Tag Archives: corruption

Drug Companies & Doctors: A Story of Corruption

Dr. Marcia Angell, nybooks.com
June 15, 2009

Recently Senator Charles Grassley, ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, has been looking into financial ties between the pharmaceutical industry and the academic physicians who largely determine the market value of prescription drugs. He hasn’t had to look very hard.

Take the case of Dr. Joseph L. Biederman, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and chief of pediatric psycho-pharmacology at Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital. Thanks largely to him, children as young as two years old are now being diagnosed with bipolar disorder and treated with a cocktail of powerful drugs, many of which were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for that purpose and none of which were approved for children below ten years of age.

Legally, physicians may use drugs that have already been approved for a particular purpose for any other purpose they choose, but such use should be based on good published scientific evidence. That seems not to be the case here. Biederman’s own studies of the drugs he advocates to treat childhood bipolar disorder were, as The New York Times summarized the opinions of its expert sources, “so small and loosely designed that they were largely inconclusive.”1

In June, Senator Grassley revealed that drug companies, including those that make drugs he advocates for childhood bipolar disorder, had paid Biederman $1.6 million in consulting and speaking fees between 2000 and 2007. Two of his colleagues received similar amounts. After the revelation, the president of the Massachusetts General Hospital and the chairman of its physician organization sent a letter to the hospital’s physicians expressing not shock over the enormity of the conflicts of interest, but sympathy for the beneficiaries: “We know this is an incredibly painful time for these doctors and their families, and our hearts go out to them.” Continue reading

Attorney Tells All: How the U.S. Courts Shield Big Pharma from Liability

By Shane Ellison, The People’s Chemist

It’s not easy to sue Big Pharma.  But, legal firm Baum Hedlund has been doing it for years.  Unfortunately, as pharmaceutical deceit and side-effects grow, it’s getting exponentially more difficult. After all, using prescription drugs as prescribed is the top killer in the USA.

I reached out to attorney Michael Baum to get a behind-the-scenes look at how this growing monster is shielded from liability by our court system.  Baum generously agreed to share his candid insights.  If you or a loved one are taking prescription meds — make sure you read this interview closely.

     Michael L. Baum

TPC #1: Does the court system protect the pharmaceutical industry from liability? If so, how?

Mr. Baum: Yes. The court system has made it very expensive for claims to be made against pharmaceutical companies for injuries. For instance, drug lawsuits require expert testimony from a person with a related PhD and/or MD level education. Otherwise, the case may be thrown out before going to trial.

This makes suing drug companies pricey because the experts charge high hourly rates to offset the “cost” of going up against the same entities that pay for grants, lucrative industry jobs and coveted academic positions.

Furthermore, many judges now have gate-keeping authority to reject cutting-edge science that goes against the status-quo — what the rest of the scientific community “believes.” Drug companies are able to foster “established beliefs” with hundreds of millions of dollars in marketing aimed at physicians, medical journals, academic opinion leaders, and professional organizations of scientists.  Once those marketed messages become pervasive, use of the drug becomes the standard of care. So overcoming that impression is like convincing a court the emperor is not wearing new clothes, which can be very difficult.

TPC #2: What are the ramifications of this conflict, on the average U.S. citizen?

Mr. Baum: The expense itself can make bringing an individual case prohibitive. We now have to combine cases to spread the cost. Unfortunately, courts (and legislative actions) have whittled away using these class actions for drug injuries. They now say that each person’s damage is unique and not common across a class, even if they suffer the same injury, e.g. a heart attack.

Combining many claimants into lawsuits is still possible, but it requires enough similarly injured people to justify a consolidated action. Finding lawyers qualified and willing to take on the detailed investigation and pay out the expense of engaging experts is itself a big hurdle. Drug companies can afford to make lawsuits long and difficult, so financing such litigation with qualified, available lawyers can be a barrier to an average U.S. citizen pursuing a drug case.

There’s also the pill-popping culture that causes an additional barrier. Many injuries occur after a person has been prescribed a number of drugs. Separating out one drug’s effect from another adds another level of complication. Thus, many law firms and courts will reject cases unless it is clear that the likely culprit is one particular drug.

