I often wondered how involved the Irish Government is with the cesspit that is the pharmaceutical industry. I have never been able to understand why the Irish Government have failed to protect its citizens from the dangers of dubious drugs; drugs that are not illegal but prescribed to innocent people and licensed by the Irish Medicines Board.
This week it was reported that the Irish Government came under pressure from the larger pharmaceutical firms over the HSE’s decision not to approve new drugs for payment. There was an implied threat that this could ‘have implications for 25,000 jobs and future investment’. So naturally, like good little boys, our Taoiseach Enda Kenny and his sidekick James Reilly backed down.
The Irish Times reported that Minister Reilly and Enda Kenny met with representatives of ‘Abbott Laboratories’ in July. The Times further reported that James Reilly met with Andrew Hotchkiss (European boss of Eli Lilly) in June and that Enda Kenny attended the Eli Lilly board dinner at the Old Kinsale golf club on June 2011. Bit too close for comfort? This year Abbott Laboratories were fined $1.6 billion for off-label marketing of Depakote (an anti-seizure drug). They actively promoted this dangerous drug for dementia sufferers in nursing homes; nice company! Can dementia sufferers answer back?
Ah yes, then there is Eli Lilly; one of the bigger pharma companies, and one with the dubious accolade of being fined over a billion dollars for the illegal off-label marketing of the antipsychotic drug Zyprexa. In previously hidden data which Eli Lilly did not want to become public knowledge, Zyprexa had the highest suicide rate in clinical trial history. If that wasn’t bad enough, the drug was known to cause diabetes in some people. Eli Lilly are also the creators of Prozac, you know the one; mother’s little helper. Prozac has caused numerous deaths (including Maria’s son, Toran Henry) and was found, last Nov, by a Canadian Judge, to be the cause of a teenager (with no history of violence) killing his friend. Lilly’s Cymbalta was the drug that Traci Johnson (a 19 year old student) was on when she died by suicide in an Eli Lilly lab. She had no history of depression and was a ‘healthy’ volunteer.
Unsurprisingly perhaps, Eli Lilly are not fans of Professor David Healy, who was instrumental in getting the ‘hidden’ data released. In the internal e-mail on the left, Lilly execs stated, among other things, that conferences will not receive sponsorship if ‘Healy’ was present. You couldn’t make it up, could you?
Then there is John Virapen who I mentioned in my last post. He worked for Eli Lilly for over 30 years and describes how he bribed a Swedish Government official to ‘help’ with the licencing of Prozac. You can download a free copy of his book here. It makes for very interesting reading.
“I am not afraid of my former bosses, even though I know that others, who revealed wrongdoings, have all gambled with their lives to do so. The pharmaceutical industry’s lobby is extremely powerful. It constantly lobbies politicians and the judiciary and even blackmails governments by threatening to withdraw investments or to close down sites, thus, creating unemployment in a country. Before you know it, the government backs down and plays the game, just as the industry stipulates.”
Looks like the pharmaceutical industry is calling the shots in Ireland. Collateral damage wasn’t mentioned at the dinner, was it Enda? It will be interesting to see how many of the 2o lobbying pharmaceutical companies these two representatives of the Irish public, met up with. No such thing as a free lunch? Well for the Irish people whose health is on the table, it seems not, but it seems to be a different story for our own ‘Sir Stan and Hardy’.
Does that sound very irreverent? I have zero respect for a Government, who are aware that prescribed drugs are killing people, and are burying their heads in the sand due to kowtowing to the billion dollar pharmaceutical industry. Is it an excuse to say that all Governments do it? I think not. My son was Irish, he was born in Ireland, he loved Ireland and yet he was badly let down by these ‘penpushers’ we call Ministers.