To learn more about this topic, visit AL.Law
Farron Cousins: With all of the advances in modern medicine that have taken place over the last few decades it seems odd that there really hasn’t been any kind of progress in curing major diseases that continue to kill people across the planet at an alarming rate. If you’re looking for an answer as to why that happens, our RT Zone Lee Camp recently pointed out that comedian Chris Rock explained the rationale against the medical community during a comedy special in 1999. During that performance Chris Rock explained that there’s no money in curing diseases, the money actually comes from the medicine that people have to continue coming back to take more of each and every month. At the time, you know, this seemed like a humorous explanation but the truth is that was exactly how major pharmaceutical companies and the banks that underwrite those companies are operating. Recently an analyst for Goldman Sachs actually admitted in a paper that curing diseases was not in the best interest of that financial institution, and instead they needed those repeat customers coming back for more treatments in order to turn a profit.
Here is the thing, if Wall Streeters are calling the shots about what pharmaceutical companies are spending their money on, we’re never going to make any progress. The only thing we’re going to see are strings of so-called blockbuster medications used to treat diseases the big pharma itself is actually making up. They’ll rake in billions and the members of society that actually need lifesaving treatments are going to be left to die.
Joining me now to talk about this issue is Lee Camp, host of Redacted Tonight here on RT America. So, Lee, start by telling us exactly how Goldman Sachs feels about curing diseases. As you pointed this out in a recent article on Truthdig phenomenal, so tell us how they feel about treating and curing diseases in the United States.
Lee Camp: Yeah, not good. They’re not excited about it because it doesn’t give enough profit. I actually want to read the quote from the note that the analyst, the Goldman analyst put out. This is Salveen Richter was the analyst and he said, “The potential to deliver one-shot cures is one of the most attractive aspects of gene therapy. However, such treatments offer a very different outlook with regard to recurring revenue and amid versus chronic therapies. While this proposition carries tremendous value for patients and society it could represent a challenge for genome medicine developers looking for sustained cash flows.” Sustained cash flows. As if that should ever even come into your mind when you’re talking about saving people? It’s disgusting and it’s how Wall street and our economy is set up. It’s just the difference is now they’re saying it out loud, they’re saying it where people can see it.
Farron Cousins: We’ve seen a lot of that recently with politicians business leaders, lobbyists, they’re accidentally saying the quiets parts loud and the loud parts a little too quiet. So, I guess the big question is, you know, you’ve talked about this information, you’ve got the quote there, so how did this information come to light? How did this get uncovered here?
Lee Camp: Well, I think you’re being a little too generous when you use the word accidentally. I think nowadays they are saying it more forthright because they have no fear of the government stopping them, or of even enough people getting upset to shame them. They have taken such a control, but in terms of how it came forward it’s just that it’s an analyst note, they put out these notes on a regular basis trying to guide their clients, their investors. Invest in this, don’t invest in this, here is how we see this, and as you heard from the quote I just read, they have no care in the world as to how it’s going to impact people. How it’s going to hurt Americans to not have these cures. I mean, it’s disgusting, and later in the note he goes on to say that not only do they lose the money by someone having a cure for their disease, meaning they’re not buying further medication, but they also lose more money because that person doesn’t pass communication diseases, infectious diseases onto other people. So, they’re lamenting that they have partnership with hepatitis C basically, Farron. They’re in partnership for profit with infectious diseases.
It’s disgusting. I think Goldman Sachs is about a week a way from just having some of their people going out and stabbing people with infected needles just to get a little more profit out of this.
Farron Cousins: That’s absolutely, I mean, insane at this point, but not only … Okay, they want people to stay sick, they want you to go out and infect everybody that you can, why does Goldman Sachs even care what happens with healthcare? How are they involved in this and why? Why do we need banks involved in healthcare?
Lee Camp: Yeah, absolutely. Everything has become so intertwined because the big banks, the large corporations that now we’re down to a tiny number of corporation that own or control most of everything in our lives and they’re all intertwined and they’re all just moving towards profit, right? No matter what it is, no matter how many people die, no matter how much you’re putting profit above lives that’s where they’re going to head. And there’s a ton of profit in our healthcare industry. That’s why all of our politicians, most of our congress fight against a universal healthcare system where people aren’t exploited for profit. But you also see it with like our weapons contractors, same idea. When peace was announced between North and South Korea the stocks of those contractors tanked. I mean, why is profit even talked about when it comes to people’s lives? But of course that’s the system we live. This unfettered capitalist system in which people do discuss profit while it’s killing people. Whether it’s through medicines or weapons or whatever else.
