Posts tagged FDA

NY Hospital Says Don’t Worry: 4000 Patients Exposed to HIV & Hepatitis

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Source: https://www.occupycorporatism.com

By Susanne Posel
Occupy Corporatism

 

NY Hospital Says Don’t Worry: 4000 Patients Exposed to HIV & Hepatitis

 

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South Nassau Communities Hospital (SNCH) in New York mailed more than 4,000 letters to patients who were potentially exposed to HIV and Hepatitis while staying at their facility.

The method of potential contraction would have been insulin received via injection with an insulin pen that may have been contaminated, according to questioning officials.

SNCH claimed those insulin pens contain more than one dose and could have been administered to more than one patient; thereby possibly transmitting HIV and Hepatitis to patients.

Officials stated that these single use pens were being reused between March 2011 to January 2014.

Cynthia Shub, one of the patients who received the letter from SNCH commented : “I see ‘shared’ and ‘patients’ – the neighbors could have heard me scream. I see hepatitis, I see HIV, I’m like, ‘Are you kidding?’”

Damian Becker, spokesman for SNCH stated to the press that the actual risk to patients is “extremely low’ but if those patients want to have testing done, they should remember to proceed with an “abundance of caution”.

One visitor to SNCH explained that “it’s actually very scary, because you come to the hospital when you’re sick, and you don’t hope to get even worse while you’re inside the hospital.”

In 2009, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned healthcare workers against using insulin pens for multiple patients and that these pens were intended to be single use only.

SNCH said that they have changed their procedure when administering insulin pens and are switching to single use pens for the future.

Image credit: https://www.occupycorporatism.com


About the author:

Susanne Posel Chief Editor, Investigative Journalist OccupyCorporatism.com Radio Host: The Region 10 Report, Live Thursdays 1-3PM PST on American Freedom Radio.

Dark Secrets of Artificial Sweeteners Revealed with Mike Adams

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Dark Secrets of Artificial Sweeteners Revealed with Mike Adams

 

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Published by NextNewsNetwork

NATION | Could dangerous chemicals be hiding in the foods Americans eat and drink every day? They just may be more common than you think. For thousands of years, people have sweetened food and drinks with honey and sugar. Some people, concerned with calories, use artificial sweeteners, like aspartame. Some early sugar substitutes were found to cause cancer, and have other ill effects on health.

Many critics charge these artificial additives pose dangers of their own. Many people point out unusual ingredients that go into such sweeteners. Splenda, for instance, is manufactured using chlorine. Skeptics say such food additives also play havoc with human metabolism. Aspartame has even been charged with causing brain tumors, heart attacks and seizures.

Mike Adams is known as the Health Ranger. He is an activist for healthy foods. Adams is one of the leading voices in America about the dangers of artificial sweeteners.

Adams is our guest on the show today. We will talk about what is really in the foods we eat every day. We will also discuss the history of the artificial sweetener industry, and health effects of the chemicals. The future of the industry will be covered, and we’ll learn what you can do to ensure better health for yourself and your family.

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Presidential Cancer Panel Demands More Children Receive HPV Vaccine

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Source: http://www.occupycorporatism.com

By Susanne Posel
Occupy Corporatism

Presidential Cancer Panel Demands More Children Receive HPV Vaccine

 

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The President’s Cancer Panel (PCP) is demanding that federal and state authorities spend more resources into ensuring that children are inoculated with the human papillomavirus virus vaccine to prevent reproductive cancer development.

HPV vaccine manufacturers GlaxoSmithKline Merck are expecting profit surges because of their products: Cervix and Gardasil.

Currently, estimates assume that a 3rd of teenage girls have been exposed to the HPV vaccines available, while only 7% of boys have received the inoculation.

Barbara Rimer, chair of the PCP said : “We are confident that if HPV vaccination for girls and boys is made a public health priority, hundreds of thousands will be protected from these HPV-associated diseases and cancers over their lifetimes.”

Young men are being targeted for HPV as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says is correlated with the development of genital warts; as well as cancer of the throat, tonsils, base of the tongue, anus and penis.

Gardasil, the vaccination being given to both young men and women to prevent HPV, is manufactured by Merck Pharmaceuticals.

