Similarities Between Big Tobacco and Big Pharma

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4. They both have ties to organized crime.

It’s estimated that about one in every three cigarettes exported worldwide is sold on the black market. This enormous business is operated through a web of offshore companies and banking institutions that often employ the same routes and distributors.

Investigations have shown that the tobacco manufacturers funnel massive amounts of their brand name cigarettes into smuggling networks, often employing circuitous routes in an apparent attempt to shield themselves from accusations of wrongdoing. Distributors and manufacturers work hand-in-hand to feed this market. But, in some cases, the manufacturers have worked directly with organized crime figures.

“The role of international pharmaceutical companies in the evolution of the international narcotics trade is very significant” as stated in Alfredo Schulte-Bockholt’s book The Politics of Organized Crime and the Organized Crime of Politics.

“Not only did the industry actually create new and more powerful drugs such as heroin, it spread addiction through their global export. In addition, pharmaceutical companies not only continued their practices after drugs were recognized as harmful but made every effort to evade regulation and detection in order to profit from their sales as long as possible, even when their own national governments had signed and implemented legislation criminalizing the production and export of narcotics unless strictly controlled. Finally, while pharmaceutical companies no longer participate in the actual production of illicit narcotics, they continue to profit from involvement in criminal economies by providing the precursor chemicals necessary to produce drugs.”

5. They’re both permitted by government to continue to sell harmful products simply by publishing warning data.

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It’s the same old story for both industries, historically and in present day. Once an insider emerges, seemingly with scientific evidence or proof that their products are dangerous to human health, both industries are always permitted to continue selling them as long as they publish warning data about the product. They then continue to maintain that the product itself is safe for use. Lawsuits against the product’s manufacturers are filed, but most are dismissed because of warning data. Industry analysts know that any case that does succeed could start a domino effect of future lawsuits, which keeps the industry determined to maintain that the product is harmless, despite increasing evidence to the contrary. BT is an excellent example with their graphic labeling systems on cigarette packages, but BP is setting a whole new standard with nonsensical ads which would leave any sane person dumbfounded.

Ok, there is one more that is common knowledge but worthy of mention….

They both use lobbyists to control politics and public opinion.

The pharmaceutical lobby is an industry that has no less than 1,274 registered lobbyists in Washington D.C. alone and spent around $900 million on lobbying between 1998 and 2005, more than any other industry. Big pharma lobbied on at least 1,600 pieces of legislation between 1998 and 2004.

There are far more financial incentives than most realize, including funds from Congress at the behest of pharmaceutical lobbyists, for FDA and CDC personnel to forge relationships with the drug and vaccine makers.

Most tobacco lobbyists work for both health and tobacco organizations and have real individual conflicts of interest. Such lobbyists are not likely to lobby on behalf of health organizations for any tobacco use reduction measure for fear of offending their tobacco employer.

Five of the ten largest lobbying firms in Washington, D.C. represent the world’s deadliest drug pushers.

Source | PreventDisease

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