Farron Cousins: Well, you know what they say when God closes a door he opens a window, and that’s what’s happened with the defense contractors. They may not have North Korea anymore but now they’re gearing up for Iran, but it’s a topic for a different day, but anyway. So, this story, we got Goldman Sachs wanting people sick, wanting you to infect everybody else because it makes them more money, so does this help to kind of give us a little bit better understanding as to why Americans uniquely pay such astronomical markups for our prescription drugs? I mean, we’re paying prices higher than anywhere else in the industrialized world. We know it’s not R&D, we know it has something to do with marketing, but now we know the banks are involved so that kind of puts another piece of the puzzle back into place, right?
Lee Camp: Yeah, and there’s a lot of these companies that spend 3% or 5% on R&D, research and development meaning they’re not actually spending the money to create these medicines, they’re just buying up medicines or … The EpiPen was a good example, buying up things that people need desperately and then jerking up the price 1000%, 5000%, and that’s their entire profit model. That’s their entire business model, is just jerking up the price on live saving medications, and various things people desperately need. That’s the whole business model, and as you’re saying in terms of why these prices are so high, they’re even higher on things that are an outright cure. So, if you’re going to outright cure someone, man we’re going to jerk up the price on that because we’re not going to get the steady income from an ongoing medication. A good example was this past January a new treatment, gene therapy treatment came out to solve blindness, a certain kind of blindness. It cures it for the people that have that specific kind of blindness, and it’s one of the most expensive therapies ever created, ever introduced at $850,000.
So, they’re basically holding your vision hostage till you give them $1 million. In my view that is no different than yeah we’ll let you see, we will give you the most amazing gift to have sight again, yet we will charge you $1 million. We will hold it hostage for $1 million. And that’s a sick system. That is a demented morally inverted system.
Farron Cousins: And that’s what we have thought today. It is a morally inverted system. You touched on this a few moments ago, but one of the biggest takeaways from the story is not just how evil and corrupt these Goldman Sachs and big pharma guys are, but it’s that these corporations that run our lives, you’ve got healthcare big pharma, big banks they’re all interconnected. I mean, are we just at that point like as a capitalist society in the United States where there’s no escaping this corporate control? They’re involved in everything and they’re all in it together. It’s this big cabal they run everything together. Have we passed the point of no return?
Lee Camp: I mean, I don’t want to say it’s hopeless but it’s certainly grim. I think people need to reexamine and have a revolution of the mind, change the way we view our society. These systems should not be set up to seek profit over all else. We have to realize that we are owned something by being part of our society. We have agreed to be an active member, a working member of our society, we give to it, we help it exist, therefore we deserve things back from it. We deserve healthcare. We deserve unemployment. We deserve paid sick leave, and there’s so many other things, education. There’s so many other things we deserve from our society as being part of it and helping it exist as a successful society. And that idea, that mentality, that mindset has been crushed so that these corporations can take over everything, and it is a …
Political philosopher Sheldon Wolin called it ‘inverted totalitarianism”. It’s ruled by the anonymous corporate state, they’ve taken over the government and now they have no fear of saying these things outright, saying these things in public because they know they aren’t going to be restricted. They know they aren’t going to be punished. They know they can do it with abandon and there’s just nothing that can stop them unless we the people truly change the way we view these systems.
Farron Cousins: So, on this particular issue of healthcare, is a single-payer Medicare for all, is that the only way to beat back the banks and big pharma and the healthcare system? One of those systems, like everybody else in the industrialized world has, is that the solution here?
Lee Camp: Yeah. Call me crazy but I think it’s time we join the developed world and have healthcare for our people. It’s ridiculous that we still haven’t done it. It’s gross a sick profit system, and Obamacare helped to give healthcare to some people, but it was a stopgap. It was a band aid so people stop seeing how horrible the system is, but you still have tens of millions of people without any healthcare, and then you have people with healthcare who are still getting exploited and destroyed. The number one cause of bankruptcy is health problems, because you get saddled with all this crazy debt and it destroys lives. Even if you don’t end up dying from disease or something, you are saddled with a debt that then defines the rest of your life. It’s a preposterous like laughingly gross system, and this discussion that you and I are having is largely not even heard on our corporate media airwaves. As if we shouldn’t be able to talk about this the way it is, which is demented and perverted to benefit and profit in the billion off of people’s health.
Farron Cousins: Absolutely. Lee Camp, thank you very much for joining me today. I always appreciate talking with you.
Lee Camp: Thank you Farron.