FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Penalties for Political Corruption in China and the US

by CORPORATE CRIME REPORTER

Zheng Xiaoyu meet Lester Crawford.

Lester Crawford is the former head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Zheng Xiaoyu is the former head of China’s equivalent of the FDA.

Both have been convicted of crimes committed while in office.

Earlier this week, Zheng was sentenced to death.

Earlier this year, Crawford was sentenced to three years probation.

Zheng was sentenced to death for allegedly pocketing bribes from drug makers seeking fast track approval.

Zheng allegedly took cash and gifts from eight companies, either personally or routed through his wife and son, for approving fake medicine.

Zheng was convicted of the charges after a ten-day closed door trial.

And sentenced to death.

It was a political trial and a political sentence that came on the heels of news stories that threatened China’s export-driven economy.

What was concerning China’s political leadership?

Was it the bribery?

Was it the babies that died of malnutrition in Anhui province in 2004 after they were fed fake milk powder with no nutritional value?

Was it the antibiotic approved by the food and drug agency during Zheng’s tenure that killed at least 10 patients in 2006 before it was taken off the market?

No, no, and no.

It was the dead dogs and cats in the United States that were dying from contaminated pet food from China.

It was the exported contaminated toothpaste that contained a chemical used in antifreeze.

It was the Chinese medical products linked to deaths in Panama.

The news of exports from China killing abroad threatened the foundations of the Chinese economy.

And someone had to pay the price.

That would be Zheng Xiaoyu.

What message does our system send when the former head of our FDA gets his industry ties caught in the Justice Department’s grinder?

No jail.

Three years probation.

$90,000 fine.

Nice paying job at a pharma consulting firm.

Even a keynote address at Harvard University later this year on the topic of FDA compliance.

That of course would be the case of former FDA chief Lester Crawford.

It wasn’t his corporate ideology that got former Crawford in trouble last year.

It was trying to hide the extent of his corporate connections.

In October 2007, Crawford pled guilty to charges that he hid his ownership in stock in food and drug companies that the FDA regulates. He was sentenced earlier this year to three years probation and fined $90,000.

For the past year or so, Crawford has worked at a consulting firm, Policy Directions.

And he’s scheduled to appear as a keynote speaker later this year at the FDA Regulatory and Compliance Symposium at Harvard University.

Dr. Steve Nissen, for one, is troubled by the extent of the pharmaceutical industry’s ties to federal cops on the corporate crime beat.

Nissen is chairman of the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

He is concerned about the “imbalance of power between the FDA and industry.”

“When drug studies reveal toxicity or lack of efficacy, the FDA is not permitted to release the results and the findings are often not published, thereby denying patients and physicians access to vitally important safety information,” Nissen said in little reported comments last year at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

The reason?

Conflicts of interest at the highest levels of the FDA.

The entire FDA budget for drug regulation is about $500 million and relies extensively on pharmaceutical industry user fees, Dr. Nissen said.

As a result, the FDA is financially indebted to the companies it must regulate.

Nissen pointed to Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who was sitting right next to him at the National Press Club event.

Gottlieb was deputy FDA commissioner at the time. He later resigned to join the corporate funded American Enterprise Institute.

“For years, we had an interim FDA Commissioner, Lester Crawford, who shortly after confirmation, abruptly resigns, apparently because he and his wife owned stock in regulated companies,” he says.

“Then the administration appointed Andrew Von Eschenbach as interim commissioner, creating another conflict,” Dr. Nissen says. “In his role as director of the National Cancer Institute, Von Eschenbach must seek FDA approval for human testing or approval of new cancer drugs, an obvious conflict.”

“Even worse, the administration appointed Scott Gottlieb as deputy commissioner,” Dr. Nissen says. “He came to this job with no regulatory experience, directly from Wall Street, where he served as a biotech analyst and stock promoter. Between them, Drs. Von Eschenbach and Gottlieb have whined incessantly about the need to speed drug development. So while the American people worry about the safety of drugs, the top FDA leadership tells us we need faster drug approval.”

When asked about his industry connections, Gottlieb said that he complied with all legal requirements.

But that wasn’t Nissen’s point.

It’s legal in the United States for the pharmaceutical companies to take over the FDA.

No death penalty needed.

CORPORATE CRIME REPORTER is located in Washington, DC. They can be reached through their website

 

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

January 23, 2017
John Wight
Trump’s Inauguration: Hail Caesar!
Mark Schuller
So What am I Doing Here? Reflections on the Inauguration Day Protests
Patrick Cockburn
The Rise of Trump and Isis Have More in Common Than You Might Think
Binoy Kampmark
Ignored Ironies: Women, Protest and Donald Trump
Gregory Barrett
Flag, Cap and Screen: Hollywood’s Propaganda Machine
Gareth Porter
US Intervention in Syria? Not Under Trump
L. Ali Khan
Trump’s Holy War against Islam
Gary Leupp
An Al-Qaeda Attack in Mali:  Just Another Ripple of the Endless, Bogus “War on Terror”
Norman Pollack
America: Banana Republic? Far Worse
Bob Fitrakis - Harvey Wasserman
We Mourn, But We March!
Kim Nicolini
Trump Dump: One Woman March and Personal Shit as Political
William Hawes
We Are on Our Own Now
Martin Billheimer
Last Tango in Moscow
Colin Todhunter
Development and India: Why GM Mustard Really Matters
Mel Gurtov
Trump’s America—and Ours
David Mattson
Fog of Science II: Apples, Oranges and Grizzly Bear Numbers
Clancy Sigal
Who’s Up for This Long War?
Weekend Edition
January 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Divide and Rule: Class, Hate, and the 2016 Election
Andrew Levine
When Was America Great?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: This Ain’t a Dream No More, It’s the Real Thing
Yoav Litvin
Making Israel Greater Again: Justice for Palestinians in the Age of Trump
Linda Pentz Gunter
Nuclear Fiddling While the Planet Burns
Ruth Fowler
Standing With Standing Rock: Of Pipelines and Protests
David Green
Why Trump Won: the 50 Percenters Have Spoken
Dave Lindorff
Imagining a Sanders Presidency Beginning on Jan. 20
Pete Dolack
Eight People Own as Much as Half the World
Roger Harris
Too Many People in the World: Names Named
Steve Horn
Under Tillerson, Exxon Maintained Ties with Saudi Arabia, Despite Dismal Human Rights Record
John Berger
The Nature of Mass Demonstrations
Stephen Zielinski
It’s the End of the World as We Know It
David Swanson
Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse
Alci Rengifo
Trump Rex: Ancient Rome’s Shadow Over the Oval Office
Brian Cloughley
What Money Can Buy: the Quiet British-Israeli Scandal
Mel Gurtov
Donald Trump’s Lies And Team Trump’s Headaches
Kent Paterson
Mexico’s Great Winter of Discontent
Norman Solomon
Trump, the Democrats and the Logan Act
David Macaray
Attention, Feminists
Yves Engler
Demanding More From Our Media
James A Haught
Religious Madness in Ulster
Dean Baker
The Economics of the Affordable Care Act
Patrick Bond
Tripping Up Trumpism Through Global Boycott Divestment Sanctions
Robert Fisk
How a Trump Presidency Could Have Been Avoided
Robert Fantina
Trump: What Changes and What Remains the Same
David Rosen
Globalization vs. Empire: Can Trump Contain the Growing Split?
Elliot Sperber
Dystopia
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail