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:

"The 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:
 

"I would 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 apologies.
 
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 media.

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 Life Extension
 
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:
 

“For instance, 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:
 

“LEF has 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 prescription medications. 
 
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 Again 
 
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 other countries.
 
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 states:

 

"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 their problem."

 
 
Falwell’s final mud slinging against LEF is as follows:

"And they 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 importation.”

 

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 Convoluted Facts?

 

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 Congress. 
 
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 Chart
 
 
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.
 
 
FDA Deceives Congress 

 

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.[8] 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 American Pharmacies 
 
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 drugstore.
 
CBS News: Is he required to tell a patient?
 
FDA: No.
 
CBS News: So, in fact, there's not a requirement for a company that discovers its drugs are being counterfeited to notify anyone?
 
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 other countries. 
 
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 United States. 
 
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 this drug.


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 Paying More
 
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 prescription drug. 
 
 
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 Capitulate

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 Others
 
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 their positions. 
 
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 future.
 
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,
 
 
William Faloon