HamletWilliam Shakespeare, “Hamlet”
Do you see nothing there?
Nothing at all; yet all that is, I see.
If you have an iatrogenic injury and you haven’t seen Dopesick yet I highly recommend it (but make sure the kiddos are out of the room as a couple of characters dish out the ‘F’ word like it’s candy). Seeing A-list actors call out Big Pharma for following the same nefarious playbook in rolling out Oxycontin as it did Xanax and other psych meds, was truly cathartic as well as infuriating. What was really disturbing though, was to realize that the exact same pattern had been followed throughout the evolution of the current pandemic. I know, for some of you, I’m a bit behind the times. But my goal here isn’t just to flood you with a bunch of frustrating facts and then send you off to argue it out with your Facebook friends. My hope is that, with some perspective, you will see how there just might be a way out of this mess. And it starts with acknowledging that the sky is blue when so many powerful and influential institutions want you to believe it’s green.
Let me start off by saying this is not a commentary on the effectiveness of government protocols, vaccines, or the severity of the Sars-CoV 2 virus itself. This is me providing you with information to help you awaken to your situation and discover the freedom you have to choose another path if you so desire. I have no opinions on what you should and shouldn’t put into your body. I have no judgments for any dependence you might currently have on pharmaceuticals. Heaven knows since my son caught Covid-19 last month he has started on 5 medications, just to literally keep him from starving to death because of how it has affected his autoimmune illness. So please believe me when I say: I have only compassion for you, whatever your situation. Ultimately, my goal is and always has been to educate others in an effort to help prevent as much pain and suffering as possible.
Okay, now that I’m finished with the disclaimer part of this blog, let’s move on to discuss how fantastically Dope Sick exposes the devious and dishonest business model of the pharmaceutical industry. Warning: if you’re not already familiar with the history of Purdue Pharma and the opioid crisis there may be spoilers ahead!
#1 Old Drugs Aren’t Making New Profits $
Episode I of Dopesick introduces us to the Sackler family who run Purdue Pharmaceuticals. Due to its highly addictive nature and questionable long-term benefits, their old opiate, MS Contin (along with every other opiate on the market), is only approved for emergency use and cancer treatment. No decent doctor would prescribe it regularly. The solution is simple, develop a “new” version of Oxycodone that can be prescribed to everyone all the time.
Does this sound familiar? When it comes to tranquilizers, the old, highly addictive barbiturates were also highly regulated, and cautiously used. The original benzodiazepine, Librium, wasn’t widely very used either. Never fear! In 1963 “Mother’s Little Helper” will solve this problem.
But what about the vaccine industry? In 2017 the little-known biotech company, Moderna, says their focus on vaccines is losing profits. Apparently, creating mRNA vaccines for things like cancer, really rare diseases, and the flu is a “loss leader”, mainly because they have way too many dangerous side effects. But they do have a “secret” vaccine they are working on that they feel will help turn a profit.
“We think that when the world does get to see Moderna, they’re going to see something far larger in its scope than anybody’s seen before,”Stat News Sept 13, 2016
#2 Create “New” Drug for “New” Illness $$
In 1996 Perdue releases a new “safer” opiate, called Oxycontin, to treat what is coined chronic, moderate pain. They also educate doctors on how to diagnose and treat what they term the “5th vital sign“, pain. The new, highly subjective 5th vital sign is now strictly monitored along with blood pressure, respiration, pulse, and body temperature. And the Sacklers take Oxycontin from a 48 million dollar drug to 1.1 billion.
Flashback to 1963: Benzodiazepines receive a much more lenient drug classification than schedule II opiates and barbiturates. With a schedule IV classification, tranquilizers can now be prescribed daily. Hoffman-La Roche’s new drug, Valium is marketed to treat what they term “psychic tension”. It’s not long before Valium becomes the first pharmaceutical in history to reach $1 billion in sales. Eventually, benzodiazepines and antidepressants are used in combination to treat the newly discovered “cause” of psychic tension, the chemical imbalance.
And in a rather fortuitous turn of events, 3 years after Moderna fails to live up to its billion-dollar evaluation, and other pharmaceutical companies are losing profits on their top sellers, the Covid 19 pandemic officially hits worldwide. By the next year, Pfizer makes 34 billion from Covid-19 vaccines (that’s 93.5 million a day!) shattering any previous record for a pharmaceutical in history. Meanwhile, Moderna projects 17-22 billion this year from its Covid-19 vaccines.
