These are interesting times. Gilead is playing its cards now, making its moves, like the dark forces of Mordor the minions of Gilead are moving to Sauron’s command’s... across the world they are moving in the shadows spreading corruption and death.
In India through who knows what factors? Was it corruption, bribes and back room dealing that had the Indian Patent Office’s decision has been reversed? Who knows?
In the UK there are whispers and rumors that Gilead intends to sue the British NHS for not buying enough of Gilead’s grossly overpriced Hepatitis C medicines, even though Britain is paying about tens times the price that Australia is paying for the same medicines.
In Italy the Italian Customs officers are doing everything they can to stop Italians with Hep C accessing treatment that would save their lives and the Italian health service millions of Euros.
In Serbia people die every day as their Customs Officials block shipments of life saving medicines even though the Serbian government can not offer its citizens with Hep C access to the new treatments.
In the USA Gilead continues to hold the insured and uninsured people with Hep C to ransom.
“Buy or Die !” is the cry.
I am sitting in a train rolling into London. It is 8.30 a.m. and I have been on this train for a bit more than 2 hours. I’m traveling to London to meet the crew of a French television station who are doing a documentary on the issue of access to affordable Hepatitis C treatment. But it is not only about Hep C treatment, it is about access to affordable health care generally.
All around the world the cost of medicines in the past 20 years has risen dramatically as big drug companies around the world use their money and influence to drag higher prices for their medicines out of the pockets of people around the world by buying politicians, health officials and other people of influence in the the health “industry”.
(When did health become an industry?)
The way that this manifests in the ’developed world’ or in ’first world’ countries is that drug companies buy favorable outcomes either through direct or indirect corruption.
They influence politicians and political parties by donating funds to election campaigns.
They influence the medical profession by making grants to research universities and hospitals thus buying the support of influential doctors and institutions.
They buy influence and loyalty with the many (not all) ’official’ Hepatitis advocacy groups through similar “donations” (in the case of Hepatitis Australia it was nearly $250,000 in grants last year) as well as paying for free trips to ’conferences’ in exotic locations.
Then of course Big Pharma spends money on advertising and on public relations and on influencing and manipulating the news media by well targeted and well constructed press releases.
For example there has been a whole raft of press releases about the dangers of generic Hep C medicines being fake or even dangerous. Fear is a favoured weapon of the forces or Darkness.
Big Pharma also wields significant influence over the world of social media and in chat forums by having professional “trolls” maintaining a 24X7 presence in all significant Facebook groups and other forums.
The concept of a “troll room” is an interesting one given I am using the Mordor metaphor.
For those of you who do not know what a ’troll room’ is it is a room full of people paid to monitor and influence chat rooms and Facebook groups. To inject doubts and fears by manipulating conversation threads and discrediting people who, in the case of Hep C generics, are trying to get usefully information out and about.
And of course they also have behind the scenes influence in all large corporate groups, the mega wealthy heads of these giant international companies have both corporate and social connections.
For example we see that recently Dr Freeman’s FixHepC group has been banned from advertising on Facebook. Dr Freeman’s paid advertising was totally legitimate but Facebook has now removed his adds and will no longer allow him to advertise on Facebook. When one considers what utter rubbish is allowed to be advertised on Facebook one can only wonder from where the order came to have the FiXHepC advertising removed.
Another example is how I had my Western Union account blocked and it remains blocked even though I have spent hours talking to upper management of Western Union in the USA.
Western Union claimed they had blocked my account because they thought I was money laundering. I spend hours on the phone with their middle ranked managers and sent them copies of my media coverage and links to news stories about what I do to show I was not a money laundering operation.
After much discussion they accepted my story they assured me that they were satisfied that I was not doing anything illegal and my account would be re-opened.
Of course my Western Union account is still blocked and I can not send or receive money by Western Union and nobody who lives at my home address can either, not my son, not my daughter in law, not my wife.
That is how these guys play the game, it is all back room deals, behind the scenes manipulation. Striking from the shadows.
Make no mistake Big Pharma has no other goal but to increase its profits and it will do so at any cost, human lives and human suffering means nothing to the ghouls that run these big pharmaceutical companies. If 100,000 people die next year because they want to increase their annual profits by one or two percent then 100,000 people will die.
And next year more than 100,000 people will die pure because of the greed of companies like Gilead.