Inventing The Dead

Dmitry Kosyrev emailed me today wondering where all the millions of dead smokers come from. He asked:

I want to know how do they count all these dead people in millions.

And I replied:

There are no ‘millions of dead people’. There are no morgues full of dead smokers. In fact, there are no bodies being counted at all.

They are all entirely imaginary dead people, conjured up using mathematics.

Step 1: You get a ‘relative risk’ from some study of children dying from, say, secondhand smoke. A relative risk of 1 is no risk at all, or same risk as everything else. A relative risk less than 1 is safer, and a relative risk greater than 1 is less safe. Let’s suppose that the relative risk is 1.13. That’s a 13% greater risk.

Step 2: 13% doesn’t seem much of an enhanced risk, so you now need the dead bodies. In your country in question, let’s say there are 13.6 million children. If these children have a 13% increased risk of dying due from secondhand smoke, then (here comes the mathematics!) that’s 0.13 times 13600000 = 1768000 dead children. Nearly 1.8 million dead children!!! How shocking!

Step 3: Now that you’ve got 1.8 million dead children (nearly TWO million!) you compare the number with real deaths from road accidents, train crashes, etc. These numbers are of actual dead bodies lying on slabs in morgues. Let’s say that there are 51,200 road accident victims, 2300 air crash victims, 786 drownings. So then you write an article in a newspaper that says that More Children Die Each Year From Secondhand Smoke Than From All Other Causes Put Together. The newspapers won’t check your numbers. Reporters don’t know how to multiply.

Step 4 (optional): You may worry that you’ve got too many dead children. It may seem slightly implausible that nearly 2 million children have died from secondhand smoke. No problem. Just go back to Step 1 and choose a smaller relative risk. Say 1.003. Now 0.003 x 13600000 = 40800. Over 40,000 dead children!!! That’s almost as many people as are killed in road accidents. But a much more plausible-sounding number.

Do you get the idea? If pushed, they’d probably be able to produce studies which show a small relative risk from secondhand smoke, and there probably actually are 13 million children. They can probably back up all their numbers. The deceit is essentially one of passing off projected numbers as being actual measured numbers, or at least leaving people with the impression that they’ve been measured, and that there are millions of dead people lying in morgues with labels tied to their big toes saying “Killed by secondhand smoke”. There aren’t any. In fact there aren’t any with labels saying “Killed by smoking” either.

It’s probably slightly more complicated than this, but this is my understanding of where all the ‘millions of dead people’ come from. If you’re in doubt, ask Michael McFadden. I’m sure he’ll provide a similar explanation…

In retrospect, I could have explained in  a ‘Step 0’ how the relative risks are found.

Step 0: You want to find out how great is the risk to the lives of children from living in a smoking household. First you find a control group of 20 non-smoking households, and find out how many dead children they’ve got buried in their back yards. Let’s say the 20 non-smoking households have got 30 dead children. You then find 20 smoking households, and you find how many dead children they’ve got. Let’s say that they’ve got 31 dead children. So the relative risk to children from living in a smoking household is 31/30 or  1.033, assuming that you’ve controlled for other causes of death like hand guns, kitchen knives, and rolling pins, by ensuring that all households have about equal numbers of these. And there’s your relative risk: 1.033

It’s a bit more complicated than this of course, but essentially this is how the dead are invented. And of course if you can reduce the number of these imaginary dead with smoking bans, then you’re “saving lives”, of course.

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About Frank Davis

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40 Responses to Inventing The Dead

  1. castello2 says:

    Bingo

  2. Tony says:

    I wrote this article on relative risk a couple of years ago and I think it is relevant. Hope you don’t mind my breaching etiquette by posting here Frank.
    http://www.f2c.org.uk/blog/2013/07/14/the-alice-in-wonderland-world-of-risk-factor-epidemiology/

  3. waltc says:

    Sorry to beat a dead horse and this’ll be the last beat:

    @ed, on US arming ISIS (?!)

    Your last link, if I read it right, says the state dept and DIA knew that bengazi was a planned attack. This isn’t news; we know the admin lied about it in the aftermath. The select committee will ,one hopes, use this to damn them

    It Also says we knew, after we knocked off Qadaffi, that stockpiles of “Libyan military equipment” were being shipped to (unidentified) “Syrian rebels.”

