How Big Pharma’s Money Is Affecting Our Health and Our Wallets

The health and finances of American children, adults and seniors have been significantly impacted by big pharma.

Pills falling out of prescription bottle on black
Photo Credit: PureRadiancePhoto

From August 2013 to December 2014, pharmaceutical companies made $3.49 billion in disclosed payments to doctors, teaching hospitals and other companies to push their products.

The Law Firm created the below infographic on big pharma sales and marketing to share who benefited the most from these payments, as well as the ways in which Americans have been negatively impacted by the power and influence of big pharma.

Who earned the most money?

The highest earning doctor was Dr. Sujata Narayan, practitioner of family medicine, topping in at $43.9 million. The other highest earning doctors practice pediatric critical care, orthopaedic surgery, cardiovascular disease and neurological surgery.

Big pharma also made payments to teaching hospitals, using their wealth and power to influence the next generation of doctors.

The company behind the drugs Valium, Klonopin and Xenical, Genentech Inc., was the top spender – dishing out $388 million in payments to 1,888 doctors.

As well, 90% of big pharma companies spend more on marketing than they do on research and development, reported GlobalData. Johnson & Johnson, a common household name, landed at the top of the list – spending more than double on marketing than on research and development.

How Americans are impacted

The health and finances of American children, adults and seniors have been significantly impacted by big pharma. On average, children take 4 yearly prescriptions, adults take 12 and seniors take 27. This equals to a total of $374 billion prescriptions spent in 2014, Time Magazine reported.  

The solution? A “conservative prescription” approach. This approach was first outlined by Dr. Gordon Schiff and recommends lifestyle changes as a means of improvement, and a strategic approach to drug treatment, only prescribing when the situation is critical. As well, Dr. Schiff recommends educating patients about the dangers of taking too many prescription drugs, and the potential side effects.


Read through the below infographic to learn more about the impact of big pharma on our health and wallets.



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