From the March 2001 Idaho Observer:
Drug makers in power
Is G.W. Bush our "Prescription" President?
by The Idaho Observer
The British newspaper, "The Guardian" has provided several clues that indicate how pharmaceutical companies are able buy government complicity in efforts to market dangerous prescription drugs without having first demonstrated their safety or efficacy with independent scientific studies. Information published by The Guardian shows that the powerful Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association (PhRMA) contributes heavily to the political campaigns of certain politicians and has managed to place pro-PhRMA persons in positions of policy-making authority.
".[T]he distinction between the interests of the pharmaceutical industry and the Bush presidency have blurred. There is a fast-spinning revolving door between government and the pharmaceutical industry," wrote Julian Borger of The Guardian.
"Mitch Daniels, the new director of the office of management and budget in the White House, was formerly the vice-president for strategy and policy at the pharmaceutical giant, Eli Lilly. Two members of the Bush transition team, Anne Marie Lynch and Bill Walters, are PhRMA members. Three others were selected from big pharmaceutical firms," The Guardian reported.
"The PhRMA doesn't need to lobby," Democratic congressman Sherrod Brown said in a memo to staff last month. "The industry is in the White House already."
Historically the pharma industry covered its political bases by making campaign contributions to both Republicans and Democrats. This last election cycle, however, the industry reportedly placed most of its campaign contribution chips on Republicans. The pharma cartel apparently had reason to believe that Republicans were going to gain control of Capitol Hill and $billions were at stake amid the hotly debated campaign issue of who was going to pay the rising costs of drugging the elderly.
"The [pharmaceutical] industry spent nearly 70 percent of its unprecedented $24.4 million campaign war chest on the Republicans," reported The Guardian February 11, 2001.
GW reportedly received the greatest amount of pharmaceutical company campaign contribution largesse and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) came in second after having received $340,000 from the industry.
Under the Bush administration, The Guardian predicts that, "The U.S. government is expected to return to its customary role as a battering ram for the interests of the pharmaceutical industry."
"[Understanding] the political ties of the drug companies is key to understanding why we have [dangerous] drugs remaining on the market." commented Dr. Ann Blake Tracy, Executive Director of the International Coalition for Drug Awareness (www.drugawareness.org)
Dr. Tracy is also the author of Prozac: Panacea or Pandora's Box? Dr. Tracy's well documented attempts to make the pharma industry realize the dangers of its "therapeutic" psychotropic drugs has repeatedly fallen on deaf ears.
In recent years we have seen how the pharma cartel has been able to force dozens of products into the marketplace. As a result, millions of people are being damaged by vaccines, psychotropics, birth control pills, diet pills and other drugs that have side effects that range from nausea and neurological complications to death.
The problem is destined to get worse as mega mergers in the pharmaceutical industry are creating multinational corporate behemoths with assets greater than entire continents. "The combined worth of the world's top five drug companies is twice the combined GDP of all sub-Saharan Africa and their influence on the rules of world trade is many times stronger because they can bring their wealth to bear directly on the levers of western power," reported The Guardian.
In the second part of a series entitled, "George Bush's America, Borger observed what he refers to as a "pantheon of corporate muscle," Washington, D.C., "teems with a thousand industrial lobbyists. They cluster around the band of luxury offices and expensive restaurants which stretches from the White House to the Capitol building - a two-mile axis along which money and power are constantly traded." He added that "no industry wields as much power as PhRMA," which he described as, "a pressure group breathtaking for its deep pockets and aggression, even by the standards of U.S. politics."
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