    That sounds to me as though badguys in Libya were doing the shipping–shipping Libyan stuff to guys in Syria. Doesn’t say we were doing the shipping; we weren’t there to do it. Did we believe, in our knowledge, that the stuff was being shipped to general anti-assad forces? Did we believe, under Obama’s naive and wishful theory, that even if some of the stuff, shipped by Libyans, was going to the likes of ISIS in Syria that ISIS was in O’s words, junior varsity and of no concern? Obama might well have ordered the DIA and DOD to ignore the whole thing, perhaps because politically it would reveal his and Hillary’s mistake in interfering in Libya to begin with

    I will surely and freely admit that both the US actions and reactions and inactions have been totally even willfully stupid, , but I see nothing there to say we ourselves purposely armed ISIS,

    Again, quote me something in there that I missed or misread. That’s a sincere and open invitation

  4. magnetic01 says:

    There is an account of the CDC’s “Smoking Attributed Morbidity/Mortality and Economic Cost” (SAMMEC) – which spits out the smoking “death toll” we incessantly hear – from page 92 in the book “Rampant Antismoking Signifies Grave Danger” (the book is available for free download here http://www.rampant-antismoking.com ). Any country can make use of the SAMMEC program by inputting, for example, population and estimated number of smokers and, voila, instant “death toll” (and associated “economic cost”).

    Don Oakley (1999), “Slow Burn”, also has a description.(if you can find a free copy).

    I would be very confident that most in Public Health wouldn’t have a clue how the smoking “death toll” (that “exists” in a statistical fantasy world) is arrived at. And I would be very confident that all in government would be clueless.

    There are instances where doctors are putting on death certificates that a particular fatal disease was specifically “caused” by smoking.

    The SAMMEC process is not only a terrible abuse of the flimsy relative risk statistic but it maximally misrepresents information. For example, there is no partitioning of known confounders for particular diseases. So smoking is presented as a singular “cause” for raw RRs. If that’s not bad enough, it gets way worse when it gets to the level of doctors imputing “cause” for a variety of medical conditions. Medical doctors are not trained in the scientific method. They are trained in the clinical method. We know that the “death toll” comes from elevated RRs above a [nonsmoking] baseline. We know that causal attribution, let alone sole causal attribution, is entirely arguable and SAMMEC does not partition for confounders. The result is not only a nonsensical “death toll”, but an inflated, nonsensical “death toll”. I would venture that most, if not all, medicos wouldn’t have a clue what a “baseline” refers to. So, when falsely attributing causal status to smoking in multiple individual cases, this number will be even more inflated because it will also erroneously include the baseline rate for all RRs for specific disease. In other words, smoking will be blamed for every smoker presenting with a specific [“smoking-related”] disease. It just goes from very bad to worse. It’s a circus of incompetence and zealotry, amongst other things, that has produced a dangerous, institution-wide superstition. Remember that these nut cases are also considered “experts”.

    It must be noted that RRs are based on group-level differences that have little-to-no extrapolation value to the individual level. But this doesn’t stop the antismoking nut cases. They are all too willing to attribute causation to smoking in individual cases of disease/death. I’ve even heard of instances where medicos are telling nonsmokers with lung cancer that it was specifically caused by the secondhand smoke that they were exposed to in the lunch room at work all those years ago. There is no information that would allow these sorts of claims to be made in individual cases. At a saner time these sorts of baseless, highly inflammatory claims would have attracted a session before a disciplinary tribunal. Rather, this derangement is now the norm.

  5. Ed says:

    Eh, I’m sorry, but I just linked you to the press room page of the website. As I mentioned in the previous post, they obtained numerous documents and you could have sifted through them all at your leisure if you so wished. I’ve read through quite a few and even though some have been heavily redacted in some areas, you can still glean quite a lot of info from them.
    Here’s the actual document that you seem to keep missing;

    http://www.judicialwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Pg.-291-Pgs.-287-293-JW-v-DOD-and-State-14-812-DOD-Release-2015-04-10-final-version11.pdf

    The document shows that extreme Muslim terrorists – salafists, Muslims Brotherhood, and AQI (i.e. Al Qaeda in Iraq) – have always been the “major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.” This alone should be telling you that there aren’t any “moderate rebels” or *good guys* in Syria.

