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Alex Azar Knows About Diabetes

As soon as the Administration got into trouble because it failed to respond to the plague, it began hunting around for scapegoats. Trump’s calling it a “Chinese virus” put heat on the entire Asian American community because the average American can’t distinguish between members of 38 culturally distinct groups. This gave the Trump Shirts an excuse to go around exercising their favorite pastime. Beating up people. Vincent Chin’s murderer’s thought that he was Japanese. Trump believes that San Francisco Chinatown is a part of mainland China. Otherwise he wouldn’t have accused Nancy Pelosi of dancing in San Francisco’s Chinatown, while he was barring some Chinese from entering the country. Just as he believes that Puerto Rico is a separate country, he’s not aware that Chinese Americans had settled in this country about a hundred years before his parents arrived here. Apparently, the journalists who didn’t pick up on this attitude, that Asian Americans are citizens of Asian nations and not Americans, share the president’s belief.

Next, the Trump mob went after Black basketball players, who might mingle with hundreds of people during a week. Why were they placed at the head of the line for tests? Then the Black Surgeon Vichy Surgeon General, Jerome Adams, blamed the lifestyles of Black Americans for their possessing “underlying conditions,” which make them vulnerable to contracting the Virus. President Trump and Dr. Fauci, who has been regarded as a secular saint, agreed with Surgeon General Adams’s attempt to blame the victim? This line seems to have stuck and so last Sunday, appearing on CNN, while being interviewed by Jake Tapper, Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services, repeated this line. It’s the fault of Blacks that they get the virus because of their lifestyles (while it was said, employing the old divide and conquer strategy, that Latinx acquired the Virus because they work hard). One of the underlying conditions Secretary Azar mentioned was diabetes.

In 2007, Alex Azar became the senior vice president of corporate affairs and communications for Eli Lilly, the pharmaceutical giant. “Between 1999 and 2005, according to an investigation carried out by—among others—the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations and the FDA’s Office of the Chief Counsel, Eli Lilly engaged in systematic and illegal off-label sales of a psychiatric drug called Zyprexa. “From 2001–2005, Azar was the Department of Health and Human Services’ general counsel. From 2005–2007, he was the deputy secretary of HHS. In the first job, Azar supervised the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of the Chief Counsel. In the second, he supervised “all operations of the HHS, including the regulation of food and drugs.

“Between 1999 and 2005, according to an investigation carried out by—among others—the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations and the FDA’s Office of the Chief Counsel, Eli Lilly engaged in systematic and illegal off-label sales of a psychiatric drug called Zyprexa. The government found that Eli Lilly ‘created marketing materials promoting Zyprexa for off-label uses, trained its sales force to disregard the law and directed its sales personnel to promote Zyprexa for off-label uses.’Investigators specifically found that the company ‘expended significant resources’ to promote unapproved uses of the drug ‘in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.’ It moreoever ‘caused false claims for payment to be submitted to federal insurance programs.’

“In 2007, Azar left HHS to become the senior vice president of corporate affairs and communications for Eli Lilly. The company itself describes this role as ‘lead[ing] Lilly public affairs and lobbying efforts.’

“In 2009, with Azar still leading Lilly public affairs and lobbying efforts, it settled all criminal and civil federal allegations against it related to Zyprexa. In the settlement, the company pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor criminal charge and agreed to pay a fine of $1.415 billion.

“$1.4 billion! Sounds like a lot of money—except that Eli Lilly sold more than $30 billion worth of Zyprexa during the period for which it was investigated and would go on in 2009 to make nearly three times as much money in profit as it paid in fines in the agreement.”#

One of the side effects of Zyprexa is diabetes. My oldest daughter, Timothy, a novelist (Showing Out), received six thousand dollars as a result of the settlement. She’s had to have multiple eye surgeries because one of the side effects of Zyprexa is diabetes. So if thousands of blacks have diabetes, Mr. Secretary, you had a hand in their obtaining it.

  • “Alex Azar Health Secretary Nominee Oversaw Worked for Eli Lilly,” Ben Mathis-Lilley,Nov.13,2017

Ishmael Reed’s “Malcolm and Me,” about Reed’s encounter with Malcolm X when Reed was a young person is a bestseller at Audible.

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Ishmael Reed is the author of The Complete Muhammad Ali.

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