OVER A DOZEN CORPORATE DEMOCRATS IN THE SENATE JOIN REPUBLICANS TO KILL CHEAP DRUG IMPORTATION
Yesterday the Senate nixed the proposal to allow consumers to import prescription drugs from Canada and other advanced countries. It failed 49-40 with 15 mostly corporate Democrats who take big money from Big Pharma joining 33 crooked Republicans to do what their corporate masters demanded. Although GOP closet queen Mitch McConnell (R-KY) did his best to mire the importation measure in endless debate, senators voted last week, 63-28, to invoke cloture and finally shut her up.
Big Pharma's fall back position was to have one of their bought and paid for operatives, Mississippi Republican shill Thad Cochran, offered a poison pill in the form of an amendment that would require the federal government-- i.e.- Bush's corrupt, Big Pharma-infested Department of Health and Human Services-- to ensure the safety of imported drugs. Deceptively the forked tongued Mississippi whore oozed that "The safety of the American consumer must be our No. 1 priority," as he sought to muddy the issue and give senators plausible deniability to constituents as they screwed them over.
It worked. One senator who can always be counted on to not sell out, Bernie Sanders, who went to my high school in Brooklyn and now represents Vermont, called the vote a "victory for the U.S. pharmaceutical industry and a 'poison pill' that killed consumer access to cheaper prescription medicine," exactly what it was designed to be by Cochran and McConnell. "It is unfair that the American public continues to pay the highest prices in the world," said Sanders, adding that he hopes the less corporately-dominated House will allow access to foreign drugs when it takes up the bill.
The amendment to loosen drug-import restrictions was sponsored by Sen. Byron L. Dorgan, North Dakota Democrat, and would have allowed consumers, pharmacies and wholesalers to buy drugs from FDA-approved sources in Canada, Australia, Europe, Japan and New Zealand. It passed on a voice vote, but was nullified by the earlier approval of Mr. Cochran's amendment.
Drugs in these countries can cost two-thirds less than they do in the United States, where prices for brand-name drugs are among the highest in the world. However, prices often are lower elsewhere because industrialized countries impose some level of price controls.
Allowing imports from those countries would drive down prices of U.S. brand-name drugs, Mr. Dorgan has said.
Under Mr. Dorgan's measure, the FDA would regulate imports of prescription drugs for commercial or personal use. It also would mandate FDA inspections of Canadian prescription-drug exporters 12 times a year.
Besides the usual Democrats who almost always vote for the corporate side of things-- like Baucus (MT), Bayh (IN), Carper (DE), Landrieu (LA), Lincoln (AR), Ben Nelson (NE), and Salazar (CO)-- progressives going over to the Dark Side included Cantwell and Murray from Washington, Menendez and Lautenberg from New Jersey, Kerry and Kennedy from Massachusetts. Hillary voted with the Democrats. Mr. Corporations, Joe Biden, didn't vote and neither did Obama. Lieberman, of course, sided with the Republicans. McCain didn't vote because, like a pig after truffles, he was hunting up cash for his absurd presidential campaign. Republicans up for re-election next year who betrayed their constituents for corporate dollars are Lamar Alexander (TN), Saxby Chamberpot (GA), Thad Cochran (MS), Norm Coleman (MN), John Cornyn (TX), Elizabeth Dole (NC), Pete "Sneaky Pete" Domenici (NM), Mike Enzi (WY), Lindsey Graham (SC), Chuck Hagel (NE), Mitch McConnell (KY), Pat Roberts (KS), Ted Stevens (AK), John Sununu (NH) and John Warner (VA).
UPDATE: BERNIE SANDERS
I was co-secretary of my class at PS-197 in Brooklyn with the execrable Norm Coleman (R-MN) and I went to James Madison High School with the less execrable Chuck Schumer (D-NY). And I'm proud to say that another Madison alum from my day was Bernie Sanders (I-VT). I'm always proud to point to Senator Sanders but today I'm especially proud and I want to ask you to look at the clip of him excoriating Big Pharma, their lobbyists and the political hacks who sell their souls to them for legalized bribes. This is a truly amazing video.