Saturday, June 25, 2005

An Autism retort, and BS at the WSJ

I previously wished aloud that someone other than RFK Jr write about autism and thimerosal, and I seem to have gotten my wish.

I don't wish to dwell on this issue long, but check out the New York Times today, with an examination of some of the personalities and seminal studies on autism. Near the end of the article, a researcher make the excellent point that regardless of the studies, we will know about the thimerosal-autism conclusively in two years, because that's when the first cases of post-thimerosal autism will be diagnosed. The question is, how many will there be?

Outrage of the Week
OOOOOOOOh, we're hot about this one. OpinionJournal online has a ridiculous screed from "a Boston Lawyer" (corporate defense, shall we assume?) about prosecutorial abuse of the US Attorney's office in Boston, against drug companies. Now that he's written a piece defending TAP, he's signed on board the Saddam Hussein defense team.

Seriously, though, there is no defense for TAP. They didn't even try to make one. In a typical bait-and-switch technique, he uses the acquittals of some unnamed TAP officials as vindication of the company as a whole. He also suggests that the qui tam payout of the whistleblower somehow undermines the legitimacy of the case. Fortunately, there's a public record here that can't be ignored - the US Attorney's settlement with TAP, with all of the salacious details of fraud contained therein. Remember, these guys cost you, the American taxpaper, hundreds of millions of dollars. I have a copy if you can't find it online - email me if you want it.

Here's a nice summary of qui tam suits, with specific information about the TAP and AstraZeneca cases, at cafepharma. We also found this article, by a defense attorney for one of the TAP officials, who also use the acquittals as a means to question the whole prosecution. What is especially appalling is that Pharmaceutical Executive would have even published his article. This is just the message we want our executives to hear, isn't it?

There's also mention of AstraZeneca in the OpinionJournal piece, which got in similar trouble with their Zoladex injections. Fortunately for them, their malfeasance was not nearly as grand (they actually had a legal department, unlike TAP, who referred to it as the "anti-profit" department). I haven't heard anyone at that company crying foul over prosecutorial zeal. I just wonder if all of the thousands of employees who now receive mandatory ethics training as a result of their company's settlement have any idea why that's happening.

Folks, fraud is fraud, regardless of what Medicare policies you object to, or how you feel about prosecutors in general. Don't try to change the facts by dressing up your objections in ideology.

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