Monday, September 7, 2009

Big Pharma and Friendly Faces

Back in July of 2008, GlaxoSmithkline hired a lawyer by the name of Dan Troy and made him the Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the company. The interesting part of that hire was that Troy, at one time, was formerly Chief Counsel for the US Food and Drug Administration, where he served as a primary liaison to the White House and the US Department of Health and Human Services. On August 20, 2001 President Bush appointed Daniel Troy to be Chief Counsel of the Food and Drug Administration. Previously, civil servants held this position. Troy was the first political appointee to the FDA post.

Many were outraged not only at the appointment, but by subsequent actions of Troy showing his bias towards Big Pharma. Congressman Maurice Henchley has devoted a huge amount of time showing that bias on his web site.
Big Pharma has, in the last several years, been aggressively seeking to dominate the governmental agencies by either befriending those like Troy, or even Presidents, or by quietly lobbying behind the scenes to have "friendly" faces embedded in the regulatory agencies like the FDA.

It demonstrates that Big Pharma is realizing that it needs "connections" in order to stay ahead of the curve. At a time when there is mounting pressure on the FDA to reign in the corporate giants like Pfizer, the world's largest drug maker (which just agreed to pay a $2.3 billion civil penalty), Glaxo and other corporate giants in the pharmaceutical world are looking for protection.

They have managed to infiltrate state governments [translate: finding lots of "friendly faces"] so as to get in place laws protecting them from lawsuits where the FDA has approved a drug, and with cases like Buckman Co. v. Plaintiffs’ Legal Committee, 531 U.S. 341 (2001), even where fraud against the FDA is made to obtain a drug approval, state actions are preempted.

We are back in the age of Snake Oil salesmen and few realize it. Instead of smarmy suits and pitches, though, we're seeing suits and ties, smiling faces, kudos and endorsements of their "oil" from doctors and politicians. Where else on the planet could a company sell a product that killed, maimed, or crippled people, and have that product approved for sale by the government; and moreover, have that company gain protections under various laws from states and the federal government?

Oh. Yeah. I guess North Korea would be one.


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