    The document continues “… there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist Principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime ….”

    In other words, the powers supporting the Syrian opposition – the West, our Gulf allies, and Turkey wanted an Islamic caliphate in order to challenge Syrian president Assad. This in itself is telling you they supported ISIS/ISIL/IS or whatever, from the word go as a way to isolate the Syrian regime.

    The last thing I believe is that Obama is naive! The AQ,their affiliates and the arms were shipped to Syria from Libya via the NATO member, Turkey.

    http://landdestroyer.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/libyan-terrorists-are-invading-syria.html

    Willfully stupid may have included the “accidental dropping” of one or two pallets of arms into ISIS territory (and even that was extremely suspect) but it can’t explain away the billions supplied in covert military aid to the group or it’s affiliates, either directly or through Saudi, Quatari, Jordanian or Turkish proxies.

    So, they knew they were dealing with extremists when;

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/9918785/US-and-Europe-in-major-airlift-of-arms-to-Syrian-rebels-through-Zagreb.html

    and when;

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/21/world/middleeast/kerry-says-us-to-double-aid-to-the-opposition-in-syria.html?_r=0

    and when,

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/cia-begins-weapons-delivery-to-syrian-rebels/2013/09/11/9fcf2ed8-1b0c-11e3-a628-7e6dde8f889d_story.html

    and when;

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/25/world/middleeast/arms-airlift-to-syrian-rebels-expands-with-cia-aid.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    and when;

    http://www.pri.org/stories/2014-04-01/one-toyota-pickup-truck-top-shopping-list-free-syrian-army-and-taliban

    From 2011 onwards, there are dozens of articles like this where the US/UK and allies have been supplying these “moderates”, so the question you need to ask yourself is; if billions in Saudi, Qatari, Jordanian, Turkish, British and American aid has been sent to “moderates,” who has been funding, arming, and equipping ISIS even more? If we are to believe the narrative from the US/UK and allies it truly beggars belief. Just look at how they are billing ISIS in our UK press. ISIS has so many resources at their disposal that they can displace the so called “moderates” in Syria, simultaneously fight the Syrian, Lebanese and Iraqi military forces, then threaten both the national security of Russia and China, while at the same time carry out a global terror campaign!

    A simpler explanation was that there were never any “moderates” and the US/UK and allies went about raising a regional army of sectarian terrorists to fight proxy wars across the region. This was all predicted and warned about, back in 2007, when Pulitzer prize winning journalist, Seymour Hersh wrote this report in the New Yorker, which is well worth a read;

    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/03/05/the-redirection

    Back on topic;

    Thanks Frank, I’ve always wondered how they counted all those dead bodies!

  6. Ed says:

    Just to add a little more info about those good guy “moderate” rebels, here’s a rundown on who they are;

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/freedom-fighters-cannibals-the-truth-about-syria-s-rebels-8662618.html

    Also a bit on the FSA;

    http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/19208

  7. harleyrider1978 says:

    CDC claimed last month American smoking rates had dropped to first 17% and then 2 weeks later to 15% but low and behold look what pops up 4 weeks after their claimed amazing drops in smoking rates:

    Cigarette production hike in U.S. linked to disposable income

    More disposable income could get some smokers back in the habit, experts say

    The U.S. appears to be doing something very odd this year — something it hasn’t done in a decade. It’s putting more money, not less, into tobacco.

    The apparent uptick emerged this week from U.S. government statistics.

    In its latest monthly tally of the manufacture of cigarettes and other smokeables, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau said the U.S. made (or imported from Puerto Rico) a total of 167.7 billion cigarettes for the 12 months ending in July.

    That’s up 2.1 per cent from the 164.1 billion for the same period the year prior.

    There was also an uptick in the production of snuff, though other products such as cigars and chewing tobacco fell.

    If this trend continues through the year, it will add up to the first annual increase in U.S. cigarette shipments since 2006, which saw a bump of less than 1 per cent.

    The numbers led to a report by the Bloomberg news service about the “boon” to investors of high-yield tobacco bonds, which one analyst noted was “a big change” from historical trends.

    Why the change? Some theorize it’s tied to the fall of the price of oil, which has left consumers with more cash on hand at gas stations and convenience stores, where the bulk of cigarette purchases are made.

    Is more disposable income — or by extension, a healthy economy — bad for smoking rates?