Information in the insert for Gardasil states that the vaccine has not been tested for carcinogenicity. In this instance, there is no evidentiary reason for Gardasil to be used to combat HPV or as a preventative for reproductive cancers.

According to Dr. Charlotte Haug on the validity of Gardasil: “There is another serious question that may be answered sooner: what effect will the vaccine have on the other cancer-causing strains of HPV? Nature never leaves a void, so if HPV-16 and HPV-18 are suppressed by an effective vaccine, other strains of the virus will take their place. The question is, will these strains cause cervical cancer?”

Haug continues: “Results from clinical trials are not encouraging. Vaccinated women show an increased number of precancerous lesions caused by strains of HPV other than HPV-16 and HPV-18. The results are not statistically significant, but if the trend is real – and further clinical trials should tell us in a few years – there is reason for serious concern.”
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agreed to approve Gardasil in the US under the condition that all-inclusive research were conducted before it would be placed on a children’s scheduled vaccination program.

The contract between the FDA and Merck states: “You have committed to conduct a study in collaboration with the Norwegian Government, if GARDASIL is approved in the European Union and the Government of Norway incorporates HPV vaccination into its national guidelines, to assess the impact of HPV vaccination on the following in Norway … to assess whether administration of GARDASIL will result in replacement of these diseases due to vaccine HPV types with diseases due to non-vaccine HPV types.”

In studies there has been a palatiable increase in those who are exposed to HPV who have also received the Gardasil vaccine to develop cancer.

It was found that in “peer-reviewed analysis and studies many of them on the FDA, NCI and CDC web sites point out the dangers of many of the vaccine ingredients including the potential for the HPV vaccines to increase the risk for pre-cancerous lesions if adolescents have been previously exposed to the human papillomavirus and then get vaccinated: 44.6% increase post Gardasil.”

Most shocking is that in a test taken from 13 samples of Gardasil, it was discovered that “all the samples contained recombinant (genetically modified) HPV DNA which was firmly attached to the aluminum adjuvant.”

This recombinant HPV DNA is considered bio-hazardous with effects unknown to the medical community.

It was stated : “Based on medical literature and some of the FDA/Merck’s own publications, adventitious (coming from an outside source) DNA in an injectable protein-based vaccine may increase the risk of autoimmune disorders and gene mutation which may lead to malignancies.”

Image credit: http://www.occupycorporatism.com


About the author:

Susanne Posel Chief Editor, Investigative Journalist OccupyCorporatism.com Radio Host: The Region 10 Report, Live Thursdays 1-3PM PST on American Freedom Radio.

 

Left Icon Henry Waxman Leaves Tarnished Legacy of Crony Capitalism

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Source: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org

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Left Icon Henry Waxman Leaves Tarnished Legacy of Crony Capitalism

 

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Henry Waxman, who just announced his retirement after 40 years in Congress, may be the most powerful under-the-radar screen person in Washington.

President Obama calls his fellow Democrat “ one of the most accomplished legislators of his or any era.” The Washington Post’s Harold Meyerson calls him “liberalism’s legislative genius” who “decisively consigned the Republican right’s favored ideology—libertarianism—to history’s dustbin.” He did so, Meyerson went on, by proposing “common sense” laws. “Who could be against “ Waxman?

In fact, many people were against Waxman– and for good reason. For one thing, he was the acknowledged master of underhanded legislative tricks. He learned how to write amendments that not even a lawyer could understand and then slip them into unrelated bills when nobody was watching.

For example, he drafted a bill written in no known human language that was intended to restrict the sale of dietary supplements, a longtime crusade of his. He then waited until House and Senate were about to reconcile their massive Wall Street reform bills and at the last moment slipped in his supplement bill posing as an amendment to the finance bill. Fortunately the totally unrelated amendment was discovered just before one of Waxman’s famous all night conference committee meetings, and after heated discussion was rejected by the other conferees.

The odd part of this story is that Waxman’s district, which included part of Hollywood, must have teemed with health food stores selling dietary supplements. It is doubtful that many of the voters supporting him even knew about this and similar behind-the-scenes gambits.

On another occasion, Waxman stopped the progress of legislation he didn’t like by offering 600 amendments. The paperwork was wheeled into the House Energy and Commerce committee room in shopping carts.

