July 19, 2019

Given the current spate of articles, videos, and tweets misrepresenting my views about medicine and pharmaceuticals, I’d like to clarify a few things.

I’m a modern woman, and of course I go to the doctor. Of course I take pharmaceuticals when they’re called for, and I am as grateful as anyone for the advances of modern medicine.

I do not judge pharmaceuticals, and I do not judge anyone who uses them - including for depression.

What I do criticize - and I cannot understand why anyone wouldn’t - is predatory practices on the part of big pharmaceutical companies. With Attorneys General all over the country now indicting pharmaceutical company executives for their role in helping to create the opioid crisis through the over-manufacture and over-prescription of painkillers, it is naive to assume that in every other area of potential multi-billion dollar profits, Big Pharma is simply the purveyor of pure intentions and concern for the common good.

In the absence of adequate independent governmental regulation - which in too many cases does not exist (there are two pharmaceutical lobbyists for every member of Congress, plus the pharmaceutical industry lobbies Congress with twice the money spent by fossil fuel companies  - in 2018 alone, Big Pharma lobbied Congress to the tune of $282M, and Oil and Gas at $125M) - it is left to the people ourselves to ask reasonable questions.

Yet this is not an easy time in America to ask reasonable questions; anyone who dares to do so risks being deemed unreasonable by those under the sway of the strongly propaganda-backed idea that we can simply count on our corporate overlords - in this case, Big Pharma - to have our best interests at heart. That’s no matter how much scientific review is paid for by Big Pharma, while independent research is suppressed; no matter how many millions of dollars are spent on TV advertising by Big Pharma, including on our mainstream news media; and no matter how many billions of dollars stands to be made by an industry ruled more by profit than by conscience.

So here we are. Healthy skepticism toward Big Pharma is not irresponsible; it is deeply responsible. And in a free and open society, a discussion of the facts wherever they may lead us should be the goal of all public discourse.