Monday, September 08, 2003

Another reason to avoid Excedrin...

In a New York Times article dated September 6th, reprinted in the Sydney Morning Herald of Australia I found some very interesting news:

During the 2000 presidential campaign in the US, executives at Bristol-Myers Squibb, one of America's largest drug companies, received an urgent message: Donate money to George Bush.

The message did not come from Republican campaign officials. It came from top Bristol-Myers executives, according to four executives who say they donated to Mr Bush under pressure from their bosses.

The four, who asked not to be named, said they were told to donate the maximum - $1000 in their own name and $1000 in their spouse's - and if they failed to do so, their names would be forwarded to the company's then chief executive, Charles Heimbold.

Federal election law bars companies from using coercion to force a person to make a political contribution.

A spokesman for Bristol-Myers, John Skule, said on Thursday that while "we ask for active participation in the political process," no one was forced to donate.

Elsewhere in the drug industry, the election message was much the same. Some companies circulated a videotape of Vice President Al Gore railing against the high price of prescription drugs, resulting in a flood of contributions for Bush and other Republicans.

Those donations may soon pay off for the pharmaceutical business. Four years ago, a Democrat was in the White House and the industry was fighting a prescription drug proposal that it said would have led to price controls. When Mr Bush won the election, the drug makers celebrated.

Pharmaceutical manufacturers helped shape the Medicare prescription drug benefit partly by making a calculated decision to throw their financial weight behind one political party - most of the $50 million in campaign contributions over the past four years went to Republicans.

The industry had a single goal: to defeat any legislation that would let Medicare negotiate big discounts on the price of drugs for its 40 million beneficiaries.

You can read the rest of the article at:

If you'd like a list of Bristol-Myers Squibb products you can go to this website:

Even though this article is credited to the New York Times, I could find no mention of this information anywhere at the official New York Times website.

Very interesting......

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E.P. Monday, September 08, 2003