The Congressman knew how to raise money from corporate and other special interests, who feared him, and since he was in a safe district himself, he could spread his money among colleagues, thereby garnering support for his own bills. Each bill he introduced raised more money for him, either from special interests supporting it, or interests who were afraid to cross him.

In many cases, what Waxman actually got from his many successful bills was unintended. For example, he succeeded in mandating that either an additive MBTE or ethanol be added to gasoline. It later developed that MBTE contaminated groundwater and that ethanol raised the price of corn and other grains without helping the environment.

The congressman deemed himself a staunch environmentalist but passed a clean energy bill that was eventually supported by coal companies and opposed by Greenpeace before eventual defeat in the Senate. When he decided that toys needed to be safer, he passed a bill that put small and artisanal toymakers out of business, which mainly helped giant corporations.

Waxman continued to think of himself as a defender of the “little guy” against big special interests. But how did he help devastated families by passing legislation shielding big corporations from vaccine injury lawsuits?

And how did he justify imposing 10 year jail terms and massive fines on small farmers and organic farm producers who violated even minor (and often vague) FDA record keeping or other administrative regulations, a provision of the House’s version of the Food Safety Act? Or the large fees small farmers would pay as they were swept up in the net of FDA regulation for the first time, fees high enough to put many of them out of business? Fortunately, the Senate said no to this provision of the bill.

Helping the “little guy” invariably meant for Waxman increasing government regulation. But this more often than not just opened the door to crony capitalism.

For example, he not only wanted more federal control of dietary supplements. He wanted more federal control of drugs as well. His solution, incorporated in a successful bill, was to charge drug companies for the costs of the Food and Drug Administration.

This might sound like a good idea at first glance, but think about the public policy implications. Do we really want industries paying their own regulators? If I am a regulator, and my salary is paid by industry, not by the public, to whom will I answer?

It seems clear that Waxman arrived in Washington all those years ago intent on serving the public good. But, like many progressives, he failed to understand one basic truth. The more government gets involved in the private economy, the more government tries to substitute its own rules and regulations for the market system, the more corruption results.

Public figures are not saints; they want lucrative jobs and campaign contributions. Private interests in turn want government assistance in bending the rules or in defeating their competitors. Deals are struck, and both our economy and our public morals suffer.

All of this might be described as the progressive paradox. Henry Waxman no doubt wanted to make the world a better place, but ended up making it a worse place.

Waxman himself once said that “government should act as a referee so that people play fairly.” If only he had paid heed to his own words. Obamacare, which Waxman helped create, was not refereeing the medical system; it was a federal takeover, and it is causing more of the negative unintended consequences that we have come to expect from his legislation.

With Waxman retired, there will still be plenty of supporters of monopoly and one-size-fits-all medicine on Capitol Hill. But let’s hope that none of them will be so skilled at sneaky legislative maneuvers.

Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org

 


Hunter Lewis
About Hunter Lewis

Hunter Lewis is co-founder of AgainstCronyCapitalism.org. He is co-founder and former CEO of global investment firm Cambridge Associates, LLC and author of 8 books on moral philosophy, psychology, and economics, including the widely acclaimed Are the Rich Necessary? (“Highly provocative and highly pleasurable.”—New York Times) He has contributed to the New York Times, the Times of London, the Washing­ton Post, and the Atlantic Monthly, as well as numerous websites such as Breitbart.com, Forbes.com, Fox.com, and RealClearMarkets.com. His most recent books are Crony Capitalism in America: 2008–2012, Free Prices Now! Fixing the Economy by Abolishing the Fed, and Where Keynes Went Wrong: And Why Governments Keep Creating Inflation, Bubbles, and Busts. He has served on boards and committees of fifteen leading not-for-profit organizations, including environmental, teaching, research, and cultural and global development organizations, as well as the World Bank.

 

FDA goes after supplement companies, Big Pharma avoids scrutiny.

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Source: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org

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FDA goes after supplement companies, Big Pharma avoids scrutiny.

 

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There have long been efforts to pull the supplement industry more under the control of the FDA.(And in all likelihood crush it.)

Pharma doesn’t like supplements. (The supplement industry challenges the massive drug industry fundamentally). As such many politicians don’t like supplements.

Some believe that the media is also biased against supplements, as much of the advertising dollars media outlets get comes from drug companies.

