AS WE SEE IT - Jerry
Falwell Attacks Life Extension Foundation
Guest Editorial By William Faloon
July 24th, 2003
Note: This is a LONG article FULL of
information important to the North American Health Freedom Movement.
Take the time to read it all. You'll be glad you did. - Tim Bolen
On July 8, 2003, an editorial by the Reverend
Jerry Falwell was published in the Washington Times newspaper. The purpose
of this editorial was to discourage lawmakers from passing a bill that would
enable Americans to purchase lower cost medications from countries that have
safety standards comparable to those of the United States.
Since there is no logical basis for denying
Americans access to identical FDA-approved drugs sold in other countries,
the pharmaceutical industry (and Jerry Falwell) have launched a defamatory
campaign against consumer proponents who support this drug importation bill.
In his July 8, 2003 editorial, Jerry Falwell
makes allegations against The Life Extension Foundation that are blatantly
false and misleading. Reverend Falwell’s vicious comments reveal just how
desperate the drug cartel is to protect their monopoly on sales of
over-priced pharmaceuticals to Americans.
For those who don’t remember, Jerry Falwell is
the TV evangelist who set up an organization called “The Moral
Majority”. One purpose of this organization was to induce Congress to
enact laws that would impose the “moral” standards of Jerry Falwell on
the entire U.S. population. This group concentrated a lot of pressure on
Congress before it was disbanded in 1989.
One of Jerry Falwell’s most famous attacks was
on a children’s TV show called “Telletubies”. In an article published
in his own National Liberty Journal, Falwell announced that one of the
Telletubie puppets was exhibiting homosexual behavior and that this was
promoting a “gay role model”. At the time, I had young children who
watched Telletubies, and my wife had to go to great length to show me which
of the puppets was exhibiting this alleged homosexual behavior. Upon being
enlightened to the purported gay puppet, I became convinced that Jerry
Falwell should move to Iran where his imaginative abilities might actually
be appreciated. Not that the Iranian people could tolerate him, but perhaps
the hard-line theocratic government of Iran might have used his edicts to
create even more draconian laws against individual liberty.
Falwell has built a reputation out of making
ridiculously offensive statements. For instance, two days after the terror
attacks on the World Trade Center, Falwell stated:
abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be
mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God
mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the
feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make
that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of
them who have tried to secularize America, I point the finger in their face
and say: you helped this happen."
After withstanding a couple of days of
tremendous public denunciations, Falwell was ultimately forced to issue a
retraction as follows:
never blame any human being except the terrorists, and if I left that
impression with gays or lesbians or anyone else, I apologize."
Riots, Condemnation, Deaths, and Apology Follow Falwell's Anti-Islamic
Comments Jerry Falwell is famous for making ignorant and offensive
pronouncements that are often followed by retractions and halfhearted
In an October 6, 2002 interview on CBS News 60
Minutes, Falwell said, "I think Muhammad was a terrorist. I read
enough of the history of his life written by both Muslims and - non-Muslims,
(to know) that he was a – a violent man, a man of war."
The fallout from his remarks on 60 Minutes was
severe. At least five people were killed and nearly 50 people injured Friday
when Hindu-Muslim rioting broke out at a protest in Sholapur, 225 miles
south of Bombay.
Muslim clerics in Lebanon and Iran reacted with
rage to Falwell's remarks, and encouraged acts as violence in retaliation.
Hundreds of Muslim protesters gathered twice outside the CBS Broadcast
Center in New York - on Oct. 8 and Oct. 13 - to demand an apology from the
The Washington Post reported that Falwell's
remarks might have contributed to Islamic parties winning more than 50 seats
in the Pakistani parliament. An Islamic expert at American University told
the paper, "All the predictions were that the mullahs would not get
more than their usual four or five seats. Suddenly you get these [Falwell]
statements on the front pages. People are outraged. Ordinary Pakistanis say,
'A vote for the religious parties is a vote against the Americans.' The
article also said that the comments might have hurt U.S. chances of finding
support from Islamic countries for its war on terrorism.
In the face of protests around the world, the
Rev. Jerry Falwell has issued an official apology for comments he made about
the prophet Muhammad during the interview on the CBS news program 60
Minutes. In his statement over the
weekend, Falwell said, "I sincerely apologize that certain
statements of mine made during an interview for CBS's 60 Minutes were
hurtful to the feelings of many Muslims. I intended no disrespect to any
sincere, law-abiding Muslim."
