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General News    H2'ed 10/23/20

Is Pharma Our Covid Savior?

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Pharma profits on pandemic
Pharma profits on pandemic
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The Covid pandemic has given Pharma a temporary halo. Who cares about its prohibitively expensive drugs, the way it hides drug risks, the way that it "sells" diseases through TV ads and "symptom checkers" and the opioid epidemic it created? We need a vaccine and we need it now! Already Pharma has received $1 billion of our hard earned tax dollars to develop Covid vaccines.

But even if the majority of people agree to receive a vaccine and even if the virus doesn't mutate making a vaccine useless (neither scenario likely) there are burning vaccine questions that remain and the media continue to ignore.

* Why do drug makers receive government money for what they should be doing anyway? Isn't drug development their job? (They also got money to develop new antibiotics)

* If we, the taxpayers, funded the vaccines, why don't we own them? Why aren't they free?

* Why develop a vaccine for a virus created by cruel, unsanitary wet wildlife slaughter markets when they remain open, promising new Covid variations and strains? According to the Hill, WHO food safety and animal diseases expert Peter Ben Embarek says the live animal markets "play a key role in providing food and jobs to millions of people." So do opium and heroin markets.

Walden Bello, a columnist for Foreign Policy in Focus,wrote in Counterpunch that China is the center of the wildlife trade and that "scores of both licensed and illegal commercial breeding centers supply tigers, porcupines, pangolins, bears, snakes and rats." In 2016, the industry employed 14 million people and made $74 billion, he notes.

More Pandemic Profits

There's another way Pharma is profiting from the Covid pandemic -- psych drugs. Prescriptions for antidepressants, benzos and sleeping pills had already increased by 21% within two weeks of the pandemic and use has continued to grow, especially for first time users, reports Modern Healthcare.

SSRI antidepressants, the "happy pills" so much of the nation now uses, are linked to birth defects including heart malformations, sexual dysfunction, weight gain, emotional numbing and suicide. Now, since Pharma rushed the drugs to Wall Street before determining their long-term effects (why lose profits over safety questions?), new and alarming side effects are emerging. (The same thing happened with statins: Pharma admitted to the risky side effects only after the profit party was over and long-term users could be studied. Sorry about that.)

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Martha Rosenberg is an award-winning investigative public health reporter who covers the food, drug and gun industries. Her first book, Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health, is distributed by Random (more...)

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