Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Rumsfeld Profits from Avian Flu; CDC Says Threat Overblown

In the news today, the CDC – the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, says that the Avian Flu threat is being overblown. In his article today, Roman Grokhman writes:

"It's nothing people in the U.S. have to worry about right now," said David Daigle, a spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. "They should be more concerned about the seasonal, regular, flu."
So why all the brouhaha? Why is Bush now willing to spend 7.1 billion on vaccine? I mean, we know it’s not because he cares. We saw what happened during Katrina. President Nero played guitar while New Orleanians drowned. So what’s in it for him?

Maybe it’s what’s in it for his friends. CNN reported yesterday that Donald Rumsfeld holds between a $5 million to $25 million stake in Gilead, makers of the flu-symptom-reliever Tamiflu. He was once Chairman of the company. And Rumsfeld isn’t the only Bush friend with a vested interest in a heavy flu season. Former Secretary of State George Schultz has been a large stakeholder, although he sold some $7 million worth of his stock this year. The wife of former California Governor Pete Wilson is a shareholder as well. From CNN’s report:
"I don't know of any biotech company that's so politically well-connected," says analyst Andrew McDonald of Think Equity Partners in San Francisco.

What's more, the federal government is emerging as one of the world's biggest customers for Tamiflu. In July, the Pentagon ordered $58 million worth of the treatment for U.S. troops around the world, and Congress is considering a multi-billion dollar purchase. Roche expects 2005 sales for Tamiflu to be about $1 billion, compared with $258 million in 2004.
Bearing this in mind, F. William Engdahl has a right to ask the big question: Is Avian Flu Another Pentagon Hoax? In his article published at Global Research, Engdahl writes:
The only medicine we are told which reduce the symptoms of general or seasonal influenza and ‘possibly’ might reduce symptoms also of Avian Flu, is a drug called Tamiflu. Today the giant Swiss pharmaceutical firm, Roche, holds the sole license to manufacture Tamiflu. Due to the media panic, the order books at Roche today are filled to overflowing. Roche recently refused a request from the US Congress to lift its exclusive patent rights to allow other drug manug´facturers to produce Tamiflu with the improbable excuse that it was in effect, too complex for others to rapidly produce.
In the wake of 9/11, remember the cases of Anthrax that seemed to strike only media people and some high profile people, like Tom Daschle, who were critics of the Bush administration? The story disappeared quickly when the Anthrax was traced to the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.

But while the Anthrax stories were in full sway, a different battle was emerging. Cipro, one of the only drugs that successfully treats Anthrax exposure, is made by Bayer. And Bayer had trouble meeting the sudden increased demand. The US had the right, under current law, to order generic copies made. But it protected the business interests at what could have been great cost, had the threat to the public been actualized. Canada, on the other hand, threatened to put its citizens first and demanded that Cipro be produced generically. Wonder of wonders, when faced with sudden competition, Bayer decided it could meet the increased demand, after all, and at a greatly reduced price.

So drug profiteering on a falsely trumpted charge is not exactly new. We should be watching Gilead like a hawk, and ensuring that they aren’t making profits for the politically connected by scaring the innocent into taking vaccinations and flu medications they may not need.

One last note. Be especially careful with your children re vaccinations. Thimerosol is a common preservative used in vaccines. But Thimerosol contains mercury, and is suspected of being behind the sudden rise in cases of autism in young children. So not only is the scare of Avian flu possibly designed to create profits, it could have a far more direct and disastrous effect of damaging to the health of our country’s children.

Be aware, and beware. Sometimes where there's smoke, there’s just hot air.


Blogger Real History Lisa said...

Check the FDA's list of childhood vaccines to see which do and do not contain Thimerosol.


4:20 PM  

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