By Bosco – Irish Sentinel Contributor –
- firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something.
“relations have to be built on trust” ·
There is an old Greek proverb that says “He who mistrusts most should be trusted least”. Proverbs are short pithy statements with a kernel of truth or wisdom contained in them. Some are better or more accurate than others (“an Indian feels no pain”, is one proverb I came across which is better left to itself). Proverbs, needless to say (or the good ones at any rate) impart wisdom in as less time as possible. They are like old men with little time left, raising their heads upwards to whisper one last sagacious nugget to an eager young relative. Sadly, we don’t pay heed to the past anymore, and the past is the reservoir of wisdom. How do we know that? Well, experience of failure and success is the measurement that time affords effectively. A child who bears his hand to a naked flame and suffers a burn will learn not to do it again, drawing on his own misfortunate experienced history as well as the present scar to remind him. Today it seems we are deaf to history and the lessons its shouts to us.
When asked how I respond to the present Covid crisis I merely rely on known facts, and add a pinch of humility to seal the presentation. Humility in the form of recognising that it is possible I could be wrong in my assessment and that I am not an expert in the field of virology. This disarms my interlocuter of their charge of hubris or arrogance ab initio. The facts I do present are, or should, be known to all.
The principal tactic I use is to attack the credibility of the message makers.
First of all, politicians and governments are pushing the vaccine as well as the narrative within which it is ably carried. I remind my interlocuter are politicians trustworthy? I then present them with ample evidence of why our own government is not to be trusted. For example, the amazing about turn made by Varadkar and his ilk on their pro life bona fides. I also mention that despite Varadkar’s LGBT braggadocio, where was he when it wasn’t so hip to be out and proud? He waited until the climate was assured and set before his “brave” outing was made public. The same charge is levied at the woke companies by the way.
The list of political controversies on this island are so extensive that I couldn’t even start to list them here. Suffice to say that the recent list of millionaires in the dail should serve the public to be put on notice if they weren’t already alarmed before.
Internationally it is no different. The Americans, the paragons of democracy, have been for years unsettling democracies for their own self-interest. Operation Northwoods, a project designed by the CIA to court public approval for a war with Cuba was intended to cause mass casualties through domestic atrocities committed by covert agencies upon the American public until JFK refused (and we all know what happened to JFK, and by whom, don’t we?). The Americans even plotted to murder the leader of their French allies, Charles DE Gaulle during the Algerian war. The French and Germans are no different either. It is safe to say, for any person of sound mind, that the noun ‘politician’ and adjective ‘distrustworthy’ should be synonymous.
Next is the conduit of the narrative-The media. Historically we would be, or should be aware of the work of the father of public relations Edward Bernays and how he was employed by the US government to garner public approval for US meddling in a democratically elected government in Latin America, simply because it was in the US’s best interest. The approval was manufactured through the media. Project mockingbird, another CIA initiative was exposed in June 2007 when CIA papers were declassified. Mass media outlets openly employ intelligence agency veterans like John Brennan, James Clapper, Fran Townsend and others. Their employment doesn’t necessarily mean they act qua agents but it should at least raise suspicions. Recently the New York Times reported on ‘bountygate’ concerning Russian government trying to pay Taliban linked fighters to attack US soldiers in Afghanistan. One of the sources for the “story” was an intelligence source. Journalist Glenn Greenwald aphoristically tweeted.
“SO, the media outlets repeated CIA stories with no questioning?”
In Ireland, the journal.ie has an amazing record of spinning government talking points and are quick to “debunk” claims made by pre-eminent scientists like Mike Yeadon and others (apparently the generalist journos know more about science!).
The abortion referendum demonstrated multiple cases of highlighted bias in the media in favour of the pro child killing side. Ray D’Arcy and others were reprimanded. The anti-Catholic bias is prevalent now that ex PSNI ombudsman Nuala O’ Loan condemned the media for their anti-Catholic prejudice in April 2016 stating at a talk given at Boston College,
“In a country in which the media was once sympathetic to the catholic church it is now aggressively hostile”.
