Thursday, July 21, 2005

Bipartisanship at its Worst

From a Stockholm article last year
The Carter/Bush Collaboration

New Freedom's pharma-oriented programmes have garnered considerable and broad support, including from the Carter Centre, the organisation founded by former President Jimmy Carter and best known for its human rights programmes and election monitoring. The "Carter Centre Mental Health Programme supports the spirit and findings of the President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health report," says Thomas H Bornemann, director of the Georgia-based centre's mental health programme. He added the centre is, "engaged with a variety of partners to use the report as a platform to transform the current mental health system. Two of the programme's annual Rosalynn Carter Symposia on Mental Health Policy (2003 and 2004) are dedicated to meet the challenges of funding and achieving these goals." According to the Carter Centre, 77 percent of its budget is devoted to health programmes, with 6.6 percent of the budget going to peace activities. Drug firms such as GlaxoSmithKline, Merck & Co, Pfizer, and Wyeth are listed as having provided one million dollars or more to the centre, as is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, associated with Johnson and Johnson and TMAP [The original TMAP model was funded through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, an outgrowth of the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical giant, along with money from ten other drug companies]. Queries to the Carter Centre regarding the total amounts of pharmaceutical industry funding, the programmes that that money was applied to and the industry's influence on the centre's policy, were not answered.

So what do you get when you cross an elephant and a donkey? $17,464,028 contributed to the 2004 campaigns from pharmaceutical companies.

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