I noticed the other day that the pharmaceutical industry have managed to achieve something they could surely once only have dreamed of. Creating policy documents. Here is the offending headline from the Guardian newspaper:
NHS hires drugmaker-funded lobbyist
As the secondary headlines say:
‘Conflict of interest concerns as Specialised Healthcare Alliance (SHCA), funded by pharmaceutical companies, advises NHS England.’
A lobbying organisation with links to some of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies and medical equipment firms has been asked by NHS bosses to write a report that could influence health policy, it has been reported.’
It seems lobbying is now ‘so five minutes ago.’ Who needs a lobbyist when this organisation, the Specialised Healthcare Alliance (SHCA), which is entirely bought and paid for by the pharmaceutical industry, has been commissioned to write a report on funding specialised services for the NHS. Services worth £13,000,000,000.00p (£13Bn/$20Bn) per year.
The article does point out, though, that we are misguided to think that this could be in any way an issue. For John Murray, the director of the SHCA, a lobbyist, and author of the report, has made it clear that:
.…..there was no link between his lobbying business and the SHCA other than providing secretariat services and said the SHCA “never takes a position on particular products or treatments in any of its activities”.
John (Pinocchio) Murray’s nose is now in the Guinness Book of Records for being the longest nose ever recorded on a human being, at seven point three miles. He is a lobbyist, paid for by pharmaceutical companies, and his organisation never takes a position on particular products…..hahahahahahahahahaha. Well then, sack him immediately for being useless…. sack him for failing to do what he is handsomely paid to do.
The final part of this newspaper report, which I savoured, is the following:
‘James Palmer, clinical director of specialised services at NHS England, said he was aware of Murray’s role as a lobbyist but “there are no opportunities for lobbying in the process of forming clinical policy”.’
This, of course, is true. There are no opportunities for lobbying in this particular process of forming clinical policy. Once a lobbyist starts to write clinical policy, they have moved well past the annoying requirement to lobby anyone. For the lobbyist has now managed to become the very person that they should be paid to lobby.
Instead of trying to influence someone who may not listen to him, he can just talk to himself…. Imagine that this short section of imagined dialogue is like Smeagol talking to Gollum in Lord of the Rings (Smeagol and Gollum are, or course the same person):
John Murray: ‘We must put the following phrase into the report, my precious. A “clear commitment” to “disinvest in interventions that have lower impact for patients” in favour of “new services or innovations”.’
John Murray: “But why would you like me to put this in the report, wont this harm the hobbits? Hobbits have been kind to me…yes they have.”
John Murray: ‘I needs it in the report you fool. I represent precious pharmaceutical companies that are bringing new products onto the market. We needs to ensure that there will plenty of money to pay for them. So they must stop paying for stupid old fashioned treatments…yes, they must, foolish Hobbits.’
John Murray: ‘But won’t the kind Hobbits be worried this will just look like lobbying.’
John Murray: ‘Don’t be so stupid. How can the nasty Hobbits accuse me of lobbying? I am their friend, and I am trying to help them…yes I am.. Yes John Murray likes the friendly Hobbits. John Murray want to help the Hobbits, yes he does.’
John Murray: ‘You are so clever Smeagol, our master will be pleased.’…….
Duchess: ‘You’re thinking about something, my dear, and that makes you forget to talk. I can’t tell you just now what the moral of that is, but I shall remember it in a bit.’
“Perhaps it hasn’t one,” Alice ventured to remark.
“Tut, tut, child!” said the Duchess. “Everything’s got a moral, if only you can find it.”