Charles Pfizer (1824-1906), during the Age of the Robber Barons

LUMPENPROLETARIAT—Meet Charles Pfizer. He looks a lot like the guy in the Monopoly board game, doesn’t he? All he needs is the top hat. Well, if you’re not old enough to remember, Charles Pfizer, basically, is the monopoly guy. At least, he’s one example of a robber baron, which is whom the monopoly guy represents, with his tuxedo and top hat. “Rich Uncle Penny Bags” was the monopoly guy‘s name. Like so many things, history can become distorted over time, as people start to look at the monopoly guy as a benign businessman, instead of a cutthroat robber baron. We, humans, tend to gloss over much of the cruelty of our past because it’s easier than dealing with uncomfortable truths.

Of course, we must give credit where credit is due. According to the American Chemical Society (ACS), Charles Pfizer’s company’s did succeed in production of the antibiotic penicillin by the end of World War II. But, soon, penicillin became very cheap. So, Pfizer has been on a mission ever since to develop money-making patents, which they can monopolize on, just like “Rich Uncle Penny Bags”. In the 1950s, they discovered an alternative to penicillin. So, throughout the 1980s and ’90s, Pfizer established a slew of drug patents—Zoloft, Lipitor, Norvasc, Zithromax, Aricept, Diflucan, and Viagra—which led to a slew of adverse health effects for the drug users and legal liability for the drug pushers. But Pfizer is no longer a company run by a robber baron, at least not in the old sense. It’s an immortal behemoth, which claims the rights of a human being. Yet, corporations aren’t people.

I hope we shall take warning from the example and crush in it’s birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and to bid defiance to the laws of their country.

Thomas Jefferson, letter to George Logan, 12 NOV 1816

So, meet the monster, which has become of Charles Pfizer’s corporation, Pfizer… Oh, you’ve met? Well, did you know Pfizer is one of the (alleged) drug cartels, albeit legal drug cartels, which we, Americans, are meant to put our trust in to get us out of this crisis caused by federal ineptitude or connivance in the wake of the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak. As economist Professor Richard Wolffe reminds us, the virus didn’t cause the crisis. The response to the viral outbreak, or lack of a response, led to the crisis. And, most importantly, our economy was already in an economic crisis, which was only exacerbated by the viral outbreak.


FIERCEPHARMA—[9 NOV 2020] The anti-corruption units at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice have sent Pfizer requests for documents relating to its operations in China and Russia. (Tracy Staton)

Big Pharma’s operations abroad are a common punching bag for U.S. anti-corruption watchdogs, which have snared a series of high-profile settlements in recent years. Now, Pfizer will take its turn under those watchdogs’ withering eyes for its business in Russia and China. 

The foreign corruption units at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) are looking into Pfizer’s activities in China and Russia, the drugmaker said in a quarterly securities filing (PDF). 

The requests from the two agencies on China came recently in June and August, while the Russian ones arrived last year and have been disclosed in previous reports. “We are producing records pursuant to these requests,” Pfizer said in the document.

Both probes fall under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), which forbids U.S. firms and individuals from bribing foreign government officials to benefit their businesses.

Pfizer knows too well what that law means. In August 2012, the company agreed to pay over $60 million to settle charges by the DOJ and SEC for allegedly violating the FCPA. At the time, the company was accused of paying foreign officials to facilitate drug and formulary approvals, as well as increasing sales in eight countries including China and Russia.

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Read more at FIERCE PHARMA


[18 DEC 2020]

[Last modified on 19 DEC 2020 at 14:23 PST]