDC from 2002 through 2009, after quitting the CDC, became president of the vaccine division at Merck, no doubt for a handsome salary.
Maybe Gerberding's new job - promotion vaccines – isn’t very different from the one she held at the CDC: https://www.naturalnews.com/027789_Dr_J ... Merck.html