It now appears that Pfizer is going to have its anti-inflammatory drug Bextra subjected to a "black-box" warning that would warn physicians about the rather bizarre side effects that can be caused by Bextra. Such a warning would not only harm the stock price of Pfizer, but it would also reduce the sales of the drug. Of course this is the kind of warning that should have been on the drug in the first place. And it is only now, after the FDA is under intense scrutiny for the Vioxx scandal with Merck, that this black-box warning is finally being enforced with companies like Pfizer.
It appears that drug companies are getting financially hammered, and for the first time, this information is getting widespread publicity. Perhaps that's because there were as many as twenty million Americans taking Vioxx when the drug was recalled. And there are potentially tens of thousands of Americans who were harmed or even killed by the drug. Many people are now joining the Vioxx lawsuits that are forming to seek compensation from Merck for the pain, suffering and health damage caused by their products.
But the big message here is to private investors. And my take on this is that people who invest in these industries of evil are ultimately going to pay the price in terms of their own capital loss. Many people are invested in drug companies in this country. And many investors really are only interested in the bottom line: they want to know what produces the greatest return. And they don't concern themselves with the real-world impact of their investment decisions.
For example, if you invest in a fast food company like a popular hamburger chain, you are financially supporting the growth and expansion of a company whose products we now know strongly contribute to diabetes and obesity. If you invest in a pharmaceutical company that is selling dangerous products to the public and hiding evidence of those dangers, then you are in fact bankrolling a system that is unleashing untold harm onto the American public. You are bankrolling a system of evil.
It is time, I think, for people to reevaluate their investments in the pharmaceutical industry. It is time to think about the social consequences of where your money goes, because your money isn't just dollars and cents -- it represents time, energy, effort and intention. And wherever you put that money, you will get results related to the organization that receives it. So if you put your money into an evil empire, you are in essence creating and spreading more evil around the world, even though you may be generating a financial profit from it.
I know some people don't care about where their investments go, nor are they interested in the ultimate social impact of their investments. And that's really what's wrong with this country. There's no soul in investing anymore. People have forgotten this is supposed to be about funding great business ideas that create prosperity and that enhance the lives of people everywhere. We're supposed to be funding new inventions that make life easier or more comfortable or more enjoyable. We're NOT supposed to be, as a society, funding industries that essentially destroy health. Even though that might be making money right now, it is socially irresponsible. And if you follow spirituality, it certainly is bad karma as well.
A lot of people out there might be saying, well, I donít care where my money is invested as long as it has a return. And to those people I would say: would you invest in the Nazi party if it offered a 20% annual return? Would you invest in a machine of war and aggression if it made money by killing people around the world? And some people would say, yes, I would happily make those investments, and in fact they do. They invest in the war industries prominent today in the United States that are benefiting strongly from President Bush's war on Iraq. And in this way, they are generating profits from death and destruction. More bombs = more profit for investors. Sad, but true.
But I say to those people and to everyone else who actually has a conscience that we must no longer support the industries of evil and destruction. Before we make an investment, we must ask ourselves, where is this money going? What is its intended purpose? If you were taking your life savings and handing it over to an individual or a group, you had better check with that group and find out where that money is going to be used. Is that money going to create new toxic chemicals that will be pushed onto the public and cause tens of thousands of people to be harmed or killed by it? Is that money going to be used to buy raw ingredients that make munitions and bombs to be dropped on hospitals and civilian populations in countries around the world?
Because you don't have to be investing in industries of evil, you can invest in industries that are doing good. One such company that comes to mind is called Cyanotech, which manufactures spirulina, a superfood that holds tremendous promise for preventing and reversing chronic disease in our population. Cyanotech is a tiny company located in Kona, Hawaii, but it is a company that is doing tremendous good. I've toured the facility and met the people. I see their dedication and passion to what they're doing. And I understand the long-term ramifications of their research and their products. They're doing tremendous good. They're extending the lives of their customers. They're enhancing the health of their customers, and they're putting money into researching nutraceutical products and superfoods that can help prevent chronic disease.
I have no financial interest whatsoever in Cyanotech so I don't benefit if you happen to invest in this company. It is merely one example of a point I'm trying to make, which is that there are many companies actually doing good in this world. It doesn't take much effort to find them. In fact, there are entire mutual funds dedicated to investing only in positive-minded earth-friendly companies.
With each investment you make, you have to ask yourself: is this company doing good? It's really not that hard to find examples of companies that are doing good if you just look at investment opportunities and ask yourself what do these companies do. The answer becomes fairly obvious.
And the simplest question to ask is: "Is this company creating something or is it destroying something?" When you look at a company like Cyanotech that is harvesting these superfoods, the answer is obvious. It's creating something. It's using natural resources -- sunlight, water, and microalgae -- to create a healing food.
But what about a company like a big pharmaceutical company? Is it creating anything thatís really enhancing the health and lives of people? I don't think so. In fact, I don't think the pharmaceutical industry can show a single person who is healthier from depending on pharmaceuticals. I haven't seen a single person in my entire life who has been made healthier by depending on pharmaceuticals.
The bottom line is that drugs simply don't make people healthier. All they do is mask symptoms and in doing so they typically create new symptoms that have to be masked by yet another drug. And that's why people who start on one or two drugs almost always end up taking three or four or even ten or twelve drugs in the long run. Now they have a chain reaction of symptoms caused by drugs that are shortening their life while enhancing the profits of the drug companies. If you as an investor wish to fund that kind of system, make no mistake; you are funding an industry of evil that destroys the quality of life of people everywhere.
My recommendation? Sell your stock. Invest in something that makes a positive difference in the world. And one more thing. Maybe you're just a greedy bastard and you don't care where you invest your money. My message to you is that if you keep your money in the pharmaceutical companies, you're going to lose your shirt, anyway. The reason is because the truth is getting out. Web sites like this one, publications like the Wall Street Journal and actions by Attorneys General and the Justice Department are now hammering the pharmaceutical industry hard, and what we're seeing now is just the beginning. These drug companies are going to get hit so hard by claims of damage, lawsuits and the leaking of insider information that we're going to see a massive market devaluation of these companies. If you stay invested, you're throwing your money down the toilet and investing in an industry of destruction and suffering.
In the end, I guess, it serves people right. If people lose money by being investors in drug companies, they've earned their financial loss. Investing shouldn't be about simply "making money," it should be about doing some good with it.