Did you see the Boston Legal episode aired on September 29, 2008? It was Season 5, Episode 2 entitled ” Guardians and Gatekeepers”. Simply spot on! You might be wondering how this fits into Side Effects of Antidepressants, Antipsychotics, Psychostimulants, Hypnotics and More. Read on…
Denny, a senior citizen and partner of the firm, had been taking 42 prescription drugs, purchased on the internet and nearly died of Toxic Shock. When questioned by a physician on why he was taking them he replied, “I don’t know. You name it: Acid Reflux, Weak Stream, Restless Leg, Hemorrhoids, Irritable Bowel, Memory, Cholesterol, Blood Pressure…” The doctor warned him, “These drugs can interact.” He said, “I keep them in separate bottles.”
All joking aside, television is where Denny and millions of people are being educated about drugs. Just like Denny, most people believe these drugs would not be advertised if they were not safe. The transcripts of this show tell it all!
Denny decided to sue the manufacturer that made 16 of the 42 prescriptions he was taking. The proposed defense was, “How could they know that Denny would eat them like jelly beans?” Denny states, “Have you seen the television ads? They read the side effects off like they were reading the telephone book. The benefits. Get all the bells and whistles. They nearly killed me. I want to sue. Let’s get ’em.”
What do these drug manufacturers do? They brainwash the public through massive marketing strategies employed by their trade association, Big Pharma, actually PhRMA.
They market to senior citizens because their research shows they are easy targets, susceptible to deceptive advertising.
The drug industry is not unsimliar to the tobacco industry. They both deny the damaging health of their products. They both promote independent research which they actually finance. They both market to children. They both pour millions of dollars into lobbying efforts to buy Congress. They both suppress information that proves their products kill people. The only difference is while the FDA is hostile to cigarettes, yet are all over-pour towards the drug industry.
The defense in the above case was how would it be foreseeable to the drug manufacturer that someone would gobble multiple medications, buying them off the internet, without even consulting a doctor in person. The attorney character, Alan Shore, on Boston Legal replied, “It’s not unforeseeable. It’s exactly what you count on, seducing the more vulnerable members of society to fall for your snake oil potion.”
The drug Manufacturer’s attorney stated, “That’s just absurd!”
Alan continued, “Your Honor, hundreds of thousands of people die every year from prescription drugs. Twenty-seven thousand people were killed from Vioxx. If you believe one FDA official, possibly fifty thousand.
The judge reminded Alan that this manufacturer did not manufacturer Vioxx. But Alan’s point was that this type of behavior was an industry-wide pattern. “We don’t even know the potential dangers of these drugs because the pharmaceutical industry systematically conceals them. They have been caught buying clinical trials, bribing doctors, distorting science. Many of these peer review articles we see in medical journals are actually ghost written by the drug companies themselves and doctors take pay-offs and let their names appear as the authors.”
“You have no evidence that any of that is happening!” states the manufacturer’s attorney.
Alan, “Because you hide it! Your company previously buried evidence which showed a link between antidepressants and suicidal thoughts in children. You did that!”
Manufacturer’s attorney, “Which we still deny. And this is not that case! Your Honor, he doesn’t have one single fact that supports…”
Interrupted by Alan, “The fact is the U.S. pharmaceutical industry spends almost twice as much on promotion as it does on research and development. That’s obscene! American television viewers see as much as 16 hours of prescription advertising each year. 16 hours! That’s more time than most people spend at the movies. The fact is that they invent diseases like Social Phobia, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, to sell mind altering drugs.”
Manufacturer’s attorney, “Anxiety is a clinical illness. To suggest otherwise is not only irresponsible, Your Honor…”
Alan, “What’s irresponsible is we have scores of people being diagnosed with these vague mental disorders, millions of which are children. What’s irresponsible is we have 3 year olds on antidepressants. Why? Because the drug companies, just like Big Tobacco, know that if you get these kids when they’re young enough, you have a customer for life.”
Manufacturer’s attorney, “I should sue you right now. You do not get a pass just because…”
Alan, “You want to sue me? Please do because truth is a complete defense and I am not the only one saying this. This industry invents chronic diseases be it Restless Leg, Dry Eye Syndrome or these unspecified sleep disorders that require nightly doses of habit forming tranquilizers. They first concoct the disorder, then the drug and then they blitz the public with commercials to convince them they’re afflicted. And it’s especially effective with senior citizens. My client was popping pills like candy. He almost died.”
Manufacturer’s attorney, looking at the judge, “He’s out of control.”
Alan, “Your industry is out of control. You manufacture and sell disease at exuberant costs and the FDA refuses to regulate you. The pharmaceutical lobby has a death grip on Congress!”
Judge, “Mr. Shore, you need to settle down.”
Alan Shore, “Your Honor, the FDA refuses to go after these people. So let it be me. They nearly killed a man I dearly love. So let it be me. Let me get started because they stall. Of the twenty-seven to fifty thousand Vioxx deaths, only 18 cases have reached juries so far. 18! Most of the plaintiffs, will in fact, be dead before they are compensated in any way. Well, my client is 75. So, please, let me get started on discovery, since clearly, I will need every second.”
The judge, “Alright! Alright. I will let this case stand.”
Manufacturer’s attorney, “What? Are you crazy?”
Alan, “Perhaps you have a pill she can take.”
Manufacturer’s attorney, “You’re allowing him to go forward with no approximate cause. That’s preposterous.”
Judge, “What would be preposterous, Sir, is if I were to extend the benefit of the doubt to your industry. Do I look like an idiot?”
Alan, “They’ve got a pill for that, too.”
Though Big Pharma is very powerful, so are we! We can do things like create blogs like this one, that they try and sabotage with other sites that bate us in and spread viruses and spyware, find out who we are and then sabotage our credit with identity theft and worse. Think I am paranoid? Think again! I have stories that you wouldn’t believe!
Look at the figures. I just started this blog the last week of June 2008. In just 3 months I have had over 11,000 hits. Say that 25% of the visitors after reading the dangers of a drug either decided not to begin a prescription medication or stopped taking one. That is 2750 people. Say that person would have taken that drug for 5 years (12 months x 5 = 60 months). As an example I see one online price for a 30 day supply of Prozac is $190 ($190 x 60 months = $11,400 per person x 2750 people = $31,350,000.) Wow! I can make a difference. And I have just gotten started! Yes, Big Pharma is powerful and so are we!
Therefore when manufacturers publish an article by a doctor (really written by a ghost rider paid by the pharmaceutical manufacturer) and they convince 5000 people that this drug is safe and beneficial to them they are really making billions of dollars because, truth be known, most people never get off psychiatric medication because the withdrawal effects are sometimes worse or the same as their side effects.
Big Pharma doesn’t want you to know what so many of us are trying to tell you. Just listen and judge for yourself.
Watch the full episode of “Boston Legal” by going to www.abc.go.com; click on “Full Episodes” – “Boston Legal”. The name of the episode above is “Guardians and Gatekeepers”, Season 5, Episode 2. If you have not already done so, you will need to download their new video viewer.
I cannot wait to see Big Pharma get it in the end! The show usually continues a case until it goes to trial. From reading next week’s synopsis I cannot tell if this will be continued or not.
Update: Unfortunately they did not continue the episode the following week, but on the October 20th show there was a hint that they would continue the case sometime this season because Denny asked the opposing attorney how that case was going. Stay tuned in or check this article now again for the ending.
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