Even before a Clinton concession speech, Pharma stocks were hopping and Wall Street saluting over a Trump administration. No pesky price regulation over drugs like EpiPen! No pesky safety regulation over blood thinning drugs like drug Xarelto, linked to 500 deaths. No speed bumps when Pfizer et al seeks to dodge U.S. taxes by incorporating overseas–the same taxes that fund their drugs in Medicare, TRICARE and other U.S. programs.
Of course, Pharma did not need a Trump presidency. Its profit party began in earnest with the nomination and confirmation earlier this year of Robert Califf as FDA Commissioner despite financial links to 23 Pharma companies including Johnson & Johnson, Lilly, Merck, Schering Plough and GSK according to a statement on the website of Duke Clinical Research Institute which he directed. In disclosure information for an article in Circulation, Califf also lists financial links to Gambro, Regeneron, Gilead, AstraZeneca, Roche and other companies and equity positions in four medical companies. Califf “served as a director, officer, partner, employee, advisor, consultant or trustee for Genentech,” said the Medscape website. This is an FDA Commissioner?
In the past, someone so heavily funded by industry would not be considered for a government position regulating that very industry. Yet on PBS, Califf saw no problem with doctors and researchers receiving Pharma money and actually thought it desirable. “Many of us consult with the pharmaceutical industry, which I think is a very good thing,” he told host Susan Dentzer.