“Taking lots of drugs is part of a healthy balanced lifestyle. They are all safe as long as my sponsors are making them.” This, in essence, is the message that we might expect from the top pharmaceutical industry lobbyist poised to run the FDA, America’s food and drug industry regulator.
As reported by By Carey Wedler for AntiMedia
President Obama’s recent nominee to chair the Food and Drug Administration has drawn harsh criticism for his ties to the pharmaceutical industry. The disapproval grew more justified this week as it was revealed that until this year, nominee Dr. Robert Califf was a board member and consultant for a company whose sole purpose is to help pharmaceutical companies evade and manipulate FDA regulations. He currently serves as the FDA’s deputy commissioner for medical products and tobacco and awaits Senate confirmation to become Deputy Commissioner of the agency.
Faculty Connection, LLC, where Califf served from 2006 to 2015, claims the company “brings together physicians and researchers from leading academic institutions with pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device clients.”
Further, an official corporate video notes the company has “served over 175 different pharma, biotech medical device firms,” claiming to help faculty — researchers, doctors, and academics — work side-by-side with the pharmaceutical industry. Continue reading...
Society does have a problem with drug use. It is a serious problem that is getting worse. For some reason, though, the perception of this problem is focused entirely on the very small range of drugs that are being used illegally. We cannot ignore the very real problems faced by those who are using drugs prescribed by doctors. Their lives can be damaged and sometimes destroyed as a result of diagnostic error, their own abuse of the prescribed stocks (few recreational drug users have a month’s supply in a bottle), or just years of being dependent on pharmaceuticals with known side effects. These legal drugs must be obtained through controlled channels, but these channels translate into a multi-billion dollar industry throughout the world—the real drugs trade. While we condemn it when drug barons bribe and seduce judges, police, and politicians, we think nothing of the lobbyists employed by the pharmaceutical industry in Washington DC, who number more than three for every single Congressman or Senator. To rephrase that, there are 535 elected representatives shaping law and regulation in the capital of the United States, attended to by 1,724 paid persuaders from the pharmaceutical drug barons alone (as well as some 9,750 lobbyists from other interest groups in 2011).
The most successful, and profitable, pharmaceutical drugs are those which do not cure, but instead create a lifelong habit for the user, such as steroids, beta blockers, and antihistamines. These often generate hundreds or even thousands of dollars/pounds a month income to the suppliers. These drug dealers’ lobbyists openly encourage the state to pass laws controlling and restricting the alternative healing industry and the sale of herbal and other natural and unpatented medicinal remedies. Their expert lobbyists put convincing arguments to politicians that herbal medicines are unsafe and endanger the user’s life, over a nice cardiac-endangering lunch at a top restaurant. Even the deadly killers alcohol and tobacco are usually left out of the picture when the vast majority talk about “the drug problem.”
While acknowledging the dangers posed by some illegal drugs, I point out that the unnecessary suffering and destruction meted out by the “authorized” drugs trade is clearly the greater problem, despite being managed by trained people in white coats and slick PR professionals. More people will probably die from mis-applied or mis-prescribed pharmaceuticals in a week than from the so-called drug problem in a year. The statistics are not released and possibly not even tallied.