Watch TV, and commercial after commercial promises utopian health with visuals of blissful citizens feeling refreshed, renewed and energetic after taking prescription medicine. Ignore the small print scrolling across the screen, please, that by law must list the many adverse reactions for these products, sometimes even death.
Did you know that the United States along with only one other country, New Zealand, allows drug companies to market to consumers? And did you know that the annual budget for marketing to the public is in the billions? It doubled in the past eight years alone to $6 billion, according to Medical Marketing and Media. Even an exponentially bigger chunk of pie is directed at healthcare providers. Fiscal spending on medical marketing to healthcare providers, is in fact, up to eight times that directed at the public, according to the Washington Post. This type of financial stimulus leaves the consumer at the mercy of health professionals who, following the money trail, may not necessarily have the public’s best interest in mind.
Did you know that our country’s government officials are also not above having their hands in Big Pharma’s pockets? Locally, the drug industry gave over $13,000 in campaign funding to 21 lawmakers in Hawaii in 2019-2020 (https://www.statnews.com/feature/prescription-politics/state-level-examination/):
J. Kalani English (D): $500 Pfizer
Nadine K Nakamura (D): $100 Pfizer
Sylvia Luke (D): $1,000 Pfizer
Ty Cullen (D): $500 Pfizer
Glen Wakai (D): $100 Pfizer
Gil Coloma Keith-Agaran (D): $500 Pfizer
Daynette (Dee) Morikawa (D): $500 Pfizer
Nicole Lowen (D): $100 Pfizer
Ronald Dan Kouchi (D): $1,000 Pfizer
Della Au Bellatti (D): $1,000 Pfizer
Donavan Dela Cruz (D): $800 Pfizer
Clarence K Nishiihara (D): $200 Pfizer
Rosalyn Hester (Roz) Baker (D): $1,000 Merck, $1,000 Pfizer
Roy M. Takumi (D): $1,000 Merck, $250 Pfizer
Scott Saiki (D): $1,000 Pfizer
Scott Y. Nishimoto (D): $500 Pfizer
Bertrand (Bert) Kobayashi (D): $300 Pfizer
Michelle Kidani (D): $250 Pfizer
Linda Ichiyama (D): $250 Pfizer
John Mizuno (D): $1,000 Merck, $500 Pfizer
With the fallout from COVID ubiquitously affecting every aspect of public life, the matter of medical funding carries extreme consequences and urgency. Are we on the edge of being mandated a vaccine because our health providers and politicians really care, or because it increases their retirement funds? Is media fair and balanced in the matter of healthcare, or are they only as balanced as their growing bank accounts?
What advocacy for personal health rights does the common citizen have when drug money is being showered on our media, and our medical facilities with a little something-something thrown to our politicians as well?