Socio-Economics History Blog

Socio-Economics & History Commentary

The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It!

  • This is a good book review about Big Pharma. They have been screwing the public for a very long long time. See also: Medical Cartel & Cancer . WantToKnow.info reports :
      
    “The combined profits for the ten drug companies in the Fortune 500 ($35.9 billion) were more than the profits for all the other 490 businesses put together ($33.7 billion) [in 2002]. Over the past two decades the pharmaceutical industry has moved very far from its original high purpose of discovering and producing useful new drugs. Now primarily a marketing machine to sell drugs of dubious benefit, this industry uses its wealth and power to co-opt every institution that might stand in its way, including the US Congress, the FDA, academic medical centers, and the medical profession itself.”
        —
    Dr. Marcia Angell, former editor in chief of the New England Journal of Medicine
    ———————————————————————————————————–

    The book review below, taken from the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, clearly reveals just how corrupt the pharmaceutical and health care industries have become. The book’s author, Marcia Angell, M.D., is a former editor in chief of the highly respected Journal. She is currently a senior lecturer in social medicine at Harvard Medical School. Her book, The Truth About the Drug Companies, provides yet another eye-opening example of how greed has taken over many facets of business and government, and offers empowering ideas on what we can do about it.
     
    New England Journal of Medicine
    Volume 351:1580-1581, October 7, 2004, Number 15


    In this book, her most recent, Marcia Angell explores pharmaceutical research, deplores the rapidly expanding involvement (and distortion of truth) of Big Pharma, and implores us all (physicians, patients, politicians) to do something about it. The dust-jacket blurb asserts that Angell, “during her two decades at The New England Journal of Medicine had a front-row seat on the growing corruption of the pharmaceutical industry.”
     
    Since leaving the Journal, she’s gone behind the curtains of Big Pharma, Big University, and Big Faculty. Drawing on her own work and on her thoughtful analysis of research, company financial statements, and investigative reports into drug development and marketing, Angell writes with the unambiguous and unyielding style that Journal readers came to expect and trust.
     
    The current slide toward the commercialization and corruption of clinical research coincided with the election of President Ronald Reagan in 1980 and the passage of the Bayh-Dole Act, a new set of laws that permitted and encouraged universities and small businesses to patent discoveries from research sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
    Research paid for by the public to serve the public instantly became a private, and salable good—one that is producing drug sales of more than $200 billion a year.
     
    Commercialization had both specific and broad effects. Readers of this journal and others are familiar with investigations into the control that research sponsors at pharmaceutical companies exert on the design and analysis of clinical trials (including the distortion of primary outcome measures in trials) and the issue of reporting, nonreporting, and biased reporting of results.
     
    Angell reminds us of the increasingly cozy relationships between big industry and the faculties of universities. Not only are narcissistic donors renaming the medical schools; they are buying access to the best minds of their faculties. Angell’s examples of the large consulting fees paid by industry to individual faculty members and to NIH scientists and directors are astounding.
     
    The broader effects are felt in the commercialization of universities, medical faculties, and our profession. In 2000, in a letter written in response to Angell’s Journal editorial, “
    Is Academic Medicine for Sale?” a reader supplied the answer: “No. The current owner is very happy with it.” The increasing intrusion of industry into medical education and the almost complete domination of continuing medical education (especially regarding drugs) by the marketing departments of large pharmaceutical companies are a scandal.
     
    The same companies also spend heavily to lobby governments. According to Angell, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the pharmaceutical industry’s U.S. trade association has “the largest lobby in Washington,” which in 2002 employed 675 lobbyists (including 26 former members of Congress) at a cost of more than $91 million. The result has been above-average growth in corporate profits during both Republican and Democratic administrations.
     
    The most recent and perplexing lobbying effort caused Congress explicitly to prohibit Medicare from using its huge purchasing power to get lower prices for drugs, thus opening up a dollar pipeline, in the form of higher drug prices, directly from taxpayers to corporate coffers. These changes, along with the cave-in by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1997 that permitted direct-to-consumer advertising to bypass mention in their ads of all but the most serious side effects, have further augmented profits. The overall effect has been a corruption not only of science but also of the dissemination of science.
     
