Big Issue readers react to articles on the influence of Big Pharma, the Rugby World Cup and the former home secretary’s proposition to restrict tent use by the homeless.
In his health article recently [Issue 1587, 23 October], Nick Dearden highlights the influence of Big Pharma on creating and selling the vaccines that ‘saved’ the world from COVID-19. Corporations such as Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna were making profits at the rate of $1,000 per second! Such figures are obscene but what is truly sickening was the refusal of these companies to share their knowledge with countries that struggled to produce a version for their citizens, creating ‘vaccine inequality’.
Such a stance is not surprising; Big Pharma will always put profits before ethics. A prime example is the Sackler family aka Purdue Pharma. Their role in the OxyContin crisis was unearthed by New Yorker journalist Patrick Radden Keefe. It is a story of greed, corruption and death (hundreds of thousands of deaths) where the Sacklers are never held to account let alone indicted for their crimes, which enabled every member of the family to fade away with a tarnished name but their individual fortunes intact.
Just like Johnson & Johnson, Purdue Pharma used small changes to its product to apply for ‘new’ patents and extend its ownership over OxyContin. It is heartening to hear of victories over such practices in countries such as India, South Africa and Colombia. We need urgent legislation that bans pharma monopolies so that health systems are controlled for the benefit of ordinary citizens.
Mike Hobbins, Woking, Surrey
I recently experienced a moment that can only be described as a poignant juxtaposition of hope and despair. In the aftermath of a storm, I photographed a rainbow – a universal symbol of hope and serenity. Its end appeared to cradle a tent sheltering a rough sleeper, a stark reminder of the grim reality faced by many.