Healthcare Hitmen Up Their Game

The baddies are pulling all stops to suppress free flow of information

uSpiked Investigative Team promised to continue exposing the evil and fraudulent schemes employed by some pharmaceutical companies doing business with the Department of Health. Today we published the second instalment on the staggering scale of price hikes by pharmaceutical suppliers that underbid the competition only to increase their unit prices soon after signing contracts.

We would prefer to see the culprits show some level of discomfort. But the likely outcome is the usual behaviour: being dismissive and becoming more inventive. Nevertheless we never expected some of them to seek means of attempting to intimidate us into dropping our investigations into their ill ways. No matter how many soundless calls and anonymous email threats we receive, we shall remain true to uSpiked’s pledge: dissemination beyond fear.

Are we afraid? Fear is normal, but the bad fellows should be more afraid of their evils catching up with them. They should be afraid of the silence and patience of the public that they perennially screw via tender malpractices. To paraphrase the late African playwright Prof. Francis Imbuga, the public’s silence is a show of prudence and not dumbness.

One of the many intimidatory emails we receive from ghosts behind keyboards

At uSpiked, we don’t let fear (real or perceived) dictate the kind of information we disseminate. Our undertaking is to continue to amplify the voices that would otherwise not be heard, and we take this obligation very seriously.

Following our interest in exposing what we called ransom tenders, the level of threats have escalated in tandem with the price increases of contracts. Numerous attempts have been made to halt our inquiries to no avail. Certain individuals wrongly assumed to be our sources of information have equally been targeted.

Some corporate executives have retained private security contractors [some possibly former apartheid security agents] to find out what we are working on and how to halt our lines of inquiries. Attempts to access our local servers and communications have failed, and to justify their fees and retainers, the security contractors now spend their time foraging for ‘our sources’. Since the hired hands may not care, their corporate clients should know this: the people we regularly or occasionally meet are not necessarily ‘the source’ for that next report exposing corporate indecorum.

Traced to Czech Republic after being bounced off servers in China

Our sources are the bottom 99% of the population. They see and hear things and they whisper back to us for amplification. They can be found anywhere and everywhere and they are smarter than the greedy corporate executives take them for. They are acutely aware of rights and wrongs, and they understand the real meaning of ‘fit and proper’.

They know that deliberately hiking prices of precious and essential pharmaceutical drugs is not ‘fit and proper’. As workers, they know their employers (the corporate executives) would never grant them a 41% salary hike every six months. They know, first-hand, the impacts of scarcity of the overpriced pharmaceutical products in public health facilities. When a family member, friend or neighbor succumbs to manageable ailments, they know the death could have been avoided if medicines already purchased by their government were available.

These are our sources. So widespread are they that the ghosts behind the keyboards dispatching threatening emails, the heavy telephone breathers and movement trackers cannot fathom.

Executives of corporations such as MSD (Pty) Ltd and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories (Pty) Ltd. have done the right thing and are still in business. Until the corrupt executives mend their ways, uSpiked Team shall continue to expose their wrongdoings. And that is a promise from the editor’s desk in perpetuity. I will continue doing as Anne Lamott (the American writer and political activist) famously quipped — If you want us to write warmly about you, please behave better.