Alliance for Natural Health highlights what it believes may be an example of this bias.

(From ANH-USA.org)
 
What’s going on here? With drugs causing the most liver damage (and let’s not forget that prescription drugs in general are the fourth leading cause of death in America, based on hospital data alone), why is the New York Times attacking dietary supplements? After all, at the very same conference where the cited study was presented, there were eighteen sessions on liver damage due to acetaminophen—and only two presentations on dietary supplements and liver damage.
 
We are sorry to say that it may be linked to the pharmaceutical industry’s advertising clout, which the NYT depends upon. In its 2012 annual report, the NYT stated the obvious fact that it depends for its survival on advertising revenue. In 2012, Big Pharma spent $90 million on print advertising. The dietary supplement industry spends far less: $20 million on print advertising in 2010. Due to the FDA and FTC’s overzealous regulation of health claims and gag orders on dietary supplement advertising, there’s little incentive for supplement companies to advertise their products and anyway they have far less money with which to do so.

Click here for the article.

Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org
 

Seeing the Future: Google Lifts Microsoft’s Smart Lens Prototype

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Source: http://www.occupycorporatism.com

By Susanne Posel
Occupy Corporatism

 

Seeing the Future: Google Lifts Microsoft’s Smart Lens Prototype

 

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Google has announced they are developing a “smart contact lens” that will measure the user’s glucose levels in tear with a “tiny” wireless chip that has a glucose sensor embedded in it.

Between the lens materials the sensor is placed.

The device will integrate very small LED lights that can illuminate so that the user can be alerted that their glucose levels are reaching a healthy threshold.

Research for this device began several years ago with the University of Washington (UoW) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) who invested funding.

Beta-testing of the lens was conducted on volunteers in in the San Francisco Bay area.

Concerning US regulators, Google said: “We’ve completed multiple clinical research studies which are helping to refine our prototype … We’re in discussions with the FDA, but there’s still a lot more work to do to turn this technology into a system that people can use.”

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Brian Otis, lead researcher for the UoW, said: “You can take it to a certain level in an academic setting, but at Google we were given the latitude to invest in this project. The beautiful thing is we’re leveraging all of the innovation in the semiconductor industry that was aimed at making cellphones smaller and more powerful.”

Google said: “It’s still early days for this technology, but we’ve completed multiple clinical research studies which are helping to refine our prototype. We hope this could someday lead to a new way for people with diabetes to manage their disease.”

Currently, Google is persuading the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow them to bring this product to consumers; as well as searching out experts that would like to endorse “products like this” to influence the market.

It may be another 5 years before such a product could be offered to the general public. The potentials for diabetics are staggering, considering that this device could elevate glucose monitoring by reducing the necessity for the patient constantly pricking their finger.

Google would like developers to create apps for the lenses so that accurate measurements with the device can be taken by the user and translated to their physician.

This product could be linked to a smartphone and computer device through Wi-Fi so that transmission of data could be sent to the user’s doctor and recorded on the phone through text message as well.

Babak Parviz, who was working on a similar project for Microsoft only 2 years ago, is now employed by Google.

Parviz envisioned smart lenses in 2009 that would have glucose sensors embedded to monitor user’s levels to assist in insulin necessity.

In 2001, Microsoft said about smart lenses: “Babak Parviz, a researcher at UW, and Desney Tan, a senior researcher at Microsoft Research, are developing the ‘functional lens’ that would be worn daily, just like regular contact lenses. But in addition to (or instead of) correcting vision, the lens would monitor the wearer’s glucose level through their tears.”

The recent Google post reads: “[Parviz and partner Brian Otis] are now testing a smart contact lens that’s built to measure glucose levels in tears using a tiny wireless chip and miniaturized glucose sensor that are embedded between two layers of soft contact lens material.”

The only difference between Google’s version and Microsoft is that now the quest has allegedly moved from consumerism to helping people with diabetes.

Image credit: http://www.occupycorporatism.com


About the author:

Susanne Posel Chief Editor, Investigative Journalist OccupyCorporatism.com Radio Host: The Region 10 Report, Live Thursdays 1-3PM PST on American Freedom Radio.

 

 

A Treatment for Anxiety That Works…

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Source: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org

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A Treatment for Anxiety That Works…

 

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Is blocked by our crony capitalist medical system.

