10 Sketchy Practices Taking Place in the Biggest Industries

Corruption is an age-old issue that has permeated various sectors of society, including the corporate world. The following are some industries that have been tainted by corrupt practices, negatively impacting consumers, taxpayers, and the general public.

1. Big Pharma

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The pharmaceutical industry’s pricing practices are influenced by a combination of factors. The complex and lengthy drug development process, including clinical trials and regulatory approvals, contributes to high costs. However, the lack of transparency in pricing strategies allows pharmaceutical companies to exploit their market position.

They Find Way to Keep Drug Prices High

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Pharmaceutical companies may engage in “evergreening” by making minor adjustments to existing drugs to extend patent exclusivity, preventing the entry of more affordable generic alternatives. Additionally, lobbying efforts by pharmaceutical companies influence lawmakers to protect their interests, further hindering regulatory measures aimed at curbing high drug prices.

2. Airlines

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Mergers and acquisitions are driven by the pursuit of cost synergies and increased market share, but they often result in reduced competition. This lack of competition allows airlines to operate as quasi-monopolies, dictating prices without fear of significant market repercussions.

They Work With Competitors

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Airlines may engage in anti-competitive practices such as price-fixing or route-sharing agreements with competitors. Lobbying and campaign contributions to politicians can influence regulatory bodies to approve mergers without adequately considering the potential negative impacts on consumers.

3. Oil and Gas

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The financial stakes involved in oil and gas exploration create an environment where corruption can flourish. Weak regulatory frameworks, coupled with the secretive nature of many oil and gas transactions, provide fertile ground for illicit practices.

Lack of Transparency

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Companies may use bribery to secure favorable contracts or concessions. Shell companies and opaque financial structures can be employed to conceal payments and hide the true beneficiaries of lucrative deals. This lack of transparency allows corruption to go undetected.

4. Media

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Governments often seek to control media narratives to maintain political power and public support. In some instances, media outlets willingly align with those in power to secure financial incentives, advertising revenue, or legal protection.

Governments may exert control through direct ownership of media outlets, restrictive legislation, or by influencing editorial decisions through threats and coercion. Media companies may also self-censor to avoid backlash, resulting in biased reporting and a distorted public perception.

5. University Entrance Scandals

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The intense competition for admission to prestigious universities amplifies the perceived value of such credentials. This high demand creates a lucrative market for corruption.

Wealthy individuals, including celebrities, may exploit connections with university officials or engage in bribery to secure admission for their children. Unscrupulous intermediaries may facilitate cheating on standardized tests or forge academic credentials, contributing to an uneven playing field in university admissions.

6. Investing/Wall Street

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The potential for enormous financial gains in the investment world can drive individuals to seek unfair advantages, often through unethical and illegal means.

Unethical Activities

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Insider trading involves using non-public information to make profitable trades. Market manipulation includes spreading false information to influence stock prices. Regulatory capture, where regulatory bodies become sympathetic to the interests of the financial industry, can lead to lax enforcement of rules and regulations.

7. Construction

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The construction industry’s reliance on government contracts and the significant financial stakes involved make it susceptible to corruption. The lack of standardized procurement processes and weak oversight exacerbate these issues.

Plenty of Opportunities for Unethical Practices

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Companies may offer bribes to officials to secure contracts, compromise safety standards, or manipulate bidding processes. Collusion between construction companies and regulatory authorities may allow substandard practices to go unchecked.

8. Food Industry

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Fierce competition in the food industry, combined with the pursuit of profit, creates an environment where companies may resort to deceptive practices to gain a competitive edge.

Misleading Information

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Companies may fund research selectively, emphasizing positive outcomes and downplaying negative findings. Misleading advertising, such as using ambiguous health claims or manipulating serving sizes, can contribute to consumer confusion. Lobbying efforts may also prevent the implementation of stricter regulations.

9. Utilities (Energy Sector)

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The energy sector’s importance for economic development and infrastructure projects creates opportunities for corruption, especially in regions with weak governance structures and regulatory oversight.

Officials may accept bribes to grant favorable contracts or permits, leading to the misallocation of resources and potential environmental harm. The lack of transparent procurement processes and weak enforcement mechanisms allows these corrupt practices to persist.

10. Manufacturing

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Intense global competition and cost pressures can drive manufacturers to compromise on quality and engage in corrupt practices to reduce production costs and gain a competitive advantage.

Companies may engage in bribery within their supply chains to secure favorable terms or overlook ethical concerns. Fraudulent practices in quality control, such as using substandard materials or falsifying certifications, can compromise the safety and reliability of manufactured goods. Regulatory capture may allow manufacturers to escape consequences for these actions.

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