Our friend Paul Murphy has reproduced excerpts of famed novelist, John le Carre’s In Place of Nations, an essay appearing in "The Nation" of April 9, 2001 (page 11)

"BIG PHARMA (the multinational pharmaceutical world), as it is known, offered everything: the hopes and dreams we have of it; its vast, partly realized potential for good; and it’s pitch-dark underside, sustained by huge wealth, pathological secrecy, corruption and greed."

"And of all these crimes of unbridled capitalism, it seemed to me, as I began to cast round for a story to illustrate this argument in my most recent novel, that the pharmaceutical industry offered me the most eloquent example."

"Do I hear you offering the drug companies’ time-worn excuse that they need to make huge profits on one drug in order to finance the research and development of others? Then kindly tell me, please, how come they spend twice as much on marketing as they do on research and development."

"But Big Pharma is also engaged in the deliberate seduction of the medical profession, country by country, worldwide. It is spending a fortune on influencing, hiring and purchasing academic judgment to a point where, in a few years’ time, if Big Pharma continues unchecked on it present happy path, unbought medical opinion will be hard to find."

"And consider what happens to supposedly impartial academic medical research when giant pharmaceutical companies donate whole biotech buildings and endow professorships at universities and teaching hospitals where their products are tested and developed. There has been a steady flow of alarming cases in recent years where inconvenient scientific finding have been suppressed or rewritten, and those responsible for them hounded off their campuses with their professional and personal reputations systematically trashed by the machinations of public relations agencies in the pay of the pharmas.

The last bastion, you might hope, would be the "objective" scientific journals. …The New England Journal of Medicine, America’s most prestigious, recently confessed to its chagrin that some of its contributors have turned out to have had undeclared connections with the pharmaceutical industry. As to the less august journals, who have neither the clout nor the resources to check on the hidden interest of their contributors, man have become little more than shop window for pharmas peddling their wares."