What Jerry Falwell Said About
We have re-printed Jerry Falwell’s entire
defamatory editorial at the end of this article. I want focus here
specifically on the baseless and disparaging allegations that Reverend
Falwell made against Life Extension.
Jerry first seeks to discredit the drug
importation bill by attacking groups that support it. As a prelude to his
attack on Life Extension, Falwell states:
“What's more, ratcheting open the walls that
protect our market for medicines means that those who want to import bizarre
and unethical medications will have that much more opportunity to do so.
Consider those supporting drug importation off Capitol Hill, and that
perverse motivation becomes clear.”
The drug importation bill only permits Americans
to obtain identical FDA-approved prescription drugs. Jerry Falwell is using
bogus scare tactics to imply that the American marketplace will be flooded
with “bizarre and unethical medications” by people with “perverse
motivations”. Falwell’s assertion is a monstrous distortion of what
this bill will permit, but when the enormous profits of the drug industry
are threatened, truth goes out the door.
Reverend Falwell then attacks Life Extension
specifically by stating:
drug importation advocates regularly cite research from the Alcor Life
Extension Foundation in their arguments. But the so-called Life Extension
Foundation (LEF), ironically, is a rabidly anti-life organization. It has
cited RU-486 as an "anti-aging" medication that once just missed
its top 10 list of life-extending drugs.“
The Reverend Falwell apparently has problems
getting his facts straight. He is confusing The Life Extension Foundation (LEF)
of Florida with another organization called the Alcor Life Extension
Foundation of Arizona. LEF and ALCOR are separate organizations involved in
different activities, but when it comes to a political smear campaign,
simple facts are apparently irrelevant to the Reverend.
As I will describe in the October 2003 issue of
Life Extension magazine, RU-486 has demonstrated significant anti-aging and
anti-cancer properties. Since it is also used to induce abortions, however,
it has become highly politicized and cancer patients cannot easily get it. A
few gynecologists prescribe and dispense RU-486, but most of American
doctors prescribe a morning after pill called Preven® that is sold at
American pharmacies. RU-486 is not freely sold anywhere that we could find.
In most European countries, patients must consume RU-486 in front of their
doctors, as it is not stocked in pharmacies. The bill that would enable
Americans to import lower cost FDA-approved prescription drugs would not
provide greater access to RU-486 than already exists, but again, facts are
of no concern to the self-righteous Falwell.
Reverend Falwell then states:
demonstrated its disregard for human life not only by advocating cloning but
embryonic stem cell research to reverse the signs of aging. Those who
support taking the lives of unborn children to support the selfish desire to
live a longer and fuller life are not the allies we hope to see advocating
public policy changes for America.”
Life Extension has long been a proponent of stem
cell research. Stem cell therapies used today, however, do not involve
“taking the lives of unborn children”. Scientists are harvesting
patient’s own stem cells, growing them in the laboratory, and then
injecting the stem cells into the specific organ affected by a disease
process. (see sidebar) None of this, of course, has anything to do with the
right of Americans to import lower cost medications. Falwell is attacking
stem cell research in order to divert Congress’s attention from the real
issue of passing this bill that would greatly reduce the prices of
In order to sidetrack members of Congress from
the fact that Americans are grossly overcharged for their prescription
drugs, Falwell brings up the abortion issue, which has absolutely nothing to
do with the drug importation issue. The stem cell research advocated by Life
Extension does not involve “killing unborn children”, but this
does not stop Falwell from defaming anyone who favors legalizing the
importation of lower cost FDA-approved drugs.
Stem Cells Save Boys
Life - FDA Warns Doctors To Not Do It
In February of this year, a 16-year old boy
underwent a stem cell transplant to help him regain lost heart tissue after
he was shot in the heart by a nail gun and subsequently suffered a massive
heart attack. A group of progressive doctors used an experimental procedure
to harvest stem cells from the boy's own blood and then later infused into
the damaged portion of his heart via a catheter. The results were the boy
regained enough heart function to play basketball an hour-and-a-half at a
time and pretty much live a near-normal life for a teenager.
