Public Life Advocate: The Tracker (May 2005)

This edition of The Tracker can be found in print publication of the Public Life Advocate at the website of the Public Life Foundation. Sources for this edition's Tracker can be found at the end of this post. Check back for additional information on an ongoing basis.

* Each year 32,000 older adults suffer from hip fractures—contributing to more than 1,500 deaths—attributable to drug-induced falls.

* Two million older Americans are addicted or at risk of addiction to minor tranquilizers or sleeping pills because they have used them daily for at least one year.

* According to the Fortune 500 in 2002, the drug industry ranked second among all business sectors in return on shareholder equity, with a rate more than two-and-a-half times the 2002 Fortune 500 median (27.6% compared with 10.2%).

* In the 1990s, the drug industry’s profitability grew to almost four times the Fortune 500 median.

* Vioxx (arthritis medication now off the market) was more heavily advertised in 2000 than Budweiser and Pepsi.

* Pfizer (maker of Benadryl, Celebrex, Cortizone, Lipitor, Neosporin, Rolaids, Sudafed, Viagra, Zoloft, Zyrtec, and other medications) had more profits in 2001 than all of the Fortune 500 homebuilding, apparel, railroad and publishing companies combined.

* Of the 50 most popular drugs discovered, 45 were discovered with taxpayer-funded research.

* Compared to all other industries, the federal tax burden on the drug industry is 40% lower.

* According to the National Institute of Health, taxpayer-funded scientists conducted 55 percent of the research projects that led to the discovery and development of the top five selling drugs in 1995.

Sources:
Public Citizen: "Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1971 to represent consumer interests in Congress, the executive branch and the courts."

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