The political allegiances of the media class have been identified as overwhelmingly left liberal resulting in, what doyen of the left, Noam Chomsky would consider “manufacturing consent” (a term he lifted from Walter Lipmann) where the media present the news in a manner that appears neutral on its face, whereas in fact, it is purposely designed to further vested interests. The conflicts of interest by the media who accept payments for advertisement must affect how their honest reportage on such benefactors. The owners of media are now becoming more public demonstrating the conflicts of interest even more so. Media ownership concentration has major implications for the presentation of honest news. Rarely do people realise that the front-page news is a compendium of purposeful selections and omissions, as well as placement. Who decides what is and what is not newsworthy and what prominence it will play? Push an uncomfortable truth in a section of the paper that is rarely read and the paper can convince others that they report on all matters, even those that might be detrimental to their own self-interest, but it is a con. The mountebanks and charlatans in the media, such as those in the journal.ie are propagandists and no more.
The best is left to last, big pharma. In October 2020, Purdue Pharma, the pharmaceutical company that produces the highly destructive prescription drug, oxycontin, agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges as part of an $8 billion settlement.
The company admitted criminal liability, however company executives and the Sackler family that owns Purdue Pharma did not admit to any criminal wrongdoing in the agreement. However, the settlement did not shield them from potential criminal liability in the future.
However, in late December 2021 A federal judge in America overturned the $4.5 billion bankruptcy settlement negotiated between Purdue Pharma, the makers of OxyContin, and the Sackler family which owns the company. The agreement was carefully designed to shield the Sackler family, who ostensibly profited most from the opioid epidemic that ensued, from being sued over their role in the marketing of the highly addictive drug.
As Purdue confronted allegations that it had lobbied doctors to recklessly prescribe oxycontin, the company quickly sought to file bankruptcy protection in 2019 to stave off the foreseeable litigation that lay on the litigatory horizon. The claims would arise from the admissions made to the criminal complaint concerning the drug they had criminally marketed and the avalanche of casualties caused by their drug.
The opioid addiction epidemic, attributed to the highly addictive pain-relieving drug known colloquially as ‘oxy’ was marketed and produced by Purdue, led to the deaths of more than 500,000 Americans over just recent two decades. The worst outcome is off course the human cost, but the as-of-yet uncalculated economic and social hit (infrastructures to deal with the epidemic) directly caused by the drug could run into the billions.
OxyContin is a brand name for a time-release formula of oxycodone, an opioid painkiller. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug in 1995. Purdue Pharma, is owned by the Sackler family, and it is Purdue who manufactures OxyContin. The Sackler family also own the subsidiary, Mundipharma which is based in the UK. The Sackler’s are a family of doctors and as part of the criminal investigation into the marketing of OxyContin (and although not pleading personally guilty), settled to pay the department of justice 225 million dollars in relation to their alleged role in the controversy.
Oxycontin was released in 1996 and the drug makers claimed it provides relief from chronic pain related to injuries, arthritis, cancer, and other conditions for up to 12 hours. The drug was initially celebrated as a medical marvel for pain management for those who battled chronic pain in their lives.
Like all drugs, oxycontin came with side effects. OxyContin use is linked to numerous alleged side effects, including; dizziness, vomiting, headaches, itching, constipation, dry mouth, sweating and faintness, depression, and mood swings. More severe alleged side effects include breathing problems, loss of consciousness, abnormal heartbeats, and heart attacks.
However, the most significant allegation behind many of the OxyContin lawsuits is that the drug is highly addictive. Its addictive nature allegedly posed a danger to the health of many patients yet these patients (and their doctors) were told addiction wouldn’t be a problem.
Purdue, like every other company that provides medication to the public owes a duty to that public. A company is supposed to warn consumers of potential risks associated with their drug. If Purdue were to fail to do this or were to do something to put consumers at risk, then company might be liable to those who suffer damages (unless of course there was an indemnity concluded with national governments to obviate that liability).
