How Big Pharma buys favours in Government

  • This piece of research should shock you… but maybe it won’t
  • Find out what £2 million will buy you in Westminster
  • This weird Willy Wonka analogy might make you think differently

In the current political climate nothing shocks me anymore, but I still worry about what is happening in the corridors of power.

Especially when it comes to matters of health and our NHS.

Please don’t think that I am jumping on the bandwagon about the recently shamed and departed Minister of Health.

That situation is one that came as a surprise to no-one, even his poor wife I suspect.

No, my concern is about how the big pharmaceutical companies exert influence at all levels in the NHS and Government.

Saturdays Guardian carried an article which was headlined ‘Parliamentary campaign groups getting ‘hidden’ funding from drugs firms’ which detailed how MP’s and peers had been in receipt of over £2m in six years.

The obvious issue with this is that money is clearly being given to influence decisions and policy.

There can be no other explanation. Big Pharma is going to give out money just for the fun of it are they?

Normally this type of information arises when a journalist digs around in emails and discarded documents.

But this story came about because of detailed scientific research by academics at the University of Bath.

That’s why we really should take this seriously.

The hidden truth

The researchers have demonstrated how All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPG’s) were paid huge amounts of money between 2012 and 2018.

They showed that;

  • 16 health-related APPGs received 168 payments from 35 drug firms worth £1.2m in 2012-18 – one-sixth of their total funding
  • Two APPGs, on health and cancer, accepted more than £600,000 in that time
  • 50 health-focused APPGs received almost another £1m in 304 payments from patient organisations or health charities, which themselves take sums of money from Big Pharma

At a time when we are seeing the impact that COVID vaccinations, produced by the global drug giants, are having on the health of the nation it might seem a little churlish of me to raise this issue.

But this is a problem that I have been researching and writing about for nearly two decades.

I abhor the way that the health of people around the world is being manipulated for profit, often cynically.

This report highlights how low businesses will go to assert their influence, and how receptive those who should protect us are to their approaches.

To some extent we are all guilty of falling for the PR and demanding that our GP’s are able to cure us in an instant.

And this is something that gets exploited – let me explain why.

The Willy Wonka problem…

The big pharmaceutical companies remind me of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.

We dream of everlasting gobstoppers three-course dinner chewing gum, or in this case magic cure-all pills and jabs.

And these corporations spend millions trying to fulfil our dream in their secret laboratories. They do this because they know they can make billions in return.

And so we’re sold a dream of the glorious laboratory created wonder pill.

But every invention has a side-effect. Every medication utilises chemicals that may cause side effects. Some are minor physical effects, such as nausea or blurred vision. Others affect your mood and emotions.

Look at the many drugs for lowering blood pressure for example…

Beta-blockers can cause insomnia, cold feet, asthma, tiredness or depression…. ACE inhibitors can cause a skin rash, loss of taste, and a chronic cough…. Alpha blockers can cause fast heart rate, and dizziness… blood vessel dilators can cause headaches and aching joints.

Solving one problem… can create another

Many people who struggle to improve their health are led towards common medications like pain relievers, stimulants and tranquilizers – drugs by the medical professionals they trust.

But instead of a quick cure, many people end up in a fog of confusion, depression and insomnia.

It’s the sinister side of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory that his artificial inventions DO work for the purpose they were created… but all of them have grizzly, unforeseen side effects.

In our race to invent the man-made cure, will we end up a society of Violet Beaureguards, rolled away like giant blueberries, or Augustus Gloops, sucked through chocolate pipes?

(By the way, if you’ve never read Charlie and The Chocolate Factory or seen the films, I accept that everything I’ve just said sounds really, really weird!)

I apologise for that slightly fanciful analogy… I think I may have been eating too much cheese.

But we do need to be careful of what we wish for.

Especially when nature has many of the answers already, it’s just that the knowledge of natural medicine is becoming harder to find and often subject to legislation controlling what can be said about it.

But then again, who makes the laws?

P.S. On Friday we will change the way we send out the Good Life Letter newsletters in order to be compliant with new security measures and that means you will now get them from a different email address than before.

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