Is Uncle Sam shaking down drug companies?

A common synonym for the crime of extortion is “shakedown,” and it is a crime under both state and federal law.  It is a crime, that is, unless it is the government doing the shaking down.  There is perhaps no more graphic illustration of the manner in which the government employs the awesome and far-reaching power of federal law to force corporations into massive monetary settlements, than the explosion in the number of cases brought against pharmaceutical companies in recent years.

Fines paid by pharmaceutical companies to the federal government to settle charges brought against them, has skyrocketed to $4.41 billion (from just $10 million in 1991). Even more revealing is the fact that of the 165 pharmaceutical settlements with the federal government in the past two decades, nearly three-fourths occurred in the past five years.  A settlement that might have resulted from an investigation in the 1990s would have averaged $37 million; today the average settlement is $130 million.  This is a cash cow that Uncle Sam knows how to milk.

This astronomical – and accelerating — increase in fines has taken place even though there has been no real change in the nature of the alleged infractions committed by the drug companies.  Moreover, the basis for securing such huge fines rarely reflect violations of serious federal criminal laws; but rather regulatory discrepancies or failure to meet the intricate and complex “off-label” edicts which the companies are forced to follow.  In just the past five years as well, so-called “unlawful promotion” of rules so complex even industry lawyers have a difficult time figuring them out, accounted for more than half of all violations charged to pharmaceutical companies.

The financial risk to the companies is huge, as is the corresponding windfall to the government. Moreover, company “whistleblowers” can become multi-millionaires overnight if their snitching results in a financial payout by the company to the government.  And, holding off “blowing the whistle” until substantial sales of a drug has occurred, so as to increase penalties and “rewards,” has the perverse effect of prolonging the alleged “bad” behavior.  Unfortunately, last year’s new omnibus health care law only increases the opportunities and incentives for anti-pharmaceutical whistleblowers.

A primary stick employed by the feds to pressure pharmaceutical companies to settle such cases, is the threat of “debarment.”  And it is a Big Stick indeed.  Placing a pharmaceutical company on the federal “debarment list” amounts to a corporate death sentence, because the company is then ineligible to participate in government medical programs, including Medicare and Medicaid.  Without access to such programs, many drug companies would be unable to stay afloat; and the government knows this.

Whether one likes it or not, with the growth of federal health programs in recent decades, state and federal governments represent the largest customers for the majority of pharmaceutical manufacturers.  According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2008 nearly 40% of all spending by Americans on prescription drugs came from public payers, including the big boys on the block – Medicare and Medicaid.

Put another way, and looking at just a single major pharmaceutical company – in 2008, Pfizer brought in $19 billion in revenue from gross U.S. sales, and using Kaiser’s 37% figure, the company would be dependent on government contracts for approximately $7 billion.  No company, no matter how large or in what industry, could afford to lose $7 billion in sales.  The threat of being blacklisted by the government for failure to cave in to settlement pressure is obviously intense.

No one would dispute that pharmaceutical manufacturers must be held to high standards, or that true fraud should be ferreted out and prosecuted aggressively.  However, the manner in which the government has chosen to target drug companies and pressure them to cough up huge sums of money in a constant game of regulatory “gotcha,” serves neither the companies nor those who rely on their products well.

-by Bob Barr, The Barr Code

71 comments Add your comment

DeborahinAthens

March 14th, 2011
6:52 am

Not only does the government shake down drug companies, but financial companies as well. Yes, there are a LOT of nasty people in the financial services that should be buried under a jail for the fraud they conduct (and funny enough, they don’t even get a slap on the wrist), but by and large, most people in the business care very much about doing what is right for their clients. If you don’t, your client will find someone that does care. But each year, billions are sucked from these companies for things that should not be punished in a capitalist system. For instance, back during the telecom/tech bubble and the Enron scandal, the SEC fined every brokerage company that I know of millions of dollars which it was supposed to hand out to clients that were “hurt” by buying stock in companies like AT&T,virtually every tech stock and other telecom stocks, and of course Enron. Most brokers that bought Enron had absolutely no way of knowing they were cooking their books. The firms were fined billions just for recommending the stock. This doesn’t even address the problem of the pond-scum lawyers that bring class action law suits against companies. In a capitalist system, the risk that one takes is what makes it work. If you can’t afford the risk, don’t buy the stock. Nowadays, the SEC and FINRA want to punish the brokerage firms for recommending stocks as innocuous as AT&T if it doesn’t “work out” and make a profit. This has helped create a bunch of cry-baby investors that want their profit and they want it NOW. Long gone are “investors”–people that would invest in a company such as AT&T and hold it for at least a few months. I wish there was some way to calculate what the cost that the fines and specious lawsuits might be be to our GDP.

