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The Business of Drugs, Demerol, And The Death of Michael Jackson

By Peter York, Published: June 26th, 2009 4:07 PM CDT

I decided to look up the manufacturers of Demerol, the drug which is said to have helped Michael Jackson end up dead at the age of 50.  Here are some names that come up under that and identical drug manufacturers of Demerol:


Abbott Laboratories (Public, NYSE:ABT)

Hospira, Inc. (Public, NYSE:HSP)

Sanofi-Aventis SA (ADR) (Public, NYSE:SNY)

Eli Lilly & Co. (Public, NYSE:LLY)

AstraZeneca plc (ADR) (Public, NYSE:AZN)

Roche Holding Ltd. (ADR) (Public, OTC:RHHBY)

Akorn, Inc. (Public, NASDAQ:AKRX)


I've always felt a little dirty about investing in certain companies and big biotechnology companies like these are on top of that list.  For example, today, on the first full day after Michael Jackson's death, of the above seven companies listed who produce Demerol, three either pulled drugs off the market today due to dangers or have a new rumor swirling around that a drug is killing people.  Sanofi-Aventis, for example pulled its pain killer Di-Antalvic due to warnings from a European regulatory agency.  Roche said it will stop selling its acne drug, Accutane, which brought on suicides and a series of lawsuits.  Also, analysts raised safety concerns about another Sanofi-Aventis' drug, Lantus, which is for diabetics.

It's just another day in the stock market.  The news that these manufacturers may have somehow contributed to Michael Jackson's death went entirely unnoticed, mostly because it will not impact revenues or earnings for these companies.  Yet, in a capitalist society where we demand less regulations and more freedom, we ought to be voting with our dollars in our investment accounts.  Of course, we are not.  We give our stock market responsibilities to money managers who are only interested in the bottom line.  Then, we even complain about too many regulations.

Regardless of whether or not Michael Jackson's death impacts you in any way, it is important to acknowledge that while many people, like Michael Jackson himself, may be opposed to the use of illegal drugs, these same people tend to be indifferent about our legal drug pushers, whose interest is the bottom line, above all else.  These same people enable the biotechnology companies to get away with creating a massive distinction between the dangers of legal and illegal drugs, bright colorful commercials versus images of jail and police.

Be warned future investors.  If we are to advance as a better society, these distinctions will need to be blurred.  That would not be positive news for the value of many of these biotechnology companies.  That's of course assuming we do advance as a society.

Related: ABT

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Very good article! Keep researching, I am ...

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