Russia’s Channel 5 News Publishes Opposition to Flu As a Business
(Originally published in Russian on February 7, 2016)
The flu epidemic is still at its peak. The situation is quite serious. Physicians are asked not to raise panic. But people in most parts of the country are questioning an ever increasing number of flu frights and pharmaceutical controls. There is a lot of talk and confusion about new vaccines, medicines, and expected plagues. But official conclusions are questionable, especially since no one really knows when the next outbreak will take place.
The conversation is not idle. The last time such a pandemic went “viral” and covered the world was seven years ago. But in 2009, Der Spiegel magazine conducted an investigation and concluded that it was not the flu outbreak that drove the panic. Witnesses were lying even at the World Health Organization. At the beginning of the epidemic, experts predicted that the virus could kill up to 2 million people. It was on that basis that all governments were forced to make huge expenditures on vaccines and antiviral drugs.
But fairly soon, people worldwide recognized the erroneous forecasts. The panic and rumors transferred to and through ordinary people, became the source of political debate. No one denied the flu was risky. But the procurement of drugs increased significantly at everyone’s expense, and were of questionable value. The drug and vaccine business had gotten out of hand, especially in the mind of Dr. Leonard G. Horowitz who had conducted his own investigation into the origin of the “Mexican Swine flu” as the H1N1 pandemic was initially called. He concluded the plague reflected ” biological sabotage against humanity.”
Dr. Horowitz, holds several degrees, including a post-doctoral degree in “media persuasion and public health” from Harvard University. He concluded that, “By the time the US from swine flu have died somewhere in 18,000 people. And we began to inflate out of this tragedy. To say that it is an awful lot. Though they hid the fact that most of those killed were drug addicts or people with immune initially undermined. ”
But panic fueled pharmaceutical companies. Fears of people benefited, become a cover for big business and big game. And now a new outbreak. Do not you find that she had been provoked for the sake of someone else’s benefit? We have no reason to trust the Western conspiracy theories, we live by different rules and, fortunately, other laws, but our special correspondent Konstantin Rozhkov still conducted its investigation.
Until recently, Russian pharmacies were under siege. People stormed the counters in search of any means of colds and flu, and available at times it was not even the most elementary.
Sergey, pharmacies visitor: “I could not buy a mask. They are there 50 pieces, I do not need so much. ”
Konstantin Rozhkov, a correspondent: “Packing more»
Sergey, pharmacies visitor: “Yes, 400 with something rubles”
By the end of the week the situation on the drug front, more or less leveled off. Here and there even appeared expensive imported drug that doctors usually recommend the flu. In the sale, though not all, once again received a medical mask, and the bulk of antiviral tablets. It seems to be repulsed. It’s time to exhale and count the profits.
Marina Germanova, Head of pharmacy, “Revenue, of course, is increased when more people, more demand, then revenue increases.”
Konstantin Rozhkov, a correspondent: “At times”
Marina Germanova, Head of pharmacy, “Well … a trade secret.”
December, January and February for pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies is the same as in June, July, August for travel agencies. For 3 months, you can earn as much as for the whole rest of the year.
Alexander Myasnikov, chief physician of the City Clinical Hospital №71: «virus, any virus, not just influenza or acute respiratory disease, pharmaceutical companies should be of pure gold cast monument to the size of a 10-storey building. Because this virus is a DNA chain enriches them out of all proportion. ”
Cocking prices on everything drugstore, of course, do not have the right. In Russia there is a constantly updated list of so-called “essential drugs”, in which a little more than 600 names. The size of margins on them are strictly regulated by the state. But this is only 40% of what is on the shelves. Everything else can be worth as much as the director wants a particular pharmacy network. This, in particular, about all kinds of cough syrups, antipyretic, candy from a sore throat, without which you certainly will not die, but they still can significantly alleviate the condition.
David Melik-Guseinov, the candidate of pharmaceutical sciences: “Those drugs whose prices are not regulated by the state, we are now able to go online, look for these drugs during epidemics prices grow at times.”
We went to the site to search for drugs in pharmacies of St. Petersburg. Everything is just like that. The price range of, say, the same throat lozenges in the epidemic period increased significantly. At one point, for example, packaging costs 180 rubles, and in another – already 368!
Konstantin Rozhkov, a correspondent: “The difference is more than 2 times. Why is that?”
Pharmacist: “And you ask me”
The pharmacist behind the counter just shrug: “yes dear, and who is now easy.” It proposes to call the network director and ask her directly.
Director of pharmacy, “This margin corresponds to the law.”
Konstantin Rozhkov, a correspondent: “The margin of 100% corresponds to the law?”
Director of the pharmacy: “It (the margin) can be arbitrary. At least 1000%! we do not break the law. ”
And she was right, because the drug is not included in the list of vital signs. And in general, say thank you 360 rubles per pack, rather than 3 and a half thousand.
Konstantin Rozhkov, a correspondent: “That is not a good life such a margin?”