Rightwing Troll

March 14th, 2011
8:25 am

Gosh… and just last week the AJC ran an article about a drug that is used to prevent premature birth.

Ya, see… the drug’s price jumped, like overnight, from about $50.00 a shot to like $1500.00 a shot…

And one of those poor, dwontrodden, abused, big Pharama execs was quoted as saying “because we can” when asked “why such a dramatic increase?”…

Yep, poor big Pharma, getting fines in the millions for incorrectly advertising thier products or making dubious claims on drugs… all the while laughing thier collective arses off on the way to the bank to deposit the gazillions they make off thier products…

While we’re here… Poor big Oil…

Meiotic_Drive

March 14th, 2011
8:30 am

1. There is a lack of specificity and inherent anti-govt bias that seems to undercut the case being made. For example, “Fines paid by pharmaceutical companies to the federal government to settle charges brought against them, has skyrocketed to $4.41 billion (from just $10 million in 1991).”

An equally likely proposition (with no evidence) is that the government was not enforcing laws properly in 1991. They are now. Hence fines have increased. Without a more careful discussion, it is difficult to really distinguish between these different hypotheses.

2. I also find it interesting that if “40% of all spending by Americans on prescription drugs came from public payers” is true, then why did the Congress (mainly Republicans) stop the government from negotiating for better prescription drug prices? Is this how free markets are supposed to work? I guess we should just probably follow the path of campaign contributions.

the watch dog

March 14th, 2011
8:33 am

I do not have an iota of sympathy for the drug companies, the are worse than car dealers honking their drugs prime time on TV. They are an absolute disgrace. “Ask your Dr. if you have side effects”they have used that phrase till its coming out my ears. What the government should be doing is going after those fraudulent drug manufacturers out of the country.
All of the above being said, I have a little stock in LLY, thats the ticker symbol. It kicks out a nice dividend every three months and a slight appreciation. They are alright.

lynnie gal

March 14th, 2011
8:34 am

Aww, poor drug companies! So, Pfizer only made 19 billion in 2008? Of course, they should make more profits! Who cares if people who buy their drugs later find themselves physically crippled by “side effects” such as coma or death. Who cares about people’s health? It’s only profits that matter! Any attempt to impose penalties is a “shakedown.” Give me a break!

Carlosgvv

March 14th, 2011
8:34 am

Bob, saying that the Govt. is shaking down the big pharmaceutical companies is, at best, disingenuous. You know perfectly well that the big drug companies funnel huge amounts of bribe money every year to the political parties, especially the Republicans. This “shakedown” is nothing but a smokescreen to hide from the public just how totally subservient the political parties are to Big Business.

Buzz G

March 14th, 2011
8:36 am

Our out of control government in Washington is a very big part of the reason that my medication costs $435 in the us but only $185 in Canada. I just can’t believe Obamacare is going to be in charge of my health (or anyone else’s). It will bankrupt the country.

the watch dog

March 14th, 2011
8:37 am

pond scum lawyers, that is the phrase by deborah in athens. The whole story goes, what is the difference between a lawyer and a fish? The answer is one is a bottom dwelling scum sucker, the other is a fish.

Shake and Bake

March 14th, 2011
8:43 am

I thought only Revs. Sharpton and Jackson shook down corporations for “settlements”, little or none of which goes to the alleged harmed parties.
Good to see the government catching up with private industry.