    Angell documents that, contrary to what they claim, large pharmaceutical companies have “paltry output” in innovative research. In fact, as permitted by Bayh-Dole, pharmaceutical companies buy discoveries coming out of the basic-science enterprises, including universities and publicly funded granting agencies. The real costs of research on drugs by pharmaceutical companies are much less than the oft-quoted $800 million or so per new drug brought to market. Most of their research is on me-too drugs—unoriginal, tax-deductible (and thus paid for in lost taxes by the public), and mostly unnecessary. The Big Pharma companies are, in essence, manufacturing and marketing companies.
     
    Angell’s concluding chapter, the least convincing in an otherwise fascinating and penetrating book, contains the solutions, all of them predictable: control me-too drugs, re-empower the FDA, oversee Big Pharma’s clinical research, curb patent length and abuse, keep Big Pharma out of medical education, make company financial statements transparent (so we can tell what the costs of research really are, as distinct from marketing), and impose price controls or guidelines. Granted, the problems are so prevalent and the corporate tentacles so entwined with our way of being that it is hard to see what else to recommend.
     
    But perhaps Angell is right. We must change the way we manage research and the development and distribution of new drugs. Not only are health and health care at risk, but so are the research enterprise and the reputations of universities and governments. The integrity of scientific research is too important to be left to the invisible hand of the marketplace.
     
    Book review written by
    John Hoey, M.D.

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July 13, 2009 Posted by | Medicine & Health | 4 Comments

10 Compelling Reasons Why Gold Is Going To Do Very Well !

  • I still see a global monetary collapse. A crisis of confidence in fiat currencies triggered by a USD collapse. Gold will do well. Here are the 10 reasons :
     
    The Stimulus Effect:Including $1 trillion in cash infusions, the stimulus plan will pump $9.7 trillion into the economy, according to Bloomberg. As the Globe & Mail reports flatly, “Many believe that the monetary stimulus efforts will cause a spike in inflation,” driving gold higher.
     
    COMEX Traders Predict $1,600 Gold… by December: If gold trades at or above $1,600 by December, some 100,000 call option contracts will be “in the money.” Big-money players Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan are reportedly helping to drive the action, ahead of a huge purchase of gold futures contracts.
     
    “Big Money” Inflows:In 2008, NYC-based hedge fund Paulson & Co’s flagship fund returned 37%, as the world markets burned. Paulson’s bullish on gold, big time, including the Mar. 17 purchase of 39.9 million shares of AngloGold, worth $1.28 billion. Other major hedge funds are piling into gold, too, including Eton Park Capital, Green light Capital and Hayman Advisors.
     
    China’s Doubling Down! China just revealed that it has doubled its gold holdings to 1,054 tons. Yet that still only equals 1.6% of its overall reserves. As China moves out of U.S. Treasuries and into gold, this will help fuel the next leg of the run-up.
     
    Demand Building across the Board:Worldwide demand for gold jumped by $29.7 billion in the first quarter, a 36% bolt, according to the World Gold Council. Demand for gold ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds) rocketed 540%… another trigger for the coming gold boom.
     
    The Paper Dollar’s 30% Drop: Since 2001, the U.S. Dollar Index has tanked 30%… while gold has risen 300%. With all the downward pressure on the dollar, and inflation on the way, this trend is about to pick up steam.
     
    Gold/Dow Ratio Signals $8,000 Gold: During major gold bull markets (and corresponding equity bears), gold and the Dow converge at a 1-to-1 ratio. During the last gold bull, the Dow sank to 850 and gold rose to $850. The Dow is now over 8,000… But even if it fell to 4,000, we could see $4,000 gold before this bull run is over!
     
    U.S. Treasury Dept. Signals $5,468 Gold: Currently, the U.S. government holds about 286.9 million ounces of gold. It has printed about $1.569 trillion worth of paper dollars. If each dollar were backed by gold, that would put the price at $5,468.80 an ounce.
     
