by zero hedge
WEDNESDAY, DEC 16, 2020 – 23:10
Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?
Michael Shermer, a famous skeptic, was forced to admit that one of the reasons is that some of them are true. In his research he found that the fact that some conspiracy theories are real feeds people’s suspicion and makes them susceptible to the belief in others that are far less credible.
We are increasingly herded into taking a hard line on issues which are nuanced. One example of this is an apparent increase in two camps: some people are entirely against mainstream medicine while others will bend over backwards to mount an extreme defense of the indefensible excesses of Big Pharma.
Drugs save lives. Drugs are dangerous. These should not be controversial statements, nor do they contradict one another. According to the American Medical Association’s own figures, medical care has become the third leading cause of death in the United States, yet few would advocate a return to a time before we had modern medical care.
When the government is buying the drug no matter what and those companies are protected from liability for damages that may be caused by those drugs, it ceases to be surprising that people may question whether what is being offered up to them is safe or not.
One of the reasons why people believe in conspiracy theories about Big Pharma is because some of them are true.
Some of Pfizer’s History
A 2004 advert for Zoloft claimed that over 16 million Americans were affected by social anxiety disorder. But here’s the thing: a study conducted by Pfizer (the manufacturer) discovered that participants did a lot better overcoming social anxiety with “exposure therapy,” including counseling with a primary care doctor about their symptoms and homework to learn how to identify and break through social habits and fears, than people who took their drug.
When the Upjohn Company (now Pfizer) developed Minoxidil, a drug that was originally manufactured to lower blood pressure, they found that it could cause hair regrowth in some balding patients. So they simply switched the marketed effect for the so-called side effect, and they had a drug for balding which just so happened to lower blood pressure.