By WC Douglass, MD
With Big Pharma raking in billions off swine flu fears, the last thing they need is a government handout.
Yet Uncle Sam is busy playing Daddy Warbucks with YOUR lunch money, helping Swiss drugmaker Novartis open a new vaccine plant in North Carolina. You've generously contributed around $700 million to help Novartis build their shiny new drug factory -- $220 million three years ago, and $486 million this year.
And I'll bet you didn't even get a thank-you card.
In return for this bad investment in a foreign company, the U.S. government gets the right to PURCHASE vaccine for 17 years. Not only that, but these vaccines will be created using a new and unproven biotech method that relies on dog kidneys instead of chicken eggs.
In other words, this plan really is a dog.
I'm a doctor, not an economist. But if this is someone's idea of stimulus, you do the math: The plant now employs 191 people making an average of $50,000 per year. At that rate, it would take around 75 years for the government money put into this joint to make its way back into our own economy.
Slice off a few years if you believe them when they say they'll ultimately employ 350 people when the plant is fully operational in 2013 -- in any case, it'll be decades before Americans ever see that cash again.
But don't worry -- I'm sure somewhere, a poor Swiss ski resort is hosting a group of free-spending Novartis executives.
Maybe they'll be joined by their yodeling friends at the World Health Organization. A report at World Net Daily says at least three of the WHO's top flu "experts" have financial ties to vaccine makers.
That sure explains a lot.
Meanwhile, anyone who doubts that money is the real driving force behind swine flu fears only needs to check out Business Week magazine.
A recent headline there tells whole story by itself: "How Big Pharma Profits from Swine Flu."
Careful there, Business Week. That kind of thinking would have gotten you branded a radical conspiracy theorist just a few months ago!
Just check out these big paydays off swine flu vaccine sales:
$1.7 billion for GlaxoSmithKline
$700 million for Novartis
$500 million for Sanofi-Aventis
Those figures are for the fourth quarter of 2009 alone -- analysts expect them to grab similar piles of cash for the first quarter of 2010 as everyone from President Obama to Santa Claus push these needless vaccines on you and your children.
Business Week also notes that vaccine sales are booming just in time: Patents on prescription drugs worth a combined $135 billion in annual sales are about to expire... with no new meds ready to replace them.
And that means you can expect another phony swine flu scare any moment now.
That's not the only sickening swindle. Keep reading for the latest on Tamiflu...
Hide and seek with Big Pharma
Get ready for some more flu funny business -- except you won't be laughing when you hear about this one.
Drug giant Roche is being accused of hiding key data from eight unpublished studies on its flu drug, Tamiflu... and, as a result, researchers now say there's no evidence that the drug can reduce the risk of flu complications such as pneumonia.
What are they hiding? Who knows -- but you don't lock the smartest and most attractive kids in the attic.
The Cochrane Collaboration tried to update their earlier review of the research -- but the company demanded a confidentiality agreement in exchange for access to those eight shady studies.
I'm thrilled to say the researchers told Roche where to stick that agreement. Too bad that kind of integrity is all too rare.
In an editorial that accompanied the new review in the British Medical Journal, editor Fiona Godlee tore into the company. She wrote that the studies originally used to back Tamiflu were written by Roche employees and consultants, and that one researcher named in a study even claimed no involvement in the project.
Shady? You bet. Surprising? Not at all.
It's par for the course when it comes to Big Pharma.
So here's about all those researchers can say about Tamiflu now: It could reduce flu symptoms by about a day.
And here's what I can tell you about this dangerous drug: Its side effects include nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and diarrhea. Some patients experience severe allergic reactions, confusion, bizarre behavior, hallucinations, seizures, fever, sore throat and more.
Some of these reactions are far more common than anyone wants to admit -- especially in children, as I've warned you before.
Worth it? You decide -- but I think you're better off investing in another box of tissues and that extra day of rest.
Never feeding the flu fears,
William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.