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Friday, January 14, 2005

Government of Big Pharma, for Big Pharma, and by Big Pharma

From Bob Herbert:
If the malpractice legislation so relentlessly touted by President Bush became law, Pfizer, Merck and Eli Lilly would be immunized against even the possibility of punitive damages arising from any harm to patients that resulted from use of these drugs - as long as the companies followed F.D.A. rules. All three drugs were approved by the F.D.A.
The drug companies have an incredible racket going, as Marcia Angell, the former editor in chief of The New England Journal of Medicine, documents in her book "The Truth About the Drug Companies."

"Now primarily a marketing machine to sell drugs of dubious benefit," she wrote, "this industry uses its wealth and power to co-opt every institution that might stand in its way, including the U.S. Congress, the Food and Drug Administration, academic medical centers, and the medical profession itself. (Most of its marketing efforts are focused on influencing doctors, since they must write the prescriptions.)"

Among those co-opted is the president himself. Nothing's too good for the drug companies. If ordinary Americans got the same sweet treatment from this administration as the great pharmaceutical houses, we'd all be in a much better place.