THE POLITICS AND PROFITS IN KEEPING AMERICANS SICK
By Byron J. Richards, CCN
November 12, 2006
Last week Americans sent a warning shot into the oversized belly of the Republican Party. Unfortunately for President Bush, Americans turned out not to be the zombies he was counting on. This week Bush is trying to figure out why his public health goons forgot to double the fluoride content in the drinking water prior to the elections. Even Hitler knew this was the best way to make a population docile.
One of Bush’s best friends, Big Pharma, did everything it could to help him out. It poured in over 8 million dollars to the campaign coffers of those in close races and those it needs help from in the coming months. Big Pharma was particularly concerned about the election outcome, as its Bush-granted Medicare gravy train was at stake. Under the Part D arrangement no negotiation for drug prices to Medicare participants is allowed. This gives Big Pharma billions of dollars of inflated profits at American taxpayer expense. It has been well documented that Big Pharma bought this legislation in the first place, showing that politics in America is not a process for the people but a process for the elite. Many Democrats have threatened to reverse the Big Pharma windfall, while many Republicans like Orinn Hatch (R-UT) have sought to protect it.
In a losing battle Big Pharma’s largest election expenditure, half a million dollars, was spent on Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) who promised to preserve the Medicare scam, whereas his opponent, Bob Casey Jr., regularly attacked Medicare Part D as a giveaway to Big Pharma. Santorum has been on the Big Pharma payroll for some time, previously receiving over $250,000. In addition to helping pass Medicare Part D, he has aggressively lobbied other Senators to prevent re-importation of U.S. drugs at cheaper prices from Canada and Europe. It was a sad day in the Big Pharma camp to see Santorum bite the dust. Expect to see Big Pharma help re-inflate his sails for a presidential run in 2008.
Big Pharma tried but could not keep Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH) in office and their attempt to support Mark Kennedy (R-MN) failed miserably.
Third on the Big Pharma Senate list was Joe Lieberman (I/D-CT), receiving $240,000 this election season, matching his entire previous Big Pharma handout. Lieberman does not like to see drug companies sued when they injure and kill Americans and is a supporter of speeding dangerous and unproven drugs onto the market. These are also top FDA and Big Pharma priorities. Big Pharma is a major employer in Connecticut.
Backers on the House side who helped push through Medicare Part D were Nancy Johnson (R-CT) and Mike Ferguson (R-NJ). In the past, Big Pharma has rewarded them with the largest House handouts (Ferguson $371,000 and Johnson $338,000). They were also in the Big Pharma top ten for this election (Ferguson $239,000 and Johnson $171,000). Ferguson won and Johnson lost.
Big Pharma could not stem the Iraq-war-induced Republican bleeding, which ended up giving Big Pharma one massive migraine headache. While the opposition may have scored a touchdown, Big Pharma still has quite a lead. It is aggressively planning its next steps to perpetuate the fraudulent profits of the sickness industry, ensure it can injure Americans without penalty, eliminate competition from dietary supplements, and undermine your right to be healthy.
Big Pharma Looks to the Future
Two of the largest recipients of this year’s Big Pharma election money were Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Edward Kennedy (D-MA). Hatch was second, raking in over $300,000 and Kennedy came in fifth with $226,000. Neither Senator was in a close race, meaning the money was payment for recent work well done and a down payment on future favors required.
Hatch is a key player in the Big Pharma camp and has been on their payroll for a long time. His 30 years in Washington has enabled his family and former staffers to develop elaborate lobbying relationships with Big Pharma and dietary supplement companies, quite profitable all around. Hatch has been instrumental in selling out the American patent system, a con job that undermines American sovereignty and has been used by Big Pharma to generate billions in profits at the expense of the American taxpayer.
On the health freedom issue it is hard to tell whose side Hatch is on. He has seemingly been a friend to the supplement industry, helping to pass the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA). Since June of 2006 he has been acting like a used car salesman for horrendous Adverse Event Reporting (AER) legislation for dietary supplements, legislation intent on selling out your health freedom.
Possibly he is doing this to protect his tarnished image, as large contributors to his campaign such as Herbalife, Xango, and the now defunct Metabolife have a history of stretching the law and giving the industry a black eye. Possibly he is doing this because what Dick Durbin (D-IL) would do to the supplement industry, if left to his own devices, is even worse. And possibly he is doing this because Big Pharma is paying him to do it.
