The nation’s pharmaceutical companies have worked very hard to make themselves indispensable to the world’s most medicated society. They have done it by selling cures and treatments for a range of conditions, accenting the positive and downplaying the side effects which, as in the case of opioids, often are catastrophic. Further, they have marketed aggressively and lobbied hard throughout their history to overcome waves of controversy around a host of products. In the beginning, they marketed all manner of narcotics, unregulated at the time, like heroin which Bayer promoted for an array of ills from cold and coughs to asthma and epilepsy. And while safeguards have gotten stronger, according to famed investigative journalist, Gerald Posner, left to their own devices they will over promote, over promise and overmedicate whenever the opportunity presents itself. In his new book, ‘Pharma: Greed, Lies and the Poisoning of America’, he uncovers in vivid detail the fascinating history of this industry and the names that have become synonymous with our lives–like Merck and Pfizer. And we are reminded that for every Jonas Salk, there’s an Arthur Sackler, of the notorious Purdue Pharma company, ready to ride a wave like the pain management focus of the recent period to an unmitigated opioid calamity, all in the pursuit of profit. So where does this history lead us as we await a curative or vaccine from this same industry to find a way out of the coronavirus pandemic in which we find ourselves? And if we are able to conquer this virus, have we prepared ourselves adequately for the many bacterial strains waiting to become the next pandemic? This podcast is riveting. He’s as good a storyteller as he is a journalist and author.
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