Australian news, and some related international items

Corruption in the pharmaceutical industry – the Bill Gates connection

I Never Trusted Bill Gates, Nor Should You

While leading a Senate investigation, I tracked a corrupt pharmaceutical executive right into the lobby of the much-vaunted Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation—Bill Gates did nothing.

The DisInformation Chronicle, May 11The last year has not been kind to Bill Gates. For two decades, Gates has shoveled out buckets of cash through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to transform himself from despised 1990’s software monopolist to a present-day public health intellectual—a miraculous, money-fueled metamorphosis. But that reputational makeover has stumbled, as a series of critical articles have tarnished Gates’ paid-for golden image and cast doubt on his credibility. However, long before these articles came to light, I already knew that Gates could not to be trusted. 

A decade ago, I led a Senate investigation into a multi-billion-dollar diabetes drug sold by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) that government scientists found to have caused around 83,000 heart attacks. During this federal investigation, I uncovered multiple examples of GSK officials intimidating medical experts who decried the drug’s dangers. A leader in this campaign was GSK’s chairman of research and development, Dr. Tadataka (Tachi) Yamada. 

By the time our committee uncovered GSK’s coercion campaign, Yamada had left the company to run Gates’ global health program. And yet, as the media outlets reported on Yamada’s prior role bullying physicians who tried to warn about the drug’s dangers, the Gates Foundation ignored this public outcry and allowed Yamada to maintain his pulpit as global health protector.

Twenty years back, journalists scrutinized Gates’ foundation as a vehicle to enrich himself and polish his appearance. But over the years, reporters began to forget Gates’ past and provide him a platform to puff himself up as scientific expert, despite his having no medical or scientific credentials. Bill Gates’ sculpted persona as health policy guru began to wobble last summer, however, precisely because of revelations showing the tools he had used to improve his media cachet.

In August 2020, Tim Schwab published an article in the Columbia Journalism Review exposing around $250 million in grants that Gates was throwing at journalism outlets including the BBC, NBC, Al Jazeera, ProPublica, National Journal, The Guardian, Univision, Medium, the Financial Times, The Atlantic, the Texas Tribune, Gannett, Washington Monthly, Le Monde, and the Center for Investigative Reporting. 

A later article in The Nation spotlighted Gates’ potential to profit from investments in companies situated to reap a windfall from the COVID pandemic. And another report in The Nation found that Gates’ funding has stifled debate in public health—described as “the Bill chill”—as organizations are reluctant to bite the hand that feeds them.

These revelations came as little surprise to me.

Back in 2007, I was working as an investigator for the Senate Finance Committee and learned first-hand that Bill Gates does not put the public first. That year, I wrote the Senate Finance Committee’s report showing that, shortly after the GSK diabetes drug Avandia came on the market in 1999, the company attacked and silenced several scientists including Dr. John Buse, a professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina.

GSK began to bully Dr. Buse after he gave talks stating that Avandia might increase cardiovascular problems such as heart attacks. By the time we released the 2007 report, FDA scientists estimated that Avandia had caused approximately 83,000 heart attacks.

…………….. In our report, we released a private email that Dr. Buse later sent a colleague detailing this encounter with GSK:

Months prior to the report’s release, The New York Times also detailed Dr. Yamada’s behavior (Doctor Says He Was Assailed for Challenging Drug’s Safety), as some initial evidence came to light during a hearing in the House. 

In response to all this outcry, Bill Gates did… nothing.

………………   After reading the report, Yale cardiologist Harlan Krumholz wrote that it “read like a spy novel.” Analysts at UBS predicted that GlaxoSmithKline could face legal liability of up to $6 billion. The New York Times covered the report on its front page and the CBS News put Yamada in its story’s headline: Meet Glaxo’s Fixer — The Man Who Scuttles Drug Critics With One Phone Call.

And still, Bill Gates did nothing.

Five months after the 2010 Senate Finance report, GSK agreed to a $460 million settlement with 10,000 Americans who sued the company for withholding Avandia’s heart attack risks. The New York Times editorialized that GSK and its leaders “can’t be trusted to report adverse clinical results fairly.” 

Nothing at all happened to Yamada. He remained in his role as global health expert at the Gates Foundation, until he left the following year, in June 2011

Keeping someone like Yamada to run a global health program has always made me doubt Bill Gates’ commitment to public health. How could anyone have faith in Gates’ judgement after watching him stand idly by as a stream of evidence proved that one of his top lieutenants had a history of corrupt behavior?

Since that time, I have never trusted Bill Gates. And neither should you.


May 13, 2021 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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