Thursday, January 21, 2010

Property Rights and Spectra Watch and Energy Companies
See this link for another alarming story of eminent domain take-over! This group is trying to gather people to their cause.
"It is not a level playing field legally, economically or ethically for private property owners. Our fight led to the development of this website which focuses specifically on property rights that come under pressure from energy and utility companies."


Pfizer Worker Photographed Protesters at Harvard
Published in NEW YORK TIMES, MARCH 3, 2009
Harvard Medical School’s rules say that students on campus are supposed to be off-limits to drug company representatives.
That is why David Tian, a first-year Harvard medical student, said he found it “strange and off-putting” last fall when a man who identified himself as a Pfizer employee took a cellphone photo of students as they demonstrated against pharmaceutical industry influence on campus. “We could only assume he intended to share this with his company,” Mr. Tian said.
The students did not get the man’s name, but they took his picture.
Asked about the mysterious Pfizer man on campus and shown his picture, a company spokesman said he had recently contacted the employee and concluded that he had done nothing wrong. Declining to name him, the spokesman, Ray Kerins, said the employee had photographed the students for personal use.
Mr. Kerins preferred to talk about Pfizer’s support of the medical school, which, according to Harvard officials, includes private payments to at least 149 faculty members, corporate donations of $350,000 to the school last year, $234,000 for continuing medical education classes, and two Pfizer-financed research projects on campus.
“We’ve got top-class collaboration in place with leading medical institutions around the world, and we’re very proud of them,” Mr. Kerins said.
Whatever the unidentified Pfizer representative was up to, Mr. Tian and other students said they saw him again two weeks after the campus protest, at a public lecture on campus about conflicts of interest in medical research.
Drug industry employees are “all over the place,” the lecturer, Dr. Catherine D. DeAngelis, the editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association, said last week. “It’s a free country,” she said. “I’m not hiding anything. Maybe they’ll even listen to what I say and think about what they’re doing.”

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Scientist blames Pfizer for illness

Article published Jan 19, 2010 in New London Day
Day Staff Writer

Molecular biologist's lawsuit goes to trial in March in Hartford. A former Pfizer Inc. scientist who claims to have been infected by an unknown virus at the company's Groton laboratories will have her civil lawsuit heard in U.S. District Court in Hartford.Becky McClain of Deep River, a molecular biologist who filed her suit nearly three years ago in New London Superior Court, confirmed last week that the jury trial is scheduled to commence in March on allegations that Pfizer violated whistleblower laws and exposed her to a hazardous workplace. McClain, who also charges that Pfizer violated her freedom of speech by terminating her after she pressed workplace complaints, is a former member of the company's safety committee.McClain's attorney, Bruce E. Newman of Bristol, originally had filed suit on 11 counts, but eight of the complaints have been dismissed. Newman said in a phone interview that he considers the case to be precedent-setting because there are few government standards regulating the bioengineering field.Pfizer denies all of the suit's most substantive charges. The company "does not retaliate against employees who raise health and safety concerns," according to Pfizer's response to the suit. The response also denies that McClain was wrongfully discharged. "We have thoroughly investigated Ms. McClain's claims and our investigation concluded that her workplace was safe and that she was not infected by any virologic materials while she was employed by Pfizer," company spokeswoman Liz Power said in an e-mail. "Pfizer is committed to protecting the health and safety of our colleagues and the communities in which we operate," Power said. McClain, who worked at Pfizer for nearly a decade before being terminated in 2005, was employed in Groton's embryonic stem cells program when she said she became ill after being subjected to repeated noxious fumes coming from the hood of a device at Lab B313. She said her supervisor also became ill, but later conspired to cover up the incident, warning her that she "would lose her job if she made too big an issue out of lab safety," according to the suit.McClain said she asked for a transfer out of Lab B313 because of ongoing health concerns. Later, she developed chronic fatigue symptoms, according to the suit, and discovered that a co-worker had been working next to her with a "dangerous lentivirus material and embryonic stem cells on an open lab bench without biological containment."McClain later went on medical leave, according to the suit, but "continued to raise safety concerns which were never addressed," including filing five complaints about Pfizer's lab with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. She received a termination notice during her medical leave, the suit said, despite the fact that "Pfizer had promised McClain that she would not be retaliated against in any way for raising health and safety concerns."OSHA never moved forward on her complaints, McClain said in a separate interview, largely because federal worker-safety laws have not kept pace with the rising hazards in U.S. laboratories."McClain was penalized in terms of her performance appraisals at Pfizer and ultimately terminated as a result of exercising her free-speech rights," according to the suit.The lawsuit, which seeks more than $75,000 in damages, said McClain had counted on Pfizer to maintain a safe work environment. Instead, her continued exposure to genetically engineered viruses, according to the documents, has resulted in the 51-year-old scientist developing a condition that leads to periodic paralysis, joint pain and fatigue."During these attacks, it is difficult for her to speak and she has no voluntary muscle control," the suit stated. "The attacks themselves are accompanied by a severe chest pain and spinal pain."The suit said the condition is believed to be permanent, and there is no known cure.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sparks on Pfizer_Repercussions of Losing Eminent Domain Battle