In the article below, the Alliance for Natural Health-USA tells the story of Scott Stossel, editor of the Atlantic, who recently published a book about his lifetime problem with severe anxiety, including crippling panic attacks. It is a tribute to Mr. Stossel that he has been able to write and edit an important magazine. One can only guess what it costs him to go on radio or tv to promote his book.

The book discusses what is known about anxiety and also Mr. Stossel’s experience both with talk therapy and with, it seems, dozens of drugs, many of them with frightening side effects. Which of these have worked? As Mr. Stossel says, none of them have worked.

There are references to GABA, the neuro-chemical that our own bodies make to regulate our anxiety level. Some of the drugs try to keep more GABA in the body. But after decades of suffering and endless consultations with conventional doctors, nobody seems to have told Mr. Stossel that GABA is available as a supplement. It’s true that at one time it was a supplement that did not work very well, because it had trouble getting through stomach acid. But there are now more bio-available forms that work extremely well.

Why would no conventional doctor tell Mr Stossel about GABA as a supplement? Well, it isn’t approved by the FDA or promoted by a drug company. Why not? Because as a natural substance, it can’t be patented, and what drug company will spend what is an average cost of $1 billion to take a substance through the FDA if it isn’t patented?

Couldn’t supplement companies at least tell people about GABA? No, that is illegal. Company executives can go to jail for violating FDA rules against promoting anything other than an FDA approved drug for treatment of a medical problem.

This is a sweet deal for drug companies. The government grants them a monopoly on their not-found-in-nature drugs, which are patentable. Then, by taking them through the FDA, even at vast expense, they shut out any competition from natural products, even if those natural products are safer and more effective, as well as much cheaper.

This is one reason why medicine costs so much. More importantly, it is why even smart and well informed people like Scott Stossel never hear about supplements or functional foods that could heal them.

Click here for the article.

Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org


Hunter Lewis
About Hunter Lewis

Hunter Lewis is co-founder of AgainstCronyCapitalism.org. He is co-founder and former CEO of global investment firm Cambridge Associates, LLC and author of 8 books on moral philosophy, psychology, and economics, including the widely acclaimed Are the Rich Necessary? (“Highly provocative and highly pleasurable.”—New York Times) He has contributed to the New York Times, the Times of London, the Washing­ton Post, and the Atlantic Monthly, as well as numerous websites such as Breitbart.com, Forbes.com, Fox.com, and RealClearMarkets.com. His most recent books are Crony Capitalism in America: 2008–2012, Free Prices Now! Fixing the Economy by Abolishing the Fed, and Where Keynes Went Wrong: And Why Governments Keep Creating Inflation, Bubbles, and Busts. He has served on boards and committees of fifteen leading not-for-profit organizations, including environmental, teaching, research, and cultural and global development organizations, as well as the World Bank.

 

 

Does fighting crony capitalism necessarily involve fighting the growth of government?

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Source: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org

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Does fighting crony capitalism necessarily involve fighting the growth of government?

 

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I have to say that I enjoy articles like this one by Mike Konczal in the New Republic. He argues that all the focus on crony capitalism is a “Right-wing” ruse. He argues that it is just a smear used by reactionary idiologues to tarnish this progressive president. Obama is no corpoartist he explains. All the regulations which have been used to enrich a certain group of campaign donors and otherwise connected individuals? This is a side issue. Such enrichment was certainly not done on purpose. It’s just the nuts on the “Right” who have a problem with this stuff. He argues that the small government anti-crony capitalism critique, which highlights how business and government collude to screw the taxpayer, is nothing but flack. There’s no real concern for people, or the Republic, or justice. It’s nothing but a meme created to derail the bright and shining day, corpoarti…, er I mean fascis…, I mean progressivism will one day deliver to us.

It not an unfamiliar charge. Many people who believe that government can make the world a better place, have a very difficult time coming to terms with crony capitalism. Often people think that fighting crony capitalism means passing new regulations, but sadly as many people dig into the issue they come to realize that this has never worked and that it always seems that regulations (and I speak in the broadest sense right now, there is a limited place for regs), and government are always manipulated by the powers that be for their ends.

Anyone who doesn’t understand this is deluding themselves. Where there is government there will be corruption, and once government reaches a certain size there will be crony capitalism. The size of government and the amount of crony capitalism correlate very closely.

