It’s the year 2022… People are still the same. They’ll do anything to get what they need. And they need SOYLENT GREEN.
I remember when Soylent Green hit the local theaters in 1973. I was so excited; nothing like a good sci-fi flick starring Charlton Heston.
But this one was different. The bad guy was a corporation – the Soylent Company. They created a new food to feed the starving masses. But alas, the most nutritious of these creations – soylent green – had a secret ingredient.
Today we learn that one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies – Merck & Co. – likewise was keeping secrets from the masses who were starving for relief from pain. Like the Soylent Company, they pretended to be doing one thing while they were doing something else. They claimed to be testing the side effects of Vioxx when in fact they were supporting a marketing campaign.
Naturally, Merck denies any wrongdoing.
In any event, the product turned out to be a failure and was taken off the market. Merck was forced to settle with U.S. patients (or their survivors) to the tune of $4.85 billion. And in the end (at least for me) it’s hard to determine which is worse – deceiving the general public or doubling your patients’ chances of a heart attack and stroke. I guess neither really works.
Which reminds me, in the movie (Soylent Green), there is a scene in which Detective Thorne (Charlton Heston) questions a local resident about her incinerator…
Det. Thorn: Used it lately?
Martha Phillips: It doesn’t work.
Det. Thorn: What does?
Indeed, what does?