Before the stem cell transplant, a cardiac MRI
test found that basically the entire front wall of his heart was dead. The
boys ejection fraction (a test that measures how efficiently the heart pumps
blood) was down to 20%. After the stem cell transplant, the ejection
fraction went up to 40% (50% or greater is normal for a boy this age).For
this stem cell procedure, the boy was initially given a drug that helps
stimulate the production of stem cells in his own blood. The cells were then
harvested and concentrated from the boy's blood, and the solution was
infused directly into the damaged artery. The aim of this stem cell
transplant is to stimulate blood-vessel and heart-muscle growth in areas of
the heart without sufficient blood supply.
Stem cells are so-called master cells that can
develop into various tissues in the body, and the idea of using them to
repair damaged hearts is a hot area of medical research. People who survive
a heart attack are often left with damaged cardiac muscle, which reduces the
heart's pumping capacity and can result in progressive heart failure
(congestive heart disease).
In response to the media attention about this
successful stem cell transplant in this 16 year old boy, the FDA immediately
halted these doctors from administering stem cells to any other patients.
The FDA stated that there was inadeqate evidence that the treatment is safe
and effective. The FDA asserted its regulatory authority over stem cell
transplants because the cells are manipulated outside the patients body and
are being injected into a different organ (the heart) from which they were
drawn (the blood).
On April 22, 2003 however, the American Heart
Association published an article indicating that injecting a person’s own
stem cells directly into heart muscle appears safe and useful in treating
end-stage heart failure (Circulation: Journal of the American Heart
Association.). The American Heart Association issued this report based on
positive findings from a human study that indicated that stem cell
transplants into the heart have a major clinical impact.
This study was conducted by researchers from the
Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in Houston, and the
Hospital Procardiaco and the Federal University, both in Rio de Janeiro.
The study subjects were severely ill with congestive heart failure and had a
relatively high risk of dying soon. Fourteen patients received stem cells
(obtained from their own blood) directly into their hearts while seven
served as controls.
After two months, the treated patients had
significantly less heart failure and angina, and were more able to pump
blood than the untreated patients. The treated group also tended to do
better on treadmill tests. At four months, the treated patients had a
sustained improvement in pumping power and ability to supply blood to the
body. None of the treated patients had serious problems after the procedure.
All patients went home after three days.
Heart failure is the inability of damaged heart
muscle to pump enough blood to serve the body’s needs. About 550,000
new cases of heart failure are diagnosed each year in the United States,
according to the American Heart Association. The disease caused about
51,500 deaths in the year 2000.
The FDA and Jerry Falwell want to deny dying
Americans access to this stem cell therapy. Reverend Falwell is confusing
stem cell research with the abortion issue in an absurd and deceptive
attempt to keep Americans from buying lower cost prescription drugs from
The Reverend Falwell’s again attacks the ALCOR
cryonics group, which is a completely different organization than who he is
really trying to disparage, i.e. The Life Extension Foundation. Falwell
"That is only
the beginning, however. LEF also conducts bizarre cryogenics experiments.
They are reported to have the body of baseball slugger Ted Williams frozen
for eventual reanimation. The president of the organization, Saul Kent,
likewise froze his mother's severed head, prompting a three-year
investigation into the possibility that she was euthanized."
Saul Kent is not the President of ALCOR. The
Life Extension Foundation did not freeze Ted William’s body. Saul Kent
also did not murder his mother. None of this, of course, has anything to do
with the artificially inflated prices Americans pay for their drugs. Nor
does it have any relationship to the fact that identical drugs can be
purchased for far less money from other countries. But again, facts and
relevancy mean nothing to Falwell, who argues that Americans should not be
allowed to purchase lower cost medications from Canada, Europe and civilized
nations, even though they have regulatory standards comparable to those of
the United States.
What Falwell Says About Women
The Moral Majority initially fought the Equal
Rights Amendment tooth and nail. Falwell made the following degrading
statement about women:
"I listen to
feminists and all these radical gals... These women just need a man in the
house. That's all they need. Most of the feminists need a man to tell them
what time of day it is and to lead them home. And they blew it and they're
mad at all men. Feminists hate men. They're sexist. They hate men; that's
Falwell’s final mud
slinging against LEF is as follows:
traffic in untold numbers of questionable "life-extending"
medications that are the subject of numerous federal investigations —
raising a significant question about their motivations for advocating drug
This is the first we were informed about
being the “subject of numerous federal investigations”. While LEF
fought an 11-year battle with the FDA, which was won in 1996, the situation
today is that Life Extension is supporting numerous First Amendment actions
against the FDA that seek to force the agency to recognize health claims
such as “omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary artery
disease”. The drug bill that Falwell is attacking would legalize the
importation of FDA-approved prescription drugs only, not “questionable
life extension medications”, as Falwell asserts.
