I looked the company up on Wikipedia and it looks like their net profits for 2018 were 2.186billion Pounds, which is about 2.7billion US Dollars. So it's a little over half of all their profits from last year. I have so many thoughts on this issue and if you look at my post history, it shows. Everytime NPR posts an article about these lawsuits, I share. If I knew how, I'd probably create a custom newsfeed for myself so I could stay more up to date. In a nutshell though, here are some of my feelings.
These companies have done us wrong and we need to hold them accountable, both individuals in the company as well as the companies themselves. And if people outside the companies are commiting wrongs too, we need to go after them as well. Fortunately, it think we starting to see that happen.
That said though, as much as I want justice served, I know that fining these companies to the point that they're destroyed will probably create harm in a different way. After all, they do make other medicines that people need and they're a core part of our economy. If we, in our thirst for justice, cause innocent people to lose their jobs and make it more difficult and more expensive for the ill to get the medicine that they need, then we're commiting a whole new act of injustice.
I care about the dollar amount, a lot. I think for the punishment to be meaningful, it needs to have a meaningful impact on the companies. However, i think more important than raw dollar amounts is what we do with it. If the various levels of government get half a trillion dollars by the time things are said and done and none of that goes to services aimed and restoring destroyed lives, I don't think that's anywhere near as good than if we got a fraction of the money and spent it wisely to help as many people as possible restore their lives as fully as possible. So in a way, I think more important than focusing on punitive dollar amounts is that we focus on what we can do with that money. I can't speak for the whole country, but I know locally, that's a big part of the active conversation and that fills me with some hope.
I hope you don't mind the rant, it's not directed at you, and I agree that I feel like we don't get enough information in these articles. No one ever seems to want to talk about this issue, online or in meatspace, so it's nice to have an opportunity to say something. I just feel like this issue is so big and I have a hard time not thinking about it and with each article I see I just keep feeding hope after hope that we turn things around. It's all a big mess, but it's good to see people starting to clean things up. It's long overdue.