Bulldozed in New London: The Latest on Kelo and Eminent Domain
By Dr. John A. Sparks on Jan 18, 2010
article from link:

Pfizer, the huge drug company, has announced that it will be leaving a large research complex in New London, Connecticut and moving several hundred jobs to nearby Groton. Such belt-tightening in tough economic times would normally draw little criticism. In this case, however, it should.
Recall that Pfizer played a central role in getting New London to seize the homes of local residents who lived adjacent to the Pfizer site. Pfizer, according to accounts, wanted that mixed residential area, called the Ft. Trumbull section, to be leveled and replaced with an upscale development that would include a five-star luxury hotel, top-tier condos, and private office space for Pfizer’s suppliers, workers, and visitors. Now Pfizer is leaving New London “high and dry.” How did this happen?
A little less than a decade ago, New London and Pfizer wanted to “redevelop” a portion of that old coastal city, spurred on by a large state grant. What they did not predict was the local outcry against this “revitalization” when Ft. Trumbull residents learned that their homes would be taken by the process known as “eminent domain.” Among the residents was the kind but spunky Susette Kelo, who, with the help of an outside legal advocacy organization, the Institute for Justice, and the institute’s lead attorney, Mr. Scott Bullock, took her case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. It became known as the “Kelo case.”
Kelo’s contention was that when the government takes property by eminent domain, the seizure must be for a “public use.” This is the language of the U.S. Constitution, where it says in the Fifth Amendment that private property shall not be taken except for a public use, and then only with just compensation from the government. New London was offering to pay Ms. Kelo for her property, but her contention was that in taking her property, and giving it to another private party for development-in the way the New London Development Corporation and Pfizer desired-was no longer a public use.
New London officials argued that greater tax revenues would be produced by the revitalization and, therefore, some public good was done by the restructuring of the Fort Trumbull area. Kelo and the Institute for Justice pointed to such a contention as ominous for all homeowners, since local governments could almost always imagine a “higher use” to which individual residential properties could be put.
Unfortunately, the Supreme Court found in favor of New London and against Kelo, but the case produced a firestorm of protest across the country, leading over 40 states to more tightly control eminent-domain abuse.
What about Pfizer? Well, a firm that should have been devoted to liberty and private property was in effect complicit with New London in ushering Ms. Kelo and others out of homes they had chosen and purchased. Pfizer even received special tax treatment, paying only one-fifth of the usual property taxes for the first 10 years of occupancy of its research site.
What thanks did New London receive from Pfizer for putting its own citizens out of their homes? That brings us to the latest development: Pfizer is moving the research jobs elsewhere.
The city probably will not “get back” its tax forgiveness. State tax monies from Connecticut used to entice New London to revitalize have been expended. Local businesses that depended upon Pfizer and the development for patronage are now looking at financial decline. What remains is a barren undeveloped site where homeowners once kept their homes with pride.
It is a sad story of local governments drawn into projects by the promise of large state grants. The grant then allowed them to accede to the special demands of large enterprises like Pfizer for tax breaks and special treatment. What is even sadder is that in their rush to redevelop, these same local governments bulldozed the fundamental rights of their own constituents and, then, their “business partner,” Pfizer, cast them aside whenever it chose to do so. Ms. Kelo has a perfect right to say “I told you so.”

Friday, January 15, 2010

Worker Safety Suffers--Health and Safety Being Sold Out To Special Interest

Please see this revealing link on a SoCal news investigation on the lack of worker protection by OSHA in California. Public Health and Safety suffers, workers die or are injured at the expense of business special interests. This investigation is revealing and alarming. Criminal fraud and unlawful conduct is rampant in public health and safety cases related to OSHA.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Corporate Criminals Not Prosecuted

