May 05, 2006

Excuse My Cynicism

HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt hands out $1 billion in flu vaccine contracts and it's all going to be free from public liability:
GlaxoSmithKline Plc was awarded $US274.75 million ($A357.6 million), MedImmune Inc. was awarded $US169.5 million ($A220.6 million), Novartis AG won $US220.51 million ($A287 million), Computer Sciences Corp. unit DynPort Vaccine Co., working with Baxter International Inc., won $US40.97 million ($A53.3 million) and Solvay Pharmaceuticals won $US298.59 million ($A388.6 million)...

Leavitt said he had not yet granted liability protection to the manufacturers but he said it was likely to happen.

A watchdog group criticised Republican MPs for giving the secretary the power to grant that immunity.

Public Citizen's Congress Watch said in a report that newly obtained emails from the Biotechnology Industry Organisation (BIO) showed the industry was heavily consulted in crafting legislation to allow for liability protection.

"The lobbyists were totally integrated with the legislative process," Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook said, adding it was a "totally egregious example" of industry power over MPs.
I liked this little bit too:
The virus does not easily infect humans, but it has killed more than 100 people. Experts fear it could mutate into a form that could spread easily and quickly among people.

If it did, it would spark a pandemic and work would have to begin quickly on a vaccine to fight it.
Like I said, excuse my cynicism, but I guess that's what happens when you totally lose faith in government.


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