George P Burdell

March 14th, 2011
8:56 am

“No one would dispute that pharmaceutical manufacturers must be held to high standards, or that true fraud should be ferreted out and prosecuted aggressively.” Mr. Barr puts this disclaimer at the end, but fails to explain how it can be done with an oligopoly drug industry that has allowed the profit motive to become the single driving factor in its decisions. Mr. Barr, please explain the advantages of extending a drug’s patent because the drug company funded a study showing that the drug helps with “restless leg syndrome.” Also, please explain the purpose (other than profits) of countless advertisements in publice media for prescription drugs when the “doctor-patient” relationship is supposedly the basis for good medical practice. Governement may be “shaking down” drug companies, but who else can control this oligopoly? Mr. Barr, please provide useful solutions instead of constant whining

Ezekiel

March 14th, 2011
8:59 am

Carlosgv…”You know perfectly well that the big drug companies funnel huge amounts of bribe money every year to the political parties, especially the Republicans.”

Of really? And just how much do they give to each party? I am sure you know exactly since you are so certain “especially republicans”. How about sharing these figures with us smart guy… or maybe you don’t know?

poison pen

March 14th, 2011
9:09 am

Carlosgvv, if the drug companies are giving so much to the repubs, then why is the Dem party so rich? oh wait I know they get it all from the laid off workers.

Worth Repeating

March 14th, 2011
9:09 am

Why did the republicans stop the government from negotiating for better prescription drug prices?

Where is the free market system when we need it?

When the price of crude oil goes up, the price of gasoline at the local stations goes up overnight. But, when the price of crude goes down the price of gas says the same. Is this price gouging or price fixing?

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 14th, 2011
9:35 am

Good morning all. Good essay Mr. Barr. I can think of no reason for FDA’s continued existence, as currently constructed. A better course would be to subject drug companies to market correction. If you insist of having a role for government, give FDA one power only, to declare a drug safe enough to be exempt from defensive litigation. The government “blessing” would be desirable to manufacturers and would cut costs for healthcare. Of course, neither of those is a normal result sought by the advocates of big government, so it will never happen.

Carlosgvv

March 14th, 2011
9:39 am

Ezekiel

I did not say I knew exactly how much money they were giving the parties. However, if you are not aware that we have the best Congress money can buy, then you must be living on the backside of the Moon.

Carlosgvv

March 14th, 2011
9:41 am

poison pen

I said Big Business funnels the money to both parties. The drug companies are only one of the many who bribe our politicans.

Ezekiel

March 14th, 2011
9:50 am

Obvioulsy you make statements that you can’t back up with facts. Therefore your solution is to deflect your ignorance back on someone else. Clearly you don’t know what you are talking about. However, you could provide facts to back up your statements… but you can’t. If you can back up your silly comments with fact, then you will remove all doubts of your ignorance and I will apologize.

Flush with Flourish

March 14th, 2011
10:07 am

We have to regulate the snake oil cureall pill salesmen. Most drugs are ineffective and work only as a placebo would work, yet the side effects are killing people. The drug companies are thugs and have no more scruples than the 18th century traveling potion-peddling con men.

In fact, that’s exactly what they are.

Sage

March 14th, 2011
10:22 am

And this is nice to know… Last night on 60 Minutes I caught a piece about one U.S. drug company in the hunt for fake, internet drugs and the attempt to shut them down. By the end of the story however is was revealed that the majority of the drug companies are having their drugs produced by labs in China and India and when analyzed the ingredients were just as deadly as those they were seeking out. If the drug companies can’t control and distribute safe products, what is a consumer to do? Watch out what you take!!

MC

March 14th, 2011
10:28 am

Ezekiel, pot meet kettle. If you think it’s not going on then maybe you are the ignorant one. Maybe even stupid.

MC

March 14th, 2011
10:32 am

Here’s proof Ezekiel is either an imbecile or works for the shysters. From the Washington Post:

Big Pharma’s Political Contributions
In 2008, for the first time in 18 years, the pharmaceutical industry’s donations to Democrats were on par with the money it gave to Republican

MC

March 14th, 2011
10:38 am

From the Washington Post:

2008: Dems- 13,212,465.00
Cons – 13,507,312.00

Since Since 1990: Dems-59,187,459.00
Cons -106,913,404.00

Theres some facts for you Ezekiel.

