Column, 299 words

You Don’t Matter to Drugmakers

Big pharma executives are going all out to paint themselves as the good guys — just not to you.

Jim Hightower

If you wonder why Congress critters keep ignoring what the people want them to do — while doing things that people don’t want them doing — take a peek at the unique PR campaign now being run by the pharmaceutical industry.

The public is dismayed and disgusted by the flagrant greed of drugmakers that are shamefully zooming the prices of medicines into the stratosphere, turning necessities into unaffordable luxuries. As a result, there’s a growing demand for Congress to take action to stop the industry’s out-of-control price gouging.

To counter this, drug companies have launched a massive advertising campaign. They’re running ads on radio, in print, and on Facebook and Twitter painting themselves as the good guys.


Images Money / Flickr

Yet you probably haven’t seen or heard any of them. That’s because drug chieftains don’t care what you and I think. Moreover, they know they couldn’t possibly persuade us to let them keep jacking up their prices.

Instead, their “public” relations effort has made the odd and seemingly counterproductive move of sidestepping the actual public to narrowly target a very tiny audience.

As Celgene executive Bob Hugin arrogantly put it: “We’ve identified 7,000 Americans who matter.” The other 330 million of us, apparently, are nobodies.

“We’re focusing on those in policy positions,” Hugin sniffed, “to fight structural issues.” By that, he means convincing Congress not to reform the present pricing structure of monopolistic drugmakers, whose guiding corporate ethic is “bleed ’em for all they’ve got.”

So this is a surreptitious PR campaign meant to reach only the eyes and ears of policy elites. The goal is to have Congress — once again — ignore what the people want it to do, thus allowing the corporate few “who matter” to keep fleecing the rest of us.

OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s the editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown.

  • dano2112a

    Come the revolution…….

    • themidniteskulker

      I’m afraid the revolution won’t be very pretty, since the predatory well-heeled had their stooges in the various legislatures legalize carrying guns in your coat pocket and using them to kill people with no penalty. I think it’s pretty obvious the Zimmerman verdict was a victory for Chuck & Dave Koch, et al. It looked wrong, that verdict, especially when every one of the jurors said they thought Zimmerman guilty, but under the law as it’s written they had to acquit him. Does that sound like a plutocrat-friendly law to you? IT does to me.

  • jstsmlbrlcnsrvtvguy

    might be interesting to get a look at some of this PR campaign’s ads or other promotional materials. …am picturing suitcases stuffed with cash