#3 Get Tenuous FDA approval $$$
Purdue supposedly convinces the FDA employee reviewing their drug that Oxycontin is less addictive because of its delayed release, longer-acting mechanism. That same employee ends up working for Perdue soon after. This isn’t surprising since 1 in 4 FDA employees ends up working for the pharmaceutical companies they regulate, where they are offered much larger salaries.
Alternatively, when Xanax comes on the market, it is touted as a safer benzodiazepine than Valium because of its shorter half-life. And until the 2020 black box warning, the FDA ignored patient reports and petitions regarding the adverse effects of and misleading warning labels for benzodiazepines for over 50 years. Their response to one official petition uses the circuitous logic that psychiatrists use benzodiazepines to treat anxiety, which is long term, therefore it’s safe to use long term….
In 2021 the new Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson covid vaccines receive unprecedented Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA and the booster shots eventually receive the same tenuous approval.
#4 Dishonestly, Aggressively Market New Drug to Physicians $$$$
In Dopesick we see doctors at pharmaceutical conventions shown graphs of patient blood levels on Oxycontin, which suggest it has smaller “peaks and valleys” compared to other opiates due to its delayed-release coating. Eventually, we discover Perdue manipulated the charts to make them look like that, and the FDA was aware of it! In reality, there is no difference between Oxycontin and every other opiate. We also see Perdue threatening to sue doctors and pharmacists if they refuse to prescribe and dispense their drug. What’s more, medical schools along with Perdue reps teach doctors that only 1% of patients become addicted to opiates. The “research” they are citing is completely bogus. But misinformation is a powerful tool, and the Sacklers eventually make more than 10 billion off of Oxycontin.
When Xanax hits the market in 1981, Pfizer enlists “expert physicians” to educate doctors about their studies which show patients taking Xanax have remarkable improvement with panic attacks . . . at 4 weeks. What they failed to show doctors is how at 8 weeks, the subjects on Xanax had far worse outcomes than those on placebo (see graph below). What’s worse, they fudge the data by using Valium to curb the severe withdrawal effects patients experience coming off their drug.
So how does this pattern play out with the pandemic? A. Information presented to the UK parliament in 2021, from one of the world’s most prestigious medical journals, written by some of the world’s most trusted, unbiased medical researchers and physicians, stating current data does not support mandatory vaccinations, is censored worldwide. B. In the US, physicians throughout the country are reprimanded and publicly shamed for criticizing vaccine mandates and promoting alternative treatments to vaccines. C. Eighty public health officers and medical researchers from all over the world have to sue FDA just to obtain Pfizer’s vaccine trial data. Considering half of all trials are buried anyway by the pharmaceutical industry, what the FDA does have is likely only a fraction of what the real trial data shows.
#5 Vilify Old Drug $$$$$
Pharmaceutical reps in Hulu’s Dopesick are shown repeatedly telling doctors to use Oxycontin instead of Vicodin because Vicodin is “bad for your liver”.
After gaining notoriety through Betty Ford’s public experience and the Rolling Stone’s song, Valium is now the bad benzo, even though Xanax proves to be far more addictive. As prescriptions for diazepam (generic for Valium) in 2013 sink to 14.8 million, alprazolam (generic for Xanax), reaches 48.8 million prescriptions.
In an unprecedented move, Merck publicly discredits its own drug, Ivermectin, while simultaneously rolling out the world’s first Covid-19 pill, all in the same year. In another rare, almost unprecedented event, the prestigious Lancet retracts discredited research it published showing Hydroxychloroquine harms Covid-19 patients. But it’s too late and the research continues to be quoted by journals and news sources worldwide.
#6 Label Adverse Effects/Drug Inadequacy as New Illness Requiring More Drugs $$$$$$
Ever heard of “breakthrough pain”? It’s the new term the Sacklers developed for people who were experiencing pain a few hours after taking Oxycontin, despite its 12-hour time-release coating. How were doctors instructed to treat breakthrough pain? Prescribe higher doses of Oxycontin…not more frequent doses…just bigger pills.
Ever heard of Bipolar 2? It’s only diagnosed when someone is having a bad reaction to SSRI antidepressants. And of course, if someone is experiencing worsening anxiety, pain, insomnia, etc. on antidepressants, antipsychotics, bipolar meds, or benzodiazepines like Xanax, it’s a manifestation of their underlying illness and the solution is usually more drugs.
As claims by Pfizer and Astra Zeneca that their Covid-19 vaccines are 95%-100% effective prove to be woefully misleading, the public is informed that regular booster shots will be required indeterminately to maintain immunity. Meanwhile, the mRNA vaccines are completely ineffective at preventing the infection and spread of new variants.