    Riding the “Commodity Super Cycle”: Jim Rogers expects the Commodity Super Cycle to drive commodity prices higher for another eight years… including gold. And he’s stockpiling the yellow metal by the day. Every pullback, says Rogers, is another buying opportunity. Considering he’s been dead right on every major trend of the past 40 years, we wouldn’t bet against him.
     
    Historic Model Predicts $6,214 Gold: During the last gold bull, the yellow metal ran from $35 an ounce to $850, a 24-fold increase. This bull started with gold at $255.95, meaning that if historic trends hold, the price target would be $6,214 an ounce. 
     

Disclaimer – I am not a financial advisor. This is not an advice to buy, sell or hold any stocks or bonds or any precious metals.

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July 13, 2009 Posted by | Economics | | 1 Comment

Is the Bear Market’s Most Violent Decline Right Around the Corner?

Elliott_Waves_Impulse-waves
  • Robert Prechter of Elliott Wave and his team are sounding out the alarm of a major crash in the stock market. If it wasn’t Prechter, the uber chartist I would not be so concerned. I have also been counting down the days to this upcoming crash. Yes, it is big and it is violent, much like a category 9 earthquake. The market has become complacent and lulled by propaganda green shoots stories. 2 scenarios come to my mind: Next month, August we will see the beginning of the wave 3 crash. If not it will be October the accursed month again!
     
  • ElliottWave.com reports:
      
    Is the most powerful of all waves right around the corner?
    The short answer is “YES.” 
     
    First, let’s describe wave 3.
    If wave 3 was a superhero, he’d probably be The Flash (though he could be The Hulk).
    Like The Flash, there’s no mistaking wave 3’s characteristics:
     
    – It gets to where it’s going in a hurry.
    – It usually catches everyone by surprise, and
    – You’ll know it when you see it. 
      
    Robert Prechter describes third waves in his seminal book with A.J. Frost,
    The Elliott Wave Principle:
     
    “Third waves are wonders to behold. They are strong and broad, and the trend at this point is unmistakable. … Third waves usually generate the greatest volume and price movement and are most often the extended wave in a series.”
     
    But to truly appreciate the power and lightening-speed of third waves – and be prepared to anticipate one – you must first know how to identify the waves that precede it, namely wave 2.
     
    Here’s what Prechter writes about wave 2 in The Elliott Wave Principle (two words have been reversed to apply to bear markets):
     
    “At this point, investors are thoroughly convinced that the (bull) market is back to stay. Second waves often end on very low volume and volatility, indicating a drying up of (buying) pressure.”
     
    If you’re thinking the description of wave 2 seems eerily similar to today’s environment, you’re right.
     
    On February 23, Robert Prechter’s Elliott Wave Theoristrecommended aggressive speculators close their short positions to avoid being caught in a “sharp and scary” rally. Just a few trading days later, the market began a multi-month rebound – wave 2.
     
    BUT … Volume has steadily decreased since that rally began in early March. Volatility is on the rise. And perhaps most noteworthy of all: The investment herd – more specifically, the financial media – has jumped to proclaim the “worst is over.”
     
    All the classic characteristics of bear-market rallies are there. Even a quick online search turns up headlines like:
     
    “Worst of the recession is over” ~ July 7
    “Econ Crisis Not Over, But Worst Has Passed” ~ July 8
    “June job bounce could mean worst is over” ~ July 7
    “Wall St’s fear gauge suggests the worst is over” ~ June 28
     
    Recognizing the personality of wave 2 allows you to prepare for what’s next, a move you really want to look out for, wave 3 – The Flash.
     
    Third waves move far and fast. They make good opportunities for aggressive speculators, but they can become a death knell for longer-term investors’ portfolios.

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July 13, 2009 Posted by | Economics | , , | 2 Comments

Official 7/7 London Bombing Account is a Complex and Contradictory Series of Lies!

