Reading The Pharma Racket Writing on The Wall
Musings on a visit to the doctor
So there I am, sitting in the waiting room at a local health clinic in Tel Aviv, when out of the corner of my eye for a split second I spot the word “Pfizer” written on one of the screens they have dotting the walls:
"Public Service,” it’s written. “Sponsored by and on behalf of Pfizer which is solely responsible for the content."
What content? I had to wait a minute for the
advertisement public service announcement generously paid for by Pfizer to come around again. It starts out with a startling warning: "Atrial fibrillation increases the risk of stroke by 5 times."
And then: "Do you have high blood pressure? With atrial fibrillation?"
“What is your risk?”
"Ask the medical staff today about treatment for high blood pressure and atrial fibrillation?"
It will not have escaped readers of this blog that the CDC's analysis of adverse event reports to its VAERS system for mRNA COVID vaccines found safety signals for atrial fibrillation, increased diastolic & systolic blood pressure and 26 types of stroke.
That’s in addition to a dozen or so published case series documenting onset of fibrillation and hypertension following COVID-19 vaccination -- out of 3,400 published studies and reports on adverse events.
It should also not have escaped the reader’s attention that Pfizer has profited handsomely from sales of its blood thinning medication, Eliquis, which was the #5 best selling pharmaceutical in the world in 2021, with sales only increasing since then.
Eliquis is used to prevent strokes from blood clots caused by atrial fibrillation. And they have a new drug, not yet available in Israel or most of the rest of the world outside the US, that is supposed to directly treat atrial fibrillation. Plus they make a few blood pressure medications as well (though they were hit with a scandal in 2022 when they had massive recalls due to a carcinogenic compound found in many lots).
So basically Pfizer creates the #1 selling pharmaceutical product in the world, the Comirnaty COVID vaccine, which apparently can cause atrial fibrillation and high blood pressure. It then turns around and pays for
advertisements public service announcements to increase sales of its products that are used to treat the problems caused by its vaccine. (Direct to consumer pharma ads are not allowed in Israel.)
Or as my colleague Professor Retsef Levi wrote on Twitter: "Pfizer buys the country, sells it a vaccine that causes high blood pressure, stroke, atrial fibrillation and other cardiac problems, then markets its drugs through the largest HMO in the country."
Ladies and gentlemen, what we have here is a classic case of a racket, in the traditional meaning of “an organized criminal act in which the perpetrators…offer a service that solves a problem that would not exist without the racket.”1
Nothing new, I know. Such is the nature of the pharmaceutical business model. For that matter, is there any major industry in the modern world that doesn’t work the same way?
See here for possible etymology of this term: “English pickpockets, once the best of the breed, invented the ploy of creating disturbances in the street to distract their victims while they emptied their pockets. This practice was so common that a law was passed in 1697 forbidding the throwing of firecrackers and other devices causing a racket on the city streets.”