Editor’s Commentary: I can count on one hand the number of things Bernie Sanders thinks that I do not vehemently despise. This is one of them. Big Pharma’s control over Washington DC is so blatantly obvious that it can no longer be considered a secret that they’re calling the shots, unfortunate pun intended. No, I don’t agree with his desire to socialize pharmaceuticals or the healthcare industry in general, but he’s right to be opposed to someone who has made millions from Big Pharma and stands to make even more when he’s done leading the Food and Drug Administration.
We do not need “leaders” in our bureaucracy who have any financial connections with the industries they’re supposed to help regulate. That’s a general rule, but when it comes to Big Pharma this mentality should be twice as potent. There’s a reason why so few on either side of the political aisle are willing to hold Big Pharma accountable. They own DC more than Big Oil, Big Education, or even Big Tech.
The FDA should be run by someone who has a healthy distrust of the pharmaceutical industry. That’s not to say we need someone who will stifle innovation by overregulating or otherwise hampering research, but with something as important to the wellbeing of Americans as the drug industry, there are many reasons to oppose someone who has had their hands in the cookie jar before or may have their hands in there again in the future.
With that said, here’s Brett’s take on Dr. Robert Califf…
Citing Multimillion-Dollar Big Pharma Ties, Sanders to Vote ‘No’ on Biden’s Pick for FDA Chief
Sen. Bernie Sanders last week said he would oppose President Joe Biden’s nomination of Dr. Robert Califf to lead the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the second time, citing the cardiologist’s multimillion-dollar ties to Big Pharma.
Califf — who served as FDA commissioner during the final 11 months of the Obama administration — mostly skated through a congenial Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday.
According to STAT, his only stumble occurred when he was pressed about the FDA’s role and failings in the opioid crisis.
The Associated Press reports Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and the ranking Republican member, Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, both said they would vote to confirm Califf.
Sanders (I-Vt.), however, reprised his 2015 confirmation grilling of Califf over his lucrative ties to Big Pharma.
“One of the major reasons the pharmaceutical industry, among many others, is so powerful is its close relationship with the FDA and other regulators in Washington,” the democratic socialist, who twice ran for president on a Medicare for All platform, said during the hearing.
“What kind of comfort can you give to the American people when you have been so closely tied to the pharmaceutical industry yourself?”
We need leadership at the FDA that is finally willing to stand up to the greed and power of the pharmaceutical industry. In this critical moment, Dr. Califf is not the leader Americans need at the agency and I will oppose his nomination. pic.twitter.com/5tWuAlil6j
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) December 14, 2021
Califf — who has made millions of dollars as a consultant for more than a dozen pharmaceutical corporations and who holds millions more in Big Pharma investments — replied that he was “totally with” Sanders, agreeing that “the price of pharmaceuticals is way too high in this country.”
Sanders said he would once again vote to reject Califf’s nomination.
“At a time when the American people pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs and as drug companies continue to be the most powerful special interest in Washington, we need leadership at the FDA that is finally willing to stand up to the greed and power of the pharmaceutical industry,” Sanders said in a statement.
“Not only have the drug companies spent over $4.5 billion on lobbying and hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign contributions over the past 20 years, they also have created a revolving door between the FDA and the industry,” he continued. “Shockingly, nine out of the last 10 FDA commissioners went on to work for the pharmaceutical industry or to serve on a prescription drug company’s board of directors.”
“Unfortunately, Dr. Califf is not the exception to that rule,” Sanders said. “After leaving the FDA in 2017, he received consulting fees from Merck, Biogen, and Eli Lilly. According to his financial disclosure form, he owns up to $8 million in the stocks of major drug companies.”
“That is exactly the close relationship Big Pharma has exploited to regulate the FDA, instead of the FDA regulating them,” he added. “The Covid-19 pandemic has made clearer than ever the choice between pharmaceutical profits and the health of our people. In this critical moment, Dr. Califf is not the leader Americans need at the FDA and I will oppose his nomination.”
Sixty-nine current senators voted for Califf’s previous nomination.
Joe Manchin and Bernie Sanders are UNITED…in opposing Robert Califf's nomination to be FDA commissioner
— Grace Segers (@Grace_Segers) December 14, 2021
In addition to Sanders, at least two other members of the Democratic caucus oppose his appointment: Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Ct.), who cites his industry ties, and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who last month said that the nomination “makes no sense as the opioid epidemic continues to wreak havoc on families across this country with no end in sight.”
Article cross-posted from Common Dreams.
Will America-First News Outlets Make it to 2023?
Things are looking grim for conservative and populist news sites.
There’s something happening behind the scenes at several popular conservative news outlets. 2021 was bad, but 2022 is proving to be disastrous for news sites that aren’t “playing ball” with the corporate media narrative. It’s being said that advertisers are cracking down, forcing some of the biggest ad networks like Google and Yahoo to pull their inventory from conservative outlets. This has had two major effects. First, it has cooled most conservative outlets from discussing “taboo” topics like Pandemic Panic Theater, voter fraud, or The Great Reset. Second, it has isolated those ad networks that aren’t playing ball.
Certain topics are anathema for most ad networks. Speaking out against vaccines or vaccine mandates is a certain path to being demonetized. Highlighting voter fraud in the 2020 and future elections is another instant advertising death penalty. Throw in truthful stories about climate change hysteria, Critical Race Theory, and the border crisis and it’s easy to understand how difficult it is for America-First news outlets to spread the facts, share conservative opinions, and still pay the bills.
Without naming names, I have been told of several news outlets who have been forced to either consolidate with larger organizations or who have backed down on covering certain topics out of fear of being “canceled” by the ad networks. I get it. This is a business for many of us and it’s not very profitable. Those of us who do this for a living are often barely squeaking by, so loss of additional revenue can often mean being forced to make cuts. That means not being able to cover the topics properly. Its a Catch-22: Tell the truth and lose the money necessary to keep telling the truth, or avoid the truth and make enough money to survive. Those who have chosen survival simply aren’t able to spread the truth properly.
We will never avoid the truth. The Lord will provide if it is His will. Our job is simply to share the facts, spread the Gospel, and educate as many Americans as possible while exposing the forces of evil.
To those who have the means, we ask that you please donate. We have options available now, but there is no telling when those options will cancel us. We just launched a new GiveSendGo page. We also have our GivingFuel page. There have been many who have been canceled by PayPal, but for now it’s still an option. Your generosity is what keeps these sites running and allows us to get the truth to the masses. We’ve had great success in growing but we know we can do more with your assistance.
Thank you, and God Bless!
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JD Rucker – EIC