BIG Pharma and BIG Conspiracies

by TOMMY PUGH- Some claim that BIG Pharma is covering up the cure for cancer, but does that theory really hold up?


When you hear the name “Big Pharma,” you can expect to hear a slew of unholy adjectives to follow. When you hear the name “Big Pharma,” you probably think of the ludicrous reign of terror over the economy. When you hear the name “Big Pharma,” you might think of one word to go along with it: corruption.


Or so people say. Big Pharma is subject to many conspiracy theories, some of them grounded in reason, and some of them not. After all, who can't help but question something that impacts nearly every one of us? It’s like government: big group, big impact.

One conspiracy theory I came to question was one that, while I cannot divulge details, came to light from a friend. It was the idea that Big Pharma might be covering up cures for cancer by stifling research and progress and shoving it under the rug, all just for the cash prize of chemotherapy treatment expenses. When I first heard this, I was absolutely shocked. If something as disgusting as this were true, surely there would be an army of millions of people back-lashing? After all, as of 2016, there were “an estimated 15,338,988 people living with cancer of any site in the United States"1. There’s no way Big Pharma could morally cover this up, right?


Contrary to this belief, it does appear that on a large scale, the cure for cancer is not being intentionally suppressed. While a 2005 study may have found 27.3% of Americans believed there was a secret “miracle cure” for cancer, logistically, there are over 714,000 companies who would have to cover it up2. Companies couldn’t humanely cover up such pivotal research. Coldly, as some sources have put it, people are worth more to medical companies alive than dead. Logically, nobody can keep a secret like that too; insurance and the government would swarm over some way to prevent any loss of money3. If there is any way to cut corners and cut costs, all while gaining profit, large businesses and the government will find a way to get their hands on the method. They are just as interested in the cure as the fighting patients.


Okay, so basically all we’ve heard is that Big Pharma won’t cover it up because many people would economically benefit from it. And this a truly tragic way of life, one of the many reasons people hate Big Pharma. It’s a business made off of people’s lives. I’m sure you’ll be happy to know that ethically and realistically people wouldn’t hold back a cure, but the money side corrupts the moment.


You may (or may not) be wondering, “Why do 27.3% of Americans believe in that conspiracy? Why did you believe in that conspiracy about Big Pharma?” That is a valid question. Aside from the cold nature of Big Pharma, there are a variety of problems with medical treatment development.


Primarily, it takes a ludicrous amount of time to publish oncology trials. There’s about a 30% chance that research and trials won’t be published within seven years of being concluded, and only about 19% were published within two years4. Many of these trials were not published due to lost interest by investigators, lack of sponsorships, and ongoing research. This lack of continuation highlights the problems behind cancer research and how it may seem purposely suppressed.


Furthermore, funding for development falls short. One researcher recounted a personal experience with how their team was treating brain tumors. There were countless people willing to participate, but they could only accept around a dozen due to monetary restrictions5. The author finished off by saying if we could double funding, more effective treatments can be developed. Pharmaceuticals truly do revolve around money, and it's easy to see how this blame can fall onto the collective Big Pharma.


While it may not be “Big Pharma’s” fault directly, many factors contribute to the still-missing cure for cancer. It’s a devastating battle and is easy to see how blame gravitates towards the biggest, most corrupt business. Money is everything in the world of health, including pharmacy, and nobody is without blame.


So, what can we do? It may not seem like much, but vote. When the government is handing out the grants and subsidies for research and drug distribution, you have to look for politicians who support these altruistic causes. What if we can’t vote yet? Donate. Although $10 may not appear to be much in the face of billion dollar companies, you never know where your impact may leave a trace. To read more about donations and voting, feel free to visit this website. While cancer may be a business to Big Pharma, don’t be afraid to show your support to the researchers who save lives behind the scenes.


1. https://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/all.html

2. https://u.osu.edu/vanzandt/2019/04/11/big-pharma-big-lies-the-hidden-cancer-cure/

3. https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2018/09/10/some-think-big-pharma-is-suppressing-a-cure-for-cancer-heres-why-that-could-never-happen/#b4dcbee419c2

4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5608207/

5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10388068





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