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Senators who weakened drug bill got millions from industry
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of USA Today

USA Today, May 16, 2007
Posted: May 25th, 2007

Senators who raised millions of dollars in campaign donations from pharmaceutical interests secured industry-friendly changes to a landmark drug-safety bill. The bill, which passed 93-1, grants the Food and Drug Administration broad new authority to monitor the safety of drugs after they are approved. It addressed some shortcomings that allowed the painkiller Vioxx to stay on the market for years after initial signs that it could cause heart attacks. However, the powers granted to the FDA in the bill's original version were pared back during private meetings. And efforts to curb conflicts of interest among FDA advisers and allow consumers to buy cheaper drugs from other countries were defeated in close votes. A measure that blocked an effort to allow drug importation passed, 49-40. The 49 senators who voted against drug importation received about $5 million from industry executives and political action committees since 2001 nearly three quarters of the industry donations to current members of the Senate. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. [was] the lone vote against the bill. "You have a culture in which big money has significant influence. Big money gains you access, access gives you the time to influence people." The pharmaceutical companies spend more money on lobbying than any other single industry $855 million from 1998 to 2006. The biggest drug trade group, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, praised the bill after it passed. The group's spokesman, Ken Johnson, said its critics "never point out that a great deal of this money is spent trying to defeat bills that are designed to cripple this industry."

Note: For lots more reliable, verifiable information on drug company manipulations, click here.

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