#84 – The Job Fairy, Part Five: Big “Fart”ma and Jerbs

English Canadians are so dumb that they fear losing jobs in Canada if Big Pharma is in any way challenged in its bilking practices.

Let’s start from the very beginning. The pharmaceutical industry is a well-toned stealing machine, buying up ministers like the ignoble gremlin and current chair-warmer at the University of Ottawa Allan Rock (which, as my alma mater, I am allowed to refer to as the U of Woe or the U of Zero from experience), Al was so speedy at flinging approvals on newly-released pharmaceuticals that the Senate, the veritable appendix of Canadian politics, called for a slowdown in 1999. Before Speedy Al’s Approvals-R-Us tenure at Health Canada, Canada was desperate to support a home-grown pharmaceutical industry, one that apparently quickly overgrew the apparatuses of Health Canada. Health Canada may be an absolute joke and Allan Rock an idiot, but how did big pharma get so big in Canada that it is still allowed to charge ludicruous prices, prices that so drastically overshadow the global cost of drugs?

The answer is in the Job Fairy’s magic wand. See, Canada wanted to be a real grown-up, so it started handing out about $2B a year to the pharmaceutical industry. Big pharma has rewarded Canada with massive drug shortages on everything from anti-depressants to asthma meds. Yeah, punks – Canada air is so awesome that your asthmatic ass doesn’t need that puffer! Indeed, Canada’s pharmaceuticals industry is a great employer if you’re a marketer; 40% of Canada’s pharma-related jobs are in sales and marketing, while 17% have anything to do with researching and developing new drugs. Fuck yeah – Canadian marketing is so awesome that you’ll just feel better for reading the adverts!

Innovations in marketing, which Canada’s big pharamceutical companies spend three times on here than R&D, aren’t the only amazing benefit that the public scores in its massive investment in drug-making. Of 104 new drugs to get monopoly-approved status in Canada in 2009, only three – THREE! – showed any actual innovation. Most Canadian pharma is engaged in the all-important task of encouraging Canadians to buy more expensive drugs and to patent and monopolize on old drugs by way of pretending to make changes to them. Speedy Al’s Approvals-R-Us legacy hasn’t sauntered off into the sunset either – a staggering nineteen of the 104 approved drugs caused more total damage than help and thus fail Canada’s own testing metrics for approval, and presumably all of the 104 drugs “made of Canada” were so named because they offered no innovation that hadn’t been done before and better by older meds.

But those fewer than 4000 highly-skilled R&D jobs that cost the public billions – those are totally worth it. Because science!

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