Ezekiel

March 14th, 2011
10:41 am

MC – I did not say it was not going on…I was merely asking for someone to back up a comment with fact. Something you can’t do either since it involves something more than using your crayons.

Ezekiel

March 14th, 2011
10:43 am

MC – You are amazing. Genius might be more apt. Thank you Einstein. Your command of the obvious and Wikipedia is impressive.

Common Man

March 14th, 2011
10:49 am

Wow…

it appears that MC has found the smoking gun. So what does your reasearch prove that has relevance?

MC

March 14th, 2011
10:50 am

Drug Lobby Second to None
How the pharmaceutical industry gets its way in Washington

By M. Asif Ismail

WASHINGTON, July 7, 2005 — The pharmaceutical and health products industry has spent more than $800 million in federal lobbying and campaign donations at the federal and state levels in the past seven years, a Center for Public Integrity investigation has found. Its lobbying operation, on which it reports spending more than $675 million, is the biggest in the nation. No other industry has spent more money to sway public policy in that period. Its combined political outlays on lobbying and campaign contributions is topped only by the insurance industry.

The drug industry’s huge investments in Washington—though meager compared to the profits they make—have paid off handsomely, resulting in a series of favorable laws on Capitol Hill and tens of billions of dollars in additional profits. [See What the Industry Got.] They have also fended off measures aimed at containing prices, like allowing importation of medicines from countries that cap prescription drug prices, which would have dented their profit margins. Pfizer, the world’s largest drug company, made a profit of $11.3 billion last year, out of sales of $51 billion.

The industry’s multi-faceted influence campaign has also led to a more industry-friendly regulatory policy at the Food and Drug Administration, the agency that approves its products for sale and most directly oversees drug makers. [See FDA: A Shell of its Former Self]
Top 20 global pharmaceutical corporations

Most of the industry’s political spending paid for federal lobbying. Medicine makers hired about 3,000 lobbyists, more than a third of them former federal officials, to advance their interests before the House, the Senate, the FDA, the Department of Health and Human Services, and other executive branch offices.

In 2003 alone, the industry spent nearly $116 million lobbying the government. That was the year that Congress passed, and President George W. Bush signed, the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, which created a taxpayer-funded prescription drug benefit for senior citizens.

That figure was not anomalous. In 2004, drug makers upped their reported expenditures on lobbyists to $123 million, a record amount for the industry. Of the 1,291 lobbyists who were listed that year as prepresenting pharmaceutical corporations and their trade groups, some 52 percent were former federal officials.

By adding the benefit to Medicare, the government program that provides health insurance to some 41 million people, the industry found a reliable purchaser for its products. Thanks to a provision in the law for which the industry lobbied, government programs like Medicare are barred from negotiating with companies for lower prices.

Critics charge that the prescription drug benefit will transfer wealth from taxpayers, who provide the funding for Medicare, to pharmaceutical firms. According to a study done in October 2003 by Boston University professors Alan Sager and Deborah Socolar, 61 percent of Medicare money spent on prescription drugs will become profit for drug companies. Drug-makers will receive $139 billion in increased profits over eight years, the study predicts. The Medicare prescription drug benefit starts in 2006.
America the lucrative

The U.S. government contributes more money to the development of new drugs—in the form of tax breaks and subsidies—than any other government. Of the 20 largest pharmaceutical corporations, nine are based in the United States. Yet drugs are more expensive in the United States than in any other part of the world, and global drug companies make the bulk of their profits in the United States.
Marketing Maladies
More than a third of pharmaceutical companies’ resources go into promotion and marketing.
Company Marketing costs Research and Development
Pfizer $16.90 billion $7.68 billion
GlaxoSmithKline $12.93 billion $5.20 billion
Sanofi-Aventis $5.59 billion $9.26 billion
Johnson & Johnson $15.86 billion $5.20 billion
Merck $7.35 billion $4.01 billion
Novartis $8.87 billion $4.21 billion
AstraZeneca $7.84 billion $3.80 billion
Hoffman La Roche $7.24 billion $4.01 billion
Bristol-Myers Squibb $6.43 billion $2.50 billion
Wyeth $5.80 billion $2.46 billion
Abbott Labs $4.92 billion $1.70 billion
Annually, the industry spends nearly twice as much on marketing as it spends on research and development, although drug companies report neither total precisely. Various news reports estimate that the industry spent anywhere between $30 billion to $60 billion on marketing in 2004. The trade group PhRMA estimates its members spent $39 billion on R&D that year. As this table shows, the same year, 11 major companies reported spending close to $100 billion on marketing, along with administrative expenses not categorized separately. Those companies reported spending $50 billion on R&D.
In 2004, Pfizer spent almost $120 million for media ads for Lipitor, the world’s number-one selling prescription drug, while companies promoting erectile dysfunction treatments Viagra, Levitra and Cialis spent $425 million. Direct to consumer advertisement has also grown significantly: from $791 million in 1996 to $3.8 billion in 2004.