Who Is Behind These
Life Extension members may wonder how Reverend
Falwell could have written such an erroneous and libelous editorial and why
a major Washington, D.C. newspaper would publish it. We think the answer
lies in the massive lobbying campaign the pharmaceutical industry has
launched to stop the Pharmaceutical Market Access Act of 2003 from passing
According to Public Citizen’s Congress Watch
(a non-profit group founded by Ralph Nader), the drug industry hired 675
lobbyists from 138 firms last year. Since 1997, the drug industry has spent
a whopping $650 million lobbying Congress, which includes hiring academics
and funding non-profit organizations that support their anti-consumer cause.
One of the drug industry’s biggest issues, according to a June 23, 2003
article in the Wall Street Journal, is barring imports of lower cost
medications from other countries.
An example of drug company influence can be
seen in the lobbying efforts of a group (other than Falwell’s) that is
attacking members of Congress who support the drug importation bill. This
coalition represents some 43,000 churches and distributed letters urging
lawmakers to oppose the Pharmaceutical Market Access Act of 2003. It turns
out the letters, written on this religious coalition’s letterhead, were
drafted by an attorney representing the drug industry.
Jerry Falwell appears to be acting as a public
relations lobbyist for the drug industry. It was not Jerry Falwell who
initially fabricated this defamatory information about The Life Extension
Foundation. Someone spent an enormous amount of time digging up every piece
of dirt they could find about our 23-year old organization and then
convoluting this information in a way to create a totally false picture of
who Life Extension really is. The purpose of doing this is to discredit the
members of Congress who use our drug price comparison charts to demonstrate
how much less expensive prescription drugs are in other countries.
Our drug price comparison charts (example on
this page) have been enlarged and presented before Congress as evidence that
Americans are overpaying for medications they need to stay alive. Since drug
companies cannot argue against the irrefutable fact that identical drugs
cost more in the United States than other civilized countries, they have
made a concerted effort to paint the bearer of this information (The Life
Extension Foundation) in a negative light. As you have read, they have
actually stooped to the level of claiming that we (LEF) are another
organization (ALCOR). Another group has mistakenly gone after Congressman
Jeff Miller of Florida, who's against the importation bill. With drug money
being shot gunned around Washington D.C., anyone can become a target of this
intensive campaign to deny Americans access to more affordable medications.
Updated Drug Price Comparison
What drugs cost in Europe compared to the United
States. Prices vary depending on the European country. Some of these drugs
now have generic equivalents in the United States. These U.S. generics are
still much more expensive than their European counterparts.
If the Pharmaceutical Market Access Act of 2003
passes, the savings to Americans will be so substantial that today’s
health care cost crisis could be substantially mitigated. The Life Extension
Foundation is the only organization that has investigated, calculated and
published exactly what the active ingredients in prescription drugs actually
cost (see chart on this page). This information reveals that if Americans
could freely import their medications from other countries, the cost of some
$300.00 prescription drugs could drop to under $10.00.
There is no inherent reason for why prescription
drugs cost so much. The identical medications can be purchased in Europe and
Canada at far lower prices. The trouble is that the FDA has fabricated sworn
testimony to mislead Congress into believing that drugs from other countries
are counterfeit, contaminated or dangerous. Life Extension has shown that
the FDA's assertions are baseless, false and misleading.[The FDA Versus The
American Consumer, Life Extension Magazine-October 2002].
On June 7, 2001, the FDA told Congress that they
wanted to halt almost all small shipments of foreign drugs mailed to
consumers in the U.S. The only exemption would be for compassionate use,
so that seriously ill patients who have exhausted all approved treatments
could order drugs from overseas. The FDA told Congress:
“We need to be
able to make a blanket assessment that these things are not safe for
American consumers and should be turned back.”
In response to the FDA's assertions, Life
Extension sent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests in June 2001
asking the FDA to substantiate their sworn testimony before Congress that
drugs imported from other countries were dangerous.