    Potentially, according to Rob Cunningham, a senior policy analyst with the Canadian Cancer Society.

    Cunningham says the price and affordability of cigarettes are among the biggest factors that influence whether someone starts smoking or is able to quit — though they take a back seat to the over-riding power of nicotine addiction.

    A rise in disposable income can make smokers less inclined to quit, or even get former smokers back into the habit, he says.

    “Some people, not all, might go back to cigarettes if they quit because of cost, or it reduces the motivation to quit because of cost,” he says.
    ■Tobacco tax hike urged by Alberta health groups

    Price is an even more powerful factor with young people, he says, in part because they have less money, more distractions and products competing for it, and perhaps because many young smokers haven’t developed the same powerful addiction to nicotine as adults.

    The recent push for a higher tobacco tax in Alberta stems from concern that an increase to the province’s minimum wage might drive up youth smoking rates.

    Rates leveling off

    U.S. smoking rates tend to move in step with Canada’s. Rates plunged on both sides of the border through the ’90s and early 2000s, then leveled off around 2008. In 2013, 14.6 per cent of Canadians smoked, according to one study, with daily smokers averaging 13.9 cigarettes per day.

    A recent study by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention put the U.S. smoking rate at 15 per cent.

    David Hammond, a professor at the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo, says he doubts smoking will bounce back.

    “There has been a slowing in the trend [of falling smoking rates],” he says. “But I’ve not seen any indication in the U.S. or Canada that there’s a reversal.”

    Hammond agrees cigarette sales are “sensitive to price,” but adds they’re “somewhat less sensitive than other products.”

    Smoking patterns are “highly stable in an individual once established,” he says. “Very rarely will you see a person smoke one [cigarette] a day, and 15 the next.

    “And most people are trying to get out of it.”

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/tobacco-cigarette-production-1.3263506

    Rates leveling off ROFLMAO……………………..

  8. harleyrider1978 says:

    http://www.dorkingandleatherheadadvertiser.co.uk/New-smoking-ban-welcomed-Surrey-County-Council/story-27940032-detail/story.html?dwrMeth=addComment

    Health bosses back options setting out future of Leatherhead Hospital

    “Passive smoking is a danger anywhere but the risks are heightened in a confined space and this new law is about protecting people from a habit that ruins far too many lives.”

    In Surrey alone more than 1,400 people a year die from medical conditions related to cigarettes, and treatment costs the county about £30 million annually.

    • slugbop007 says:

      I would like to know what this ‘treatment’ is all about. Quebec claims that 10,000 people die of tobacco-related disease every year. They also claim that it costs the government 1 billion dollars. That comes out to 100 thousand dollars per person. What is this so-called treatment that costs so much money? Maybe they should stop treating these people and save themselves a billion dollars a year?

  9. Ann Welch says:

    Frank and magnetic01, I wrote to Health Canada in April 2012 and asked them for the actual number of deaths attributed to smoking and second hand smoke. They replied:

    “The information on smoking attributable deaths on Health Canada’s website are based on calculations using smoking attributable fractions, not actual individual mortality counts. The most recent report (published in 2006) from the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) and is based on data from 2002”.

    To which I replied: Since, as your reply stated, that Health Canada does not track actual individual mortality counts (deaths) from tobacco use, please direct me to the department within the Federal government that does.

    It took several repeated requests but they finally replied with

    “It is not possible to track actual deaths from tobacco use. These data do not exist. It is only possible to label the cause of death (e.g. lung cancer) for an individual based on International Classification of Diseases (ICD). Smoking attributable mortality as a result of increased risk from smoking related diseases are based on estimates. These estimates are calculated for diseases that have been scientifically proven to be caused by smoking by many different studies. For example, 80% to 90% of all lung cancer is attributable to smoking”.

    When I go to the 2006 study that was referred to above it starts with the following disclaimer

    “It is important to note that estimating social costs is not a simple accounting exercise. We do not look at actual dollars spent or at a literal body count in cases where death results in a cost to society. Rather, cost studies are based on well-documented economic theories and assumptions. For this study, in all cases where we could have used different assumptions to estimate costs, we routinely adopted the most conservative approach”.
    http://www.ccsa.ca/Resource%20Library/ccsa-011332-2006.pdf#search=smoking

  10. Ann Welch says:

    Part 1:
    Another problem that I have found is that these “researchers” do not go back and confirm their “projected smoking-attributable deaths” with total deaths. These errors than become quoted in other papers and policies and laws are made based on bad information.

