A Government Bribe by Any Other Name?
Let’s say you have a business that sells something to the government – something unbelievably profitable. Let’s say you get caught doing something wrong, but the government will allow you to keep your business running if you provide them with a cut of your profits. Let’s say you get caught time and time again doing more illegal things, and each time, you just give the government a cut of your profits and your legal problems just go away. Doesn’t this sound a lot like how a bribe works?
This is exactly what I was thinking when I read a USA Today article this week about the “fines” pharmaceutical companies pay to the government, which free them up to sell as many drugs as possible for the highest price possible. It turns out that in the last ten years alone, Big Pharma has paid out a whopping $8 billion dollars in fines for repeatedly defrauding Medicare and Medicaid. Yet the government continues to allow them to continue their business practices day in and day out, despite the fact that they are illegal.
Firstly, consider the fact that Big Pharma is an industry so large and profitable, that $8 billion dollars in government fines doesn’t deter its continued malfeasance. Secondly, consider the moral implications of what these drug companies are doing. Is this behavior you’d expect from companies who, given that their products directly affect human health and wellness, need to function at a higher moral standard. Morality aside, let’s not forget who ultimately pays these $8 billion in fines – it’s you, through higher drug costs and insurance premiums.
It’s common knowledge that Big Pharma essentially wrote the law that created Medicare Part D, which may perhaps be the biggest government handout to an entire industry of all time. Many of the laws that comprise Medicare Part D defy all common sense, by doing things such as forbidding the government to negotiate drug prices. Other regulations allow pharmaceutical companies to essentially bait and switch consumers by raising prices without telling them. Apparently, another set of rules allows drug companies to pay fines so low that they don’t put much of a dent Big Pharma’s profits, all the while providing that no amount of law breaking can allow the government to put an end to their illegal business practices.
Sadly, the government holds citizens like you and me to a different set of standards. Almost every law on the books is designed to increase penalties with repeated offenses, and ultimately take privileges away if you keep breaking the law. If you get too many speeding tickets, your driver’s license is revoked. If a restaurant has too many health code violations, it’s closed down. And we’ve all heard of “three strikes and you’re out.” Having something you value taken away from you is usually a powerful deterrent to bad behavior. Unfortunately, however, this isn’t the case for Big Pharma, so the rule breaking just continues.
I guess it seems like Big Pharma gets special treatment due to its cozy relationship with the government. That’s what happens when you spend millions upon millions lobbying Congress to make laws designed to maximize your profits above all else. This opportunity is not afforded to the average citizen due to lack of cash and access. What a sham. It’s a shame that the government can be overtly bribed to sit on the sidelines and allow Big Pharma to engage in despicable behavior at the expense of our pocket books and our health.
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Joshua Corn – Editor-in-Chief
Josh is a health freedom advocate and veteran of the natural health industry. He has been actively involved in the natural health movement for over 15 years, and has been dedicated to the promotion of health, vitality, longevity and natural living throughout his career. Josh has successfully overcome several personal health challenges through natural means, and believes that sharing information can empower people to take control of their health so they can solve their own problems and live life to its fullest potential. Josh is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Live in the Now. Additionally he serves as CEO of Stop Aging Now, a company that has been formulating premium dietary supplements since 1995. Josh is currently working on his first book about natural health, and is gearing up to launch the Live in the Now radio show. In addition to his work in the natural health field, Josh is an avid outdoorsman, animal lover and enjoys “living in the now” with his wife and two sons.