Trust Betrayed: Growing Criminal Element in Our Pharmaceutical Companies

Posted on March 12, 2011


Over and over again, we hear of unsafe drugs – known killers – that pharmaceutical companies left on the market until forced to take them off.  Many are the stories of companies having received warnings from the FDA about unsafe manufacturing practices at plants that have gone unaddressed.

There is a sense that it doesn’t pay these companies to tighten up their procedures and practices.  If they get into trouble, they have attorneys and time on their side and third world countries to take up the unsold medications.

We are in the streets over political and economic and social ills when all of us have some potentially lethal meds lurking in our medicine cabinets.  Where is the outrage against this?

Just today we woke up to the news that McNeil Labs, a subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson that makes Tylenol has had three plants shut down for being out of compliance with FDA manufacturing guidelines.  These things do not happen over night.

All interactions between the FDA and the pharma companies are carried out under rules and regulations established by the agency.  There are established time lines and procedures followed that are well-known to the companies.  But still they hope they can avoid costly revamping of  procedures and plants.

Perhaps the most insidious part of the whole drug manufacturing game is that so many FDA staffers and officers used to work in the pharma industry and vice versa. Many are the unsavory outcomes of this kind of “cross-pollination.”

Wake up America we not only need to demand criminal investigations into the dealings of these international giants; we need to clean up the industry and keep it in good health.  It is one of our last great industries and we cannot afford to have it defamed by the greed and dishonesty that is all to common in this all-important business.

With an aging population and medical costs rising, medications are increasingly counted upon to be a major factor in cutting sick time and maintaining those with chronic disease in a healthy state as long as possible.  We need a strong and healthy workforce to remain competitive.  We need to thoroughly investigate and heavily fine those in this industry who criminalize a life-saving enterprise.

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Further reading:

CNN:  Generics’ new legal attack: Big Pharma’s aging patents

CNN: FDA takeover: Cost to Tylenol maker

Friedrichs, David O. Trusted Criminals: White Collar Crime in Contemporary Society p. 82.

BNET:  Pfizer: Master Criminals – Very Well Organized Crime