John Oliver returned on Last Week Tonight on Sunday night (February 8) and let loose with an epic 17-minute takedown of the powerful pharmaceutical companies. As Uproxx put it, Oliver tackled "the underinformed-but-attractive drug reps who peddle questionable, overpriced treatments to doctors who love a free lunch."

John OliverJohn Oliver made a welcome return to Last Week Tonight with an epic takedown of the major pharmaceutical companies

Oliver began pointing out the sad, depressing statistic that 9 out of the top 10 drug companies spend more on marketing than they do on research. He also noted that $24 billion of marketing was aimed directly at doctors last year.

"Drug companies are like high school boyfriends. They're much more concerned with getting inside you than being effective once they're in there."

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Oliver moved on to the subject of drug companies encouraging off label uses, meaning the drugs being used for conditions other than the other it was originally approved for. 

"You can't just give people potentially dangerous drugs and see what happens," he said, "You're a Fortune 500 company, not a white guy with dreadlocks at Burning Man."

"Ask your doctor today if he's taking pharmaceutical company money. Then ask your doctor what the money is for. Ask your doctor if he's taken any money from the companies that make the drugs he's just prescribed for you. Then ask yourself if you're satisfied with that answer," a voice-over added.

Prescription drug spending in the U.S last year was almost $330 million billion - that's around $1,000 per person. As Oliver put it, Breaking Bad's Walter White should have saved himself the hassle and bloodshed by "cooking up rheumatoid arthritis medication."

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