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Some data for the role of multinationals in medicine


E-mail :international@pamehellas.gr   http://www.pamehellas.gr






Some data for the role of multinationals in medicine



The sector of medicine exemplifies the capitalist development path, the monopolies’ dictatorship and the negative consequences of this on people’s lives.



The “medicine” commodity and the development of multinational colossuses


  • The U.S. and U.K. produce the 78% of the world medicines production. The massive production and the use of new drugs and vaccines led the pharmaceutical companies into a powerful position thus gaining enormous wealth from the rapid growth and sale of their products. Human health is referred as “the most profitable commercial investment”.
  • In the nineties, the commercialization of genetic technologies led to massive upheavals in the sectors of seeds, agrochemicals, and drugs as well the emergence of colossuses, the “life sciences”, such as the Monsanto and the pharmaceutical company Novartis. Today, the new technologies of synthetic biology are connected to a new wave of mergers, acquisitions and partnerships within the framework of the economy of biomass with the colossuses of energy and chemicals such as Dow, DuPont, Shell and Exxon. Chevron and Total have signed  strategic alliances with the colossuses of seeds, logging and grain such as Monsanto, Cargill, Bunge, Weyerhaeuser and ADM. In the heart of these alliances are the new companies of synthetic biology such as Life Technologies Inc, Amyris, Solazyme and Evolva that are being promoted to major roles in the sectors of food, energy, medicines and chemicals.



Financial Data – Profitability


  • Among the 500 most profitable multinational companies on the planet, the 10 richest pharmaceutical companies hold the top positions. It has been reported that their earnings exceed the sum of the profits of the remaining 490,an amount that it reaches the 40 billion dollars.
  • Every year, the pharmaceutical companies spend globally up to 11 billion dollars for the promotion of their products.
  • They annually spend - mainly from the so-called developed countries of the Western World – trillions of dollars and euros on new research, applications and methods in medicine that multinationals are exploiting in the final stage of production and supply in order to reap huge profits.
  • The percentage of the 10 largest companies in the world that is spent on research and development is 11% - 14% while they spend for the supply of their products and the administrative costs 35% of their revenues on average and not on the production of the products.
  • The close relationship between doctors and pharmaceutical companies has a direct effect on prescribing and polypharmacy. From the 11 billion dollars that are spent every year for the promotion of their products, they give 5,5 billion as benefits to doctors through medical salespeople. It is estimated that every year an amount from 8.000 to 13.000 euro has been spent per doctor in every country of the world! 
  • The pharmaceutical companies overcharge the raw materials (transfers services) usually in Cypriot companies, with which they share the price difference.
  • A British multinational of medicine has its computing centers in India while it makes charges for the use of computing centers and software which are the same for all EU countries. So, if a country exchanges information with another country it will not show the difference, although in many cases these charges should be 3-4 times lower.



Profits of the 7 largest pharmaceutical companies on the planet in 2011 and the variation of the profits compared to 2009




Position in the list of the 500 largest companies in the world

Percentage change in profits between 2011/2009










Sanofi – Aventis









Eli Lilly





Profit is a sole criterion – the needs and the right of peoples to medicine are set aside



The multinationals of medicine can control internationally the health care systems, they can prevent the independent production and chemical or natural drug use, claiming their “intellectual property” on the “patentability” of their chemical formulations.


  • The EU through the “Free Trade Agreement” (FTA) that proposes in India, it seeks to inhibit the India’s generic drug companies from making drugs at extremely low prices – that are aimed at serving the needs of the poorest people – with the pretext and the judicial vesting requirement of patent rights from the multinational pharmaceutical companies – colossuses. Pressure for the achievement of the “Free trade Agreement” exerts the multinational pharmaceutical Novartis, which asserts intellectual property rights for a modified anticancer drug. In N.Delhi there were protests against this agreement but the Western media concealed the issue.
  • In May 2010, thousand of diabetics in Greece remained “hostage” to the Nova Nordisk company due to the withdrawal of 17 products with its representatives invoking the “dramatic reduction” in prices. A few months ago, multinational drug companies refused to provide hospital with anti-cancer drugs unless they were paid in cash. Roche Hellas S.A. suspended the supply of NHS hospitals with pharmaceutical products, that were manufactured and imported in Greece exclusively by this company, products that are necessary to combat and treat serious diseases such as cancer (Herceptin, Avastin, Xeloda),. They justified their decision by saying that the payment terms and the prompt repayments of the debts by hospitals and funds were not applied.
  • The Britain company Glaxo Smith Kline and the Swiss Roche work with the European authorities on emergency plans concerning the supply with specific drugs in case Greece returns to the Drachma.
  • Companies such as: Bayer Hellas S.A., Leo Pharma Hellas S.A., Abbot Hellas S.A., Nycomed Hellas S.A. and Novartis S.A. act in parallel, they made unilaterally changes, for the worse, of the terms of their credit policy towards pharmaceutical wholesalers, suspending the so far granted credit for the payment of their invoices, establishing either a cash payment or even payment by remittance in advance.