The state is not some benevolent force. It is not “the people” as we have been taught by our civics text books. It is SOME people. People who are interested in power for one reason or another. A sophisticated and modern understanding of politics demands an understanding of this.

The state is many times the most efficient means by which private interests can to derive power. Goldman Sachs for instance should be dead. It should be long gone. It leveraged itself out too much and then the market caught the bank with its pants down. But because Goldman had the right connections in Washington they were bailed out by the US taxpayer.

Mr. Konczal would like us to believe (following the logic in the attached article) that the Wall Street bailout was only the result of a well-meaning state seeking to keep the world economy from imploding. It wasn’t crony capitalism. So what if Goldman Sachs benefited and took all of the TARP money and spent it on bonuses for its people in 2009? Obama would never do that on purpose. He’s a “progressive.”

But “progressivism” is fundamentally a corporate ethos going right back to its birth at the turn of the 20th Century. At progressivism’s core is the idea of doing well and doing “good” (which is a laudable goal and one I strive for within the market) using government, while consolidating power for connected interests. That is fundamentally what “progressivism” is.

Notice how all the “progressive” reforms of that era and beyond seemed to end up working to the benefit of large private interests.

Take for instance the Interstate Commerce Commission, which was sold to the public as a way to bring the era’s “robber barons” to heel. It was the first big regulatory effort by the Feds and it set the tone for regulations to come.

This is what Richard Olney, Attorney General under Grover Cleveland had to say about the “reform.”-

“The Commission… is, or can be made, of great use to the railroads. It satisfies the popular clamor for a government supervision of the railroads, at the same time that supervision is almost entirely nominal. Further, the older such a commission gets to be, the more inclined it will be found to take the business and railroad view of things.… The part of wisdom is not to destroy the Commission, but to utilize it.”

Whether a “reform” is intended to help private interests or not, it is only a matter of time before that institution is captured.

Who befefits most from the Federal Reserve system? The big banks.

Who benefit’s the most from the FDA? The big drug companies.

Who benefits most from farm subsidies? Big agriculture.

Who benfits most from the Federal Communications Commission? The crony media and intellectual property zealots.

Who benefits most in the Obamacare scheme (if it worked)? The health insurance companies which were licking their chops at the prospect of a vast new group of customers subsidized by taxpayers.

And on and on.

It would be nice if government was some disinterested party which existed only for the greater good of all. But it is not. At best, government is to be tolerated, and kept small. When government is given power the crony capitalists start jockeying almost immediately. It’s like pouring tuna entrails into a shark tank.

I know that many people want to believe that government is here to help us. I am fairly sure that Mr. Konczal is one of these people. It is a nice thought, and limited government does indeed have its place, but benevolent government is not even a dream, it’s a delusion.

It’s a delusion- which one could understand in the days before the Information Age. People only heard one perspective. People were told that the government worked in their best interest. That government and evil corporations were opposing forces not complimentary ones. That taxes were “the price of society.” That wars were fought for “democracy.” And so on.

But there is no excuse for holding such naive views of government today. All one has to do is dig just a little bit to see that throughout history, probably since the dawn of history, the state (government, whatever) has been a tool by which the powerful have manipulated things in their interest. It is how monopolies survive – they don’t ever survive in a free market. It is how serfs were kept in their place. How slaves were kept in their place. It is how young men are drafted to fight wars. It is how our modern system of debt servitude is perpetuated. Ideally, for the average person who is not part of the “club” the state should be kept small and watched with a weary eye. The state is a drain on resources for most people.

The temptation of course (and the song of “progressivism”) is that the power of the state can be turned for good. Just think of the utopia which would blossom if the power of the state could be harnessed for the “people.”

But sadly government doesn’t work that way, history has shown us this over and over. At this point Mike Konczal, and many other “progressives” should understand this.

And Mike, it’s not the “Right-wingers” calling Obama a corporatist these days, it’s the “Lefties“. 

Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org


Nick Sorrentino
About Nick Sorrentino

Nick Sorrentino is the co-founder and editor of AgainstCronyCapitalism.org. A political and communications consultant with clients across the political spectrum, he lives just outside of Washington DC where he can keep an eye on Leviathan.
 

