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Covid vaccines deserve our trust – but big pharma doesn’t | Laura Spinney

The pandemic has saved the reputation of some pharmaceutical giants whose track records should not be whitewashed Last week, a commission set up by Stanford University and the Lancet found that the devastating opioid crisis in North America could happen again, and not just there. The unethical practices that Patrick Radden Keefe documented in his prize-winning 2021 book, Empire of Pain, were not restricted to one company, Purdue Pharma, and the part of the Sackler family that owned it. They were and remain normal behaviour in the pharmaceutical industry and in the agencies that are supposed to regulate it. The Covid pandemic has, in some senses, been big pharma’s redemption. The vaccines that were developed at record speed, albeit on the back of decades of painstaking, publicly funded research, have been portrayed as a miracle of public-private cooperation. But this report reminds us that the question of trust isn’t going away – and it won’t until we do something about it. Laura Spinney is a science journalist and the author of Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How it Changed the World Continue reading...
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