The current bill in question is called the Dietary Supplement and Non-Prescription Consumer Protection Act (S.3546). The bill was designed primarily by Durbin. It was introduced by Hatch. It was co-sponsored by another former supplement “friend,” Tom Harkin (D-IA), as well as Big Pharma supporters Kennedy and Michael Enzi (R-MT). The bill now has a house version (HR.6168), introduced by Rep. Christopher Todd (R-UT).
In a nutshell the bill seeks to reverse fundamental principles of law established by DSHEA, forcing supplement companies to defend the safety of super-safe dietary supplements (supplements are far safer than food). The legislation is completely unnecessary. It is a major step in the Big Pharma plan to eliminate therapeutic nutrition from the free market, taking over the industry. Many larger supplement companies are going along with it thinking it will eliminate their competition from smaller companies within the industry and protect them from “Democrats gone wild.” The legislation is written in such a way that the debilitating and deadly side effects of Big Pharma drugs can be blamed on dietary supplements. Supplement companies will unfairly and intentionally be tied up in frivolous litigation.
Hatch and Durbin are planning to sneak this bill through in the coming lame duck session.
Big Pharma’s gift to Kennedy is understandable. He has always hated health freedom and health options other than Big Pharma, opposing DHSEA from the beginning. Kennedy holds a key position on the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, responsible for Big Pharma and FDA matters. Kennedy and Enzi have been working for months with Big Pharma and the FDA to concoct a false safety bill called Enhancing Drug Safety and Innovation Act of 2006 (S.3807).
Instead of creating an independent office within the FDA to monitor drug safety, this legislation creates a new office within the FDA to act as a drug company! It will be named the Reagan-Udall Institute for Applied Bio-Medical Research and it will be funded by special interests in Big Pharma and the biotech industry. Its job is to sponsor the fast track approval of risky medications onto the market. The legislation pretends to address safety issues, acting as a smokescreen to appease the public while actually providing cover for Big Pharma’s riskiest and most dangerous drugs currently in the pipeline. Kennedy is planning to sneak this bill through in the coming lame duck session.
And now you can understand why Big Pharma is giving money to Hatch and Kennedy when they don’t need it.
Durbin has Always Been an Enemy of Health Freedom
Durbin, like Kennedy, opposed the DHSEA legislation in 1994, the law that now gives Americans options to a wide variety of natural remedies. Under the false guise of consumer safety, he routinely proposes legislation (S.722) that will gut DSHEA and enable the FDA to remove supplements from the market at their whim. He lines up support from other Democratic Party Big Pharma allies like Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). The House’s Big Pharma and biotech representatives join in, led by Susan Davis (D-CA), Henry Waxman (D-CA), John Dingell (D-MI), and Chris Von Hollen (D-MD).
In 2005 he tried to attach his “safety” legislation to Depart of Defense spending bills, and apparently had the votes to pass it even though there was no similar bill in the House. This led to consumer outcry over the scheme. Hatch and Harkin stepped in, placating Durbin. This is how we arrived at the current situation, with Hatch and Harkin working alongside Durbin to write the new AER bill. Supplement trade groups like the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) and the Natural Products Association (NNFA), which are now pawns in the Big Pharma game, were brought in during the negotiations to help craft the wording and give the false appearance that a majority of supplement companies, health food stores, and consequently their customers would back the legislation.
It is not hard to smell a rotten egg. This is a Durbin bill cloaked in cleverly worded language designed to create massive profits for his lawyer friends and their Big Pharma clients, the chief contributors to his campaign war chest. He also gets a lot of money from the Big Pharma health field, as Illinois is home to the American Medical Association (a group sponsored primarily by Big Pharma).
The law firm contributing the most to Durbin is Kirkland & Ellis, a top Chicago-based legal firm with many pharmaceutical clients including Schering-Plough, the makers of Claritin. Kirkland & Ellis are also experts in international patent litigation, a primary tool used by Big Pharma to bilk Americans. This has been going on since passage of WTO trade agreements, lining the pockets of Big Pharma with billions of shady windfall profits. Schering-Plough has spent millions trying to buy votes to extend Claritin patent protection, and Hatch has been a big supporter of their efforts. The selling out of the American patent system is a crime against our citizens and the future of our country. It is a gift to multinational corporations and Big Pharma.
