Drug industry creates sham group to derail prescription drug coverage
July 2000

WASHINGTON, D.C. - On the eve of the biggest battle in years over prescription drug legislation, House and Senate members released a study June 20 by the national consumer group Public Citizen that reveals how the drug industry has created and financed a campaign of deceptive advertisements through its front group "Citizens for Better Medicare" (CBM).

"By cooking up this sham 'citizen' group, the pharmaceutical industry is adding insult to injury," said Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook. "It's bad enough that the drug companies price-gouge our seniors. Now they are spending millions from their ill-gotten profits in a shameless campaign to scare the elderly into opposing a common-sense program that would help them obtain the drugs they need at a fair price."

Over the past year, the prescription drug industry has buffeted Americans with wave after wave of deceptive advertising, part of a sophisticated campaign to protect the industry's multibillion-dollar profits, according to the Public Citizen report, Citizens for Better Medicare: The Truth Behind the Drug Industry's Deception of Americas Seniors being released as the drug industry is said to be preparing its biggest national ad blitz to date.

"The drug lobby's goal is single-minded," said Frank Clemente, director of Public Citizens Congress Watch, which prepared the report. "They want to avoid any kind of Medicare drug coverage that reins in skyrocketing drug costs."

Last year, the drug companies regular lobby, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), created the innocuous-sounding Citizens for Better Medicare to serve as its front group. Through CBM, it has budgeted at least $65 million for television advertising since July 1999. This air battle has been supplemented with radio, print and Internet ads and telemarketing calls along with direct mail appeals from CBM and its member groups.

"Public Citizen researched CBM's self-described broad-based bipartisan group and found a collection of shills, seedy direct-mail operatives and industry-funded research and lobby groups working in tight coordination with the drug lobby," Clemente said. Among the report's findings:

For more info & the complete report: www.publiccitizen.org/Press/pr-drugs22.htm

previous article [current issue] next article
Search | Archives | Calendar | Directory | About / Subscriptions |

Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional eXTReMe Tracker