Director of pharmacy, “Well, what do you think? Still want to get a profit! ”
And when even make a profit, but at the time of the epidemic? Due to panic and rush people are ready to sweep all the shelves marked “effectively helps with colds and flu.” As a result, the pharmaceutical business over the past few decades, has evolved from a simple income in extremely profitable. On profitability, it is far ahead of even oil production. Here are the figures for 2013, when the price of a barrel has not yet had time to collapse. Even at 1 dollar invested in the production of “black gold”, accounted for an average of 1 dollar and 24 cents net profit. Those who put this dollar a tablet production, could earn one and a half.
Yevgeny Komarovsky, a pediatrician: “Our people Bring a gold tablet as well as they are willing to pay for this tablet. That, of course, I pharmacological industry is going to meet them by offering a huge selection of drugs, allegedly capable of killing the virus. ”
Here is a simple example. In our pharmacies selling homeopathic remedy against flu and SARS, the main active ingredient of which is the offal of ducks! In scientific circles it is, to put it mildly, puzzling: how can you treat virus particles poultry liver. It sounds absurd. However, this so-called medicine quite successfully sold in virtually every Russian pharmacy. From a liver receives 2 million doses. The package, which costs an average of 700 rubles includes 12 doses. That is, buying only 1 bird, a company can make 116 million rubles. That’s all you need to: a competent advertising campaign and the army lured buyers. This woman, whose face we can not show you, used to work in one of the large companies, which is engaged in the production and sale of drugs. She knows all the business from the inside. According to her, among the overwhelming majority of pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies, and there is a private commercial contracts.
A former employee of a pharmaceutical company: “The contracts provide calculations stock range. If you can not pay for the contract, your promoted products are not in the presence of the network. ”
Pharmaceutical companies pay pharmacies for medications that they were the most prominent shelf and recommended that their pharmacists behind the counter. It does not matter, the liver is a duck or a real and effective means. When we come to the pharmacy in the guise of ordinary customers, the first cough second drug that we were offered was worth 600 rubles per pack. And probably still got off lightly.
Konstantin Rozhkov, a correspondent: “Anything one advise?”
Pharmacist: “I would take this one.”
Konstantin Rozhkov, the reporter: “Why do it”
Pharmacist: “Well, it’s more a … stronger ….”
When they complained that too expensive, we were offered another medicine already for 300 rubles. “However, it is not as effective,” – said the seller in a white coat.
A former employee of a pharmaceutical company, “expensive medication recommended most often. And even more often. It is a system. ”
The presence of contracts with pharmaceutical companies is not against the law, but in pharmacies still somehow prefer not to advertise.
Konstantin Rozhkov, a correspondent: “Ask the head: There is an agreement between the pharmaceutical company and a particular pharmacy, for example, to stimulate sales?
Marina Germanova, Head of pharmacy, “No, no … no Agreements”.
As a result, the sum was too ugly picture: pharmacy and pharmaceutical companies impose medications often at inflated prices, and earn not less than oil.
Alexander Myasnikov, chief physician of the City Clinical Hospital №71: «The sick all the people? Hypertension is not at all. Diabetes is not at all. And that all? Colds and flu. That’s all! ”
From any other disease in the world do not have enough medicines, like a cold. In pharmacies under these drugs withdrawn whole stands that and begin to empty just in times of epidemics. While most of this or that will not save, even in normal SARS will not help against swine flu. Is that as complacency.
Yevgeny Komarovsky, a pediatrician: “If the disease in 99% percent of the cases itself ends in 5-7 days. Herself. Without all. That’s how you can prove that you are not recovered because they drank the drug, but simply because it’s supposed to. ”
The effectiveness of the drug can be proved only through full clinical trials. Carry them like this. Take the 2 groups of sick people. First, they start to treat conventional, proven means. Then one start to add the drug to be tested and the other “dummy”. And look who went quickly on the mend. Such research, which can reveal the real effectiveness of a drug is carried out, for example, on the basis of the St. Petersburg Institute of Influenza. But as we are told, not all manufacturers of antiviral pills to treat him.
Vladimir notch, Head of Laboratory of the molecular basis of chemotherapy of viral infections Influenza Research Institute: “Why, anyone who sells the drug at the pharmacy does not carry out such a study. And because there is a risk. Because so he sells the drug and makes a profit. And so he will study and see, something no effect. ”
State monitors only for the fact that drugs in pharmacies were harmless. And they help or not, it is on the conscience of manufacturers. We have studied a dozen sites antivirals presented in local pharmacies. Somewhere really shows the results of clinical trials, and somewhere it is not a word. The idea on which the offices of the largest pharmaceutical companies, probably will come to dread: in most cases the common cold can never heal, but simply: often gargle, wash nose, comply with bed rest. But maybe we all specially invented, and all of our experts – cranks, nothing smyslyaschie in medicine? Although that’s just the official website of the World Health Organization, where in the “Recommendations” section, write about exactly the same.
Quote from the WHO website: “Worldwide, most patients infected with the pandemic virus continue to experience typical influenza symptoms and fully recover within a week, even without any medical treatment. Healthy patients with the disease, uncomplicated, does not need to be treated with antivirals. ”
It is terrible to imagine what will happen if this “secret” learn everything from pharmaceutical companies to fall sharply sale, winter in pharmacies will no longer line up the queue, people will start to save on medications, and cold, like a hundred years ago, will be re-treated with hot tea with honey .