Even though the FDA is legally mandated to
respond to Freedom of Information Act requests, they have ignored our
repeated written requests and phone calls to substantiate their sworn
testimony about the supposed dangers of imported medications.
More than two years has now passed since the FDA
told Congress that medications imported from other countries are
counterfeit, contaminated and dangerous. As more Americans learn they can
obtain identical drugs from Canada and other countries at lower prices, the
flow of imported drugs has grown exponentially. Yet the FDA has not been
able to produce a single report of an adverse reaction from an imported
prescription drug, despite being highly motivated to find just one
“victim” to parade before Congress.
The facts are that FDA-approved prescription
drugs kill over 100,000 Americans every year. Since these same FDA-approved
drugs are being imported from other countries in record amounts, undoubtedly
some Americans have suffered adverse effects, just as they would have had
they bought the same drug at their local pharmacy.
The undeniable fact however is that prescription
drugs used by Canadians and Europeans are identical to those sold in
American pharmacies. In fact, when regulators alleged that a generic
European Hydergine product was “adulterated”, Life Extension had the
product assayed and proved this European Hydergine was identical to the name
brand (Sandoz) sold in the United States.
The FDA’s assertion that prescription drugs
imported from other countries are dangerous is a hoax that never had a
credible basis. It was a scare tactic to protect the pharmaceutical
industry’s stranglehold over the American consumer.
Counterfeit Drugs Sold In
Counterfeiters tend to copy expensive items. You
don’t find many $5.00 fake bills, but $100.00 bills have long been a
favorite of those involved in criminal currency counterfeiting.
Prescription drugs sold in other countries
don’t cost a lot, so the incentive to counterfeit them is not that great.
These same drugs sold in the United States, however, are so expensive that
counterfeit drugs are increasingly showing up American pharmacies.
Procrit® is a drug used to treat anemia. Cancer
patients often use Procrit to guard against chemotherapy-induced hypoxia (a
low oxygen environment that enables cancer cells to thrive). The CBS News
program “60 Minutes” reported on an epidemic of Procrit counterfeiting
that is occurring as illicit wholesalers sell bogus Procrit to American
pharmacies. The counterfeit Procrit has little of no active ingredient and
some batches are contaminated with bacteria that have made patients very
ill. The startling part of this story was when CBS News initially asked the
FDA about Procrit counterfeiting, the FDA responded that this was a problem
for State pharmacy boards to address and was not the FDA’s jurisdiction
(refer to side-bar on this page).
Excerpt from CBS News 60 Minutes Interview With
The FDA (Originally Aired December 22, 2002)
CBS News: As I understand it, your jurisdiction
really stops when the drug leaves the manufacturer, does it not?
FDA: States have the authority to regulate
wholesalers, and they are involved in the direct oversight and licensing of
various steps in this distribution chain.
CBS News: Which you are not.
FDA: Which we are not.
CBS News: And there are no federal requirements
that drug wholesalers keep a full accounting of the distribution chain and
no requirement that drugmakers notify anyone--and we mean anyone--if they
find their drugs are being counterfeited.
FDA: Manufacturers are not required to tell us
when there is a problem.
CBS News: Is a manufacturer legally required to
tell a drugstore?
FDA: A manufacturer is not required to tell a
CBS News: Is he required to tell a patient?
CBS News: So, in fact, there's not a requirement
for a company that discovers its drugs are being counterfeited to notify
FDA: That's correct.
Compare the FDA’s position on proven
counterfeit drugs sold in the United States to the charade of concern the
FDA expresses about the possibility of counterfeit drugs being imported from
The bill that would give Americans access to
lower cost medications from other countries contains strict regulatory
provisions that make imported drugs probably safer than those made in the
The FDA’s statement that Procrit
counterfeiting is not their problem is grossly inconsistent and hypocritical
with their vigorous opposition to American consumers importing lower cost
medications from other countries. Cancer patients buying Procrit from Canada
often do so because they cannot afford to pay inflated American prices for
this life-saving drug. The FDA seeks to deny these desperate people access
to lower cost Procrit under the assumption that it might be dangerous, while
virtually ignoring egregious counterfeiting going on in the American
marketplace. Growing reports of Procrit counterfeiting has since motivated
the FDA to take limited action. The FDA later stated, that fake Procrit
poses a serious danger to patients and posted a warning their website (www.fda.gov).