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July 13, 2009 Posted by | GeoPolitics, History | , , | 20 Comments

A New Monetary System to come. Will Gold Have a Role?

  • When a Russian president gives a press conference and shows a new ‘World Currency’ coin, you should take note. President Medvedev is no clown. He does not do such things without reason. The message is clear: the world is on the cusp of a new monetary system. Gold, obviously has a major role in it. (See: Medvedev Unveils “World Currency” Coin At G8Banking Cartel is the Cause of Humanity’s Woes and Does a Satanic Cult Rule the World?)
     
  • The experiment with fiat currencies not backed by anything is coming to an end. The BRIC countries led by Russia and China are going for the throat of the USD hegemony. They have had enough of the corrupt shadow power that have been destroying many nations, beating many countries to a pulp. The key to destroying this Illuminati power is the USD. The world has been financing the corrupt military industrial complex, corrupt intelligence agencies, ponzi financial system, greedy investment banks… for far too long. This Illuminati power is bent on conquering the world and turning it into a fascist police state.
     
  • What remains to be seen is: how the Illuminati is going to co-opt the collapse of the USD to a movement for a world currency, for their purpose. I have no doubts these central banksters engineered this crisis to move the world to a world currency. The usual Hegelian dialectic: Order out of Chaos methodology. They will eventually make moves to control this new World Currency via the IMF or World Bank and possibly even the BIS. (See: Banking Cartels Engineered Financial Crisis Endgame)
     
  • Julian DW Philips comments :
      
    The Reserve Currency crisis coming!
    After raising the issue of a new global reserve currency and only finding some verbal support from France’s President Sarkozythe issue of replacing the $ with another or other currencies was put firmly on the table at the G-8 conference this week. The issue, while acknowledged, was not treated seriously, we believe a major error on the part of the G-8!
     
    China’s position was made clear, “To avoid the inherent deficiencies of using sovereign currencies for reserves, there’s a need to create an international reserve currency that’s delinked from sovereign nations,” is the position of the People’s Bank of China. The IMF should expand the functions of its unit of account, Special Drawing Rights it feels. The restatement of Governor Zhou Xiaochuan’s proposal in March added great weight to the likelihood that China will diversify its currency reserves, the world’s largest at $2.0+ now. Zhou Xiaochuan sees the current international financial system as flawed, putting too much emphasis on the $ as a reserve currency. They feel that the $ should depreciate to address the global imbalance. But if this happens and because it’s a reserve currency it would give the rest of the world a monetary crisis too!
     
    We are certain China will not wait for the West to accommodate their wishes but as you can see below will act in the short-term to adjust their own reserve policies for the benefit of China. With little cooperation from the West we can now look forward to the destabilization that attends global currency confrontation.
     
    China, the biggest foreign holder of U.S. government, is already in the process of cutting its $ holdings. In April it cut them by $4.4 billion to $763.5 billion in April, the first monthly reduction since February 2008  It is difficult for China to do this quickly, for such moves would cause the $ to collapse, if seen as a departure from the U.S. $ by the Chinese. The unhappiness with the $ is not limited to China. Russia holds only Euros in its reserves now, in reaction to the dangers facing the $. Internationally, by the end of 2008 the $ accounted for 64% of global central bank reserves, down from 73% in 2001, after the arrival of the € on the global monetary scene.
      
    $ Problems
    The U.S. $ is being undermined by U.S. economic problems and its over-issuance by the Fed, despite comforting platitudes flowing from U.S. Monetary authorities over the last few years. The threats internal U.S. policies posed to the international monetary system are frightening. The virtually zero response from U.S. monetary authorities to international $ problems, has disturbed eastern central banks because the $ holdings in the reserves of foreigners are huge and could well be diminished in value considerably in the years to come.  It is also clear that the U.S. has a great deal to gain both from a depreciating $ and from inflation, despite the impact on the U.S. economy. As a result confidence both in the U.S. economy and in the $ has dropped considerably since the credit crunch impacted in August 2007. The problem is how to get away from the $’s grip without collapsing the global monetary system itself!
     
