Socialist Party meeting – Why the pharmaceutical industry should be nationalised – The Exchange, Brick Row, Stroud Thursday 29th August 7.30 p.m.

This week`s meeting will explore the corruption and tragedy that results from putting profit before people in an industry which purports to be dedicated to improving people`s health. The behaviour of the pharmaceutical industry shows the desperate need for socialised medicine, with health systems nationalised under democratic workers’ control.
Under capitalism, medication is privately produced and distributed for profit. The pharmaceutical industry is extremely profitable – the exclusivity granted through the patent system allows “Big Pharma” to charge very high prices for its products. Whilst the industry claims that it costs a great deal of money to bring a drug to market, the companies` own figures show that more money is spent on marketing than on research. The high prices put many drugs beyond the reach of poor people in the developing world, yet the better-off are also poorly served by the industry, especially in the USA, where companies are frequently fined hundreds of millions of dollars for misselling drugs.
In its endless quest for higher profits the industry is increasingly conducting clinical trials on people in poor countries. The very people who will be unable to afford the drug, should a trial produce a successful outcome, are having their health put at risk for the small payment they receive as guinea pigs.
In recent years there has been an increasing focus on the quality of the clinical trials conducted by drug companies, and the secrecy surrounding them. Several best-selling “blockbuster” drugs have been withrawn from sale after evidence of side-effects already known to the manufacturers came to light.

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