Congressional speeches written by Big Pharma lobbyists

Tuesday, December 01, 2009 by: E. Huff, staff writer
Tags: Big Pharma, lobbyists, health news

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(NaturalNews) The New York Times recently unveiled a story about industry lobbyists and the power they have over the United States Congress. Examination of a series of statements made by 42 Congressmen revealed that Genentech, the world's largest biotechnology company, has been ghostwriting industry-favorable speech content for Congressmen to recite during health care reform oratory.

Twenty-two Republicans and 20 Democrats were found to have included some or all of Genentech's pro-biotechnology rhetoric during various speeches. Hearers began to notice identical, word-for-word statements being made by various Congressmen, all of which was traced back to Washington lobbyists hired by Genentech.

It was discovered that Genentech contrived two versions of its talking points, one for Republicans and one for Democrats. The company approached Congress and urged them to make supporting statements about biotechnology for inclusion into the Congressional Record. All statements were designed in support of the health care reform bill and its provisions for bolstering the biotechnology industry.

Representative Bill Pascrell Jr., a Democrat from New Jersey caught reciting lobbyist verbage, denied that he knew from where his statements originated. Claiming ignorance, he purports that the information was provided to him by his staff and that he was unaware of its source.

Other Congressmen cited for using lobbyist propaganda include Reps. Robert A. Brady (D-PA), Phil Hare (D-IL), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), Joe Wilson (R-SC), Donald M. Payne (D-NJ), and Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY).

The New York Times found that Genentech has an extensive history of lobbying efforts that include preparing pre-written talking points specifically for Congress to include in the Congressional Record.

Uncovered emails revealed that Genentech desired to aggressively appeal to Congress to include as many of its statements as possible in the Congressional Record. Company employees have even hosted fundraisers for many of the lawmakers they petitioned, a blatant conflict of interest.

A lobbyist closely associated with Genentech described the ghostwriting practice as "business as usual", stating that it happens all the time in the industry. Stating that there was nothing "nefarious" about the practice, a company representative defended the practice as both legitimate and customary. (!)

Despite the fact that the practice is both unethical and deceptive, industry spokesmen continue to defend what they are doing as normal, everyday operating procedure. Such a notion exemplifies the unscrupulous manner in which drug and biotechnology companies run their operations. It also illustrates that they have no qualms about manipulating Congress and lying to the public to achieve their goals.

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