TPC #3: If a drug has been proven ineffective and dangerous in a court of law, why is it still on the market? Continue reading

CDC Scientists Expose Agency Corruption

Robert Kennedy, Jr, ecowatch.com
Nov. 21, 2016

cdc-corruption-is-rampant

Last month, The Hill published a letter sent by “more than a dozen” senior Center for Disease Control (CDC) scientists charging the agency with nursing an atmosphere of pervasive research fraud.

The group, which claimed to represent scientists across the CDC’s diverse branches, calls itself SPIDER (Scientists Preserving Integrity, Diligence and Ethics in Research). The letter to CDC Chief of Staff, Carmen Villar, expressed alarm “about the current state of ethics at our agency.” The scientists complained that “our mission is being influenced and shaped by outside parties and rogue interests” and “circumvented by some of our leaders.”

The scientists told Villar that, “questionable and unethical practices, occurring at all levels and in all of our respective units, threaten to undermine our credibility and reputation as a trusted leader in public health.” The letter charged that staff level scientists “are intimidated and pressed to do things they know are not right,” and that, “Senior management officials at CDC are clearly aware and even condone these behaviors.”

The scientists cited several recent scandals involving scientific corruption at CDC.

  • They describe a “cover up,” by officials, of mismanagement in CDC’s Wise Woman Program, which provides screening in low income neighborhoods for heart disease, diabetes and other chronic health disorders. According to the letter, CDC officials purposefully misrepresented screening numbers in documents they sent to Congress to conceal failures in the multimillion dollar project. “… definitions were changed and data ‘cooked’ to make the results look better than they were.” The scientists accused high level CDC bosses of suppressing the results of an internal review, involving staff across the CDC, “so media and/or Congressional staff would not become aware of the problems.” As part of the systematic cover up, CDC then engaged in a coordinated effort to “bury” these deceptions. “CDC staff has gone out of its way to delay FOIAs and obstruct any inquiry.”
  • The scientists also complain about the “troubling” adventures of Dr. Barbara Bowman, director of CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, and Dr. Michael Pratt, Senior Advisor for Global Health at the NCCDPHP. Bowman recently left the CDC following shocking media disclosures that the pair had manipulated scientific studies on soft drink safety in collusion with Coca Cola. The CDC flimflam was part of Coke’s campaign to pressure the World Health Organization to relax guidelines for sugar consumption by children in developing nations where the soda industry is aggressively expanding its markets.

The scientists complain that the “climate of disregard” at CDC puts “many” agency scientists in difficult positions. “We are often directed to do things we know are not right.” The public record supports SPIDER’s allegations that scientists who insist on research integrity suffer persecution by CDC supervisors. Continue reading

Memorial Day should be celebrated by telling the truth!

Every year we supposedly honor the men who serve(d) in the military on the last Monday of May. Each year lies are intentionally dispensed in the media and in communities across the country. This propaganda madness has to stop!  We owe the truth to all who have paid the price of the bankster’s wars in pain, suffering and even death. And, we also owe it to all of the young men who foolishly enlist thinking they will be “serving their country”!

The military (war) machine was brilliantly exposed by Smedley Butler in his book War is a Racket. Here is Butler’s book in its audio version:

Please share this audio book. The truth about the US military and those it entraps needs to become common knowledge, as the war racket that Butler described is still ongoing and much more destructive. See the following article:

America Loves Peace? Odd, Since We’re Always at War

We’ve been in conflict for about half the period between World War II and the present

By David Michael Green, AlterNet
February 27, 2008

Excerpt:
Since World War II, the United States has messed around, in ways big and small, in Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Lebanon, Grenada, Iraq, Panama, Colombia, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Haiti, Afghanistan again, and Iraq again. No country in the world can begin to match this record in the last half-century. And I’m not even listing here the covert operations (almost everywhere), including the ones that toppled democratically elected governments (Iran, Guatemala, Chile, etc.), the long-term occupations of Latin American countries by the U.S. military, the gunboat diplomacy of the American Navy around the world, the aiding and abetting of other killers (Saddam invading Iran, for example, apartheid South Africa or the Israeli occupation of Palestine), the militarization of the oceans and of space, or the myriad other ways in which the United States leads the planet in aggressive tendencies.

