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LJWorld.com weblogs Congressional Briefing

Roberts fights for drug companies' free-speech rights

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Here are today's headlines from the Kansas congressional delegation:Sen. Pat Roberts (R)![][1][(Washington Times) Drug makers, TV broadcasters fight Senate move to limit ads:][2] The pharmaceutical industry is partnering with broadcasters to kill legislation aimed at restricting drug companies' advertising campaigns. Debate is under way in the Senate on legislation to grant the Food and Drug Administration more power -- and significantly more money -- for drug safety. A vote on the bill is expected this week. Under the measure, the FDA would have the discretion to bar pharmaceutical companies from advertising new drugs directly to consumers for the product's first two years on the market. ... Sen. Pat Roberts, Kansas Republican, said he will attempt to kill the bill's advertising provision on the basis that it violates free-speech rights. Mr. Roberts is expected to introduce an amendment to the bill that replaces the two-year moratorium on advertising with a fine for drug companies that produce dishonest or misleading ads. [(CQ Today) FDA Bill Draws Wider Drug Debate:][3] Foes of giving the FDA extended authority call it a First Amendment issue. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., has promised to fight the bill's advertising restrictions, which would give the FDA stricter power to review and approve ads. In an April 19 markup, he offered an amendment to trim the FDA's authority under the bill. It was rejected. "I'm not going to go down without a fight when this bill hits the floor," Roberts told Kennedy during the markup. "I do not think it's constitutional."[(PharmaLive) Senator Pat Roberts to Lead Kansas Delegation at BIO Convention in Boston:][4] U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) announced today that he will lead the Kansas delegation at the 2007 BIO Convention in Boston -- a move that ensures Kansas will have one of the most high-profile delegations at the annual biotechnology event. The Senator will be the centerpiece of a Kansas team composed of the state's top bioscience innovators, business leaders and policymakers. The group will represent Kansas at the BIO Convention, a four-day international event that serves to educate the public and policymakers about biotechnology, showcase the latest bioscience innovations and provide states an opportunity to promote their strengths in the biosciences.Rep. Dennis Moore (D) ![][5][(KC Star) MOORE PROPOSAL | Social worker safety bill:][6] U.S. Rep. Dennis Moore has introduced the Teri Zenner Social Worker Safety Act to better protect those who work with people who might become violent. "We have a responsibility to make sure that those who have dedicated their lives to helping others have the resources and support they need to do their job well and return home safely," said Moore, a Democrat from Lenexa. Zenner, a caseworker with the Johnson County Mental Health Center, was killed Aug. 17, 2004, while making a home visit to a client. Since then, Matt Zenner, her husband, has worked to raise awareness and to improve the safety of social workers.Rep. Nancy Boyda (D) ![][7][(Star-Telegram) Bill would limit Mexican trucks in U.S. to 1,000:][8] Up to 1,000 Mexican trucks and buses would be permitted to cross the border and use U.S. roads for the next three years under a bill endorsed by a House panel Wednesday. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee voted 66-0 to restrict the Transportation secretary to opening the border to 100 carriers based in Mexico. They would be allowed to use a maximum of 1,000 vehicles under the pilot program. The bill goes to the full House. The bill sets up an independent panel to evaluate the test program and get certification from the inspector general that safety and inspection requirements have been met. The Bush administration announced in February that it would soon let 100 Mexican trucking companies travel beyond the current 20-mile limit from the border for a one-year pilot project. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Nancy Boyda, D-Kan., would also prohibit Mexican trucks from moving loads between two U.S. points. It requires Mexican companies to prove that their drivers are proficient in EnglishRep. Todd Tiahrt (R) ![][9][(AP) Lawmakers ask feds to share info on gun trace data that could help find the source of guns:][10] The amendment that bars such sharing of gun trace data has now touched off a feud between its sponsor, Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Kan., and a coalition of more than 200 mayors led by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. Insisting that gun trace data is an essential crimefighting tool for cities, Bloomberg used his own funds as seed money, formed Mayors Against Illegal Guns and made repealing Tiahrt's amendment its number one issue this year. Tiahrt and Bloomberg met in Washington earlier this year to try to find a compromise. "I thought we were close," Tiahrt said.But when Tiahrt showed his proposed changes, "it was one step forward, three steps back," said Bloomberg's criminal justice coordinator, John Feinblatt. So last week, the mayors' group began airing television ads against Tiahrt's amendment in several media markets, including Tiahrt's Wichita district _ a step Tiahrt said went too far. "I think that personal attack is something that's very upsetting to me and very unjustified and a great mischaracterization of all my efforts here," Tiahrt said. [1]: http://roberts.senate.gov/Roberts-020405-18060-080-CFFflipped.jpg [2]: http://washingtontimes.com/business/20070501-092241-5065r.htm [3]: http://public.cq.com/docs/cqt/news110-000002500987.html [4]: http://www.pharmalive.com/News/index.cfm?articleid=437808&categoryid=63 [5]: http://ljworld.com/specials/election04/primary/moore.jpg [6]: http://www.kansascity.com/153/story/92671.html [7]: http://ljworld.com/specials/election04/primary/boyda.jpg [8]: http://www.star-telegram.com/227/story/89565.html [9]: http://bioguide.congress.gov/bioguide/photo/T/T000260.jpg [10]: http://news.bostonherald.com/politics/view.bg?articleid=198108

Comments

bunnyhawk 7 years, 7 months ago

How does this Roberts fellow get re-elected?? What Kansas pharmaceutical companies is he protecting???? Whose interests does he represent????????????????????????????????