The labour “paradise” of multinationals of medicine


  • In May 2010, the multinational pharmaceutical companies in Greece proceeded to dismissals of the 25% of their workers without any reduction in drug prices or imposed any significant change in the Memorandum I. Reduction of workforce are also made globally (PFIZER, ROCHE).
  • The multinational company Bristol Myers Squibb proceeded to dismissals of 55 workers this summer while simultaneously it closes the medicine sector in the Greek market.


The “humanism” and “sensitivity”


  • In 1984, in Bhopal, India, toxic smog of methylisocyanate gas was leaked from the American factory Union Carbide which manufactured batteries and cheap Indian workers were employed. 20.000 people died and unknown number has suffered since then. In October of 2011, we learned that the victims who survived and supposedly were treated at the Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Center, have become unknowingly “Guinea Pigs” upon which multinational pharmaceutical companies test their new drugs, specifically Astra Zeneka. Its representative admitted publicly in a very diplomatic way “In this place of India wasn’t taken in an appropriate manner the consent of patients”. Of course, all this process is being done in exchange for money received by the hospital at the expense of the oblivious patents. This hospital which was built with money as compensation from Union Carbide and supposedly that it would be specialized in high quality treatments to the victims who survived and for research on the long-term consequences in fact was conducted clinical drug trials on 215 patients who were unknowingly victims of the 1984 disaster. According to data that have been adduced to the competent Indian authorities from civil organizations, 3 patients died as a result of the trials: Fondaparinux (cardiology), Tigicycline (gastrointestinal surgery) and Televansin (anesthesiology).
  •  In 2008, the UN with the way that reacts when it comes to powerful, “highlighted” – but did nothing –, that multinational companies have moved a preponderance of clinical drug trials in India that are designated for the European and American market. The powerful Union of Chambers of Commerce of India mentions that the country received more than 1 billion dollars in 2010 through the clinical drug trials on people in comparison to the 200 million that it was in 2009.
  • Last year, the official government of Nigeria filed a lawsuit against the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, asking to be given the amount of 7 billion dollars for experimental drug trials that the company made 11 years ago, in approximately 200 children who were suffered from meningitis. Intermediaries were the “Doctors without borders”. Most of the children who were treated with the experimental antibiotic Trovan presented various and severe side effects such as deafness, vision loss, paralysis, severe brain damage while some of them were died.



Competition and profitability at the expense of the quality of medicine and health – what does “cheap medicine” mean, when this is in the hands of multinationals?


  • Five foreign generic companies, Actavis from Iceland, Mylan and Watson from US , Teva from Israel and Randaxy from India wait on the corner the decision for “prescribing with the active substance” and the cheapest drug choice so as to enter to the generic market in Greece and get a slice of the cake.
  • Teva specializes in the production of very cheap medicines. It is characteristic that it produces active substance in its factories in India, China, Israel, Puerto Rico and Mexico. The same Israeli company has repeatedly preoccupied the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that has found even impure drugs in its factories in a number of cases! Inadequate checks, impurities, black participles of unknown origin, cancellation of checks with negative results and their replacement by other more “convenient”, inadequate scientific studies, pollutions and tangles during the production of medicines, inadequate cleaning of the equipment, these are just some of the findings of FDA’s checks in Teva’s factories. Indeed, the gravity of the findings was such that the US authorities proceeded even to the closure of the company in Missouri, USA!



The improper corruption  in  medicine, as a result of the multinational’s operating activities



  • A high-level executive of the pharmaceutical company DePuy International, a subsidiary of the American colossus Johnson and Johnson, admitted before a British court that it “gave” more than 5 million euros to executives of Greek hospitals as an “incentive” for its company’s preference to orthopedic types supplies. Always, according  to the same reports, the sales in Greece were made through the Medec S.A. company and the sweetener payments were made to the offshore subsidiary account of the Madison Management Ltd Company. The average commission was formed at the 23% of the actual value of the product, however in some cases it reached the 100%. As the high level company executive testified characteristically, who was convicted, in 2002 the prosthetic knee that the company was traded, cost 4.400 for the Greek state in comparison to 2.200 euros that was the cost for other European countries.
  • According to the report of the newspaper “Proto thema”, the Under-secretary of Health, who was placed in this position with the recommendation of Democratic Left (DIMAR), requested with her letter of 24 August 2012 to proceed “immediately” with the issuing of the direct award for the order reagents for the checking of blood units for the West Nile Virus (WNV). The strange thing with this commission is not only its rate, as it reaches the staggering amount of 1.2 million euro, according to the report of “Proto Thema”, but more the fact that the Under-secretary asks to award the order to a particular multinational company and that there is no real reason for this supply, because due to the actions of the Deputy Secretary they had already ensured 20.000 free checks from another company!


Категория: Права человека в области медицины | Добавил: stbudg (14.01.2016)
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