To hold a drug manufacturer responsible for side effects or other risks (like addiction), parties must be able to prove the drug company’s actions directly endangered alleged victims. Questions posed would include, did the drug company mislead the public about the drug and its risks? Did certain supposed risks present themselves over time, but the company still failed to disclose the potential danger?
Problems with OxyContin arose during the early 2000s. During that time, opioid overdoses and deaths began to increase exponentially in the USA. In response to the alarm, OxyContin’s label was changed to add and strengthen warnings about the possibility of misuse and abuse of the drug. However, the FDA were forced into issuing a warning letter to Purdue Pharma for using misleading statements in their advertisements.
When OxyContin was first marketed, doctors were hesitant to prescribe it to some of their patients however Purdue Pharma (as alleged in the OxyContin lawsuits ) gave the health care community assurances through a strong marketing campaign that the OxyContin patients were unlikely to become addicted.
On foot of the assurances, Oxycontin prescriptions increased resulting in the epidemic that followed. The allegations made against Purdue Pharma in much of the litigation was that they downplayed the drug’s risks; They overstated the benefits of opioids for treating chronic rather than short-term pain; and They contributed to the epidemic by encouraging prescriptions of OxyContin through aggressive marketing campaigns and tactics.
In addition to the misfeasance of the pharmaceutical company, physicians too were not to escape the long reach of litigation, especially those who wrongly or overly prescribed OxyContin to their patients. Doctors are supposed to only prescribe drugs in approved doses and quantities and only prescribe a drug like OxyContin for medical conditions that call for it. Any derivation from this practice may be considered negligent and result in civil or indeed criminal liability.
Purdue Industries is not the only accused at the dock. In July 2021 Three major drug distributors (as well as the pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson) agreed to a $26 billion settlement with states to resolve thousands of lawsuits over the country’s opioid crisis.
The four companies — which also include Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen and McKesson — were accused by states, cities and counties of playing a significant role in channelling a flood of opioid painkillers to communities across the U.S. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) The drugs led to the overdose deaths of more than 500,000 people from 2009 to 2019.
“Pennsylvania attorney general Josh Shapiro said at a press conference announcing the settlement that “This was a person-made crisis,” Shapiro then concluded by saying “This epidemic was manufactured by an army of pharmaceutical executives.”
Fraudulent and illegal practices conducted by pharmaceutical companies or their agents with the formers approval poses a great risk to public health and undermines trust in the industry at large but also taints doctors, pharmists and science in genera. The ten biggest pharmaceutical lawsuits based on the amount of settlement are as follows.
10. Amgen – $762m
9. Bayer and Johnson & Johnson – $775m
8. TAP Pharmaceutical – $875m
7. Merck – $950m
6. Eli Lilly and Company – $1.4bn
5. Abbott Laboratories – $1.5bn
4. Johnson & Johnson – $2.2bn
3. Pfizer – $2.3bn
2. Takeda Pharmaceutical – $2.4bn
1. GlaxoSmithKline – $3bn
We were all read the story of little red riding hood, a tale to remind us as children to be cautious. These tales were the offspring of proverbs of old, to share the truth to those little ones who may not grasp the meaning of a proverb so the message to be learned was told through a story. The moral of the fairy tale, little red ridding hood of course is not to trust strangers, that even an ostensibly friendly stranger might have evil intentions, that you can be deceived by those bearing a smile.
Ask any parent and they will tell their wayward teen not to get into a car of a friend after a night out, who has been drinking, no matter the assurances given, and to pay no heed to the enticements or cajoling. Parents will also inform their children never get into the car of a stranger, even if they appear very friendly.
Trust is earned, and when it is lost it must require immense acts to regain that trust. If those who demand to be trusted are evidently untrustworthy then only a fool allows himself to be so trusting of them. So, the next time someone tells you why you object to the present Covid fiasco, remind them that you are not an oracle, that you don’t know it all, that you don’t even need to discuss the scientific claims. Instead you merely behave as any responsible person should, and you are circumspect about believing a story from those who perpetually peddle lies and live as fraudsters.