Coddling Pfizer
Praise the Criminal, Dis the Whistleblower
Pfizer's Pharmacia & Upjohn Company Inc. unit pled guilty yesterday to offering a kickback in connection with the sale of its human growth hormone product.
The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Washington Post ignored the story.
Why is unclear.
The settlement was a complicated one, negotiated by Jeremy Sternberg and Susan Winkler of the U.S. Attorney's office in Boston and by Pfizer attorney Ethan Posner.
Posner is a partner at Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C.
Posner did not return calls seeking comment for this story.
A second Pfizer unit, Pharmacia & Upjohn Company LLC, entered into a deferred prosecution agreement for illegally promoting its human growth hormone drug Genotropin for such off-label uses as anti-aging, cosmetic use and athletic enhancement.
The companies will pay a total of $34.7 million in fines and penalties.
As a result of the plea agreement and the deferred prosecution agreement, Pfizer Inc. was granted a non-prosecution agreement.
Nice deal, if you can negotiate it.
U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan said Pfizer "acted responsibly" for voluntarily and fully self-disclosed the off-label promotion of Genotropin.
This ticked off Peter Rost.
Rost was a vice president at Pfizer when he discovered the criminality and blew the whistle.
Rost has two lawsuits pending against Pfizer.
One lawsuit accuses Pfizer of violating the False Claims Act. That lawsuit is pending on appeal to the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston.
The other--for wrongful dismissal--is in discovery.
How come the Justice Department is praising Pfizer and not Rost?
"The Justice Department praised Pfizer for self-reporting," Rost told Corporate Crime Reporter. "But Pfizer would have done nothing if I didn't twist its arm. I was floored when I read the press release. They have one guy who lost his career, lost his job for doing the right thing. That would be me. And they praised the company that fired me?"
In fact, the U.S. Attorney's criminal investigation was triggered by the filing of Rost's False Claims Act case.
Rost documents the history of the case in his book--The Whistleblower: Confessions of a Healthcare Hitman.
And Rost testified twice before the federal grand jury in Boston that investigated the Pfizer criminal wrongdoing.
And yet the federal government refused to join Rost in his False Claims Act case.
"Not only didn't they join in the False Claims Act case, they didn't even say thank you," Rost said. "They praised Pfizer, but not me. Instead, in the press release they negotiated with Pfizer, they state that 'Pfizer acted responsibly when it self-disclosed to various federal government agencies in May 2003.' There's not a word about the whistleblower that Pfizer fired, or that the whistleblower fought since October 2002, trying to get the company to rectify and disclose the problems."
Rost said his lawyers will seek to open negotiations with prosecutors in Boston this week to reach a settlement.
The Pfizer unit that pled guilty will pay a criminal fine of $19.98 million.
And federal prosecutors boasted that this company will be "excluded permanently from participation in all federal health care programs."
Translated--the unit that pled guilty is an empty closet somewhere inside the Pfizer beast--there is probably nothing to exclude.
Federal officials alleged that Pharmacia violated the federal anti-kickback law by offering to make $12.3 million in excess payments on a distribution to a pharmacy benefit manager in the expectation of obtaining improved positioning for its drug products.
Federal officials alleged that the other unit--Pharmacia & Upjohn LLC--illegally promoted and distributed Genotropin.Genotropin was approved by the Food and Drug Administration solely for the treatment children with growth related diseases.
Instead, Pharmacia engaged in the unlawful promotion of the drug for uses not approved by the FDA such as anti-aging, cosmetic use and athletic performance enhancement.
This unit--the LLC unit--probably has something to lose. That's why it wasn't forced to plead guilty. Instead, it was granted a deferred prosecution agreement.
Under the deferred prosecution agreement--which lasts for 36 months--the company will pay $15 million and cooperate with ongoing growth hormone investigations.
Corporate Crime Reporter is located in Washington, DC. They can be reached through their website.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Trade Secrets_a Major Problem for Public Health and Safety

Published by Washington Post (Jan 4, 2010)
By Lyndsey LaytonMonday, January 4, 2010; A01
Excerpts below:
Of the 84,000 chemicals in commercial use in the United States -- from flame retardants in furniture to household cleaners -- nearly 20 percent are secret, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, their names and physical properties guarded from consumers and virtually all public officials under a little-known federal provision.
The policy was designed 33 years ago to protect trade secrets in a highly competitive industry. But critics -- including the Obama administration -- say the secrecy has grown out of control, making it impossible for regulators to control potential dangers or for consumers to know which toxic substances they might be exposed to.

At a time of increasing public demand for more information about chemical exposure, pressure is building on lawmakers to make it more difficult for manufacturers to cloak their products in secrecy. Congress is set to rewrite chemical regulations this year for the first time in a generation.

Last year, a Colorado nurse fell seriously ill after treating a worker involved at a chemical spill at a gas-drilling site. The man, who later recovered, appeared at a Durango hospital complaining of dizziness and nausea. His work boots were damp; he reeked of chemicals, the nurse said.
Two days later, the nurse, Cathy Behr, was fighting for her life. Her liver was failing and her lungs were filling with fluid. Behr said her doctors diagnosed chemical poisoning and called the manufacturer, Weatherford International, to find out what she might have been exposed to.
Weatherford provided safety information, including hazards, for the chemical, known as ZetaFlow. But because ZetaFlow has confidential status, the information did not include all of its ingredients.

Mark Stanley, group vice president for Weatherford's pumping and chemical services, said in a statement that the company made public all the information legally required.
"It is always in our company's best interest to provide information to the best of our ability," he said.

Behr said the full ingredient list should be released. "I'd really like to know what went wrong," said Behr, 57, who recovered but said she still has respiratory problems. "As citizens in a democracy, we ought to know what's happening around us."

For the full story, click this link.

Academic Sell Out

Here is a link to a good book review written by Sheldon Krimsky regarding Jennifer Washburn's treatise on the corporate corruption of higher education in a book called University Inc.

If the public would realize that their hard earned money, going to universities through mandated taxes, are not being used in the public’s interests, and not being used for public health and safety to protect them and their children, but only to line the pockets of the rich, it just might result in a public outcry.

In this book, University Inc., it may very well spell out some of the major problems outlining how academia has sold their soul and no longer represents the public’s interests.