In 1985, an article titled “Glory Days End for Pharmaceuticals” was published in The New York Times. This article examined the increasing levels of competition and legal challenges that the pharmaceutical sector was facing at the time.
According to the information presented in the article, certain businesses could face “staggering liabilities” as a result of these flaws. On the other hand, this prophecy did not come true because the pharmaceutical sector continued its prosperous growth in the years that followed.
A stunning $11.5 trillion in revenue was created by 35 pharmaceutical companies between the years 2000 and 2018, surpassing the income made by other significant public companies during that same time period. Pfizer is a noteworthy illustration of this phenomenon because the company’s annual revenue has surged from $3.8 billion in 1984 to an all-time high of $100 billion in 2022. The COVID-19 pandemic played an important part in this expansion, as the company’s vaccine and items related to COVID-19 accounted for $57 billion of its overall income.
The United States federal government has provided significant financial assistance to the pharmaceutical business. In addition, the government has taken a number of steps to shield pharmaceutical corporations from potential legal challenges. For instance, in reaction to COVID-19, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, invoked the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act in February 2020, which granted medical corporations immunity from responsibility. Pharmaceutical businesses now benefit from this protection, which shields them from the possibility of being held liable in a civil court for monetary damages.
However, this immunity has come at a cost to the populace, who have had to bear the price of developing these products and purchasing vaccines, in addition to being subject to mandates that require them to take mRNA doses. In addition, the purpose of the Seventh Amendment, which provides the right to a jury trial in civil proceedings, is defeated by this immunity. A system in which those who control the regulation and litigation process promote their own interests has been created as a result of the interaction that exists between the pharmaceutical business and the government, in conjunction with the elimination of the right to a trial by jury.
For example, Alex Azar, the man responsible for enacting the PREP Act, formerly served as the president of the United States division of Eli Lilly, during which time he supervised large price rises for pharmaceuticals. There are about 340 people who once worked for Congress and are currently employed by pharmaceutical corporations or lobbying firms representing those industries. White House Counselor Steve Richetti worked as a lobbyist for 20 years prior to joining the Biden administration, representing clients such as Novartis, Eli Lilly, and Pfizer. Scott Gottlieb, the former Commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration, resigned in order to join Pfizer’s Board of Directors.
In conclusion, the current state of the pharmaceutical industry and its relationship with the government raises serious concerns about accountability and fairness in the legal system. These concerns are fueled by the fact that the pharmaceutical industry has a close working relationship with the government. The powerful are able to shelter themselves from accountability and undermine the foundations of a just society by having access to a jury trial denied to them. This is compounded by the fact that there is a revolving door between the pharmaceutical business and the government.