Big Pharma

J.D. Vance

America’s largest pharmaceutical companies want you to believe they have only your best interests at heart. If you trust their marketing, they exist solely to relieve your pain and suffering, cure disease, and protect your health — with a laundry list of side effects, of course. But the same political radicalism that has infected much of corporate America has spread to the pharmaceutical industry. And that industry lobbies aggressively to influence public policy and ensure that they can cash in on taxpayer funding and other benefits from the federal government.

Who benefitted financially from COVID-19? Netflix, Amazon, and big pharma. Who bears the brunt of the cost? American families. Pharmaceutical profits have skyrocketed in the billions due to government contracts to produce and distribute the vaccine. Meanwhile, the regular FDA has relaxed its safety requirements due to “emergency measures.” Given this rush to distribution, one might expect a little leeway for citizens to choose what enters the bodies of their children. But, no. Under pressure from industry and the “public health” bureaucracy, vaccines are now mandated for millions of American workers and school children. 

This opportunism takes a particularly dark turn when it interacts with progressive gender theory. Gender dysphoria is good for business. Continuous medications — puberty blockers, hormone therapy, surgery, and all the necessary painkillers to get through the torture — all of that costs big bucks. The Lupron manufacturer AbbVie made $726 million on that drug alone in 2018. Nothing drives share prices like a consistent, long-term revenue stream. Puberty blockers for 12-year-olds become antidepressants for 22-year-olds become fertility treatments for 32-year olds. Children drive very long-term royalties.

In some places, they’ve managed to get any alternative for addressing gender dysphoria banned as “conversion therapy,” essentially labeling any other treatment as abuse rather than healthcare. Dissident doctors face pressure from their hospitals and licensing boards to do exactly what the pharmaceutical lobby demands. They offer treatment; they also crush any efforts to offer alternatives. 

 All those claims of “health” as the altruistic motivator neglect to mention, and in some cases downright deny, the permanent impact those “treatments” have on our kids. Puberty blockers are not just a pause button in your child’s development, but can cause permanent damage. Not only that, but the off-label use of puberty-suppressing hormone (or gonadotropin-releasing hormone as they are formally known) is not even FDA-approved for children. 

Don’t think that those profits aren’t pushed toward political returns. In 2020, pharmaceutical companies wrote 10,000 individual checks totaling an investment of $9 million into state political campaigns. That’s 2,467 individual state legislators — over a third of state lawmakers — receiving money from pharmaceutical companies in the course of their 2020 campaigns. That’s one way to “persuade” the government to litigate your interests. 

This has to stop. Of course, we want an innovative pharmaceutical sector. We want genius scientists developing new therapies for cancer and currently untreatable genetic conditions. The pharmaceutical industry can be — and has been — a force for good. 

But we cannot offer fat rewards for the chemical abuse of kids. We can’t let one industry write its financial interests into public health policy. Parents who care enough about their child to try and find the source of their mental confusion before bowing before popular political narratives should be supported, not penalized. “Parental rights” means nothing if terrified doctors and progressive administrators can force off-label drugs on children. Not all problems can be solved with tiny pills, and a society that pretends otherwise will sacrifice its health — and its children — on the altar of an industry that spends far too much time lobbying government and far too little developing the necessary breakthroughs of tomorrow. 

  • J.D. Vance

    J.D. Vance is the author of the best-selling book Hillbilly Elegy. Vance grew up in Middletown, Ohio, and served our nation in the Iraq War as a proud Marine. He graduated from The Ohio State University and received his law degree from Yale Law School. Vance runs an Ohio-based business and lives in Cincinnati with his family.

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