Pfizer, according to a Washington Post article this week, ignored evidence a drug it makes and markets, Enbrel, had promise against a terrible scourge, Alzheimer’s.
The story, by Christopher Rowland, has a dramatic lede; “A team of researchers inside Pfizer made a startling find in 2015: The company’s blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis therapy Enbrel, a powerful anti-inflammatory drug, appeared to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 64 percent.”
The thrust of the story is that Pfizer — heartless capitalists that they must be — shut down this promising lead in the race to solve the riddle of Alzheimer’s because they are either too cheap to invest in a new trial, and/or they were unwilling to go forward with a drug they knew was coming off patent soon. Both of these things are probably true and probably did influence their thinking at Pfizer but the article actually quotes a doctor explaining that US patent law does NOT handle this situation well, or at all, undercutting the article’s main thesis. This lack of logic does not surprise me, the Washington Compost has been off the mark these last 2 years, I suspect lead in the water down there.
Pfizer, like almost every other big company in the world, is responding to the anti-trust and IP environment they are in, nothing else. When it was legal to own slaves, people did so. It isn’t legal now and the practice is almost eradicated. Corporations behave legally, in the main, because to do otherwise, would hurt profits.
US anti-trust and patent law and/or Intellectual Property law (IP) should work hand in hand to help companies make money and bring innovation to the consumer, without allowing them to rape the consumer. Our laws currently are very one-sided and neither encourage innovation or protect the consumer. How can this be you ask? Corporations can own the media,, so they do. Corporations have also been allowed to consolidate the media, so they did. Corporations have been allowed to own the town square (Facebook, Google, Youtube) so not only have they done so, without regulation, they have also consolidated ownership in that sector to further compound the problem.
Currently, our legal system does not prevent any of this.
If we the people do not address anti-trust soon, we may never be allowed too, as the media clowns currently in charge, use algorithms, de-platforming and the suppression of supposed “hate speech” to make sure the American public will NEVER again get the chance to have a robust debate about these all-important topics of; Anti-trust, IP reform, Free Speech protections and a wholesale reversal of the bad laws which encourage media consolidation.
Taken together, these topics — which are closely interrelated — are the greatest threat to democracy as we know it — since communism reared its murderous head.
Things like the Pfizer catastrophe (and it is a catastrophe) happen, not because Pfizer is led by evil corporate entities without relatives and/or beating hearts, but because the law carefully controls how these corporations can make money and that law is a disfigured mess of conflicting rules laid down by a corrupt Congress ignorant of economic law. Although always ignorant and corrupt, Congress used to have to answer to the press and this somewhat balanced the scales. Now Congress takes PAC money and support, nearly unlimited donations, bribes, and sweetheart deals from the same corporate lobbyists representing the same industries they regulate, which are coincidentally owned by the same corporations congratulating the lawmakers for those law changes on their wholly owned media subsidiaries. It would be comical if it weren’t so f**king dangerous.
It’s hard to believe the newspapers and TV only talk about whether or not Trump is a Russian agent and/or a racist, while all this is going on. Actually hard to believe, I thought Americans were much smarter than this.
This recipe for disaster has always existed, of course, it was just counter-balanced by a media and newspaper corp, eager to expose these issues because that was the path to fame and fortune on the old press side of the ledger. Congress, the courts, local and state government — ALL of these entities — have recently found themselves conveniently unaccountable, however, to this new media paradigm, where the press is owned by the same corporate interests — already corrupting them through the PAC’s, the $ donations, the persistent lobbying, the overt bribes, and lastly, the golden parachute career placements.
Five hundred thousand (five hundred thousand!!) new Americans get Alzheimer’s every year, my stepdad died of it, and I can tell you firsthand, it’s a horrible, soul-crushing experience to go through that with a family member.
Every time I forget the name of something now, or where I put my keys, (I’m 59) I have a little electric jolt of fear run through me.
Our patent laws are awful, contradictory, and seemingly were designed by communist planners, not free market advocates who understand how to channel the underlying market forces toward positive results rather than attempting to dictate to the market, exactly how it will perform.
This type of WaPo trash article is part what’s wrong with America as much as what Rowland was writing about is, although I doubt he understands that. We are being misinformed by stooges like Jeff Bezos, the Washington Post’s owner, that have no idea what they are talking about. Pfizer isn’t run by men and women any more evil than Bezos himself, I assure you, just people who can’t research, market and sell their products into a market place — with sensible anti-trust and IP laws.
The article surprises me in one big way though, the mere fact that is was written at all was a surprise. The corporate bigwigs at Pfizer must have made Jeff Bezos, the mad king who owns the Compost, somehow furious — in order for this story, which never once mentioned what a racist president Trump is, to make their piece-of-shit story list.