Many blame the industry’s clout in Congress and with the executive branch for the high price of drugs. While many governments worldwide have regulated drug prices, the industry has been able to block a host of measures aimed at controlling prices in the United States. In the past few years, the industry has mounted an effective, organized campaign against legalizing importation of drugs from Canada.

As the Center reported in January, the industry trade group, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, hired a former U.S. ambassador to Canada, Gordon Giffin, and his top aide to lobby the Canadian government on the issue. The industry’s pressure may be paying off. Last week, Canadian Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh announced that his government would ban the bulk export of prescription drugs and crack down on Internet pharmacies that sell drugs to Americans.

A spokesman for PhRMA, Jeff Trewitt, told the Center in January that price controls thwart innovation and importation of drugs pose serious health risks.

The top 20 drug corporations and the industry’s two trade groups, PhRMA and the Biotechnology Industry Organization, which represents biomedicine companies, disclosed lobbying on more than 1,600 bills between 1998 and 2004. They may have lobbied on far more bills; the Center could only count bills specifically mentioned by the companies and trade groups in their filings. In many cases, lobbyists list issues, like “animal health issues,” rather than specific bills. In counting the number of bills, the Center excluded those lobbied on by BIO that relate solely to biotechnology issues, such as genetically engineered foods.

Apart from Congress, the industry lobbied an array of agencies including the Department of Health and Human Services, the Food and Drug Administration and the State Department on dozens of issues. For instance, PhRMA lobbied 33 federal agencies on 39 issues separately identified under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995.

As the Center reported last week, the agencies include the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, which shapes the country’s trade agreements with other nations. Since 1998, it has filed 59 lobbying reports concerning the USTR, more than any other lobby or interest.

In recent years, the industry has shown significant power in influencing U.S. trade policy. For example, current drafts of the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement reflect PhRMA’s desire to remove price controls on drugs and provide intellectual property protection in proposed member countries. Recently, the USTR, at the behest of the pharmaceutical industry, pressured Guatemala into repealing a recently passed law permitting wider marketing of generic drugs.
Lobbying numbers since 1998
Amount spent on lobbying $675 million
Lobbyists 3,009
Former officials who registered to lobby 1,014
Former members of Congress who lobbied 75
Bills lobbied More than 1,600

The top 20 corporations and the trade groups reported spending nearly $478 million on lobbying, or nearly 70 percent of all the money the industry reported. These corporations had roughly 64 percent of the global market share, according to IMS Health, a private consulting company that studies the industry.

Congress is most frequently listed as a target of the industry’s lobbying attentions; contacts with the House or Senate are listed on about 5,500 lobby disclosure reports. The Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Food and Drug Administration and the Executive Office of the President are other agencies heavily lobbied by the industry.

Like other well connected interests in Washington, pharmaceutical firms look to former insiders to carry their message to Congress and executive branch officials. In May 2003, as the battle over the Medicare legislation was climaxing, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufactures of America, the industry trade group, hired the newly formed lobby shop of Larson Dodd, LLC to join its already formidable army of representatives swarming the hallways of Congress. The hiring of Dave Larson and Quin Dodd by PhRMA—and later by Wyeth and other drug manufactures—was in keeping with the industry’s standard operating procedure: employing former officials to lobby on bills sponsored by their ex-bosses.

