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Big Pharma’s Real Discount Drug Program

By Joe Trento


The Associated Press tested drinking water in a number of places and discovered that traces of a wide range of Big Pharma’s products are reaching people through their local water supply. The AP story is important, but, sadly, an old story without, so far, a very happy ending.            


Public health officials have known for years that America’s over-the-counter and prescription drug dependency was affecting virtually everyone because our sewage treatment plants could not get rid of the chemicals in the drugs humans passed back into the water supply. To put it plainly - all of us are getting a small dose of a cornucopia of drugs. By all of us I mean children, fish, birds and all creatures dependent on water are getting tiny involuntary stealth prescriptions.  The drug makers and President Bush’s EPA assure us the doses are too small to worry about. So they don’t. But considering the source of the reassurance, perhaps you should.          



In the summer of 2005 NRNS reporter Maggie Master assisted The Washington Post’s Juliet Eilperin with a story on the same subject. We have linked to the story here because even though it was played well in one of the nation’s most important newspaper, neither Congress nor the Executive Branch did anything to protect our water supply from ourselves. We have also included a link to the excellent AP story that received wide attention this week. The point of both stories is that government moves glacially on public health and environmental issues any time huge corporate interests are at stake. The drug industry has the best lobbyists in Washington. So don’t hold your breath waiting for help from Congress or the White House. Apparently the Bush Environmental Protection Agency is more interested in protecting big pharmaceutical companies than human and animal health.              


In the meantime try to ease the tide of drugs in the water supply by not flushing old drugs down the toilet or throwing them in the trash destined for landfills. Big Pharma should fund a program to help the public dispose of old medication responsibly. Maybe free mailing envelopes for out-of-date medications back to the companies that make them as well as drop-off boxes at pharmacies.



Copyright © 2003-2008 Public Education Center, Inc. All rights reserved.   This essay is herein reprinted with the author's permission.


Joe Trento has spent more than 35 years as an investigative journalist, working with both print and broadcast outlets and writing extensively on national security issues. Before joining the National Security News Service in 1991, Trento worked for CNN's  Special Assignment Unit, the Wilmington News Journal, and prominent journalist Jack Anderson. Trento has received six Pulitzer nominations and is the author of five books, the most recent of which is The Secret History of the CIA. He regularly publishes a blog at


Posted  March 17, 2008

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