To help identify the dangerous counterfeit, the maker of Procrit has posted
pictures of the real and fake version on its Website: www.procrit.com
When American pharmacies recently became
flooded 130,000 bottles of counterfeit Lipitor®, the FDA did take more
aggressive action. Lipitor is the most popular cholesterol lowering
“statin” drug. Since the active ingredient (atorvastatin) for 90 tablets
(10 mg) of Lipitor costs only $2.18, which American consumers then pay over
$170.00 for, it is easy to see the economic motivation for counterfeiting
The Pharmaceutical Market Access Act of 2003 requires all prescription drugs
produced at home and abroad to use counterfeit-resistant packaging, similar
to the technology used by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The
Pharmaceutical Market Access Act contains language written by the legal team
at FDA that requires wholesalers to test each pharmaceutical shipment,
unless the packaging uses counterfeit-resistant technology. The FDA’s
strict language was written to provide for the safety of imported
pharmaceuticals from anywhere in the world.
What this means is that if this drug import bill
were passed, lower cost medications imported from other countries would be
subjected to better scrutiny as those produced in the United States. Drug
company (and Jerry Falwell) propaganda that imported drugs are dangerous
have no basis in fact. The unfortunate reality is that expensive
prescription drugs sold in the United States are being counterfeited, as the
profit opportunity is much greater than in other countries.
If The Pharmaceutical Market Access Act of 2003
is not passed, however, we fear that there may be counterfeiting as
increasingly numbers of Americans are economically forced to turn to
offshore pharmacies in order to afford medications they need to stay alive.
There are so many elderly Americans importing drugs from other countries,
that the FDA has admitted it cannot possibly intercept them all. So if this
bill is not passed, personal use drug importation will continue with no
regulatory protections in place.
Even Those With Insurance Are
The high cost of prescription drugs used to only
be a problem for people without health insurance. Those fortunate enough to
have medical insurance could obtain their drugs for a co-pay that ranged
from $3.00 to $10.00 per prescription.
As Life Extension predicted several years ago,
insurance companies are no longer able to afford to subsidize inflated drug
prices. Co-pays are now as high as $40.00. For senior citizens taking five
different drugs, that equates to $200.00 a month, plus they are paying much
higher health insurance premiums.
Lower income people often have to make the
choice between paying for their medicines or their food. The media is
frequently reporting on heart wrenching stories of elderly people skipping
doses in an effort to stretch out their supply, even when their health
insurance partially covers the cost.
Health insurance companies are also rationing
the drugs they will pay for. The result is increased mortality unless the
person can afford to pay for the drug out of pocket. For example, when
cancer cells are deprived of oxygen, they promote new blood vessel growth (angiogenesis)
as a survival mechanism. It is thus crucial for cancer patients to keep the
blood oxygen carrying capacity of their blood as high as possible in order
to minimize tumor-growing angiogenesis. . In order to contain costs, health
insurance companies are denying cancer victims the blood-boosting drug
Procrit® unless they become severely anemic. For many cancer patients, by
the time they become severely anemic, they are terminally ill and Procrit at
that point becomes only a palliative therapy.
Taking On The Behemoth
Since 1984, The Life Extension Foundation has battled against the high-cost
of prescription drugs. We long ago predicted that a health care cost crisis
would erupt if Congress did not reign in the artificially inflated prices
that Americans pay for their medications.
To expose the incestuous relationship that
exists between the FDA and the pharmaceutical giants, we made hundreds of
appearances on TV and radio shows, mailed out millions of pieces of mail,
ran full-page newspaper ads and set up anti-FDA web sites (www.stopfda.org).
We did this for the purpose of encouraging consumers to act-up against
blatant corruption that is bankrupting the nation's healthcare system.
As a result of our relentless attacks against
high cost prescription drugs, The Life Extension Foundation has become a
target of a vicious propaganda campaign. Profit margins on prescription
drugs have become so gargantuant; that pharmaceutical companies will do
almost anything to prevent foreign competition from developing.
Large drug companies intensely lobby Congress to
pass laws that give them extra time of exclusivity, file lawsuits to delay
generic competition, petition the FDA to stop the importation of lower cost
medications, and go as far as to pay off generic companies to not compete.
