Hypocrisy and politics go together.
The house congressional talk is all about “spending less.” The hypocrisy is that the talk doesn’t match the action. Tucked away in Section 632 of the “fiscal cliff” bill is a financial coup for Amgen, producer of Sensipar, a kidney dialysis pill.
Amgen pleaded guilty to a major federal fraud case, but congress blatantly delayed restrictions on price of the drug for two more years, giving two more years to sell costly Sensipar without government restrictions. Amgen had already won a two-year delay, and now two more years is undoubtedly too much.
How this came about points a finger at our own Sen. Max Baucus, who happens to have no scruples when it comes to loading his pockets with special interest money in exchange for policy. Amgen has a history of deep political financial ties to Sens. Baucus, Mitch McConnell and Orrin Hatch. Amgen, regardless of their federal crime, carries influence on Capitol Hill.
During the fiscal crisis debate, Amgen pleaded guilty to marketing Aranesp illegally, its anemia drug, costing them a $762 million settlement. The connection of former employees withholding important posts is impressive. Dan Todd, Hatch’s top Finance Committee member on Health and Medicare policy, worked for Amgen’s government affairs office and negotiated dialysis components of the bill.
I believe the public should know that Montana’s Sen. Baucus and his colleagues are involved in this corrupt half-billion dollar taxpayer gift to Amgen, a biotechnology company that has already paid more than three-quarters of $1 billion in penalties for criminal acts to which they pleaded guilty. Sen. Baucus deserves the public ire, since he led the process in bringing the nation the Affordable Care Act, which serves the financial interests of private insurance and pharmaceutical industries at a huge cost to patients and taxpayers.
Dr. Richard A. Damon
84 Golden Trout Way