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1 Running Head: THE INFLUENCES OF THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY The Influences of the Pharmaceutical Industry And the Impact It Has on Society Devon DiChiara Jefferson Community and Technical College 2 THE INFLUENCES OF THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY The Influences of the Pharmaceutical Industry And the Impact It Has on Society In America, we have become so accustomed to the pharmaceutical industry‟s place in our daily life that we seldom pause to objectively evaluate its impact. Evening televis
  1Running Head: THE INFLUENCES OF THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRYThe Influences of the Pharmaceutical IndustryAnd the Impact It Has on SocietyDevon DiChiaraJefferson Community andTechnical College  2THE INFLUENCES OF THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRYThe Influences of the Pharmaceutical IndustryAnd the Impact It Has on SocietyIn America, we have become so accustomed to the pharmaceutical industr y‟s place in ourdaily life that we seldom pause to objectively evaluate its impact. Evening television attracts ourattention to a multitude of prescription drugs, urging the watcher to ask his or her doctor for themedicine in question… in the commercial, the faces of  smiling happy “users” provide gr  aphicreinforcement while voice-overs list the possible side effects. Direct to consumer advertisingwas made legal in the United States in 1981, making the U.S. only the second capitalist countryto allow it (the other is New Zealand). This fact undoubtedly helps to explain why Americansspend half the world wide total of $400 million on prescription drugs. Pharmaceuticalcompanies manipulate the costs, the government regulations and the marketing, all to increasetheir profits. To prevent such manipulations we must implement stricter laws and regulationsgoverning the behavior of the pharmaceutical companies. A number of factors have combined toproduce this manipulation; they include government influences, regulation and marketeering.We can only project the probable impact of these factors on American society once the universalhealth care legislation takes effect.It has been said that the pharmaceutical industry is the most profitable industry in America. Why shouldn‟t it be? After all , as Joanne Laurier, a writer for the World Socialist WebSite said, “Americans spend a staggering $200 billion a year on prescription drugs out of  worldwide sales of $400 billion” ( Laurier, 2005). One way that the pharmaceutical companiesachieve these high profits is by selling to American citizens, especially to those without health  3THE INFLUENCES OF THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRYinsurance. This causes those who have no insurance to pay the full price for the brand namedpharmaceutical. Pharmaceutical companies have maintained and increased their profits since1980, under President Reagan‟s administration. Helen Redmond of the International SocialistReview said that the pharmaceutical companies were so profitable that “from1995 to 2002, itwas the nation‟s most profitable industry” ( Redmond, 2007). “In 2002, the combined profits of  the 10 drug companies in the Fortune 500 ($35.9 billion) were more than the total profits of theother 490 businesses ($33.7 billion) ” (Laurier, 2005). With Americans spending up to $252  billion on prescription drugs in 2005, it‟s no wonder that the pharmaceutical industry is so profitable. With the knowledge that medicine in America is twice as expensive as in Europe andCanada, it‟s not much of  a surprise that people are attempting to buy their drugs online from siteslike (Redmond, 2007).Richard Epstein, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, is one of the many people whosupport the pharmaceutical industry ‟s reasons for having high prices on prescription drugs inAmerica. Epstein says, “There is no reason to rejoice in putting pharma (pharmaceuticalindustry) on the ropes if its business reversals hurt the consumers they are trying to serve ”  (Epstein, 2006). What Epstein is saying here is that if the pharmaceutical company loses a large chunk of its profit then we shouldn‟t be happy about . If the company was to run out of businessit would hurt not only its employees but also hurt the consumers who depend on their products.As of this moment the pharmaceutical industry has the most successful profits due to itscontrol over its prices of their brand name drugs and their ability to control agencies within theAmerican government like the Food and Drug Administration.The Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, began in 1906, with the Food and Drug Act.It was created in response to the exposures of the horrible conditions in the famous novel, The  4THE INFLUENCES OF THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY  Jungle, by Upton Sinclair (Laurier, 2005) . Under President Franklin Roosevelt‟s administrationin 1937 and 1938, “several medical disasters compelled the President to sign the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938. This brought cosmetics and medical devices under government control and required that drugs be labeled with adequate directions for safe use” (Laurier, 2005). The1938 bill brought about a vast expansion of the pharmaceutical industry both in size and power.The power the pharmaceutical industry gained from the 1938 bill lead to the concept of prescription drugs. This means that drugs available only through physicians at a price set by thedrug companies. Under the Carter and Reagan admi nistration‟s anti -regulatory actions like the FDA‟s enforcement budget was slashed to pieces. This decreased and limited the number of routine actions that the FDA could use to keep contaminated foods and problematic drugs off themarket, increasing the risk of endangering the lives of American citizens who buy theseproducts. The limitations placed on the FDA‟s budget gave way to the 1992 bill, whic h didprovide the FDA their needed budget but, not without putting themselves into the pockets of thepharmaceutical companies allowing them into the drug approval process (Laurier, 2005).Once the pharmaceutical companies were allowed into the drug approval process, theyshortened the amount of time they srcinally required to have clinical trial testing for their drugs.This way the testing did n‟t eat up more time from their 20 year long patents and they couldmaximize their profits with more time for marketing and advertising. This is just one of theways that pharmaceutical companies increase their profits through the manipulation of government and its agencies (Laurier, 2005). Redmond gives us another example of thepharmaceutical companies ‟ control over the government to increase profits. She notes that, with the aid of U.S. government and Food and Drug Administration, the pharmaceutical industry “hastried to seal off the border between the United States and Canada…”( Redmond, 2007). It‟s
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