Worldwide obesity rates have tripled since 1975, with 650 million adults obese in 2016, according to the World Health Organization. In 2019, the OECD declared that developed countries’ plans to tackle the problem largely failed. And the Covid-19 pandemic only underscored that obesity puts people at greater risk for infectious disease but are new weight loss drugs the answer?

In 2020, over 75% of AbbVie’s’ sales were made to American consumers, yet only 1% of AbbVie’s’ income was reported in the United States for tax purposes. AbbVie’s’ ability to exploit subsidiaries in offshore tax havens to avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes on U.S. prescription drug sales signals that big pharma will do anything to avoid hurting profits.

Imagine a medicine that reduced the death rate of breast cancer and risk of recurrent breast cancer by 50% lowered the risks of colon cancer and type 2 diabetes by two-thirds, and those of heart disease, hypertension, and Alzheimer’s’ disease by 40%. On top of that, it can be as effective as antidepressants or cognitive behavioral therapy in countering depression. That medicine exists, says Dr. Edward Laskowski of the Mayo Clinic: It’s’ called exercise. But…