Larson was a health policy advisor to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, the chief sponsor of a Medicare bill that, six months later, would become law, with potentially tens of billions of dollars of windfall for the drug companies. Dodd is a former legislative director to Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, the fourth ranking Republican in the upper chamber.
Leveraging lawmakers

A third of all lobbyists employed by the industry are former federal government employees, including more than 15 former Senators and more than 60 former members of the U.S. House of Representatives. The two trade groups, PhRMA and BIO, are headed by two influential former members of Congress. PhRMA chief Billy Tauzin and BIO president Jim Greenwood were on committees that regulated drug companies and they each sponsored several bills related to the industry.

The Center reviewed the 1,600 plus bills the top 20 drug corporations and PhRMA and BIO lobbied. Sponsors of more than 50 percent of those bills had one or more former staff members representing the industry. A few of the sponsors have gone on to become lobbyists themselves.
Political giving

In addition to hiring former members and their staffs, the industry has also helped keep lawmakers in office by making political contributions. Since the 1998 election cycle, employees of the pharmaceutical and health product industry, their family members and industry political action committees have given $133 million in campaign contributions to candidates running for federal and state offices, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Since 2000, the top drug corporations and their employees and PhRMA gave more than $10 million to 527 organizations, tax-exempt political committees which operate in the grey area between federal and state campaign finance laws.

Nearly $87 million of the contributions went to federal politicians in campaign donations, with almost 69 percent going to Republican candidates. Top recipients of the industry’s campaign money include President George W. Bush (upwards of $1.5 million) and members who sit on committees that have jurisdiction over pharmaceutical issues.

In the states, the industry gave more than $46 million to candidates since ‘98, according to the Institute on Money in State Politics, which tracks campaign finance at the state level.

The Center could not determine the amount drug interests spent on lobbying in states because of the lack of comparable state disclosure requirements for expenditures. But their lobbying, campaign donations and grassroots efforts have taken on an added dimension because many states are threatening the industry’s high profit margins in a way the federal government and Congress have been unwilling to do.

With states running into fiscal crises, several governors and legislatures have been exploring ways to contain drug prices. Among the several options that have been considered around the country include allowing seniors and others to legally buy drugs from Canada and other countries.

Though some states have been less amenable to drug industry pressure, the drug industry hasn’t given up the fight. For Washington’s biggest spending lobby, it’s a small investment to make for its continuing prosperity.

Victoria Kreha, Alexander Cohen, Kevin Boettcher and Emily McNeill contributed to this report.

© 2008, The Center for Public Integrity. All rights reserved.
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MC

March 14th, 2011
10:51 am

Is that enough Common Man?

Common Man

March 14th, 2011
11:03 am

I think it proves you know how to cut and paste.

MC

March 14th, 2011
11:06 am

So? There’s your information. Nice try at deflection though.

Barack

March 14th, 2011
11:08 am

Breaking news…article from 2005 points out that lobbyists have influence in Washington.

MC

March 14th, 2011
11:08 am

Hard to shill for something when the numbers are so against you huh Common Man? Now come back with something that might demonstrate your IQ is above room temperature.

Glenn Beck

March 14th, 2011
11:10 am

You can’t argue with idiots MC.

Tommy

March 14th, 2011
11:13 am

It’s about time somebody started shaking down these vultures. The big 3, big oil, big pharma, and insurance companies have been shaking us down forever. It’s unbelievable that there are actually morons that will defend them.

Carlosgvv

March 14th, 2011
11:20 am

Ekekiel

It is clear you are definitely the sort of mindless stooge the Republican Party values so highly.

Worth Repeating

March 14th, 2011
11:26 am

You can’t argue with idiots…

It’s unbelievable that there are actually morons that will defend them!

Azazel

March 14th, 2011
11:43 am

The “cops” should shakedown drug pushers and those perpetrating disease mongering. The US health system will fail because it is a disease based deficit model — disease is good for business; while health promotion and prevention is bad.