#7 Deny and Patient Blame for Continuing Adverse Effects $$$$$$$
Perdue spokesmen in Dopesick repeatedly blame the addicts for their illicit behavior, ruining it for everyone else who needs these meds. Post mortem studies however reveal the majority of people dying from Oxycontin are taking it as prescribed.
If you’re having a hard time while taking or getting off of Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan, or Valium, you’re likely to be labeled an addict, even if you’re not abusing the drug. Those who speak out about the dangers of psych meds are repeatedly told by the psychiatric industry to stop “pill shaming” those who need them. Also in an astounding turnabout, patients are gaslighted and told that the chemical imbalance theory is an urban myth and their doctors never actually told them they had one.
As for the pandemic blame game, let’s keep this simple: It’s the fault of the unvaccinated, the unmasked, and Joe Rogan.
#8 After Lawsuits and Years of Dismissed Patient Reports the FDA Backtracks and Revises Warning Labels $$$$$$$$
Oxycontin finally receives a black box warning in 2001. Lawsuits ensue, but history shows that despite payouts, drug companies actually make even more sales and more money post-litigation. After all, what’s a 3-4 billion payout when you’re making ten times that much in one year just from one new drug?
After almost 60 years on the market, a Public Citizen Campaign, and a Lisa Ling expose, benzodiazepines finally get a black box warning in 2020. Unfortunately, black box warnings do not generally affect the prescribing practices of medical practitioners and benzodiazepine prescribing actually increases in 2020.
It’s still early in the game, but data integrity issues have already emerged about some Covid-19 vaccines trials. Given that from 1991 to 2015 the pharmaceutical industry paid out 35.7 billion in fraud for its FDA-approved products, it wouldn’t be out of character for new information to emerge during litigation.
#9 Pharma Provides the Cures for the Problems it Creates $$$$$$$$$
Addicted to opiates? You’re not alone. The market for the drug treatment for opiate addiction, Methadone, has increased during the pandemic. And Pfizer seems to be determined to make enormous profits off the effects of the pandemic on the vulnerable as well with its product, Naloxone.
Has this whole pandemic thing made you anxious and depressed? Again, not alone. Prescriptions for tranquilizers spiked 34% in 2020. This is a sharp about-face from the 12.1% decline in Xanax and Valium prescriptions in 2015 and 2019. Not to mention, the global antidepressant market skyrocketed to $26.25 billion. Apparently, the pandemic is really good for the drug business, if not so good for your mental health.
And finally, are you worried about catching Covid-19? Never fear, the FDA has now issued two new emergency use authorizations for the new Covid-19 pills from Merk and Pfizer. Given that the Wuhan lab leak theory continues to gain credibility in every major news source, it’s more than a little ironic that the name of the disease is included alonsgide the cure by the company that created and by “it” I mean . . . the Covid-19 . . . pill.
So What Now?
Well, in some ways, given that the pharmaceutical industry is one of the most powerful entities on earth, it may feel like we need some kind of divine intervention at this point. And while that may be true, it is also true that the only reason these companies have any wealth and power is that we, you and I, give it to them. If we all stopped buying pharmaceuticals today, they would lose their power. I know, I know. That’s not realistic for many right now. But I work every day with people who were told they needed to take medications the rest of their lives, who believed they’d rather die than stop taking their meds. And yet somehow, every day I see these same people successfully extricate themselves from the system that they were trapped in just a few years ago. It is possible! It’s also really hard! And while it requires a complete paradigm shift, usually this starts with one small step.
Look, at the end of the day, you get to decide where you want to go from here. I’m just pulling on one thread of this intricate web to show you that there really is a pattern, it does exist, and it’s getting bigger and bigger. For me, the pandemic is just next-level Big Pharma tactics. And I’m telling you, unless something happens to alter the design, we will continue to see them take it to the next level and the next until . . . well, you’ve probably already read all the dystopic novels and seen the all movies. You don’t need me to paint that picture for you!
So what kind of a future do you want? What is that going to take for you? Maybe all it requires is acknowledging that we all need to start placing more faith and trust in a higher power, higher than even the pharmaceutical industry, the governments they lobby, and the medical field they radically influence. Maybe it means listening more and more each day to that inner wisdom that tells us the way we are living is what’s making us sick, and more of the same isn’t the cure. And mabe that will require a little sacrifice, or maybe a lot.
And maybe it’s worth it.
To be, or not to be, that is the questionWilliam Shakespeare, “Hamlet”