Our healthcare system is broken, a fact nobody would have disputed in precovid days. Regulatory capture is a reality, and the pharmaceutical industry is fraught with examples. Yet we trusted private-public partnerships to find an optimal solution to a global pandemic, assuming a crisis would bring out the best in historically corrupt institutions. Here is a brief list of less-than-savory behavior demonstrated by our titans of healthcare: Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson plead guilty to “misbranding with the intent to defraud or mislead” and paying “kickbacks to health care providers to induce them to prescribe [their] drugs,” resulting in fines of $2.3 billion in 2009 and $2.2 billion in 2013, respectively. Pfizer settled another lawsuit for “manipulating studies” and “suppressing negative findings” just a few years later. Moderna has never developed an approved drug, yet one of their board members was placed in charge of Operation Warp Speed. This certainly is unrelated to the fact that they received the most federal vaccine research and development funding and have received over $6 billion from our government since the start of the pandemic. Gilead Sciences paid $97 million in fines, because it “illegally used a non-profit foundation as a conduit to pay the Medicare co-pays for its own drug.” In 2005, AstraZeneca’s drug Crestor was shown to be linked to a life-threatening muscle disease while the company withheld evidence of this and two dozen other effects from the public. In 2012, GlaxoSmithKline paid $3 billion in fines, as it “failed to include certain safety data” relating to their drug, since labeled as connected to heart failure and attacks.
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