Organic Consumers Association

Campaigning for health, justice, sustainability, peace, and democracy

Drug Companies Sell Us Remedies for Problems Caused by Their Own Products--And the Federal Government Helps Them

This should be a clear violation of antitrust laws.

Like most folks, you dutifully rub shampoo into your hair daily or a few times each week. After it strips out your hair’s natural moisture and liveliness, you apply a conditioner to get that moisture and liveliness back.

Much about modern life seems to follow this general pattern.

Mounting evidence suggests multinational companies negligently sell products to the public that are leading drivers of public health issues, while at the same time another division presents the “remedy” to that same harm. A panacea for their own poison, as it were. In this way, they profit twice: once when they supply the cause of our ailments, and again when we come to them for the cure.

It is clear that all is not well in Big Pharma these days. Americans have yet to coalesce around a plan to impose transparency and integrity on health care and pharmaceutical companies. Meanwhile, mounting evidence suggests the industry persists in the peddling hundreds of products each year with dubious claims and even more dubious real-world effects — all while maintaining stupefyingly high profit margins.

Sick and Getting Sicker

The real topics today are corporate consolidation and corruption. There may be no better figurehead for this problem than everybody’s favorite “Family Company” (their words): Johnson & Johnson. This is a family of more than 250 subsidiaries.

You will recall that the pharma giant’s talc-based baby powder is now inextricably linked to incidences of ovarian cancer. Websites which concern themselves with preventing this type of cancer specifically recommend omitting talcum powders from your daily constitutionals.

Fortunately enough for Johnson & Johnson’s bottom line, at least one company from their panoply of subsidiaries — Janssen Pharmaceuticals — charitably offers chemotherapy drugs for ovarian cancer patients for a mere $2,758 per dose. You can recognize it by the marketing-friendly name “Doxil.”

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