Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Birds and the Bucks 

Courtesy of Zemblan patriot K.Z.: Dr. Joseph Mercola, who maintains a medical news blog on his website, has written several recent articles dismissing panicky prognostications of a deadly avian flu epidemic as hysteria and hype. We lack the expertise to evaluate the doctor's claim and must delegate that task to the epidemiologists in our audience; however, certain of the business arrangements Dr. Mercola describes would seem to fall well within our usual purview. What was it the Italian fellow said about the merger of the corporation and the state?
This hoax is then used to justify the immediate purchase of 80 million doses of Tamiflu, a worthless drug that in no way shape or form treats the avian flu, but only decreases the amount of days one is sick and can actually contribute to the virus having more lethal mutations.

So the U.S. placed an order for 20 million doses of this worthless drug at a price of $100 per dose. That comes to a staggering $2 billion.

We are being told that Roche manufactures Tamiflu and, in yesterday's New York Times, they were battling whether or not they would allow generic drug companies to help increase their production.

But if you dig further you will find that a drug was actually developed by a company called Gilead that 10 years ago gave Roche the exclusive rights to market and sell Tamiflu.

If you read the link below from Gilead, you'll discover Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was made the chairman of Gilead in 1997.

Since Rumsfeld holds major portions of stock in Gilead, he will handsomely profit from the scare tactics of the government that is being used to justify the purchase of $2 billion of Tamiflu.
Interestingly, Kenneth Anderson of Bonehead Compendium reports that Gilead and Roche have gone to war over rights to the drug, sales of which have jumped from $76 million in 2001 to an estimated $700 million this year:
Tamiflu was invented in 1996 by scientists at Foster City-based Gilead Sciences Inc., which quickly sold all commercial rights and manufacturing responsibility in exchange for annual royalties to Roche, which assembles various parts of the capsuled drug in 13 locations.

In June, Gilead charged Roche with failing to adequately promote and produce the drug and invoked a contract clause to demand the return of all commercial and manufacturing rights. Roche has denied the charges.

The two companies have not been able to resolve the dispute. A Gilead spokeswoman said the matter has been submitted for confidential binding arbitration, which could take up to 18 months to resolve.
UPDATE: We have linked before to "Bird Flu Facts and Fiction," by our learned colleague Quixote of Acid Test, and it occurs to us that this would not be an altogether inappropriate time for us to do so again.

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