The powerful drug manufacturing industry has pretty well had its way in Congress over the years. A good example of how these companies keep things under control involves Pfizer. A recently-released expenditure report reveals that manufacturer Pfizer spent $4.3 million lobbying Congress and federal agencies in the first quarter of 2010. The drug company wanted items like smoking cessation medications included in the health care overhaul bill. That was despite the inherent risks of Chantix suicide.
While some of the funding was spent serving special interest partnerships like veterans’ health organizations, the bulk of the money was spent on aspects of the legislation that could lead to greater use of the company’s products, including insurance coverage for smoking cessation products like Chantix. This action has sent up a red flag to many health advocates, who expressed concern that increased prescription and availability of Chantix could lead to a rash of suicides.
These concerns stem from a 2007 black box warning about potentially dangerous Chantix side effects, including aggression and suicidal thoughts. The drug works by blocking nicotine receptors in the brain – a factor which can greatly exacerbate pre-existing psychiatric conditions like suicidal thoughts and aggression. The FDA has reported roughly 491 cases of suicidal tendencies or behavior directly linked to usage of Chantix. So long as the weak laws relating to lobbyists go unchanged, companies like Pfizer will continue to control what happens in Washington. Over the past few months the Obama Administration and Congressional leaders have had to focus their attention on issues like the gulf oil spill and Toyota’s safety issues. As a result, all reform efforts have been delayed and that is certainly understandable. Hopefully, the reform measures will soon get back on track.
Source: LAS Newswire
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