Big Donor Gets Big Drug Contract


Remember the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq that nobody found?  The only way you can be happy about what our beautiful government is doing is if you still think they are there.

Norman Rockwell's Four FreedomsOh, the soldiers who looked long and hard found nothing I remember. They were looking for nerve gas and missiles and yellow cake uranium, Oh My!

Pardon me, it is the season when “The Wizard of Oz” is on TV and I just got into the weird mood of a surreal world.

Although former Pres. Bush and former CIA head George Tennant and Colin Powell and all the rest of that crew have come forward and admitted there were no WMD, I understand from some of my friends who get their entire world-view from Fox News that many of the pundits still claim it was there, is there and other such fantasies.

One of the big scares of the run-up to the Iraq war was the biological hazard attacks.  Remember when anthrax was sent to some senators and some other people (it was traced to a domestic source, not a foreign one) and there were rumors-rumors-rumors of other disease-cultures being launched against our citizenry?

Never happened.

I am certain I would remember if they found some smallpox cultures just waiting to infect unsuspecting folks. They did not.

Our government already owns about a billion dollars worth of vaccine against smallpox.  Okay maybe, you gotta be ready for some emergencies.

But no — not enough for something that somebody said was there but nobody found any evidence of???

The company (Siga) charges $355 per dose for a drug that can be given if someone is already exposed and it is too late for the vaccine to work.  Of course, we have no evidence anyone is going to use or even has smallpox, and we are talking about a profit-per-dose in the three digits for this company.

To add insult to injury, this compound has a 38 month shelf life while the smallpox vaccine lasts for decades.

Siga holds the rights to this compound ST246 and is heavily invested in by uber-investor Ronald Perelman (Revlon, and some Silicon Valley high-tech companies as well as pharma) whose spokesperson says he can invest in whoever or whatever he wants politically.

For example, he “invested” in Obama’s election campaign to the tune of over $600,000.

But it raised a few eyebrows to learn that Perleman’s company got this $443 million contract (with no competing bidders) that experts say isn’t necessary and won’t be effective.

Hooray for American Freedoms.  Anyone remember Norman Rockwell’s famous WWII-era painting named “The Four Freedoms?”  I wonder why he did not show “Freedom” to invest?  I think it is because stuff like this happens.

I always said that as a psychiatrist I would have no career if life was fair and the world was a meritocracy and everyone was happy. A government, a president, people we trusted sure seem to be pocketing money more than protecting folks. I mean if it looks like a duck and smells like a duck, we are probably dealing with a duck.

Really, this stuff ST246 is so expensive and so many people have flagged this deal as egregious — ME NO LIKEE.

I do agree that smallpox is bad stuff.  Really gross pustules and a 30% death rate, but the existence of cultures has been verified only in one Soviet Institute and one American Institute and hoo-boy you better believe me they keep this stuff locked up tight.

Oh, biohazard preparedness.  Oh, the logical inability to argue that nobody can affirm the North Koreans DON’T have it.
Too many negatives.  I might be able to navigate that kind of knowledge in Spanish, where the more negatives I use the more everyone seems to love me, but certainly not here in these United States in English. Personally, I think the LA Times Page-Header says it all:

A company controlled by a longtime political donor gets a no-bid contract to supply an experimental remedy for a threat that may not exist.

That pretty well summarizes politics as usual in this brave, new 21st Century.


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