    Back in 2008 I came across “Table 5 Projected age-specific rates of smoking-attributable deaths by age, sex Canada 2000 “ and decided to see if I could test it. It failed so I wrote to one of the authours Dr. Mao who know was working at Public Health Agency of Canada 9 May 2008
    Dear Dr. Mao, I have been study Table 5 from Projected age-specific rates of smoking-attributable deaths by age, sex Canada 2000 for some time and was curious if you have ever gone back to test the hypothesis.

    Maybe I am doing something wrong because when I test the figures, it comes out grossly overstated, so much so, that we would have to bring back the dead to balance it out. I will use the figures for the 60-64 age for Canadian males as an example.

    From chart 5 of smoking-attributable deaths for Canadian males age 60-64 Per/100,000 is 1,292.1
    Total Population for 2000 (1) for Canadian males 60-64 was 614,659 by 100,000 x 1292.1 equals the Smoking-attributable deaths of 7,946. The total deaths for Canadian males age 60-64 in 2000 was 7,607.(2) This leaves a short fall of 339 deaths.

    To this short fall I also have to add the deaths that in no way could be considered smoking related such as:
    Accidents (V01-Z59)(YV5-YO6) 188
    Intentional self-harm (suicide) (X60-X84, Y87.0) 121
    Assault (homicide) (X85-Y09, Y87.1) 10
    Diabetes mellitus (E10-E14) 252
    Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis (K70, K73-K74) 208

    Now bringing the short fall over 1,000.
    I have tested each of the age groups and the figures don’t appear to be close to plausible under the 80- 84 age group.

    Could you please explain this.

    After several more emails I finally heard from Robert Semenciw on November 5, 2008 , who also worked at Public Health Agency of Canada who replied with:

    “Yes, except for perhaps age 85+, the age-specific rates of smoking attributable deaths in Table 5 appear too large. I do not know if the high rates are related to the projection. Dr. Mao will raise this issue with the other authors”.

    • Margo says:

      Excellent!

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      the average age of death is 78.8 years now,falling dead in the middle of their so called smoking related death claims. 78.8 covers everyone no matter the lifestyle lived!

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Lung and Bronchus. Invasive Cancer Incidence Rates and 95% Confidence Intervals by Age and Race and Ethnicity, United States (Table 3.15.1.1M) *†‡

        Rates are per 100,000 persons. Rates are per 100,000 persons.

        Note the age where LC is found…………..OLD AGE group incidence hits the 500/100,000 at age 75-85

        AGE it seems is the deciding factor……….

        http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/uscs/… Cancer Sites Combined&Year=2010&Site=Lung and Bronchus&SurveyInstanceID=1

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          Deaths trended precisely with other states and it didn’t matter if they had higher or lower smoking rates. Showing smoking had NO EFFECT!

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          The ranking goes for all cancer deaths/mortality:

          Per 100,000 population CDC NUMBERS/ smoking rates from tobacco free kids

          Kentucky at 207 Adults in Kentucky who smoke* 29.0% (971,000)

          Miss. 200 Adults in Mississippi who smoke* 26.0% (579,300)

          West Virginia 196 Adults in West Virginia who smoke* 28.6% (420,500)

          Louisianna 196 Adults in Louisiana who smoke* 25.7% (888,300)

          Arkansas 193 Adults in Arkansas who smoke* 27.0% (601,400)

          Alabama 190 Adults in Alabama who smoke* 24.3% (893,100)

          Indiana 187 Adults in Indiana who smoke* 25.6% (1,259,300)

          Maine 186 Adults in Maine who smoke* 22.8% (241,400)

          Missouri 184 Adults in Missouri who smoke* 25.0% (1,149,600)

          Delaware 184 Adults in Delaware who smoke* 21.8% (153,100)

          South Carolina 182 Adults in South Carolina who smoke* 23.1% (831,200)

  11. Ann Welch says:

    Part 2:
    Finally on Aug 10, 2009 (1 year 3 months later) Dr. Mao replies to my email
    Dear Ms. Welch,

    In response to your request, I have discussed the issue with the senior author of the article, Mr. Larry Ellison. Since the work was done 16-17years ago, the original calculations were no longer available for examination. Nevertheless, Larry has checked the methods and data sources, and has assured me that the methods are sound and peer reviewed, and that the data sources are reputable.

