Life Extension Magazine October 2003
As We See It
|Jerry Falwell Attacks Life Extension Foundation|
Taking on the Challenge
Since 1984, The Life Extension Foundation has battled against the high cost of prescription drugs. We long ago predicted that a health care cost crisis would erupt if Congress failed to rein in the artificially inflated prices that Americans pay for their medications.
To expose the incestuous relationship that exists between the FDA and the pharmaceutical giants, we made hundreds of appearances on TV and radio shows, mailed out millions of pieces of mail, ran full-page newspaper ads, and set up anti-FDA websites (www.stopfda.org). We did this for the purpose of encouraging consumers to act against the blatant corruption that is bankrupting the nation’s health care system.
As a result of our relentless attacks against high-cost prescription drugs, The Life Extension Foundation has become the target of a vicious propaganda campaign. Profit margins on prescription drugs have become so gargantuan that pharmaceutical companies will do almost anything to prevent foreign competition from developing.
Large drug companies intensely lobby Congress to pass laws that give them extended exclusivity; file lawsuits to delay generic competition; petition the FDA to stop the importation of lower-cost medications; and go as far as to pay off generic companies not to compete. By inducing a well-known member of the clergy (Reverend Jerry Falwell) to make blatantly false statements about medicines sold in other countries, the drug cartel may have sunk to its lowest level yet. Consumers are paying for these morally bankrupt schemes every time they buy an over-priced prescription drug.
Life Extension Will Not Capitulate
Several of our Directors thought it might be best to ignore Jerry Falwell’s baseless attacks because of concerns that any rebuttal might offend some Life Extension members. I argued that to ignore these obvious lies would be an effrontery to all of those who support free choice as it relates to where Americans may purchase their medications.
If Life Extension has proven anything over our 23-year history, it is that we don’t back down on irrefutable scientific, rational, or moral issues. We hear every day from our members about the outlandish prices they are paying for drugs that are much less expensive in other countries. Some of our less fortunate members cannot afford all the drugs their doctors prescribe. Life Extension is not going to backpedal from its multi-decade campaign to legalize the importation of lower-cost medications, despite Jerry Falwell’s unfounded vilification.
The drug cartel has spent millions of dollars on pubic relations to distort the facts so that Congress would be dissuaded from passing the Pharmaceutical Market Access Act of 2003. One objective of this smear campaign has been to disparage members of Congress who support this legislation. Life Extension anticipates increased attacks as these public relations agencies seek to create the false impression that anyone who favors legalized prescription drug importation is involved in all kinds of unsavory activities.
Discrediting the Good Work of Others
Jerry Falwell’s groundless attacks against the right of Americans to access lower-cost medications offends the integrity of the many honest clergymen seeking to make a positive difference in their communities. Falwell’s shabby attempt to bring up totally unrelated issues (such as abortion) as reasons not to pass this drug importation bill adversely affects the credibility of those who make legitimate arguments to justify their positions.
The Reverend Falwell has inappropriately ventured into a political/scientific arena that has nothing do to with the benevolent purposes of his various organizations. This improper and deliberate abuse weakens the compassionate pillars on which his organizations were founded.
Let Your Voice Be Heard
Drug company lobbyists are inundating the Senate to prevent the prescription drug importation bill from becoming law. Consumer groups are intimidated by the FDA’s baseless assertions that imported drugs are somehow dangerous. The FDA has preyed on fear and uncertainty for decades, while American consumers are extorted into paying the highest prices in the world for their prescription drugs.
This is not just an issue for individuals to be concerned with. There are dire predictions of severe economic upheavals in the United States if a solution is not found for the high cost of prescription drugs. Some of the largest corporations in America cannot afford to fund health insurance benefits for current and retired employees. Health insurance companies are going bankrupt because of astronomical drug prices. Medicare itself is predicted to become insolvent in the not-too-distant future.
The United States has been economically deteriorating as prescription drug prices skyrocket. In order to counter the influence peddling of the pharmaceutical behemoths, American consumers must become politically active. Consumers vastly outnumber drug industry lobbyists. Regrettably, ignorance and apathy have silenced many Americans and enabled drug money to create laws that favor outlandish pharmaceutical company profits at the expense of the consumer.
I encourage every patriotic American to enlighten their two Senators about the need to support the Pharmaceutical Market Access Act of 2003.
If this bill is passed into law, it will liberate the American consumer from being an economic serf to the pharmaceutical cartel. The next page provides a form letter that can be mailed or faxed to your two Senators.
For longer life,
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