 

Monsanto’s Friends in High Places

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Source: https://mises.org

By

Monsanto’s Friends in High Places

 

Editor’s Note: The following is adapted from Hunter Lewis’s new book Crony Capitalism in America, now available in the Mises Store.

6580Many companies hope to send an employee into a government agency to influence regulation. How much better if the employee can actually shape government regulation to promote and sell a specific product! Monsanto seems to have accomplished this — and much more.

Michael Taylor is among a number of people with Monsanto ties who have worked in government in recent years. He worked for the Nixon and Reagan Food and Drug Administration in the 1970s, then became a lawyer representing Monsanto. In 1991, he returned to the FDA as Deputy Commissioner for Policy under George H. W. Bush, and helped secure approval for Monsanto’s genetically engineered bovine (cow) growth hormone, despite it being banned in Canada, Europe, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.

This was only a start for Taylor. He also did not like some producers advertising their milk as bovine-growth-hormone-free. That seemed to put Monsanto’s product in an unfavorable light. So in 1994 he wrote a guidance document from within the FDA requiring that any food label describing the product as bovine-growth-hormone-free must also include these words: “The FDA has determined … no significant difference has been shown between milk derived from [BGH] and non-[BGH] supplemented cows.”

It apparently did not concern Taylor that this new pronouncement by the FDA was unsupported by either Monsanto or FDA studies. A private company making any such unsupported claim could have been charged with fraud. But since it came out of the FDA, milk producers would place themselves at legal risk by not printing it on their label.

Taylor moved to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) in the mid-1990s. During this period, he tried to persuade the FDA and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to take a further step and make it illegal for dairies to make any claim to a bovine-growth-hormone-free product. Failing in that, he reached out to state governments to make such a claim illegal at the state level. This was finally blocked by a court decision in Ohio that there was indeed a “compositional difference” between BGH and non-BGH-treated milk. Long before this 2010 ruling, Taylor had returned to Monsanto as a vice president, and then returned to President Obama’s FDA, first as Senior Advisor on Food Safety and then Deputy Commissioner for Foods.[1]

Taylor’s story, however, is not just about milk, or even mainly about milk. During his second posting at the FDA, as Deputy Commissioner for Policy 1991–1994, Agency scientists were grappling with questions about the overall safety of genetically engineered foods (often labeled Genetically Modified Organisms). As Jeffrey Smith notes,

[Internal] memo after memo described toxins, new diseases, nutritional deficiencies, and hard to detect allergens. [Staff scientists] were adamant that the technology carried “serious health hazards,” and required careful, long-term research, including human studies. …

The Agency, under Taylor’s and later under others’ leadership, simply ignored these findings. No human studies were required. GMO foods were allowed to enter the food supply unregulated by the FDA and barely regulated by the USDA, which views them as an important US export product. By 2012, in the US, 90 percent of sugar beets (representing half of overall sugar production) was GMO, 85 percent of soybeans (which are to be found in 70 percent of all supermarket food products), and 85 percent of corn, including the corn used to make high fructose corn syrup, a sweetener used in most soft drinks and processed foods.

The few scientists trying to conduct independent research on GMO often found their careers damaged. Most food research, conferences, and fellowships are funded by “Big Food” companies including Monsanto, which has a chilling effect. Even sympathetic colleagues may be reluctant to back those who dare speak out.

Those who persevered in conducting independent research, often abroad, reported worrisome findings. An Austrian study found that mice fed GMO corn seemed fine in the first and second generations, but by the third were sterile. A Russian study of hamsters fed GMO soybeans found a similar result. Could human beings exhibit a similar, delayed response? No one knows. Another, unrelated study showed that the pesticide used in large quantities on engineered Roundup Ready crops is toxic to male testicle cells and threatens both testosterone synthesis and sperm count.

