After enduring numerous amendments, debates and public scrutiny, Senate bill S.1082 is headed for a likely vote on Wednesday, May 9th. The bill at one point contained an approved amendment that would have ended Big Pharma's monopoly over drug prices in the United States and saved consumers and businesses tens of billions of dollars by allowing them to import medications from other countries, but that provision was summarily nullified by an organized counterattack via Big Pharma-funded Democrats and Republicans who sold out American consumers to the profit interests of drug companies.
The present concern is that the bill will pass with ambiguous language that could allow its regulatory powers to threaten free access to dietary supplements and functional foods. While the bill's supporters claim there is no such language contained in the bill that would subject foods and supplements to new FDA regulations, they nonetheless refuse to support the food and supplement protection amendments authored by Jonathan Emord (a high-profile attorney specializing in FDA regulatory law) and generally supported by the health freedom movement.
While S.1082 contains some useful provisions that limit advertising for new drugs, it could also ultimately be misused to threaten consumer health freedoms. Furthermore, the bill deepens the financial ties between Big Pharma and the FDA while doing nothing of substance to end corruption at the FDA or to halt Big Pharma's monopolistic trade practices in the United States. Thus, the bill is widely viewed by most people in the health freedom movement as a net loss to consumer safety, which is why grassroots opposition to S.1082 has steadily grown.
What's clear from the Senate's action on the bill is that consumers are not in any meaningful way represented by lawmakers. Rather than fighting to protect consumers' health and hard-earned dollars, the majority of senators have voted in accordance with the wishes of their corporate sponsors -- the drug companies themselves. Thus, the imminent passage of S.1082 is viewed by many as yet one more Senate sellout of the American public to the financial interests of powerful pharmaceutical companies.
Byron Richards, author of Fight For Your Health! The FDA's betrayal of America, has been closely monitoring events relevant to S.1082. NaturalNews has published his updates as they are made available. Here's the latest update from Richards based on events on the U.S. Senate floor from May 7th and May 8th.
S.1082 update from Byron Richards
The Senate finished debate Tuesday on S.1082. Dorgan offered a new Amendment to add true anti-counterfeit technology to the bill. Enzi and Dorgan debated -- with Dorgan tearing him to pieces (although I doubt it will matter).
Also, Sherrod Brown discussed his amendment to prevent Big Pharma from gaming a citizen's petition system that Big Pharma uses to delay generic drug competition (some aspect of this may make it into the legislation). Durbin offered an amendment for meaningful changes to FDA advisory panels. This is a really good amendment and is unlikely to go anywhere.
Thus, Kennedy and Enzi are stonewalling all meaningful change to protect Big Pharma. This bill looks like it's going to pass. Even people like Dorgan say they will support it as they feel, despite its shortcomings, it is better than the current state of affairs. So it is definitely a matter of what amendments get added to it that will make a difference.
Scheduled for Wednesday, May 9th, the Senate will vote on two Grassley amendments and 1 Durbin amendment, all of which Kennedy and Enzi will seek to defeat. And then a mysterious bill that has been agreed upon by a majority of the Senate will be voted on. We actually don't know much of what is in this "final" version, but we do know every attempt has been made to water down meaningful reform.
Enzi has refused to place the Emord amendment into the legislation, insisting that dietary supplements are not threatened by the language (which is false).
Following the Senate vote, the battle will move to the house and then to a conference committee.
Hatch and Kennedy are already on record saying they will seek to add a biologic drug pathway for approval as an amendment in the conference committee. This will dovetail with the Reagan Udall Foundation and will lock in the Big Pharma-Big Biotech monopoly for the next 50 years.
Big Pharma and Big Biotech are blending executives in preparation for a booming drug scam industry.
May 7, 2007, 12:19 pm More Pharma Genes in Biotech's DNA
Posted by Jacob Goldstein
The latest roster of executives in charge of the biotech trade group BIO provides further evidence that Big Pharma and biotech are morphing into a single beast.
Today BIO named as vice chair for health care Joseph C. Scodari, the guy who runs Johnson & Johnson's pharmaceutical business. Scodari was running Centocor -- the biotech company that developed Remicade -- in 1999, when the company was acquired by J&J. (Scodari had previously been the group's secretary.) Got that?
Pfizer CEO Jeffrey Kindler and executives from pharma heavies Abbott Laboratories, Schering-Plough, Eli Lilly and Wyeth will all serve on BIO's board of directors, according to a press release the group put out today. Meanwhile, the chairman of PhRMA, the pharmaceutical industry's own trade group, is Amgen chief Kevin Sharer...
Here's a sample letter you can use to send to your senator. (Customize it into your own words for maximum impact.)
The People's Amendment:
S.1082 - Please Amend to Protect Dietary Supplements
May 9, 2007
The Honorable (Senator First and Last Name) Address
Dear Senator Last Name;
The issue of drug safety is of the utmost importance to myself and all Americans. I am concerned that the legislation, as currently written, opens the door for considerable regulatory confusion enabling the FDA to use S.1082 to undermine my access to safe and effective dietary supplements.
There must be no confusing the safety of drugs and the safety of food and food ingredients -- which are governed by different laws. This bill authorizes the creation of a new regulatory category that enables the FDA and the Reagan-Udall Foundation for the FDA to attack dietary supplements and functional foods.
I am sure you and other Senators were not intending to create such concern among the 150 million Americans who rely on dietary supplements to assist their health, and this matter is easily corrected with a simple amendment.
Proposed amendment to S1082: "The bill, S1082, is hereby amended to eliminate any reference to the terms food or food ingredients within Subtitle B - Reagan-Udall Foundation for the Food and Drug Administration, such that food and food ingredients will not be subject to any jurisdiction or control by the Reagan-Udall Foundation for the Food and Drug Administration."
Intent of amendment: To eliminate from the bill any possibility that food or food ingredients would be treated like drugs either for safety review purposes or for assessment of their efficacy. It is a fundamental tenet of food and drug law that foods and food ingredients are presumed to be safe and have to be established to be adulterated only if they present a significant or unreasonable risk of illness or injury.
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