    Since the estimations are based on projected parameters, Larry and I felt it is important to discuss with you the principles and applications of the projection. For this piece of work, the projections were based on three assumptions: 1. the mortality trends would continue in the 1990’s, as they had in the 1970/80’s; 2. smoking prevalence rates would continue in the1990’s, as in the 1970/80’s; 3. the relative risk of mortality associated with smoking has not changed. Any estimations based on projected parameters will not be valid if any of the projection assumption were violated.

    Although we have taken no time to conduct a detailed evaluation, we judge that the discrepancies between the estimated values and what you have observed, likely resulted from a projection assumption violation or a combination of the violations, in particular the mortality rate reduction in major chronic diseases and the smoking prevalence rate decrease observed in males. It worth noting that the projections are done for each province and than aggregated to the national total. In some provinces, small numbers could cause large data variation and increase the likelihood that the projected values will differ from the true values.

    Please feel free to e-mail me or call me at (613) 957-1765 for questions and clarification. If it is more convenience, you may provide me you phone number, so I can call you and discuss the issue more.

    Regards
    Yang

  12. harleyrider1978 says:

    http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/prison-smoking-ban-study-prisoners-light-up-soon-after-release-from-jail/story-fneuz9ev-1227565281182

    Jailbirds gasp for a fag on release

    THE vast majority of prisoners banned from smoking in jail light up within days or weeks of being released, a new study shows.

  13. harleyrider1978 says:

    Revealed: how ‘big tobacco’ used EU rules to win health delay

    Cigarette companies pushed EC’s Better Regulation agenda to secure three-year moratorium on plain packaging

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/oct/11/tobacco-eu-delay

  14. garyk30 says:

    Seems to me that there is a ‘probability’ problem when calling deaths ’caused’ by smoking or SHS.

    There are NO diseases that are solely ’caused’ by smoking or only happen to smokers.

    Therefore, you can only come up with a probability of smoking being responsible for a particular death.

    It is said that the RR for lung cancer and heart disease being due to SHS is 1.25.

    There are no particular lung cancers or heart diseases that are unique to SHS exposure.

    So, there can be no lung cancers that are 100% due to SHS.

    A RR 1.25 implies 100 deaths among a non-exposed group and 125 among an equal exposed group.

    The problem is in trying to decide which of those 125 cancers were due to SHS and which were due to other causes.

    Because there are no distinct SHS cancers, one is left with the probability of an individual cancer’s cause.

    100/125 gives an 80% probability of any single cancer being due to the causes of the 100 cancers and not due to SHS and only a 20% probability of SHS being the culprit.

    This would hold true for each and every one of the 25 cancers said to be due to SHS.

    If this is true for each one, it is true for all as a group.

  15. harleyrider1978 says:

    Valeant Pharmaceuticals CEO: We’re in Business of Shareholder Profit, not Helping the Sick

    Martin Shkreli might be the present poster boy for Big Pharma’s psychopathic greed; however, he is only the most public face of a problem that is drawing…

    http://ringoffireradio.com/2015/10/09/valeant-pharmaceuticals-ceo-were-in-business-of-shareholder-profit-not-helping-the-sick/

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Martin Shkreli might be the present poster boy for Big Pharma’s psychopathic greed; however, he is only the most public face of a problem that is drawing increasing scrutiny from lawmakers whose constituents are sick and tired of an industry that is literally murdering people in the name of profits. Recently, the Progressive media turned its spotlight on yet another blood-sucking corporate vampire: J. Michael Pearson, the smirking, self-satisfied CEO of Valeant Pharmaceuticals.

      Pierson’s company is not in the business of curing disease and easing suffering. It exists to make big money for its shareholders, something that Pearson readily acknowledges: “[If] products are sort of mispriced and there’s an opportunity, we will act appropriately in terms of doing what I assume our shareholders would like us to do.” In “acting appropriately,” Valeant has raised the prices on several drugs this year – in some cases, as much as 800%.

