With nearly 19 million Americans currently under diagnosis of depression, the prescription drug trade has become a liquid market. And though patients are 68 times more likely to commit suicide on serotonergic medications such as Zyprexa, Risperal, Seroquel, Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Luvox, and Celexa -- anyone can get a prescription.
In June, Bush announced his New Freedom Initiative -- a plan that, according to the British Medical Journal, moves to "screen [the] whole U.S. population for mental illness" and with components of the initiative starting to fall into place and with Election Day looming, I think an examination of the relationship between the Bush family and the pharmaceutical industry is long overdue.
In 2002 the Republican Party received an unprecedented $21,717,772.00 in contributions from the pharmaceutical industry. These same contribution trends show the Democratic Party received only a fraction of the amount. So what does the Pharmaceutical industry have to gain from such an "investment"? Do you think the republican congress was thinking of the $22 million dollars when they passed the recent Medicare Privatization bill? A bill, which undermines the future of Medicare but puts $130 billion dollars into the pockets of the pharmaceutical giants.
In my experience following the Bush administration, anywhere you find an "initiative" or self proclaimed "good intention" -- you'll also find a corporation that stands to make a bundle. In the case of "The new Freedom Initiative", that corporation is Eli Lilly.
Is it just a coincidence, the Bush family and administrations, past and present, have a long and lucrative history with Eli Lilly? George Herbert Walker Bush served on the Board of Directors in the 1970's when appointed by Dan Quayle's father who at the time held the company in principal interest. There's Mitch Daniels, who started his career with Eli Lilly in government relations, made his way to Vice President and became W’s OMD Director. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, former CEO of G D Searle, who served on the Board of Gilead Sciences and wouldn't you know it -- Eli Lilly's Amylin Pharmaceuticals. There's former Enron executive, Ken Lay, an ex-Eli Lilly Board member. And lets not forget W's Homeland Security Advisory Council member and concurrent Eli Lilly CEO, Sidney Taurel. Does anyone remember the mysterious clause that wrote itself into the Homeland Security Act -- the one protecting Eli Lilly from thimerosal lawsuits? Hmm...I wonder how that got there?
And lets face it, we are a nation of drug addicts -- even our pets are on Prozac. We're beggars to exploitation. Whether it’s Tylenol or Paxil, caffine or coke, chocolate or cigarettes -- we’re all popping pills and downing coffee without a given thought to consequence. The War on Drugs has actually institutionalized the drug trade; dealers are to addicts as pharmacologists are to patients. Happiness is no longer a state of mind -- it will be prescribed -- just ask your dealer, eh doctor.