At the same time that the FDA tries to remain as silent as possible about GMOs, the US Department of Agriculture and other parts of the US government are doing everything they can to promote them. The USDA under both George W. Bush and Obama has sought to accelerate what is already an automatic rubberstamp for new GMO products, to “deregulate” them (including grasses such as alfalfa that cannot be restricted to the planted area), and to provide immunity from lawsuits over the spread of GMO crops to adjoining organic farms. Immunity from lawsuit was especially ironic. For years, GMO producers had threatened, intimidated, sued, and in every imaginable way attempted to bully adjoining farmers. If any of the patented seeds drifted and were found on the neighboring farm, that farmer would be charged with “theft.” The clear message: buy the patented seeds or face destruction through legal costs. Remarkably, courts were buying this specious argument. But finally the persecuted began to counter-sue successfully, and the USDA immediately rushed to provide legal immunity to the GMO producers in the form of an insurance policy that organic farmers would have to buy and that would be their only available form of compensation.[2]

Although we have chosen to focus on the remarkable revolving door career of Michael Taylor at the FDA and Monsanto, because it has potentially affected the future health of hundreds of millions of people, stories like his are not uncommon. A Chicago Tribune article from 2012 is headlined: Chemical Firms Champion New EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) Expert. It describes how Todd Stedeford worked at the EPA from 2004–2007 under the George W. Bush administration, then joined chemical firm Albemarle Corp. While at Albemarle, which makes flame retardants, he defended chemicals used in many products and even suggested that the standard set by the EPA for flame retardants was 500 times too high. Having returned to the EPA in 2011, under President Obama, he is now “in charge of a … program studying whether dozens of industrial chemicals, including flame retardants, are too dangerous.”[3] One must ask: what was the EPA thinking when it made this appointment?

Bill Ruckelshaus, twice EPA head, once said that “at EPA you work for a cause that is beyond self-interest. … You’re not there for the money, you are there for something beyond yourself.”[4] But on leaving the EPA, he himself became a Monsanto director. Meanwhile the Geneva-based Covalence group placed Monsanto dead last on a list of 581 global companies ranked by their reputation for ethics.[5]

A look at some Monsanto representatives and their positions in government:

MONSANTO
US GOVERNMENT
Suzanne Sechen, worked on Monsanto-funded academic research A primary reviewer for bovine growth hormone in FDA
Linda J. Fisher, VP, lobbyist for Monsanto Assistant Administrator at EPA
Michael Friedman, MD, Sr. VP, GD Searle, subsidiary of Monsanto Acting Commissioner of FDA
Marcia Hale, international lobbyist, Monsanto Assistant to President under President Clinton
Michael (Mickey) Kantor, director Secretary of Commerce and US Trade Representative under President Clinton
William D. Ruckelshaus, director Head of EPA under both Presidents Nixon and Reagan

HunterLewisHunter Lewis is cofounder of Against Crony Capitalism. He is the former CEO of Cambridge Associates and the author of eight books, including two new books, Free Prices Now! and Crony Capitalism in America: 2008-2012. He has served on boards and committees of 15 not-for-profit organizations, including environmental, teaching, research, and cultural organizations, as well as the World Bank. See Hunter Lewis’s article archives.

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Will Smartphone Apps Revolutionize Medicine?

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Source: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org

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Will Smartphone Apps Revolutionize Medicine?

 

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No– the government seems determined to stop it.

The Bloomberg article below describes a brave new world in which consumers can monitor their health through smartphone apps, share the information with their doctors, and also communicate with their doctors without an appointment, especially in emergencies. The article however fails to mention that Medicare and some private insurers won’t pay a doctor for time spent on e-mail, texting, and the like. Medicare not only wants you to go to the doctor’s office. It won’t even pay for treatment of more than one complaint per visit. If you have two problems, you are supposed to make another appointment and come back.  The article does refer to the FDA’s plan to regulate the field, which it seems to regard positively. It does not explain that the cost of FDA approval will  kill app innovation and availability.

Why is this happening? Because the FDA wants to be paid. Big drug companies contribute billions to FDA salaries and expenses, in addition to offering high paying jobs when employees leave government employment. Neither the government, nor key allies such as the American Medical Association, which enjoys a lucrative government granted monopoly in medical coding, have an incentive to change the way medicine is practiced. On the contrary, they keep us stuck where we are.

 

Click here for the article.

Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org


Hunter Lewis
About Hunter Lewis

Hunter Lewis is co-founder of AgainstCronyCapitalism.org. He is the former CEO of Cambridge Associates and the author of 6 books. His most recent book is Where Keynes Went Wrong. He has served on boards and committees of fifteen not-for-profit organizations, including environmental, teaching, research, and cultural organizations, as well as the World Bank.

 

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