Big Pharma

Some Hard Truths about the Pharmaceutical Industry

13 July 2021


American historian Daniel J. Boorstin once said that “the greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance; it is the illusion of knowledge.” These words ring particularly true when we consider the behaviour of the pharmaceutical industry, or ‘Big Pharma’.

Over the past two years, two whistleblowers have been willing to speak up in the face of Big Pharma’s behaviour. They have brought to light the prevalence of ghost-writing; corrupt partnerships between Big Pharma and the scientific academy; and even the suppression of alternative treatments for the sake of profit.

The first whistleblower is Dr. Peter A McCullough, a medical expert who has published over 1,000 academic papers. He recently testified before the Texas Senate Health and Services Committee, highlighting how one of the most critical weapons against the spread and damage of COVID-19 is early treatment. Early treatment can prevent hospitalisation, further illness, and even death.


In the American Journal of Medicine, Dr. McCollough stated:

“Sources of real-word data suggest early ambulatory sequenced multidrug therapy is associated with ~85% reductions in morbidity and mortality due to COVID-19 with no signals of harm.”

Addressing recent public statements by Dr. McCollough, The Defender has reported:

McCullough said, “What frustrated me, was in the media cycle, all we heard about was reducing spread, and then later on vaccination. We never actually heard about treating sick patients.”

Had there been more of a focus on treating sick patients, said McCullough, early treatment could have prevented up to 85% of COVID deaths. Instead, he said, there’s an “incredible suppression of early treatment in the medical literature” for COVID.

McCullough highlights the “Surgisphere scandal” in which The Lancet published a fake paper by a sketchy U.S. company called Surgisphere that falsely implied hydroxychloroquine could harm people hospitalized with COVID.


Dr. Leemon McHenry has also been willing to speak up against Big Pharma abuses. Dr. McHenry is Emeritus Professor in Philosophy and Bioethics at California State University. He has identified one of the greatest problems with most of the pharmaceutical research that is being conducted:

The pharmaceutical industry is manufacturing all of these medical journal articles behind the scenes for basically marketing purposes. I was astounded, because I had this enormous trust in medical journals. You have to realise that the clinical trial on a blockbuster drug, published in a top medical journal, with the branding of a key opinion leader — that key opinion leader’s university affiliation is worth an enormous amount of money in terms of confidence.


In his recent book, The Illusion of Evidence-Based Medicine: Exposing the Crisis of Credibility in Clinical Research, Dr. McHenry goes into great depth analysing the ubiquity of these problems.

Ignorance might be bliss, but this ignorance will come at a price. Sooner or later, there will be consequences for any society that builds itself upon ‘the illusion of knowledge’, as Boorstin warned. We do well to heed that warning and call Big Pharma to account.

[Photo by Prasesh Shiwakoti (Lomash) on Unsplash]

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  1. Marilyn 13 July 2021 at 11:01 am - Reply

    Thanks James for writing about this.

    • James Jeffery 13 July 2021 at 2:25 pm - Reply

      You’re welcome! Thanks for taking the time to read it Marilyn.

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