Saturday, January 26, 2013

Shame on the U.S. Congress

 The U.S. Congress has an approval rating at less than 5%.  In fact, porn, polygamy and the BP oil spill rate higher than Congress.  Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari's rating within his country in 2011 was twice as high as the U.S. Congress current approval rating.   And this was before the New York Times shined a light on their shady dealings with pharmaceutical giant Amgen that cost the American people more than 1/2 billion dollars.

Millions of dollars spent by Amgen, who has 74 lobbyists in Washington, kissing up to members of congress has come back to them in a nice gift...with a bow.  Our trusted public servants were happy to help Amgen by delaying price restraints on a class of drugs used by kidney dialysis patients.  They inserted this paragraph into the fiscal cliff bill and, behind closed doors, approved it.  The delay will cost the Medicare program (and your tax dollars) $500 million over the next two years.

Note that Senator Max Baucus (D, Montana) and Orrin Hatch (R, Utah) supported this shady transaction.  Both senators have political and financial ties to Amgen, as does Mitch McConnell, the senate minority leader, who also influenced the deal.  These three senators received substantial contributions from Amgen's PAC, $68,000 to Baucus, $59,000 to Hatch and $73,000 to McConnell.

If this isn't enough to mimic flu symptoms, Amgen had pleaded guilty a few weeks before and agreed to pay CRIMINAL and civil penalties of $762 million, the largest fine ever for a biotech company.  You would think that would make them persona non gratis on capitol hill but no...they have friends in high places!

Really Happy CEO
Amgen's CEO, Kevin Sharer's pay package is $21 million.  That doesn't include his personal use of Amgen's jet ($247,743) a car and driver and $15,000 for financial planning services.  After all, with that kind of money, you need to find lots of tax loopholes to keep it.  How a company can plead guilty to CRIMINAL activity and then get the taxpayers to pay 75% of the fine is amazing.  I guess Corporations really are "people"...special people with friends in the Senate.

The next time you wonder about the price of healthcare in this Country, think of our policymakers and how crooked and dishonest they are.  The Fiscal Cliff was a Fiscal Gift for Amgen.


Anonymous said...

How is it that I did not know about this? Thanks for keeping your readers up to date. This is just awful.

Anonymous said...

You might like to know that the Amgen jet you mentioned in your blog is a Gulfstream V and it sells for about $24 million.

Cary McNeal said...

Pathetic. Something has to change.

Anonymous said...

Call 60 minutes

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