DrugWonks: "Well, I think Peter was wrong and still is. But at least he is not a hypocrite."
Written by Dr. Robert Goldberg on Tue Jan 20 15:52:12 UTC 2009
This is too good to be true. The same pols who were pushing for drug importation are now demanding that meds be made in the USA:
From the NY Times...
Drug Making’s Move Abroad Stirs Concerns
"....now experts and lawmakers are growing more and more concerned that the nation is far too reliant on medicine from abroad, and they are calling for a law that would require that certain drugs be made or stockpiled in the United States.
“The lack of regulation around outsourcing is a blind spot that leaves room for supply disruptions, counterfeit medicines, even bioterrorism,” said Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, who has held hearings on the issue."
Recentlly Senator Brown went to town on by claiming the company was outsourcing production and jobs to China to save money at the expense of patient safety. Any proof? None. But, he pontificates:
"Are we supposed to believe that it’s just coincidence that China’s safety standards aren’t strong or enforced? Do we really believe that the lower manufacturing costs in Asia, depressed by slave wages, have no impact on patient safety?
“U.S. consumers are paying the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs as drug makers outsource American jobs and import tainted products. It’s safe to say that the drug industry is skating on very thin ice.”
But Sherrod and lots of other in Congress were pushing drug importation really, really hard in the past:
In 2004 Mark McClellan released a HHS task force report (that Peter Pitts helped coordinate which concluded it, "would be extraordinarily difficult to ensure that drugs personally imported by individual consumers could meet the necessary standards for a certification of safety to be made, especially if consumers continue to import prescription drugs in the same or increased numbers."
Sherrod and other pro-importation types responded:
"This one-sided report indicates no willingness to find solutions, instead dismissing importation using the same scare tactics employed by the pharmaceutical companies themselves."
In a floor speech pushing importation after the release of the report, then Congressman Sherrod said:
“Thanks to Republican leadership’s stall tactics, the only thing that’s happened on importation is we’re all a year older. The American people need to tell Senator Frist and the Republican leadership that they want an importation bill on President Bush’s desk before the November elections.”
And Sherrod just pushed Peter Rost (our fellow blogger) for FDA Commissioner who made a name for himself by pushing drug importation. At the time Sherrod was still for allowing drugs made by slave labor and cheaper ingredients into the US, albeit through Canada, Europe and other areas and from FDA inspected facilities in India, China, etc. only and with pedigree, chain of custody and tamper resistant packaging all in place (all of which counterfeiters will be happy to comply with). And at the time Peter (Rost) not Pitts was a vice president of marketing at Pfizer and "the first" pharmaceutical industry executive to say publicly that reimportation "can be safe, rejected the administration's arguments about minimal cost savings," the Free Press reports. He said, "If importation didn't work, you wouldn't have had it in Europe for 20 years. This is so wrong" (Detroit Free Press, 12/22/04).
Well, I think Peter was wrong and still is. But at least he is not a hypocrite.