By inducing a well-known member of the clergy (Reverend Jerry Falwell) to
make blatantly false statements about medicines sold in other countries, the
drug cartel may have sunk to its lowest level yet. Consumers are paying for
these morally bankrupt schemes every time they buy an over-priced
Drugs Sold In U.S. Pharmacies
Often Made In Other Countries
A significant percentage of drugs sold in the
United States contain active ingredients that are actually synthesized in
other countries. Pharmaceutical companies import these active ingredients
into the United States where they wind up in the expensive drugs you buy at
the local pharmacy. While the FDA says you cannot trust drugs from other
countries, the facts are that most of the drugs sold in the United States
contain active ingredients manufactured in the very countries the FDA says
you cannot trust.
Life Extension Does Not
Several of our Directors thought it might be best to ignore Jerry
Falwell’s baseless attacks because of concerns that any rebuttal might
offend some Life Extension members. I argued that to ignore these obvious
lies would be an effrontery to all of those who support free choice as it
relates to where Americans may purchase their medications.
If Life Extension has proven anything over our
23 history, it is that we don’t back down on irrefutable scientific,
rational or moral issues. We hear every day from our members about the
outlandish prices they are paying for drugs that are much less expensive in
other countries. Some of our less fortunate members cannot afford all the
drugs their doctors prescribe. Life Extension is not going to backpedal from
its multi-decade campaign to legalize the importation of lower cost
medications, despite Jerry Falwell’s unfounded vilification.
The drug cartel has spent millions of dollars on
pubic relations agencies in order to distort the facts so that Congress will
be dissuaded from passing The Pharmaceutical Market Access Act of 2003. One
objective of this smear campaign is to disparage individual members of
Congress who support this legislation. Life Extension anticipates increased
attacks as these public relations agencies seek to create the false
impression that anyone who favors legalized prescription drug importation is
involved in all kinds of other unsavory activities.
Discrediting The Good Work of
The Reverend Jerry Falwell is one of the most
recognized television evangelists in the United States.
Falwell’s supporters face the same financial
difficulties as most Americans when it comes to high cost prescription
drugs. Yet he has taken a stand that it is “dangerous” to import these
lower cost medications, thereby dissuading his low-income followers from
seeking more affordable medications from other countries
Jerry Falwell’s groundless attacks against the
right of Americans to access lower cost medications offends the integrity of
the many honest clergyman seeking to make a positive difference in their
communities. Falwell’s shabby attempt to bring up totally unrelated issues
(such as abortion) as reasons to not pass this drug import bill adversely
affects the credibility of those who make legitimate arguments to justify
The Reverend Falwell has inappropriately
ventured into a political/scientific arena that has nothing do to with the
benevolent purposes of his various organizations. This improper and
deliberate abuse weakens the compassionate pillars on which his
organizations are founded.
Let your voice be heard
Drug company lobbyists are inundating Congress to prevent any type of
prescription drug importation bill from becoming law. Consumer groups are
intimidated by the FDA's baseless assertions that imported drugs are somehow
dangerous. The FDA has preyed on fear and uncertainty for decades, while
American consumers are extorted into paying the highest prices in the world
for their prescription drugs.
This is not just an issue for individuals to be
concerned with. There are dire predictions of severe economic upheavals in
the United States if a solution is not found for the high cost of
prescription drugs. Some of the largest corporations in America cannot
afford to fund health insurance benefits for current and retired employees.
Health insurance companies are going bankrupt because of astronomical drug
prices. Medicare itself is predicted to be insolvent in the not too distant
The United States has been economically
deteriorating as prescription drug prices skyrocket. In order to counter the
influence peddling of the pharmaceutical behemoths, American consumers must
become politically active. Consumers vastly outnumber drug industry
lobbyists. Regrettably, ignorance and apathy have silenced many Americans
and enabled drug money to create laws that favor outlandish pharmaceutical
company profits at the expense of the consumer.
I encourage every patriotic American to
enlighten their Congressional Representative about the need to support The
Pharmaceutical Market Access Act of 2003.
If this bill is passed into law, it will
liberate the American consumer from becoming an economic serf to the
pharmaceutical cartel. The next page provides a form letter that can be
mailed or faxed to your Congressional Representative.
For longer life,