The Top 5 Similarities and Practices Between Big Tobacco and Big Pharma

Briefcase-with-CashMarco Torres, Prevent Disease
Waking Times

Tobacco companies and pharmaceutical companies share so many commonalities and industry practices, that it is quite difficult to deny their ideological similarities. Besides the fact that both have used medical doctors to push their products, here are 5 other examples.

1. They both keep harmful findings of their products from the public.

Manufacturers from both Big Tobacco (BT) and Big Pharma (BP) deny the presence of any danger in their products and even spend millions of dollars trying to discredit the research that points to problems.

BT knew that cigarette smoke contained radioactive alpha particles for more than four decades and developed “deep and intimate” knowledge of these particles’ cancer-causing potential, but they deliberately kept their findings from the public. UCLA researchers elaborate.

BP routinely prevents both physicians, public health agencies and the public itself from discovering the true harm of pharmaceuticals. As just one example of many, Merck was successfully sued for millions for withholding critical data about heart attacks in landmark trials involving the now-banned cox-2 inhibitor, Vioxx.

One of the most critical elements which defines the toxicity potential of vaccines are its pharmacokinetic properties. BP refuses to consider the study, analysis or evaluation of the pharmacokinetic properties of any vaccine ingredients or excipients. This means that the bodily absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion of ingredients within the vaccine are not known or even considered in safety assessments.

  • 2. They both create fraudulent tests and arrange clinical trials by paying researchers to produce desired results.

    The incentive for researchers to fabricate data on behalf of BT and BP has always been enormous. Researchers have earned millions from drug research. And they know all too well that if they don’t produce the desired data, the loss of future work is inevitable. Unfortunately, because of secrecy, most fraud in clinical trials is unlikely to be detected.

    Ghost writers are commonly commissioned by drug companies to produce ghost studies. Six of the top medical journals published a significant number of articles written by ghostwriters. BT employed the same tactics in the 1950s for scientific and public acceptance of cigarettes. Who Really Writes Scientific Studies?

    One in seven scientists says that they are aware of colleagues having seriously breached acceptable conduct by inventing results. And around 46 per cent say that they have observed fellow scientists engage in “questionable practices”, such as presenting data selectively or changing the conclusions of a study in response to pressure from a funding source.

    3. They both target Hollywood and children.

    The study published in the health journal Tobacco Control, said cigarette companies aggressively pursued product placement in films in the 1980s and “undertook an extensive campaign to hook Hollywood on tobacco by providing free cigarettes to actors.” The study reviewed more than 1,500 previously secret, internal tobacco industry documents made public through the 1998 tobacco settlement.

    BT also used cartoon characters such as Joe Camel and Popeye candy cigarettes to market to the youngest of generations to ease their progression into real cigarettes once they became adolescents.

    BP is constantly incorporating pharmaceutical products and vaccines in film and television at every turn. For example pro-vaccine propagandas such as “Contagion — a fast-paced thriller about a deadly pandemic that sweeps across the world, killing millions as scientists race to find a vaccine. The movie has been hailed by pro-vaccine advocates, with Dr. Ward Robinson, medical director of the Guilford County Department of Public Health, saying that if anything, viewers should realize the importance of being vaccinated.”

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services routinely incorporates the message of their pharmaceutical masters through animated films and cartoons.

    4. They both have ties to organized crime.

    It’s estimated that about one in every three cigarettes exported worldwide is sold on the black market. This enormous business is operated through a web of offshore companies and banking institutions that often employ the same routes and distributors.

    Investigations have shown
     that the tobacco manufacturers funnel massive amounts of their brand name cigarettes into smuggling networks, often employing circuitous routes in an apparent attempt to shield themselves from accusations of wrongdoing. Distributors and manufacturers work hand-in-hand to feed this market. But, in some cases, the manufacturers have worked directly with organized crime figures.

    “The role of international pharmaceutical companies in the evolution of the international narcotics trade is very significant” as stated in Alfredo Schulte-Bockholt’s book The Politics of Organized Crime and the Organized Crime of Politics. “Not only did the industry actually create new and more powerful drugs such as heroin, it spread addiction through their global export. In addition, pharmaceutical companies not only continued their practices after drugs were recognized as harmful but made every effort to evade regulation and detection in order to profit from their sales as long as possible, even when their own national governments had signed and implemented legislation criminalizing the production and export of narcotics unless strictly controlled. Finally, while pharmaceutical companies no longer participate in the actual production of illicit narcotics, they continue to profit from involvement in criminal economies by providing the precursor chemicals necessary to produce drugs.”

    5. They’re both permitted by government to continue to sell harmful products simply by publishing warning data.

    It’s the same old story for both industries, historically and in present day. Once an insider emerges, seemingly with scientific evidence or proof that their products are dangerous to human health, both industries are always permitted to continue selling them as long as they publish warning data about the product. They then continue to maintain that the product itself is safe for use. Lawsuits against the product’s manufacturers are filed, but most are dismissed because of warning data. Industry analysts know that any case that does succeed could start a domino effect of future lawsuits, which keeps the industry determined to maintain that the product is harmless, despite increasing evidence to the contrary. BT is an excellent example with their graphic labeling systems on cigarette packages, but BP is setting a whole new standard with nonsensical ads which would leave any sane person dumbfounded.

    Ok, there is one more that is common knowledge but worthy of mention….

    They both use lobbyists to control politics and public opinion.

    The pharmaceutical lobby is an industry that has no less than 1,274 registered lobbyists in Washington D.C. alone and spent around $900 million on lobbying between 1998 and 2005, more than any other industry. Big pharma lobbied on at least 1,600 pieces of legislation between 1998 and 2004.

    There are far more financial incentives than most realize, including funds from Congress at the behest of pharmaceutical lobbyists, for FDA and CDC personnel to forge relationships with the drug and vaccine makers.

    Most tobacco lobbyists work for both health and tobacco organizations and have real individual conflicts of interest. Such lobbyists are not likely to lobby on behalf of health organizations for any tobacco use reduction measure for fear of offending their tobacco employer.

    Five of the ten largest lobbying firms in Washington, D.C. represent the world’s deadliest drug pushers.

    About the Author

    Marco Torres is a research specialist, writer and consumer advocate for healthy lifestyles. He holds degrees in Public Health and Environmental Science and is a professional speaker on topics such as disease prevention, environmental toxins and health policy. 

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