Flush with Flourish

March 14th, 2011
11:45 am

The crux of this issue is that the only medicine any sick or healthy person needs is castor oil. One tablespoon per day and perfect health is assured. There are chicks in china who have lived beyond 134 years easy as pie. Castor oil is the solution, but the drug companies won’t let us have it. Instead they sell us all this crapola.

Aw I don’t wanna talk about it.

Tommy

March 14th, 2011
11:47 am

No other industrialized nation on this earth has health care costs that come close to ours. Why? Because they didn’t allow health care to become big business. When the profit motive becomes the primary objective as opposed to getting sick people well………….

There are some things in this world that should never be allowed to become big business and health care is one of them.

Ezekiel

March 14th, 2011
11:49 am

MC…Carlos….Worth Reading

I am not defending anyone or disagreeing with a position. I simply asked for someone making a specific statement to back it up with facts. And I did so without calling anyone a moron or challenging their IQ or name calling. Weaklings typically resort to name calling. Our govenment is so heavily influenced by special interest groups that it has become dysfunctional on both sides of the aisle. And we elect leaders from either party that begin on their first day of office to do nothing more than pander to special interest groups that funnel money to them so they can get re-elected…their primary goal in life. If that makes me a moron with a low IQ…I am fine with knowing I still have more intellect than you.

Tommy

March 14th, 2011
12:05 pm

So Ezekiel, when you are confronted with hard numbers and facts you still want to maintain that somehow you are intellectually superior to those providing the facts?

Ezekiel

March 14th, 2011
9:50 am

Obvioulsy you make statements that you can’t back up with facts. Therefore your solution is to deflect your ignorance back on someone else. Clearly you don’t know what you are talking about. However, you could provide facts to back up your statements… but you can’t. If you can back up your silly comments with fact, then you will remove all doubts of your ignorance and I will apologize.

Maybe you are a dumbass Ezekiel. You sure haven’t done one thing to “factually” prove any kind of intellectual superiority. If you can, come with it. Until then you are just coming with unsubstantiated BS. Too bad you are the only one here convinced of your alleged intellect.

James Wilder

March 14th, 2011
12:08 pm

Ezekiel, your 8:59 and 9:50 isn’t quite lining up with with your 11:49. You aren’t nearly as smart as you think you are.

Cindy

March 14th, 2011
12:11 pm

Ezekiel backed himself into a corner and now can’t seem to muster the smarts to get out. But he’s doing a fine job shining the light on his mental limitations.

Flush with Flourish

March 14th, 2011
12:13 pm

I think we can summarize all this up with the old bromide, “Uncle Sam needs a colonic”.

Next issue.

Cindy

March 14th, 2011
12:14 pm

When are you going to apologize Ezekiel? The facts are out there. You got killed with facts. Man up Little E or forever hold your piece.

MC

March 14th, 2011
12:16 pm

Please stop “deflecting your ignorance back on someone else”. LMAO! Keep braying Ezekiel. It is soooooooo much fun jousting with such a mental lightweight.

Flush with Flourish

March 14th, 2011
12:49 pm

Anyone read Bookman’s 8th grade level risk/benefit analysis with nuke plants? The man is the prince of the platitude. Then sample some of his think tank’s comments.

Sorry if this critique is less than glowing.

Flush with Flourish

March 14th, 2011
12:52 pm

The japanese version of the china syndrome.

Ezekiel

March 14th, 2011
1:03 pm

From the Washington Post:

2008: Dems- 13,212,465.00
Cons – 13,507,312.00

Since Since 1990: Dems-59,187,459.00
Cons -106,913,404.00

Theres some facts for you Ezekiel

MC – I guess based on the facts that you have provided above that in 2008 the Dems ($13.2B) & Cons ($13.5B) spent about the same on lobbyists…give or take a half billion. Not a very compelling argument from such a jousting monster.

hobby

March 14th, 2011
1:22 pm

you cannot have a discussion of drug prices without considering the PBM’s influence on prices. The MEDCO, EXPRESS SCRIPT, PCS, CAREMARK, et al do more to increase prices than anything. Barr—do your homework and report back

Edward

March 14th, 2011
1:26 pm

Bob Barr stoops to an all-new low. How much is Big Pharma paying you to write this drivel, Bob? This is disgusting even for you.