The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Monday, July 26, 2004

Big Pharma showers pieces of silver at Boston

It's a dirty business, democracy.

The worst of it is that contributors spend millions in contribution - and get billions back in benefits enacted by recipient legislators: as a system of corruption, it's extraordinarily inefficient - and the voter picks up the tab.

Few industries do more - and get more - than the pharmaceutical companies. On April 16, I looked at the Medicare bill (HR 1) for which a filibuster had been organised in the Senate by Ted Kennedy. This giveaway - grotesque even at the (falsely stated) cost of $400 million - would surely have been an easy focus for solidarity amongst Dem Senators in the face of the K Street Project and creeping privatisation.

Yet no fewer then 22 Democrats voted for cloture! Including Mr Ethanol, the party's (very much so-called) Leader.

Coming up to date, according to USA Today today,
On Sunday night, members of the Congressional Black Caucus cruised Boston Harbor, with Johnson & Johnson footing the bill for the boat and barbecue.

10 health-sector companies, including pharmaceutical makers, gave at least $4.1 million to stage the convention

Of course, the situation is completely hopeless: the driver for contributions is the cost of TV spots; in order to ban political advertising on TV, one would need a constitutional amendment; and a Krakatoa-sized tidal wave of money (and that's just from the broadcasters!) would doom any attempt at such an amendment.

So what can't be cured must be endured. Just so long as the strange nature of the prostitution involved is understood: the politicians open their legs - and the voters get shafted!


The USA Today piece continues, puzzlingly,
Among the chief solicitors was Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy, the most influential Democrat in the Senate on health issues. Breaking with other Democrats, Kennedy last year provided crucial support for an industry-backed plan to offer prescription drug coverage under Medicare.

Not the same guy who was organising the filibuster against the bill, surely? Indeed so: apparently, Kennedy helped draft the bill!

Why the - to coin a phrase - flip-flop? Too much research required (ie some); perhaps, for later.

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