Big business helped get George W. Bush elected. His campaign chest was the largest ever garnered by any presidential candidate – and his entire presidency ever since has been about paying back his benefactors.
The oil giants have enjoyed access to remote areas previously protected by environmental agencies, and they finally got their pipes into Afghanistan once that had been invaded. Companies offering infrastructure support and services have been enjoying unprecedented revenues from the rebuilding of Iraq.
Now, with just months left of his presidency, George is making sure the drug companies get their snouts in the trough (a not unusual position for them).
Of course, when big business is given a presidential mandate to push for bigger profits, people can get hurt. In Iraq, it was the soldiers and the innocent civilians of Iraq. So, to give a helping hand to the pharma cartel, every citizen in the USA, including toddlers, is in George’s sights.
The great thing about George is that he’s wonderful at window dressing. The Patriot Act was a triumphal name for a nasty piece of legislation. And now we have the New Freedom initiative.
Under the initiative, every citizen of virtually every age, including preschool children, is to be screened for mental illness. Schools will be used as the screening centres for the 52 million kids and 6 million teachers who attend them.
The model for the New Freedom initiative is the TMAP, which stands for the Texas Medication Algorithm Project – that’s right, the state that George used to govern, a project that first saw the light of day during his time in office there.
TMAP promotes the use of the new, and more expensive, antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs, such as Zyprexa (olanzapine), which is Eli Lilly’s best selling drug. It grossed $4.28bn in 2003, with 70 per cent of the revenues paid for by government agencies such as Medicare and Medicaid.
Needless to say there’s a link between Eli Lilly and the Bush family. George senior has been a board member, while George junior appointed Lilly’s chief executive to a seat on the Homeland Security Council.
Lilly made a contribution of $1.6m to the Bush campaign in 2000, and donations have already reached $700,000 for the current campaign. It’s got to be the best investment they have ever made.
(Source: British Medical Journal, 2004; 328: 1458).
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