A Timeline of CIA Atrocities

By Steve Kangas, Global Research News
May 17, 2016

CIA - CaseyThe following article was initially published in 1997. It is in part based on the work of William Blum. Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions since World War II, 1995 (GR Ed. M. Ch.)

 

The following timeline describes just a few of the hundreds of atrocities and crimes committed by the CIA. (1)

CIA operations follow the same recurring script. First, American business interests abroad are threatened by a popular or democratically elected leader. The people support their leader because he intends to conduct land reform, strengthen unions, redistribute wealth, nationalize foreign-owned industry, and regulate business to protect workers, consumers and the environment. So, on behalf of American business, and often with their help, the CIA mobilizes the opposition. First it identifies right-wing groups within the country (usually the military), and offers them a deal: “We’ll put you in power if you maintain a favorable business climate for us.” The Agency then hires, trains and works with them to overthrow the existing government (usually a democracy). It uses every trick in the book: propaganda, stuffed ballot boxes, purchased elections, extortion, blackmail, sexual intrigue, false stories about opponents in the local media, infiltration and disruption of opposing political parties, kidnapping, beating, torture, intimidation, economic sabotage, death squads and even assassination. These efforts culminate in a military coup, which installs a right-wing dictator. The CIA trains the dictator’s security apparatus to crack down on the traditional enemies of big business, using interrogation, torture and murder. The victims are said to be “communists,” but almost always they are just peasants, liberals, moderates, labor union leaders, political opponents and advocates of free speech and democracy. Widespread human rights abuses follow.

This scenario has been repeated so many times that the CIA actually teaches it in a special school, the notorious “School of the Americas.” (It opened in Panama but later moved to Fort Benning, Georgia.) Critics have nicknamed it the “School of the Dictators” and “School of the Assassins.” Here, the CIA trains Latin American military officers how to conduct coups, including the use of interrogation, torture and murder.

The Association for Responsible Dissent estimates that by 1987, 6 million people had died as a result of CIA covert operations. (2) Former State Department official William Blum correctly calls this an “American Holocaust.”

The CIA justifies these actions as part of its war against communism. But most coups do not involve a communist threat. Unlucky nations are targeted for a wide variety of reasons: not only threats to American business interests abroad, but also liberal or even moderate social reforms, political instability, the unwillingness of a leader to carry out Washington’s dictates, and declarations of neutrality in the Cold War. Indeed, nothing has infuriated CIA Directors quite like a nation’s desire to stay out of the Cold War.

The ironic thing about all this intervention is that it frequently fails to achieve American objectives. Often the newly installed dictator grows comfortable with the security apparatus the CIA has built for him. He becomes an expert at running a police state. And because the dictator knows he cannot be overthrown, he becomes independent and defiant of Washington’s will. The CIA then finds it cannot overthrow him, because the police and military are under the dictator’s control, afraid to cooperate with American spies for fear of torture and execution. The only two options for the U.S at this point are impotence or war. Examples of this “boomerang effect” include the Shah of Iran, General Noriega and Saddam Hussein. The boomerang effect also explains why the CIA has proven highly successful at overthrowing democracies, but a wretched failure at overthrowing dictatorships.

The following timeline should confirm that the CIA as we know it should be abolished and replaced by a true information-gathering and analysis organization. The CIA cannot be reformed — it is institutionally and culturally corrupt.

1929
The culture we lost — Secretary of State Henry Stimson refuses to endorse a code-breaking operation, saying, “Gentlemen do not read each other’s mail.”

1941
COI created — In preparation for World War II, President Roosevelt creates the Office of Coordinator of Information (COI). General William “Wild Bill” Donovan heads the new intelligence service.

1942
OSS created — Roosevelt restructures COI into something more suitable for covert action, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Donovan recruits so many of the nation’s rich and powerful that eventually people joke that “OSS” stands for “Oh, so social!” or “Oh, such snobs!”

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