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The FDA Guerillas of Wonky DrugWonks - Part II

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The tribe of Guerillas operating a Big Pharma public relations firm under cover of the Center for Public Integrity in Medicine may soon be on the path to extinction and the blogs on DrugWonks by the two out-of-control top bananas will likely be cause.

Former FDA officials from the Bush Administration organized this industry funded front group a few years ago and made Peter Pitts, President, and Robert Goldberg, Vice President. DrugWonks is the defacto media outlet used to distribute information over the internet as a services to drug company clients of the public relations firm Manning Selvage and Lee, where Mr Pitts is Senior Vice President of Global Affairs.

In a September 1, 2006 posting, Mr Pitts bragged that DrugWonks received over 100,000 visits in August 2006. “And considering we’re not a “mass” blog, we think that’s pretty terrific,” he noted.

“According to Technorati (the folks who measure blog audience numbers) of the 55 million blogs out there, drugwonks.com has cracked the elite top 100,000. We're Number 92,165,” he reported on December 22, 2006.

A partial list of Big Pharma loyalists who have served, or currently serve, in the Bush Administration’s FDA, can be found in a June 30, 2006 blog, in which Mr Pitts provides the details of what he described as the "memorable launch party" for “the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest (the public policy home of drugwonks.com.)”

Memorable for many reasons, he said, but mostly because of who attended. The attendees included FDA Deputy Commissioners, Janet Woodcock and Dr Scott Gottlieb. That would be the Dr Gottlieb who was recruited for a job at the FDA from MS&L, before moving on to employment with the drug company Novartis.

Anna Barker, the deputy director of the National Cancer Institute, also attended the bash, along with Julie Goon, described by Mr Pitts as "the new White House health care policy guru."

Referred to as a "former FDA colleague," Daniel Troy, former chief counsel of the FDA, best known as the Godfather of Preemption, was at the party and serves on the CMPI advisory board. He recently landed a top job with MS&L client GlaxoSmithKline.

John Taylor, the former National Institute of Mental Health director, now a CMPI board member, also attend the grand-opening, along with Dr Fred Goodwin, who sits on a CMPI board and belongs to a gang of academic quacks paid by the makers of SSRI antidepressants like Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft, to sign their names to bogus studies misrepresenting the efficacy of the drugs and concealing the suicide risks.

The keynote speaker for the kick-off party was former FDA Commissioner, Mark McClellan, described by Mr Pitts as, "the hardest working man in health care."

Slanderland in cyberspace

Mr Pitts and Mr Goldberg operate as a two-man Guerilla hit squad on DrugWonks. Its their job to recognize any reports in the media that could be damaging to the FDA, or negatively effect Big Pharma profits, and publish a response to discredit or distort the story and lessen the impact.

They keep a running tab of all persons who represent a threat to Big Pharma with some of the most highly respected medical experts in the world at the top of their hit list. New enemies are added all time and among those regularly attacked are lawmakers on the powerful committees in Congress that oversee health care, career scientists at the FDA, reporters who write damaging articles, and public health advocates.

The mere mention of a “Black Box Warning,” is a threat to drug profits and requires immediate damage control. For instance, on October 24, 2005, in response to a request by the consumer safety group, Public Citizen, for a black box warning on erectile dysfunction drugs, Mr Pitts ridiculed the leader of group by writing:

“Sidney Wolfe, Public Citizen’s General Secretary of Junk Science has just filed a Citizen’s Petition with the FDA calling for a Black Box warning on ED medications because of 48 events of NAION (non-arteritic ischemic optic neuropathy, a loss of vision that is frequently irreversible). “

“Suggesting that Sidney have his eyes examined would only be a partial diagnosis,” Mr Pitts wrote in the blog.

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Evelyn Pringle is a columnist for OpEd News and investigative journalist focused on exposing corruption in government and corporate America.
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