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Media Bites: Biopharmaceutical ads talk innovation, but ignore that greed of pharmaceutical companies

March 18, 2019

There are millions of people in the US who cannot afford health insurance, nor the outrageously high costs of medicine produced by the pharmaceutical industry. Millions of people have to chose between buying prescription drugs and paying the rent or having enough food in the house.

Millions of Americans cannot afford health care costs, while the health insurance industry and pharmaceutical companies are making record profits. This is why the last round of commercials that are circulating on traditional media and digital media, from the biopharmaceutical industry, are nothing short of offensive.

One example of these commercials from the biopharmaceutical industry (shown above) presents us with a montage of people who represent researchers in the biopharmaceutical industry. The people depicted in the commercial are supposedly finding cures for cancer or helping people to restore their site.

Towards the end of the commercial it says, America is the leader in medical innovation. While this might be true, it completely ignores the fact that the companies that are engaged in “medical innovation” are massive Fortune 500 companies that are driven by larger and larger profits. These massive profits are made by the biopharmaceutical industry, while millions are dying from treatable disease or cannot afford the necessary medicines because of the high cost of pharmaceuticals.

Then at the very end of the commercial we seen a several dozen corporate pharmaceutical company names or logos, which are apparently those who make up the biopharmaceutical industry the commercial is referring to.

Several of the companies that appear at the end of the commercial made it on the Fortune 500 Global list.  Within the US, many of these pharmaceutical companies contribute massive amounts of money to influence the outcome of elections. According to OpenSecrets.org, the pharmaceutical industry contributed roughly $400 million to candidates since 1990. 

In addition, the pharmaceutical industry has spent on average some $240 million on lobbying each year to influence health-related policies that Congress is voting on, as you can see in the graphic above. 

Lastly, if we wanted to see which political party was most guilty of accepting money from the pharmaceutical industry, we can see that it is pretty much even. There is, and has been, a bipartisan consensus about maintaining a health care system that is highly profitable, while millions of families are suffering from poor health and lack of access to affordable treatment or medicine. 

We should not be fooled by these new commercials from the biopharmaceutical industry. Medical innovation means nothing if profits come before the welfare of the people.

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