How Big Pharma is trying to improve its image

Wednesday, February 24, 2016   |   Posted by Jim Hightower
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Big news, people! Especially for those of you upset by the skyrocketing prices of the essential prescription medicines you take – including thousands of patients who were hit last year with a 5,000-percent increase in one life-saving drug!

Determined to do something about those despised price hikes, drugmakers themselves have reached into their corporate toolbox for the two most effective means they have to fix their price problem. Of course, putting more corporate cash into research to produce new medicines would be one of those tools, and a renewed commitment to honest competition would be the other, right?

Right! But Big Pharma gave up years ago on doing right, turning to two other corporate tools that have reliably generated a gusher of profits for them: Advertising and lobbying. So here they come, wielding bigger-than-ever ad and lobbying budgets to deal with that pesky matter of public anger at drug company price gouging.

The intent of the multimillion-dollar PR blitz and intensified offensive in Congress is not to restrain the gouging, but to improve the industry's image in hopes of restraining lawmakers from taking steps to rein in prescription costs. Of course, their ads dishonestly fail to mention this selfish intent, instead pitching drug makers as selfless saviors of humanity. They feature soft scenes of drug researchers in white lab coats urgently trying to find new cures, scripted testimonials from people posed as patients who've been saved by Big Pharma, and of course scenes of drug makers altruistically aiding poor people.

So, you see, the industry is spending millions on this corporate medicine show not to protect its notorious profiteering, but to protect you from public officials who might try to stop them from overcharging you. These incorrigible gougers are enough to make you sick.

"Drugmakers Bid to Burnish Image," The Wall Street Journal, February 8, 2016.

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