RushIsRight 7 years, 7 months ago

Oh that's right.. Only liberal speech is protected by the First Amendment. What is the problem with them advertising a product? The FDA will have approved the product so it will have been deemed safe for the masses.

Me. Bigot, n. A person who is winning an argument with a liberal

Mari Aubuchon 7 years, 7 months ago

Gee, if pharma has free speech rights, why not tobacco companies?

This trend toward giving corporations the same rights as individuals is ludicrous.

concerned_citizen 7 years, 7 months ago

The "trend toward giving corporations the same rights as individuals" is not a trend. It's law, dating back to 1897, iirc. Maybe some lawyer or student with that knowledge at hand can confirm it.

RushIsRight made a good (if clumsy) point about free speech and wow 'scenebootser', an ad hominem is the best you can come up with? Good on ya for exercising your First Amendment rights though.

blakus 7 years, 7 months ago

Pharmaceutical companies and corporations in general have been considered a "person" for decades now. It is by far the most flawed and destructive court ruling ever supported by the courts (outside segregation). It is, as mentioned above, completely ludicrous and only supports the interest of the elites and not the public.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 7 months ago

Doctors hate these advertising campaigns as it creates huge patient/doctor relationships after patients view these advertisements. Why advertise prescription drugs? Let the doctors decide.

Primetime TV advertising is big bucks. Remember this the next time your prescriptions are filled and your co pay and/or premiums are increased. The media is as much the problem as the drug companies for they like the advertising bucks.

blackwalnut 7 years, 7 months ago

Where was this a** when it came time to protect my constitutional rights that have been stolen by the Bush administration?

Kansas needs to rid itself of this Bush apologist and enabler.

Pug 7 years, 7 months ago

Maybe people ought to look into the fact that Pat's CoS, Jackie Cottrell, was previously a spokeswoman for PhRMA. Hmmmm. Something smell rotten in the state of Kansas.

Stu Clark 7 years, 7 months ago

The Dartmouth College case in 1819 established corporate entities as having the same rights and responsibilities as individuals. But there in ample precident for legislative limits on advertising. The problem I have with big pharma ads is that is runs up the cost of the drugs.

Pug 7 years, 7 months ago

I just wanted to point out that I know nothing about this issue. Without investigating further, I don't know if Roberts is right.

That being said, you can be sure that Pat would not be taking up this fight were it not for his chief of staff and her connections to the industry. He certainly has not been a crusader of free speech and civil rights in the past several years, anyway. For a guy who claims journalism as his previous occupation, I find it weird that he never stood up to the Bushies and also has a picture of himself with Fidel Castro on his desk. Yeah, that Castro. The one who has killed numerous journalists.

RushIsRight 7 years, 7 months ago

Guess I need to revise my definitions..

Schmuck n. A person who is winning an argument with a liberal

Nick Yoho 7 years, 7 months ago

What is wrong with you Roberts?!You should worry about protecting the free speech of the individual!Corporations speak plenty loud enough with their dollars.influencing the likes of you through lobby organizations.Medical companies are not US citizens!They are not covered by the constitutional right to free speech!

Nick Yoho 7 years, 7 months ago

"The bill, sponsored by Rep. Nancy Boyda, D-Kan., would also prohibit Mexican trucks from moving loads between two U.S. points. It requires Mexican companies to prove that their drivers are proficient in English"

Heaven forbid some non-english speaking employed Mexicans drive in the US! WTF? Nancy, you are better than this.

Why would one need to speak english to drive? Signage I guess...

Nick Yoho 7 years, 7 months ago

And finally ,Tiahrt is trying to find out where guns come from.Ha! They are mass produced right here in the good ole USA! You probably have stock in the companies!You know,the ones who push their guns in states with loose laws,so they can flow into the rest of the states like, oh,West Virginia.

Godot 7 years, 7 months ago

Roberts is right on this. Free speech rules.

It is up to the public to spurn the drugs that are advertised. It only makes sense that if a drug were truly life saving/life altering, it would not need to be marketed directly to the public.

If a doctor recommends I take a drug that I see advertised on TV, my first response is, "why?" and, "what is the alternative?"

Big Pharma has the right to advertise; it does not have the right to dictate.

IMHO, if a pharma company promotes a drug directly to the ultimate consumer, it lowers the status of the drug to that of an over-the-counter remedy, or, even, a cosmetic.

Godot 7 years, 7 months ago

Examples: actonel, boniva, cialis, viagra (just saw those commercials within the last half hour)

Godot 7 years, 7 months ago

Amazingly, I have not seen a single commercial for a cancer fighting chemo-drug, or any AIDS drug, or for penicillin, or Zpak, or any thing that is solely effective and necessary for saving lives and preventing disease.

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