John Oliver Eviscerates Pharmaceutical Companies In Return to HBO

February 9th 2015

Alicia Lutes

Is it too harsh to say that big pharmaceutical companies are ethically corrupt money shells with one purpose: to profit off the ignorance of the customers it alleges to serve by playing on the slippery slope that is incentive-based coercion? Well it doesn't matter because John Oliver basically said as much for us — and thank goodness for that.

In one season of his show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, the comedian has managed to become the professorial equivalent of John Stewart (with swear words!), intelligently skewering the more absurd hypocrisies and unjust B.S. plaguing our world. And that proverbial taking it to the streets was in full effect on Sunday night's second season premiere, where the comedian took on one of the more nefarious — and frankly, huge — agencies of manipulative misinformation for financial gain in the world: big pharma.

On Sunday night's premiere, Oliver called out their practices — from the sales representatives' gifts of food and status (be a "thought leader!" a.k.a. influence other people for us!) in order to shine a light on just how ethically corrupt their business model is in the name of making money. Because — as Oliver points out — a lot of these companies spend more money on marketing and advertising their products than they do on researching and developing them. Seems ...pretty incongruous, no?

Big Pharmaceutical: they're not just selling you pills you don't need for ailments you probably don't have via commercials filled with the real power of suggestion: they're also doing it to doctors, too. How's that for a business model, eh?