One of the most significant cultural transformations of the last two years has been the newfound glorification of the pharmaceutical industry.
An industry plagued by decades of fraud, corruption, and criminality managed to quickly rebrand itself as the savior of humanity during the covid-19 crisis.
But nothing inherently changed. Big Pharma still values shareholders’ profits more than people’s lives.
The regulatory agencies still operate as revolving doors to the pharmaceutical giants they are said to regulate.
Big Pharma still dominates lobbying efforts in Washington DC, and spends billions each year advertising pharmaceutical products.
Despite the notorious corrupt nature of the pharmaceutical industry, Pfizer’s CEO Albert Bourla claimed during a November 2021 interview that a small group of “medical professionals” who are intentionally circulating “misinformation” critical of the Pfizer vaccine narrative are “criminals.”
Bourla seemed to have forgotten about the history of his own company.
Pfizer’s Long History Of Criminal Behavior
In 1992, Pfizer agreed to pay between $165 million and $215 million to settle lawsuits arising from the fracturing of its Bjork-Shiley Convexo-Concave heart valve, which at the time had resulted in nearly 300 deaths, and by 2012 had resulted in 663 deaths.
In 1994, Pfizer agreed to pay $10.75 million to settle Justice Department claims that the company lied to get federal approval for a mechanical heart valve that has fractured, killing hundreds of patients worldwide. Under the settlement, Pfizer also agreed to pay $9.25 million in coming years to monitor patients who received the device at Veterans Administration hospitals or pay for its removal. The deal was criticized by consumer rights activists who urged Government officials to bring criminal charges and lobbied for a steeper civil penalty for the multibillion-dollar company that had covered up safety concerns even as the device was killing patients.
In 1996, Pfizer administered an experimental drug during a clinical trial on 200 children in Nigeria but never told the parents that their children were the subjects of an experiment. Eleven of the children died, and many others suffered side effects such as brain damage and organ failure. A report by Nigeria’s health ministry concluded the experiment was "an illegal trial of an unregistered drug," a "clear case of exploitation of the ignorant," and a violation of Nigerian and international law. Pfizer did not obtain consent or inform the patients that they were the subjects of an experiment, not the recipients of an approved drug.
In 2002, Pfizer agreed to pay $49 million to settle allegations that the drug company defrauded the federal government and 40 states by charging too much for its cholesterol treatment Lipitor. Lipitor had sales of $6.45 billion in 2001.
In 2004, Pfizer agreed to plead guilty to two felonies and paid $430 million in penalties to settle charges that it fraudulently promoted the drug Neurontin for unapproved uses. Pfizer agreed that it aggressively marketed the epilepsy drug illicitly for unrelated conditions, including bipolar disorder, pain, migraine headaches, and drug and alcohol withdrawal. Pfizer’s tactics included planting company operatives in the audience at medical education events and bribing doctors with luxury trips.
In 2008, the New York Times published an article entitled “Experts Conclude Pfizer Manipulated Studies.” Pfizer delayed the publication of negative studies, spun negative data to place it in a more positive light, and controlled the flow of clinical research data to promote its epilepsy drug Neurontin. Pfizer discontinued its marketing program for Neurontin in 2004 after the drug became available as a generic. That same year, the company paid $430 million to settle federal criminal and civil claims that one of its subsidiaries had promoted the drug for unapproved uses.