      How are they justifying these price increases? We know it doesn’t have one damn thing to do with the cost of research and development, because this is done primarily at public universities at taxpayers’ expense. Nope – what Valeant and other drug companies are doing is setting their prices “based on a range of factors, including clinical benefits and the value they bring to patients, physicians, payers and society.” There is also stated concern about potential competition from generic versions that may come on to the market in coming months.

      The bottom line, however, is that pharmaceutical companies will charge whatever they think they can squeeze out of patients and government programs. It’s a new industry trend, unique to America’s profit-driven health care “system,” which still underlies the Affordable Care Act. Like the vulture Shkreli, Valeant buys up established pharmaceutical companies with older products, then raises the prices to astronomical levels, figuring that insurance companies and programs like Medicare and Medicaid will simply pay whatever they have to.

      The insurance companies won’t. If they do, they will raise their co-pays to levels that patients cannot afford. As for those government programs, it is possible that Valeant and the rest of the industry has finally overreached itself. Price gouging by the pharmaceutical industry is finally getting some attention from Congress. Of course, Bernie Sanders has been on this issue for some time. Now, Sanders’ Democratic colleagues are calling for a formal investigation into Valeant’s pricing practices. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is planning to issue a subpoena for information on recent price increases.

      The ironic aspect here is that, instead of increasing shareholder returns, government scrutiny over those obscene price increases is having the opposite effect. Valeant’s stock price has dropped by 27% since mid-September, partially because of the impending investigation.

      One is reminded of the old German folk tale of The Fisherman’s Wife. Published by the Grimm Brothers in the 19th Century, it tells of a woman for who was never satisfied with her blessings. She demanded more and more – and finally wound up with nothing as a result. Big Pharma has become just like the fisherman’s wife…and its insatiable greed will (hopefully) prove to be its own undoing.

    • slugbop007 says:

      Valeant just bought out two companies this year and automatically raised their prices to ridiculously high levels. When asked why a female spokesperson replied that the stockholders needs came first.

    • beobrigitte says:

      Valeant Pharmaceuticals CEO: We’re in Business of Shareholder Profit, not Helping the Sick

      Great find, Harley!!!

      That does remind me – the other day when out shopping I was approached by a guy wearing a CancerResearchUK T-shirt. He quickly regretted approaching me!!! I only politely asked who he thought was paying CRUK’s Managing Directors’ wages….

      When I walked away this guy approached a man – who was a lot less polite than I was.

      It has gone too quiet in the media about the ‘Charity rip-offs’. ASH is getting worried….

    • beobrigitte says:

      *Priceless* (Even though he failed to explain HOW Corbyn is going to finance his nice plan without getting the Country in even greater debt than Blair and New Labour did)

  16. beobrigitte says:

    Dmitry Kosyrev emailed me today wondering where all the millions of dead smokers come from. He asked:

    I want to know how do they count all these dead people in millions.

    The answer is simple – old people die.

  17. Pat Nurse says:

    I don’t think that they even analyse health impacts that deep, Frank. When they say, for example, that smoking in a car, or home, causes 300 children per day to visit the doctors with ear infections (insert any other painful scaremongering usual childhood illnesses and viruses) what they do is count the total number of kids taken to GPs with these complaints (including non smokers children), work out how many make up 20% – the estimated number of smokers in the UK – and then bingo – you have 300 storks flying over the maternity wing at the same time 300 babies were born so it is clear, and the evidence proves it, that the storks delivered the babies.

    They take 20 per cent of any figure, add a health scare, usually involving our most precious and vulnerable children, and that is where any figure about anything from death to disease and disability allegedly affecting smokers comes from, when we all know that no disease or virus is exclusive to smokers only and even if smoking was eradicated tomorrow, those same diseases and viruses would still affect us.

    As for me, I’ve smoked a lifetime apart for the 8 years I didn’t smoke after I was born. Common sense tells me that to quit would be harmful because my body would be missing a vital factor it has evolved around since young childhood. If I thought for one minute that criminalising me one ban at a time was because they cared about me I might not be so angry. But really, none of us are stupid and we all know Jeremy Cunt, Nanny Wollaston, Big Sister Ellison, Puritan Arnott and the rest couldn’t care less. They want a world without smoking and bugger what anyone else thinks. To them, deep down, I am sure that the only good smoker is a dead smoker.

  18. Pingback: A Billion Lives | Head Rambles

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