Monday, May 28, 2012

"One Of these Guys Is NOT Like The Others. . . One Of These Guys, Just Doesn't Belong. . ."

What on Earth is going on here?

I am put in mind of the old PBS Sesame Street song -- as it continues -- from the headline verse, with: ". . .Can you guess which one is not like the others, before I finish my song?" See:

Last week (as I mentioned here), something called the National Center for Public Policy Research -- a supposed conservative think tank and political activism organization -- in the person of its General Counsel, Mr. Justin Danhof, showed up at the Merck shareholders' meeting, to again complain about money spent, primarily through PhRMA (by Merck -- and many others), in support of closing the donut hole, via the Affordable Care Act, and measures aimed at health care reform, generally in the United States.

The organization did so at several large public multi-national pharma companies last year -- most notably at Pfizer -- making Jeff Kindler their focal point. [All to no avail, obviously. No surprise there.]

This year, it seems Mr. Danhof has focused on Merck, to the exclusion of Pfizer -- (having not bothered to put in a shareholder proposal at all, at Pfizer) -- even though Bridgewater, NJ (Merck's meeting site) is a longer drive from DC, than Morristown, NJ (Pfizer's April 26, 2012 meeting site).

And so, it occured to me (in Sesame Street fashion!) over my coffee this morning -- to ask: WHY would CPPR do that?

Why, indeed? [If you are still in the dark, here, do play part two of the compare/contrast game, below!]

In any event, here's a quote from a press clip on the CPPR:
. . . .[General Counsel Justin] Danhof also questioned how much money Merck spent to support [the Afforable Care Act] -- specifically shareholder money -- noting that the pharmaceutical company contributed to a $150 million [health care reform] ad campaign from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

"This year we went again to see, now the legislation appears poised for a downfall next month when the SCOTUS decision comes out, if they had changed their position," Danhof says. "Merk's CEO, Kenneth Frazier, informed us they stood by their support and so that's why I titled the press release, 'Merck Triples-Down on Liberalism.' Last year they doubled; this year they tripled. . . ."

Okay -- now let's play the game, again: Can you guess which one, this time? [PhRMA members, below -- one and all!]

Well, there you have it: a conservative think tank and advocacy group that -- in this election year -- chooses to complain (repeatedly in the press) only to the public pharma company with a black CEO. I'd say I'm surprised, but the truth is that I've seen too much of this to be surprised by these sorts of republicans. And yes, that's a small "r". Now you know.

Finally -- it is also worth noting that -- even if we accept CPPR's contention, that Merck shouldn't lobby for such things -- in this case, the failure to lobby would harm the shareholders' pecuniary interests. Curious. . . indeed.


  1. Do you want to retract this silly post now, or wait a few hours for us to rebut it? Hint: If you do it, there will be less egg on your face.

    Amy Ridenour
    National Center for Public Policy Research

  2. Um. . . do your worst, Ms. Ridenour.

    I stand ready to be corrected -- if correction is needed.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Okay,

  4. Huh.

    You've missed my central point -- and done nothing to refute it. I am glad I got your attention (and yur traffic!) -- but your post means nothing to me.

    How do you figure your "Quixotic" shareholder meeting attendance will work out? Do you expect the companies to act against their own enlightened self interest?

    While we're at it -- let's wait to see whether the Affordable Care Act is held constitutional, shall we? Just for fun -- let's not let missing facts get in our way, okay?

    Thanks for the shout out, just the same. And good luck with your anti-capitalist venture into social engineering through shareholder meeting attendance.

    Cheers, now to Amy and Justin!

  5. UPDATE: New background on Amy Ridenour, right here. Seems she has a past (allegedly).



    But first read this, so you'll understand how confused Ms. Ridenour is.

    It seems Amy Ridenour has trouble parsing the English language -- and/or her own positions.

    Her blog makes copious mention of her (and her fellow bloggers') position that drugmakers selling birth control are to be shunned.

    Thus -- today I suggested the person she wants to talk to is the head of Merck's Womens' Health businesses. That is where she ought to lodge her complaints, such as they are.

    But all of that has sailed right over her head. Not terribly surprising -- just disappointing.

    Namaste, just the same.

  7. Just realized you commented to me in two places. No, we have never said or implied that drug makers selling birth control should be shunned.

  8. SO -- just to be clear, here -- despite all your posts about Mr. Obama's compromise being a violation of the Establishment Clause, you are NOW telling me that CPPR is in FAVOR of fully-reimbursing (with federal -- i.e., tax-payer -- funds!) all the forms of birth control big pharma manufactures, INCLUDING the so-called "Plan B" option?

    Do you even read the posts that others have Astroturfed in your name, on your blog?

    Just curious.

  9. I replied to this earlier but it doesn't seem to have appeared. Will try again.

    Actually, my posts refer to the HHS mandate as a violation of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, but you were close -- it is next to the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment.

    The mandate is the problem. The "compromise" is just a strategy Mr. Obama used to try to have his cake and eat it, too. It doesn't eliminate the mandate, although the White House is pretending that it does.

    We are pro-life, but in general have only rarely addressed reimbursement issues, and then, to the best of my recollection, not in specific regard to birth control.