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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”

  


     


SANDERS RELEASES REPORT DETAILING FDA COMMISSIONER'S DRUG INDUSTRY TIES


http://www.house.gov/bernie/press/2000/09-19-2000.html
BERNARD SANDERS
MEMBER OF CONGRESS
 
 INDEPENDENT
VERMONT, AT LARGE
 
 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SEPTEMBER 19, 2000  CONTACT: DAVID SIROTA
(202) 225-4115
 
 
Many of the same commissioners who claim reimportation is unsafe
work / worked for drug industry

WASHINGTON - Congressman Bernard Sanders (I-VT) today released a
report detailing how at least 7 out of the 11 FDA commissioners who
claim prescription drug reimportation legislation is unsafe have
strong financial ties to the pharmaceutical and medical equipment
industry. Additionally, one of these commissioners who the industry
claims opposes the legislation actually testified before Congress
against the law that made reimportation illegal. In radio, television
and newspaper ads across the country, the pharmaceutical industry is
touting letters from 11 current and former FDA commissioners which
claim that Sanders' and Wellstone's reimportation legislation will
pose a safety risk to consumers. The report released today, however,
exposes that these are not "objective" positions, as a majority of
these commissioners are connected to the drug industry. Reimportation
legislation has passed both the House and Senate by overwhelming
bipartisan majorities as part of the Agriculture Appropriations Bill.

 




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Sanders said, "The pharmaceutical industry is the most powerful
special interest in Washington. They not only have the money to hire
300 lobbyists on Capitol Hill, contribute $9 million to both
political parties and spend tens of millions on advertising, but they
have been also to put a number of former FDA commissioners on their
payroll. The story here is not that some former FDA officials oppose
our efforts to pass a reimportation bill and substantially lower the
price of prescription drugs in this country, but that a
cynical "revolving door" policy exists between the FDA and the drug
companies. The American people should have deep concerns about a
process in which individuals who had the responsibility of regulating
an industry end up on working for them after they leave government."

According to the report, acting FDA commissioners Michael Friedman,
Mark Novitch, Arthur Hull Hayes and Jere Goyan are all currently
employed by pharmaceutical companies. These same companies have a
direct financial stake in whether reimportation legislation passes
and prices are brought down, or whether the legislation is defeated
in conference committee. One other commissioner, Donald Kennedy, is
the President Emeritus of Stanford University, which reaps millions
in royalties from profits from various pharmaceuticals. One
commissioner, Frank E. Young, testified in 1986 against the ban on
reimportation which has allowed drug companies to charge Americans
the highest prices for prescription medications in the world.

 




Even without the new report exposing the commissioners, Sanders said
claims that reimportation legislation is unsafe are false because the
bill would only allow FDA-safety approved medications into the United
States. He pointed out a report released from his office last month
that showed the bill's strong import testing requirements are much
like those employed in Western Europe, where reimportation is a
common practice and where drug counterfeiting has not been a problem.