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Pharmaceutical and health care industries

A hundred years ago, pharmacists and doctors, referring to themselves as the "ethical pharmaceutical industry," made important contributions to the public health. But times have definitely changed. Today, the drug and health care industries dance to the tune of short-term profits and lucrative stock options and push the envelope of ethics and the law, to the detriment of the public.

  • The drug industry shamelessly price-gouges the elderly and the sick, fights tooth-and-nail to protect lucrative monopoly patents and spends millions to advertise its products, often in misleading ways and sometimes with outright lies. And its profits dwarf other industries. The 10 biggest drugmakers on the Fortune 500 list had a combined profit of $35.9 billion in 2002, even while other companies’ profits shrank or vanished in the sour economy.
  • Health insurance companies enjoy special anti-trust exemptions from the government, and return the favor to the public by refusing coverage to those who need it most, restricting the doctors and procedures they will cover and charging astronomical premiums.
  • Malpractice insurers compensate for bad investment decisions by jacking up rates, then join doctors in a cynical campaign to limit the amount of money juries can award to patients or their families after their lives have been ruined by malpractice. Meanwhile, the insurance companies admit that caps on damages are no guarantee that they will lower premiums for doctors.

The politicians who should be protecting the public are instead cowed by the industries’ powerful lobbying machines and addicted to their generous campaign contributions.

Public Citizen is spreading the word about the sickness within the health industries. Click on the links to the right to learn more.

    » corpcrime | drugs

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