    “The excessive reliance on the credit of several sovereign currencies has added to the risks and crises, the P.B.O.C. said adding, “A currency with stable value in the long term is required.”
     
    Actions underway for change.
    The biggest $ reserve holders are taking small and uncertain steps already:
  1. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Chinese President Hu Jintao, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva called for a “more diversified” monetary system to reduce dependency on the U.S. $ at a June 16th meeting.
  2. In May, China and Brazil began studying a proposal to move away from the $ and use Yuan and Reais to settle trade instead.
  3. Group of 20 leaders on April 2 gave approval for the IMF to raise $250 billion by issuing Special Drawing Rights, or SDRs, the artificial currency that the agency uses to settle accounts among its member nations. It also agreed to put another $500 billion into the IMF’s war chest.
  4. This month, Russia and Brazil announced plans to buy $20 billion IMF bonds, while China said it is considering purchasing $50 billion.
  5. IMF First Deputy Managing Director John Lipsky said on June 6th “it’s possible to take the “revolutionary” step of making SDRs a reserve currency over time”. The U.S. and other developed nations will attempt to drag out such moves because this disturbs the present global balance of power. 
      
    S.D.R.’s in place of Gold in the Seventies.
    Special Drawing Rights were created by the I.M.F. in 1969 to support the Bretton Woods exchange-rate system that collapsed in 1971 after the $ was “floated” against gold. Gold sales followed thereafter, first from the U.S. [who saw few nations were convinced and snapped up the U.S. gold], then by the I.M.F. seen by many as an act in support of the $, which was rapidly moving to its position as the world’s reserve currency. The I.M.F. also saw that gold sales were a failure and stopped them. The discrediting of gold as money was part and parcel of these moves. It was hoped that the S.D.R. act as a currency, but few nations were willing to trust it, as the I.M.F. was considered [and still is to some extent] an arm of the U.S. Treasury. Now S.D.R.’s act as a unit of account rather than a currency. The S.D.R. is issued against cash provided by each member and is then disbursed as S.D.R.’s in proportion to the money each member nation pays into the fund. China will be most keen to hand over its $ reserves in exchange for S.D.R.’s and partially escape the collapse of the $ that may happen then.
     
    S.D.R.’s and the Noughties.
    With no other globally linked organization available, the I.M.F. is the only one able to provide an alternative to the $ through the S.D.R.. A “basket of currencies” is the only sound way to counter the flaws in the $ at present hence the push towards the S.D.R. The value of S.D.R.’s are based on a ‘basket of currencies’, shielding them from swings in any single currency [we foresee the Pound being dropped and the Yuan taking a major role in the basket as the U.S. $ portion is considerably reduced over time].  One SDR is currently valued at $1.54. China is proposing the basket be broadened. The current weighting is: 44% for the U.S. $, 34% for the € and 11% each for the Yen and the Pound Sterling. It doesn’t include the Yuan, yet.  Neither does it include gold! The four currencies in the SDR, which must be convertible, are those issued by Fund members with the largest share of global trade. The weights assigned by the I.M.F. are based on the value of exports and the amount of reserves denominated in those currencies. The composition of the basket is reviewed every five years.  The next review is due in 2010. We fully expect the Yuan to become a major constituent of this basket [20%+?].   Before then, it has to make the Yuan available freely for international trade at least. As the Chinese are already pressing for a change the implication is that they will be ready and happy to see this happen by then. 2009 and 2010 will therefore prove to be watershed years in the world’s monetary system. This has to mean a rising degree of currency volatility this year through next.
     
    I.M.F. rules to change?
    The I.M.F. itself will have to change its rules too. The U.S. 16.83% of votes and a need for 85% of votes to pass any resolution will have to change for the I.M.F. to be a truly international body. The U.S. will have to step back to a role of just another member or no S.D.R. role will be plausible. It is even possible that in time its headquarters will move away from U.S. shores? No national or nationally controlled currency will be allowed to rule the roost.

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July 13, 2009 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on A New Monetary System to come. Will Gold Have a Role?