When the money of Big Pharma is involved, party lines are irrelevant. Durbin and Kennedy, both Democrats, and Hatch, a Republican, share a great deal of personal financial benefit from Big Pharma and its related activities. Are those in the supplement industry who mistakenly support the current AER legislation naïve enough to believe these men will do something beneficial for the supplement industry and its consumers? Will Americans watch as these politicians do Big Pharma’s dirty work and help eliminate your natural health options?
Immediate Consumer Action is Needed
Congress will return on November 13 for a lame duck session. Durbin and Hatch want to pass dietary supplement AER legislation as a priority. A majority of Senators and Congressmen have no clue what the legislation is all about. Lame duck sessions are famous for political shenanigans.
The AER legislation (S.3546, HR.6168) is likely to pass unless Americans protest. If our congressional leaders know we oppose this legislation it will not pass, because there is no compelling reason for the majority to vote in favor of it and if leaders know the public is against it that will be sufficient to defeat the legislation in the lame duck session. It will also set the tone for a strong consumer voice opposing Congressional efforts to undermine health freedom in future months (efforts that are sure to take place). Now is the time to act.
The Senate version has already cleared the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee which is controlled by bill co-sponsors Kennedy and Enzi. It has been placed on the Senate calendar for debate in the lame duck session. However, none of the Senators pushing this bill actually want debate, as this would open the door to a floodgate of legitimate objections. Rather, it appears Durbin is planning to attach the bill to much larger government spending legislation that must be passed to keep the government in operation, in essence fast-tracking it through the Senate without anyone knowing what happened. It is vital that you alert your Senators on your objection to this bill as well as its inclusion with any other legislation.
The House version of the bill has been referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce. Senate sponsors have been pressuring the House to fast-track the bill without any debate. However, it now appears the committee will take testimony on the 16th of November.
At the same time this is happening Kennedy and Enzi want to sneak through S.3807, a huge gift to Big Pharma and the FDA under the false guise of consumer safety. This bill does not have a House companion and is not as far along. This bill will not protect consumers from dangerous drugs. It is unclear what stunt Kennedy is intending to pull; however, the scuttlebutt is that something is brewing.
Americans need to focus our government on the true safety issue: THE ADVERSE AND OFTEN DEADLY SIDE EFFECTS OF BIG PHARMA DRUGS. These drugs are killing 100,000 Americans every year and injuring over 3 million. The FDA is unable to regulate them and doesn’t even have a way to track which drugs are the problem. This is the real issue. Don’t let Big Pharma, with the help of the politicians they buy, pull the wool over your eyes.
Natural health options are the only real competition to the Big Pharma sickness industry. Yours are in jeopardy. It is time to be heard.
The National Health Federation (NHF), the oldest health freedom organization in America, is making it easy for you to express your concerns to your congressional leaders. Your help is urgently needed. It is important to e-mail, fax, and phone starting on November 13th and continuing until the lame duck session is over (at least the entire week, maybe longer). Leaders pay attention when their communication lines are jammed. Click here to take action.
I will be discussing this issue on my new internet radio broadcast, Tuesday, November 14, 8 P.M. (CST). Tune in to TruthInWellnessRadio.com and be informed! Here myself and other experts in natural health discuss the topics that are important to you.
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Byron J. Richards, Founder/Director of Wellness Resources, is a Board-Certified Clinical Nutritionist and nationally-renowned health expert, radio personality, educator, and author.
Richards encourages individuals to take charge of their health, stand up for their health rights, and not blindly succumb to propaganda from the vested-interests who profit from keeping Americans sick. Author of Mastering Leptin and Fight for Your Health, Richards is now joining forces with health freedom leaders in the U.S. and throughout the world. Visit his health blog for up to date happenings. www.truthinwellness.com
As founder of Wellness Resources, Inc. of Minneapolis, MN (since 1985), he has personally developed 75 unique nutraceutical-grade nutritional formulas. www.wellnessresources.com
of the International and American Associations
of Clinical Nutritionists (IAACN) (since 1991) Richards has presented
hundreds of educational classes to health professionals and individuals
who want to take charge of their health!
In a losing battle Big Pharma’s largest election expenditure, half a million dollars, was spent on Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) who promised to preserve the Medicare scam, whereas his opponent, Bob Casey Jr., regularly attacked Medicare Part D as a giveaway to Big Pharma.